Cell phones and social media have quite a hold on us. Don’t think so? One survey found that the average adult now spends almost 2.5 hours every day on social media. We’re literally on our phones morning, noon, and night checking out what’s going on in everyone else’s life. It is little wonder that this has become the primary place where people look to form their opinions about businesses, including where they will take their car to be serviced.
If you aren’t tapping into social media to advertise your auto repair shop, you’re missing out on a load of potential customers who may not otherwise think about your auto shop. With a Facebook business page and Facebook ads, the next time they need some of the more common services for their cars they will have you at the top of their minds.
Where to Start on Social Media for Auto Shops?
If you want your auto shop to be firing on all cylinders, you first need to know how to use social media. It’s OK if you don’t use it personally, but your business needs it and it won’t put any of your personal information out there for the world to see.
In a nutshell, it’s just the world we live in these days. Since the average user visits Facebook 8 times per day (and that’s JUST Facebook!) you need to be where your customers are.
If you’re part of a franchise, corporate may already have a Facebook page set up for your location, like this one from Valvoline. They have all of their locations listed under a single page with individual pages for each location available. See if you can add local deals and other local information on your page by getting talking to your co-op or corporate rep.
If you’re an independently owned auto repair shop, you may have to do more of this yourself. Or, find some help from a staff member who is comfortable with social media. We’ll give you instructions on how to set up your Facebook Page in just a bit. But overall, it’s not something you can ignore without giving up some amount of your potential profits.
Start with the free Facebook account where you’ll post pictures, videos, allow visitors to request a quote, and list some specials. It can also be a good place to collect recommendations from your customers that potential customers can easily see.
Collecting good recommendations from customers speaks volumes to potential customers. If someone sees an ad, they may click over to your full Facebook page where they can see these recommendations.
Be aware of what’s out there and encourage people to give you more recommendations. This is usually easy during check out at the end of a service or auto repair appointment.
The Next Level is Not Free. Building Customers Through Facebook Ads
Unfortunately, the free account typically is not enough. It’s likely that less than 3% of the people who “like” your page are seeing your posts.
You’ll need to run ads through Facebook if you want to be seen, and that includes visibility among people who don’t know who you are yet. There are benefits that outweigh the costs of social advertising:
- You can carefully target the right audience with your ads. Facebook makes it possible for you to really target your message in the ads to the people who are most likely to take an action. They need to be close to your auto shop and they need to be the right age demographic. You can also target people who may own certain types of cars, or women who may be responsible for their car’s maintenance, or a number of other subgroups that you believe are a good target marketing in your area. You can’t get this specific with your target audience on most other digital advertising platforms.
- You get to have a voice. You can interact with past customers and potential customers before they ever arrive at your auto shop. People will comment on your ad, or ask questions. Engage with them! This is a great opportunity that other types of advertising don’t allow. You can also do this on a regular Facebook post, but fewer people will see it which means less interaction.
- It’s one of the less expensive digital advertising platforms. Investing in social media advertising is a smart move as part of your overall strategic marketing plan for a mechanic. Clicks are about $1.76 less on Facebook than on Google for the auto industry as a whole. Lower pricing makes it possible to repeatedly reach people who have never heard of you before. Maybe consider offering something for first-time customers in your ad! Make it compelling for them to take action.
Ready to Give Your Auto Shop a Solid Social Media Presence?
If you’re just getting started with social media advertising, you’ll need to setup a free Facebook business page.
- Create a personal account so that you can have administrator access to your page. If you have an account already you can go to step 2.
- Create a business page. (FYI, using a personal account to represent your business is against Facebook’s policies).
- Once you have your Facebook business page, be sure it includes the basics such as address, phone, hours, and website. Then, add some imagery to make your page more appealing. Creating some posts will also show people that your page is active and encourage them to follow you for updates.
- With a great looking page you can then invest in Facebook ads that will place your name and your Facebook presence in front of your target audience.
Once you have Facebook running like clockwork and increasing your sales as a result, you may want to expand to other platforms, like Instagram, which is a fantastic platform for the younger generation. Remember to stay engaged on any platform you set up. Don’t set it and forget it otherwise people will think your shop has hit the brakes. Have someone in charge of monitoring and replying to comments and reviews.
Finding the best ways to advertise in your local area is key to driving new customers to your shop. Learn more about some of the top auto shop marketing tactics and how to apply them to your auto shop.