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Editor’s Notes: Visually Promoting Your Local Business with Social Media

Your smartphone’s camera will become one of your new favorite marketing tools! There’s always something interesting you can share, and it won’t take too much time; just a little effort.

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You don’t have to be a large company with a dedicated staff to market your business successfully on social media. A little bit of time and effort can go far to promote your local business on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Be sure to put links to your social media accounts on your website, as well as any materials you provide customers. Print business-card-sized notes with your accounts and put them on the counter to hand out to customers.

So where do you begin? Both Facebook and Instagram are predominately photo sharing sites and customers are visually minded. I would suggest starting by taking a photo of each staff member introducing them to your audience. Give a brief bio of that person — their job description, their experience, maybe a little about their family — and mention how they are looking forward to servicing the customers’ vehicles.

Another idea for Facebook is to conduct a contest with a trivia question. The first person to answer correctly can win a free oil change. Your hope is that your followers will share the offer with their friends, expanding your reach in the community.

You can also share articles you find interesting — either about car repair, maintenance tips or local news. The Car Care Council has a ton of information you can use. Or show photos of dirty filters pulled from customers’ cars to demonstrate the need to replace them regularly.

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For Instagram, Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, recommends taking a little time composing the photo, making sure the angle and lighting are good. “The copy really matters, too,” he says. “In the post copy, give a brief description and add hashtags. Really seek out and include your local hashtags.” For example, #millerautomotive or #dallasautorepair. When consumers are using these hashtags to search for auto repair in your area, your posts will show up in their search.

Stelzner also suggests giving people a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in your local business. “For owners and employees, the daily routine might feel boring. However, for your customers, every day in your (shop) is different and interesting. Show your customers what it’s really like to work for your business. Doing this builds rapport with your customers.”

Your smartphone’s camera will become one of your new favorite marketing tools! There’s always something interesting you can share, and it won’t take too much time; just a little effort, and as you get the hang of it, it’ll go faster.

However, “a social media presence doesn’t happen overnight,” says Stelzner. “You have to build a rapport with your audience.” So don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a lot of response right away. If you find that you or your staff can’t keep up with your shop’s posts, then check with your direct mail or CRM software provider — they may offer social media assistance.

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