If you’re the owner or manager of a business in the automotive industry, you know how tough it can be to get visitors to your website. Before the Internet, store owners relied on traditional marketing such as TV advertising, newspapers, as well as word-of-mouth to get customers to your store. Nowadays, most people rely on the Internet to get information and use online resources to solve their everyday problems.
Whether your business is in car detailing, auto repair and maintenance or upgrades such as audio, tinting or vinyl wraps, it can be difficult to attract customers outside of your town or city. The common problem is that most automotive shops are located near business parks or industrial areas, where there is barely any foot traffic outside their store. As a result, most auto shops have to resort to online marketing to get new customers in.
One of the best ways to market your company online is through social media platforms. I’m sure you know about Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and wonder “Well, I have used Facebook and Twitter before but how can it increase the number of visitors to my site?” It depends on several factors that we will go more in-depth in below:
1. Find out what kind of social media platforms your existing customers use
Even if you haven’t asked this before, it doesn’t hurt to ask them what kind of social media platforms they like to use. Knowing which accounts your customers use is a great way to see where the bulk of your customers are browsing online.
Let’s say you ask 100 customers which apps they use the most and 50% of them are on Facebook, 25% use Yelp and the remaining 25% use Twitter. This gives you a good indication of where your customers are and where to find new customers. In addition, you can use this information to start creating your social media strategy for each of those platforms.
2. Start off small and selective with your social media platforms
To start, you don’t have to create an account for every single social media platform right off the bat. Each app caters to a different audience and you could be wasting your time putting effort into a platform that won’t give you results. Here is a quick rundown of what each social media platform is useful for:
- Facebook & Google+ both serve as a place for your customers to reach out and ask you questions or address any comments or opinions about your business. If you can keep a strong presence on these platforms then it can really boost your customer service credibility. Google+ is also great for search engine optimization but is slowly being discontinued.
- Twitter is useful when you want to advertise a product, post information about the company or posting a blog. Twitter content is short and sweet and disappears from the main feed very quickly – it is very in the moment and requires fast reactions to make the most of it.
- LinkedIn comes in handy when you want to expand your professional network. You can add suppliers, former colleagues and even your customers to your network and share information with them.
- Youtube is a great way to show your services or products in action. Most online users are eager to click on a video if it’s educational, relevant and entertaining.
- Instagram & Pinterest are very picture-oriented and can benefit any business if done correctly. You want to make sure to post high-quality pictures with interesting captions to get the reader to like the photos and distribute them to their network of friends. Videos are great too!
- Snapchat is relatively new to advertising as it was mainly used for personal pictures and videos. Nowadays, companies use Snapchat to advertise their products or show off the company’s culture. For example, you can post Snaps of your employees detailing a car to show first-hand how your business operates.
- Yelp is a must-have for any business as it gives your customers a chance to rate and review your services. It’s also a good site for visitors to look up vital information such as the hours of operation, street address, and contact information. If you already have a successful Yelp account, read our post on how to turn Yelp traffic into customers.
3. Create a content strategy and posting schedule for each platform
Now that you know how each platform works, you can then decide which ones to pursue in a marketing strategy. If you’re trying to target a younger demographic, then Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube are great ways to reach to them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are the platforms you want to target when it comes to pursuing an older demographic.
Make sure to post content that’s relevant, educational and entertaining (including titles!) so that any visitor looking at your social media pages is more likely to click on your content to go to your site. When it comes to scheduling your posts, try to post content at least once a week. If you can, post new content to your social media accounts 2 or 3 times a week to build engagement that much faster.
4. Network online with your customers and suppliers
Networking is essential if you want to maintain good relationships with your customers and suppliers and taking it online is a great way to promote both your businesses. LinkedIn is useful when it comes to networking on a professional level. A good tip is to post articles and educational content on your LinkedIn page to make your business look like a thought leader. Not only will this benefit your existing customers but it allows outsider professionals to see what you have to offer and possibly turn them into leads. You can also share posts of projects where you have worked with other vendors and promote their business through your account
5. Maintain a strong online presence
The toughest thing for most small businesses is keeping a steady presence online. It can be especially tough for automotive businesses because most of the labor is dedicated towards physical work in the garage and not so much on the digital work on social media.
To fix this, make sure to stick to your posting schedule and keep an eye out for any customers commenting on your pages. You want to be ready to answer any questions or respond to feedback as quickly as possible or else your customers will feel neglected and possibly give your business a negative review. The fastest and easiest way is to take pictures of your work throughout the day and post photos that really show the quality of work you provide. Post these with explanations of what you did.
6. Be consistent
Consistency is the key to making your customers happy. You have to be consistent when it comes to creating quality content, posting content and responding to customers in a timely manner. If you forget or procrastinate on any of these, it can negatively impact your reputation.
7. Measure results and experiment with different strategies
Lastly, when you have a regular routine running, test different activities to see what works and what doesn’t work in your strategy. Are your blog posts doing well but your Youtube videos aren’t getting the same amount of viewers? If that’s the case, you may want to reevaluate your Youtube strategy and see if you need to promote it differently or put it on hold while you continue posting on your blog.
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