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Editor’s Notes: Building Your Brand Through Facebook

Maintaining an active Facebook presence remains a solid marketing strategy. When people search for your shop online, that content can help drive more business.

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In the February/March issue of TechShop, I mentioned that I’d use my Editor’s Notes column to help you improve the marketing of your shop in the digital realm. So let’s start with Facebook.

TechShop’s sister publication Tire Review features articles from industry expert Roger McManus. I’ve picked some highlights from one of his recent contributions regarding the social media mainstay. (And at the end of the article, there are some Facebook Do’s and Don’ts from Mark Claypool, contributor to BodyShop Business, another of our sister publications.)

 

“Maintaining an active presence on Facebook remains a solid strategy,” McManus says. “When people search for your shop online, that content can help drive more business. Posting regularly to your business’ Facebook page and sharing your knowledge can help you stay top-of-mind while establishing your expertise to that audience.”

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He goes on to say, “When companies are active users of social channels, consumers can and will interact with them directly. That interaction is more personal and less commercial to users than traditional methods of outbound marketing and advertising.

“Facebook’s ability to allow followers to ‘share’ and repost comments made by others about a product is extremely powerful. By repeating the company’s message, its impact and audience exposure multiplies. The fact that it was shared by someone they know gives it greater credence. No other form of media (aside from traditional word-of-mouth) is as powerful.

“As your company’s content is being shared, the more attention and exposure your company can receive.” McManus advises paying attention and responding quickly to any negative comments, making an effort to resolve the situation in a positive manner to minimize any negative impact.

“Think of Facebook as a microsite that you can use for commercial purposes, but with a social posture – not to make a sales pitch … A social medium like Facebook allows a business to show its audience who it is, what it’s about, what valuable knowledge it can share, and what support it can offer. It’s an excellent way to build up your reputation in your community and highlight your community involvement.”

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McManus’ rule of thumb: If your audience smiles, they also may buy. One of his favorite examples comes from Amy Mattinat, a shop owner in Vermont. The story goes that a large pothole opened up on a major route in her city. Her online message: “WARNING! Large pothole in 400 block of Main Street. Avoid! If this message reached you too late, we will be happy to get you back in alignment at Auto Craftsmen.”

 

Here are some more Facebook tips (adapted from Mark Claypool’s article in BodyShop Business)

Web Presence Management: Facebook Posting Do’s and Don’ts

How many people “Like” your business’s Facebook page? How many cars do you fix a month? Are you asking each of these vehicle owners to “Like” you on Facebook, maybe handing them a flyer to promote your Facebook page? Assuming you see a few hundred cars a year at least (and many of you do far more than that), you should have a lot of “Likes” and be serving these followers with relationship-building, value-added content – which means something other than marketing and advertising.

Your Facebook page should be about brand awareness, and the best way to accomplish that is to post value-added content – car-care tips, driving tips, seasonal things, topical things. And it goes without saying: Avoid at all costs anything political or slightly controversial.

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You should post four times per week on your Facebook account. Let’s look at some examples of good posts and posts you shouldn’t do – or at least shouldn’t do all the time.

Do’s – Video

Video posts are the most important and effective posts you can do because they get more engagement from your target audience than all the other forms of posting combined. It doesn’t have to be particularly sophisticated, either; using a cellphone is often good enough as long as the audio quality is good.

You can video things you see out on the road (such as the pothole idea above). Or how about interviewing a local high school senior prior to prom in your town. Make a plea to not drink, text and drive. These are simple ideas, and the more you brainstorm, the easier the ideas will start to flow.

Here’s an example of one of the videos Optima Automotive has done for a monthly video subscriber, Robbie’s Automotive in Dover, NJ. It highlights the “Move Over Law” for emergency vehicles on a four-lane highway and where this law originated. In 36 seconds, the value-added message is delivered, with branding on the front and back ends for the shop as well.

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You can see this video and others, including one on the dangers of driving with a dog on your lap (both for you and your dog), here: facebook.com/robbiesauto/videos.

Do’s – Contests

Come up with something fun and engaging that will get your followers involved with your page in between the times they actually need you. So when they do need you, they’ll remember you and will be much more likely to bring you their car.

For example, Robbie’s runs a selfie contest called #RobbiesRoadies and gives away a $100 gift certificate. The post was boosted on Facebook and had nearly 1,000 impressions, giving Robbie’s great exposure and brand recognition. Total cost was $120.

Do’s – Support Local Events and Sports Teams

If you live in a market where your sports teams, at any level, are popular, especially if they’re doing well, highlight that on your Facebook page. Engagement is the name of the game, so let the games begin, such as this post by Classic Collision in Atlanta prior to the Super Bowl (facebook.com/ClassicCollisionBrookhaven). At the time this was posted, it had 151 organic, non-boosted reviews. The cost was $0.

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Do’s – Car-Care Tips

Do a little research online and post links to car-care tips you find. For example, Butch’s Body Shop (facebook.com/ButchsAutoBodyPaint/posts) posted tips on how to get dog hair out of your car.

Don’ts – Before and After Photos

You live, eat and breathe automobiles, but most of the public does not. Posting nothing but before-and-after photos and vehicle-related stuff – things you might think are cool – is a turnoff to much of your target audience. They simply don’t care. Now and then is fine, but not all the time.

Don’ts – Testimonials

We’re all for testimonials, but not every single one you get. Your audience only needs you when they need you, so exclusively posting testimonials is counterproductive.

 

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