The best type of marketing has always been word of mouth. If a friend recommends a business to me, I am all ears because my friend has credibility. They know me and they have no ulterior motive. Think of social media as a place where people hang out and chat. It is the online equivalent of a group of neighbors congregating at the end of your driveway on a Saturday afternoon. It is that simple. We all have busy lives and that sometimes means we don’t have as much time for actual visiting, but we do have time to stay in touch on social media.

There are many social media platforms available like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, to name a few. The best known social media platform is probably Facebook. Most people are on Facebook and it is a great place to develop business to consumer interaction.

Facebook has a new algorithm. An algorithm sounds like an abstract concept, like a flux capacitor, but it is nothing more than what Facebook wants to see posted on their pages. Here are a few things that will help make it simple.

Live video

Quick, interesting, video clips. Live video is raw and authentic. These videos get six times more interaction than regular videos. They create discussions in the comments, which is exactly what Facebook wants. This type of video will perform well and promote your shop through meaningful interactions.

Engagement

Engagement is where it’s at on social media, especially Facebook. The problem was people have been posting things like, vote for this or that, or comment on this. This type of “click bait” is being demoted on Facebook’s new algorithm. It is not valuable or meaningful to anyone. It was done to game the system. These types of posts will not last long at all in the feed of Facebook. Create posts that cause a discussion in the comments and that get liked and shared because the reader finds it to be meaningful and valuable information.

What to post

The goal is to stay top of mind with your social media. We have to make at least seven touches and as many as 13 before someone decides to try your shop. Staying top of mind is the goal and the way to do it is to use the 60/30/10 rule.

60% engage and entertain

The majority of your posts should be to create familiarity and credibility. Display the character of your shop. We all like our favorite businesses because we are comfortable with the facility, the staff and the product, no matter what it is; whether it is your favorite steakhouse, pet spa, or gift shop. Show your shop in action. Post a picture of your team grilling out for lunch. Maybe show your service advisor coaching a little league team. Put some personality out there. Let people feel connected with your shop, even if they have never been to see you. This is the magic of social media. You can share the culture of your shop. The engagement part is just as important as being entertained. Finding things to post is not hard if you keep your phone with you and stay on the lookout for entertaining content.

30% educate and inform

This segment of posts should put your professional knowledge to work for your customers and potential customers. For example, a quick video of a serpentine belt that came apart and wrapped around the fan clutch and water pump, with a comment saying, “My customer, Bill, checks under the hood every weekend. He checks his fluid levels, belts and hoses, but he did not realize belts no longer crack as they get older. Why is that?”

This type of post will check all the boxes. It educates and informs, showcases your professional acumen, it should create a conversation of comments, and it also has the gold standard of social media engagement, live video. It’s raw, authentic, and it gets more interaction and engagement than other media. A post like this will add credibility and keep you and your shop top of mind. Most people on your Facebook page or your website are not ready to buy at this time. By staying top of mind, you and your shop will be the “Go To” place for them when the time comes.

10% sales promotion

Only 10% of your posts should have anything to do with sales. The way to do this type of post is to bring attention to your products indirectly. Here’s the idea for a post in this segment. Post a picture of your customer by her car in front of your shop, with your shop’s sign visible. Caption is “Ms. Jackson decided to have us check out her car before she sold it. It needed tires and she bought a set of X- Brand Ridemasters. She came back the next day and said her car has never ridden this great and she’s decided to keep it, rather than selling it.”

Always be on the lookout for content to post. The idea is to create meaningful interactions with people. This is why you need content that causes people to engage with a comment or to actually share your posts with others.

There are many opinions on how often you should post and when to post. You do not want to post so frequently that folks quit following your page. However, you do want to stay relevant and top of mind? Many studies suggest between three and 10 times per week. A good starting point is once each day or two. There are no hard and fast rules with social media, but you do want to stay top of mind so I would post at least three times per week. The next question is, what time of day would be the best time to post? For a business to consumer touch, like a repair shop, there are three times that could be best, from 9-10a.m., noon-1p.m., and from 4-5 p.m. As you get feedback through activity on your posts and from your customers, you will be able to narrow this down to exactly what works for your customer base.

No matter which type of post you are doing, your posts should do two things. They should tell a story. People will engage with a story. It could be the story of a customer’s pre-purchase inspection, or one of your technicians who coaches little league, or maybe a bit of history about your shop. Create these posts with the goal of making your potential customer familiar with your shop and your team. Think of it like a virtual tour of your shop. We have all taken a customer around the shop on the “nickel tour.” You typically show them around, spotlighting your team and points of interest about your shop. Posting on social media is exactly the same thing. Create a feeling of familiarity in your future customer.

The second point is to always make your customers and future customers the heroes of the story. Whatever the story, put your customer in the spotlight. If you found a problem on a car during a pre-purchase inspection, make the post about how your customer found out what was wrong before buying the car. If it’s a post about the history of your shop, say it would not be possible without the community support we get from all of our great customers.

Stay away from commenting on politics and religion. Try to be engaging but not controversial. Keep the capital letters and punctuation reasonable.

Build your tribe

You can build your social media following or as Facebook likes to call it, “Your tribe,” with something as simple as this.

We all have organizations that want sponsorship, like a little league team for example. Give them a fixed period of time to get their friends and family to “Like” your Facebook page. Do a post explaining that for the next 48 hours, your shop will pay them $1 or $2 per “Like” on your Facebook page. This will showcase your shop’s community involvement and it will put you in front of many people who did not know about your shop.

Facebook is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to put your shop in front of potential new customers. Social media is here to stay, so get involved, and have some fun with it. It’s a great way to ACCELERATE YOUR SUCCESS!