“Look, ma! I’m interneting!”
Plenty of marketing companies can help improve your shop’s online presence. We all know why they would solicit us, but why would we reach out to them? Maybe you feel you’re not the best person to step into the digital world, too far behind in other realms of the business, or maybe you just want to pass this task onto the professionals because they seem like the best all-in-one solution for digital marketing.
Each of these reasons creates the same result: passing on the torch, wiping our hands, and considering it taken care of. The problem is your shop’s online presence isn’t fully taken care of, and there’s always a digital marketing strategy to implement, even when the professionals step in.
The good news is there are easy steps we can quickly take without the help of professionals. However, if you decide to hire a third-party company, they can only deliver good results if we give them good content to post. If we expect these marketers to bring their “A” game, we must do the same.
Either way, here are some steps to take to bring your shop’s online visibility to a new level:
Non-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to improve your online presence in ATI’s shop owner events. Register at www.atievent.com.
1. When responding to your online reviews, respond to each one, good or bad.
Remember to be diplomatic and keep in mind that everyone is reading your response; it is not a private conversation. It’s usually a good idea to write a response to a negative review and let it sit on your screen for 24 hours. Then come back to it later and read it as a potential new customer. Analyze how your message comes across.
2. When writing responses, make sure to start the reply with, “Thank you for your review.”
Also, use their first name if possible. After all, they took time out of their day to give your business recognition. Next, include the vehicle make, model, and repair completed in each response—for example, Ford Ranger Brakes. Using keywords will cause Google to recognize your business as a resource for future repair searches.
3. When posting photos, include yourself and your people.
I’ve seen plenty of shop pictures, equipment, and vehicles — everything but the people! Your potential customers want to see what your staff is doing. First-time customers want to know who they’ll be interacting with when they come in. A picture of a lift isn’t going to speak to that.
Pro Tip: Start this step by making your Google business page cover a photo of your entire staff standing shoulder to shoulder, smiling in uniform right next to your logo. Nothing speaks to a welcoming environment (for prospective employees, too) more than a happy team!
4. Stand out on social media!
When third-party companies manage posts without content created directly by us, then you’re risking generic posts on social media that don’t stand out. Capture an advisor shaking hands with a happy customer and a technician next to a unique car or performing a common repair.
Include the tech’s name and what they’re doing in the caption, and make it exciting! Don’t forget to add videos! These days apps like TikTok and others aren’t getting millions of views per day because they blend in. You must be different! Chances are you have a few hundred followers on Facebook, but each post you have has zero to three likes because you’re not impressing your community or being consistent.
Pro Tip: The more likes, shares, and comments you get on your weekly posts, the more people will look at your business page. This means when it’s time to hire someone, more eyes will see your ad!
5. Make sure your content is high-quality and consistent.
Photos and videos should be clear and well-lit. Get the most out of your posts by sharing them on multiple social media platforms (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn). Don’t post photos in “dumps.” If you post ten pictures today and not another one for six months, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Instead, take ten pictures today and post 1-5 times per week for the next ten weeks. Then repeat. It will go a lot further from a consistency standpoint.
These are only a few quick adjustments you can make to increase your online presence. If you’re consistent, you’ll improve your shop’s web game in a big way with little effort. The key behind all of this is consistency. You won’t have long-term success if you only attend to this process when time allows instead of scheduling it. Schedule a specific day and time allocated to taking pictures and generating captions, then post them weekly.
Want to learn more about improving and increasing your online presence? Start with a shop owner event at www.atievent.com. We have virtual and in-person events, fee-based and free, for both auto repair and collision repair shop owners. Find one near you today!