In 1985, Sally Field accepted her second Academy Award for the movie, “Places in the Heart.” During her acceptance speech, with Oscar in hand, Field said, “You like me…you really like me!” And that’s what we want people to do on Facebook: like our business…really like our business.
Facebook is approaching 900 million users. It’s the fastest growing phenomena in the history of mankind. Only a couple years ago, many said this Facebook thing was just a fad for business, but now it has become the wild new frontier of marketing – one you can’t afford to ignore. But you need to know how to do Facebook right.
Facebook for business is all about branding. Sure, there’s more to it than just that, but in the end it’s about making impression after impression. Therefore, you need to use an icon that represents your business.
There are different schools of thought here. Some say that using your face establishes that local connection, associating you with your business. However, I respectfully disagree.
On average, people need a body shop once every seven years. After awhile, they forget where they got their car fixed. Your face on their Facebook page becomes just another face in the crowd. But a logo is another story, and I believe this is what you should use as your social media icon.
A logo makes an impression. Just ask Coca-Cola, 3M and Chevy. That same logo should be on your signage and anywhere else you can think to put it so that it will be seen. And if your logo is a rectangle, you’ll need to have a designer work it into a square or else the edges will be cut off on Facebook’s rendition.
Lots of people got upset over Facebook’s recently launched Timeline layout because it’s radically different than the old format. But it can really do some amazing things for your business.
Take a look at the Facebook page of Robbie’s Automotive in Dover, New Jersey. They use their logo as their icon, and look what they showcase across the top. It makes a strong impression and matches their website, too. Stay tuned for a more in-depth discussion of Timeline in next month’s column.
When you’ve got a Facebook page up and online, it’s only the beginning.
You need to post on it regularly – weekly at a minimum, daily ideally. And it doesn’t need to be too fancy. Look up local calendars of events, local weather, traffic reports and more. Search YouTube for crash videos, driving tips and car care tips. It’s not hard and the content doesn’t necessarily have to be automotive-related. Periodically run specials and promotions, but don’t overdo it. People will unlike you in a hurry if all you do is blatantly advertise or post nothing but car photos.
Outsource it to an expert if you can’t take the 10 minutes or so a week to manage it properly.
The next step is to get people to like you. Promote your Facebook page at your counter. Use QR codes (bar codes that people can scan to download information) and flyers, and provide a computer at the counter where they can log in to their Facebook pages and “Like” you while they’re at your shop.
When you deliver a vehicle, include a flyer with reasons to “Like” you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. Train your customer service representative to encourage people to “Like” you. Provide incentives to “Like” you such as random drawings for free gas, car washes, etc. Use this link to create your own QR codes for free: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. “Like” Optima Automotive on Facebook: www.facebook.com/optimaautomotive.
As more and more people “Like” you, your logo makes tons of impressions each month. Facebook tracks it for you through their “Insights” tool.
West Loop Auto Body in Chicago has nearly 1,700 people who have “Liked” them, and these “fans” have a total of 829,000 friends. West Loop made well over 66,000 impressions in just one week, which is well over 250,000 impressions a month! Their social media developer gets $95 monthly for that kind of exposure. Brand recognition is what it’s all about, done for mere fractions of a penny per impression.
Ninety-seven percent of driving age people under 30 (Generation Y) are using social media, and they now outnumber Baby Boomers. Make sure they, and everyone else, like you. Post regularly and you’ll be on your way toward getting people to truly know your brand. This will give you the best chance to capture the job the next time they need your services.
Next month, we’ll talk more in-depth about the exciting features of the new Facebook Timeline.
BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has nearly 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce training, business/education partnerships, apprenticeships, training and web presence management. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive which provides website design, development, search engine optimization (SEO) services and Social Media Management services. He’s also the Regional Sales Manager for Metro Paint Supplies in Chicago. Claypool’s work history includes VP of VeriFacts Automotive, founder of Mentors At Work (now a division of VeriFacts), executive director of the I-CAR Education Foundation and the National Auto Body Council (NABC), co-founder of the Collision Industry Foundation and national director of development for SkillsUSA. Claypool served, on a volunteer basis, as the SkillsUSA World Team Leader for the WorldSkills Championships.