One of the biggest reasons we hear from auto repair shop owners for not using social media well is the lack of time. As past shop owners ourselves, we remember how difficult it is to juggle everything there is to manage. One minute you might be talking with a customer, then the service advisor, while also answering email and mentoring a technician. That’s only a few of the things that take up your time. Throwing a Facebook or Instagram post into the mix is not at the top of your list. It can literally be overwhelming to step back and consider everything you need to get done. But, that doesn’t erase the fact that social media is an important part of marketing your auto repair shop. It’s the finding time part that is the real challenge. In this blog, I’m going to share some of our favorite tools you can use to help manage your social media and save you time.
Tip #1 – Planning
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you’re going to spend your time doing something then let’s ensure that your time is well spent. The first part of planning involves your calendar. Go to your calendar (the one you actually look at, use and plan your day/week/month with) and put “social media marketing” on your calendar. Pick a day and time that make sense. I remember from our days as auto repair shop owners that Mondays were definitely not good. We came back from the weekend to cars that were dropped off, phone calls and emails. So picking Monday morning to do your auto repair shop social media marketing is most likely not a good idea. You know your shop and your shop’s schedule. So, select the right time. Maybe try 30 minutes if you can. That’s the first step – just getting it on your calendar. Otherwise, it will never happen.
Tip #2 – Thinking
I know that’s a silly thing to say but very often we hear from auto repair shop owners that they just realize in the moment “Oh, crap, I gotta get a post on Facebook.” and that’s exactly the type of post that gets posted. One that’s an afterthought, with no planning or real strategy. So, during your planning time take a step backward to go forward. Look at the big picture. What are you trying to accomplish at your shop? Your auto repair shop social media marketing should allow your followers to get to know you better, like you more and increase their trust in you. People like to do business with people they know like and trust. Thinking of it that way helps to determine the type of content you should be using for your auto repair shop social media marketing. Here are a few types of content that help the “know, like and trust” way of using social media. Use these content ideas to plan out your strategy for what you’d like to post.
- Engaging & Fun. When you take the time to have fun and enjoy social media you can open up your repair shop in a transparent way that allows your followers to see you in a fun way. Sharing funny photos, videos or boomerangs (gifs) can be an easy way to invite your followers into your company culture. Showing off the fun things you do for your team, your customers and the community increases your likeability. Have silly contests, post about birthdays and anniversaries and funny things that happen in the shop. In other words, enjoy yourself! Ask questions and run polls that encourage conversation. These are the types of posts that will help your shop and your team be better known and liked through social media.
- Educational. When the only thing you post is articles, blog posts and how-to videos you will surely bore your audience to the point of the unlike or the unfollow, neither of which you want. Facebook makes it difficult enough for you to show up organically in someone’s news feed. You don’t need to add anything to their already complicated algorithm (also known as edgerank but we’ll save that for another time). The key to sharing education content is to share it with a good mix of the other types of content. Posting interesting, educational types of content are great when done with thought and consideration of your audience. What do they want? What are they looking for? Sharing factual, honest, and relevant information can lend to your credibility. Remember people do business with people they know, like and trust. So this helps them get to know you better. They learn who you are, what you specialize in and your thoughts and opinions. All of these things tell your audience that you know what you’re doing. You’re using this as an opportunity to educate them on their car, maintenance and repair topics, but also educating them on you, your family, your staff, your community and the list can go on. Educational posts are important! Just don’t let your entire social media plan revolve around that.
- Authority & Empathy. Posts that show you care are critical to your auto repair shop social media marketing. I love the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” That quote always speaks to me every time I read it. Use your social media to live this quote out loud. Show off how much you care. Some quick ideas include sharing your customer reviews and testimonials, humblebrags about how you care about training for yourself and your staff like sharing new certificates. This is also a time to talk about your company’s core values, community service, and awards. All of these things build trust. Your followers will see these types of posts — and partnered with fun, engaging and educational posts — you’re tapping into all of the areas your followers need in order to get to know you better, like and trust you more.
Tip #3 – Creating & Scheduling Posts.
Now it’s time to write down your posts! Maybe you plan to post 5 times a week. Make it easy on yourself and map out what those posts might look like by themes or categories. Maybe every Monday morning you plan to post a tip from one of your technicians. A tip that helps your customer in some way. I can see you posting on Wednesday afternoon a funny meme, cartoon, joke or interesting thing that happened in your shop. Maybe every Friday you’re going to post a fun community event happening that weekend. I’ll have another blog post with ideas but those are just a few quick examples. Other things will, of course, include a good reason to join your email list with a link, a fun contest/giveaway, or a link to your website for scheduling an appointment. Whatever it is, write down the post, include the link/photo/graphic that will go with it and the day/time you want to schedule it. To save time, we do all of this in our favorite social media management tool – Buffer (more about that later). We create the post, add in the link, the hashtag, emojis, graphic, etc and then schedule it all at the same time!
OK, so now you’ve got the time on the calendar, thought about content and are ready to create and schedule posts — let me share some of our favorite tools to help you maximize your time!
Our Favorite Social Media Management Tools
- Buffer. We have used so many different social media management tools looking for the perfect one. There are many to choose from including HootSuite, SproutSocial, MeetEdgar, Rignite and more. For us, we landed on Buffer and have been very happy. None of them come without the occasional frustration but for us, Buffer gives us the chance to manage multiple pages and profiles. We create our posts, schedule them and it even has a wonderful built-in content curation tool – the content inbox – that we have found to be helpful. It also offers some special stats and insights into the posts you share. Check it out!
- Canva. If you’re like me, you’re not a graphic designer, and I don’t like to bother my designers with the simplest of social posts. It can be intimidating to try to create a nice looking graphic, but, fear not! With Canva, they make it super easy to find a nice template, adjust the text, add your logo and BAM! You’ve got a nice custom branded graphic for your post. There are many other wonderful perks to using a tool like Canva so just jump in. A few other options include Crello and PicMonkey.
- Feedly. One of the biggest struggles people face when doing their own social media is finding the content to share. Of course, there’s your own content which is always best, but in addition to that and industry publications, you can use a tool like Feedly to pull in the content you’re interested in, organize it and easily share it. Another option for you might be Flipboard.
With these time management tips and tools, you should find that your auto repair shop social media marketing is much easier to handle. Be sure that you’re following our Shop Marketing Pros Facebook Page because we share a lot of helpful information there, too!
About The Author
In addition to being co-owner of Shop Marketing Pros, Kim is a Master Certified Solution Provider with Constant Contact and a StoryBrand Certified Guide. Kim is a past shop owner and has served as President of ASA North Carolina.