Most are surprised by my first answer: “ I Don’t Know”
In a speech to a room of repairers it’s easy to give some generalizations and tips, but to give advice on how to improve an individuals social marketing without researching their market, business and history is like giving a diagnosis without examining a patient.
If you want to fail, hire a 3rd party to manage your social media marketing.
Let me explain, like many other aspects of technology and marketing the collision repair industry was slow to catch on to the Social Revolution. The real social revolution was in 2007. So when it did hit our industry a few years back, there was already 100’s of books, websites and newsletter’s dedicated to social media marketing. It made it easy for last weeks parts salesman to be this week’s “Social Media Expert”. It was in fact, the new “Gold Rush” to a number of companies and organizations thinking it was a fast track to revenue.
We’ll build a presentation full of statistics, we’ll convince shops it’s too time consuming and complicated for them to manage and they’ll pay us to make their accounts look like all our other clients???
That’s good right? I get what seems like an endless list of services that I don’t understand and all I have to is give them a credit card to hit every month.
First, let’s understand what social media is.
Well…… It’s Social!
What I mean is, it’s a communication forum that was founded on personal connections of friends. We connected with our friends and family to share pictures, life moments and content that we thought would enrich the lives of those we connected to. In fact over 60% of people that list their primary job as a ‘Social Media Marketing Manger” responded in a recent survey that their primary use of Social Media is to check status updates from their friends and family. That’s right even the people that do this for a living are not using it as a business tool. Does that mean you shouldn’t use social media as a marketing channel. NO, it does mean that you need to recognize how consumers use the tools and plan your content accordingly.
Let’s face it no one is dying to follow Collision Repair on Facebook or Twitter. We’re not celebrities that can post or tweet about the their lunch and get 1,000’s of likes. We must make a rationale and compelling case to be followed, liked, +1 and retweeted.
Simply put, you must be awesome! Average will not do!
We live in an age of information overload. In a response to that we want to consume only content that is relevant to our lives, gives us a sense of community or gives us context to an issue or trend. Pre-Packaged content from 3rd party managers such as silly laws, bumper stickers, driving tips or links to articles not from your community or website is not compelling, relevant or providing a sense of community to your followers.
Also, what’s good content for Twitter is not for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and on and on. If a third party is using a mass posting service to send the same content to multiple platforms at the same time and same day then why would people want or need to follow you on multiple channels?
So take a look at your current social media pages and ask yourself:
- Does the content on these pages prove I am the best collision repairer in my town?
- Does it show that I understand my community and the needs of my customers?
- Am I adding value or just “noise” to the followers of my page?
- By the post on my pages, can the followers clearly determine the type of character and business we are in THIS community?
- Do I like what I’m seeing or reading?
Then take the next step:
Find two people you trust in your community that are not in the collision repair industry. It could be your pastor, member of the rotary club, president of the chamber of commerce or the door greater at Walmart. Ask them to review your pages. Then ask them: Did any of my content add value for you?
You’ll either pass the test or it’s time to re-evaluate your current marketing plan and have some serious conversations.
So here’s were most shops tell me that they understand all the negatives of hiring a third party, but they just can’t do it on their own.
If you must bring in help, know that your involvement and supervision will be required. If you can’t dedicate one hour a week to review content and one day a month for strategy meetings, then don’t even think about hiring a 3rd party for your marketing. If you’re willing to make that commitment, then look for a local marketing or public relations firms in your area. You’re not going to find an agency that is an expert in collision repair, and to be honest you don’t want one. That’s what your for. You’re not talking to yourself in social media your talking to people just like the ones at that local marketing firm. They’ll help your context around your content.
You want an agency that has connections to mutually beneficial organizations in your market. A firm that knows how to make connections and build community around brands. That’s why their local and not national. They need to understand your community and it’s customers in the context of your local events, news and activities. National firms can market national products and local firms market local services.
Ask them how they’ll work with you to see content before it’s posted. Most firms will present you a plan 30 days in advance with all engagement campaign ideas around your business. It’s your chance to review and give input on anything you’d like to see different or added. You’ll have access to a shared calendar to review at any time and make changes at anytime.
That’s were the one hour a week and one day a month comes in.
You’ll need to meet with the firm each month to review your statistics and performance. That means you should be presented with monthly performance reports. What’s working and what’s not. What content do you need more of and what should you cut.
Good Luck and Stay Awesome!