In the second article of a two-part series, Hayley Pells of Avia Autos, explains why Facebook has become a crucial tool for marketing her garage business.
Social media platforms dominate internet usage and are the third most common reason for accessing the internet (the first being to find goods/services, the second to use online banking). It is therefore worthwhile understanding how each of these platforms operate and which one your client base prefers to engage with.
At Avia, we have had great success with Facebook and discovered that it is an easy platform to manage as a team. Shifting trends mean that different platforms will reach different demographic groups, but with 44.84 million users in the UK accessing Facebook, not having at least a presence would now be considered as strange as not having the free line in the Yellow Pages in the 1980’s. Although it is relatively simple to set up, there is a bit of leg work involved to get results.
Creating the page can be completed with little experience. You need to have a personal Facebook account and then you create the page using the online guides. Relatively simple, Facebook is eager to show you how to construct the page. Having an active page on the platform will increase your digital presence, thereby increasing the likelihood of you appearing in search results for the types of servicing you offer.
All this being said and done, the leg work really kicks in when you try to maximise your potential ‘reach’ through the platform. You need to load content that is interesting and drives engagement with your digital space. At Avia, we share posts from our day, the cars that we find exciting, motorist hints and tips, along with changes to our services or any special or seasonal offers that we might have.
Content can get confusing; this is an area where many businesses start to come awry. The users of Facebook do not wish to be bombarded with advertising so simply throwing up capitalised strings of words declaring that you have a special offer will quickly reduce your exposure on timelines. If it isn’t interesting to read, Facebook has a sophisticated algorithm to maintain its position as a preferred platform and your offering will simply not get airtime. Whereas if you offer content that is engaging, Facebook and the users themselves will expose your content to more users; this is what ‘reach’ refers to.
Engaging content achieved, the next hurdle is consistency. Here, if you are more digitally confident, you can start to employ third-party platforms or use the Facebook platform to ‘schedule a post’. The benefit of this is that a dump of content followed by an absence will not get the platform to work well for you. Little and often is the key.
Here, we mainly access Facebook through smartphones. The camera functionality of the phone makes the point, shoot and upload process a minor interruption to the working day. We have a ‘social media space’ in the workshop that is kept clear of equipment and is brightly lit – it also has a large Avia logo for the better display of the cars that visit us.
Don’t fear video
Video content can be daunting and would perhaps be more suitable for when confidence is increased. Pictures will get more engagement than simple text and Facebook recognises this. The platform has therefore enabled moving animations (GIFs) and the ability to put up coloured backgrounds to your text, even if this is at the expense of the text. At Avia, we have found that linking posts to our YouTube channel, particularly about our coronavirus procedures, is very useful for increasing traffic and for communicating to our customers what changes they should expect when they come to visit us.
Avia looks after its Facebook pages in-house and you can certainly do this too. When it comes to the look of the pages, remember to use colours that reflect your existing branding, or use the opportunity to pick some that you can repeat throughout your posts. Tell the story of your business and include your customers in your journey. It is important to not merely exist to be selfserving; offering hints and tips to your customers on how they can look after their car, as well as other relevant content, is a good habit to get into.
Only once you have built a stream of content should you start sprinkling in announcements for flash sales or special offers if this is the strategy you wish to employ. Another method is to offer a focus on a marque or repair when they are appropriate, which can be effective for seasonal work such as winter tyres or air conditioning.
In summary, internet use continues to increase and the number one use for this connectivity is to search for a product or service. This trend will only benefit those businesses that are visible to the consumer, and Facebook is an exceptional way for a garage business to showcase the expertise it offers. So, if you have not already – it is time to get social.
How to be social media savvy
✓ Invite people to like your page to get the ball rolling
✓ Post regularly
✓ Post content that is interesting and sincere
✓ Reply to those who engage with you
✓ Remember to put in contact details, opening hours and where you are!
✘ Limit the self-serving posts
✘ Refrain from bad language and offensive content
✘ Take negative engagement out of the public space, reply to their complaint with a polite offer of a phone call or email
✘ Avoid clickbait and churn. Clickbait is a derogatory term for something that needs to be opened (clicked) to access the content, churn is excessively sharing material with nothing meaningful to add to it
✘ Resist getting caught up in ‘likes’ – the number of people that see your posts will far exceed the number of people that take a positive action (Like or Comment). The same is true for the number of followers, keep it meaningful and don’t sweat about not having big figures