Using Twitter to Gain New Customers for your Auto Body Shop - BodyShop Business
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Using Twitter to Gain New Customers for your Auto Body Shop

Twitter requires the most work of any social media platform if you really want to do it right, but now you can enter the Twitter Zone and tweet directly to people who need your services. How?


BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and Web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (, which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

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From the 1959 sci-fi series “The Twilight Zone,” slightly modified for modern day:

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to mankind. It is a dimension as vast as space, timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. It lies between the pit of humanity’s fears and the summit of its knowledge. The dimension of imagination, an area we call…the Twitter Zone.”

Imagine, if you will, the ability to know, in real time, exactly when someone has been in a car accident, hit a deer, suffered hail damage, etc. Imagine being able to reach out to them with compassion and offer your services, towing, rental car, claims management, etc., within minutes of the incident.  Imagine being perceived as so far advanced technologically, beyond any other body shop in your area, that you arrive at the scene way before any other shop or insurance company even knows about the incident – and you’re able to do it all from your desk or phone. What makes this possible – between science and superstition – is targeted marketing via the Twitter Zone.


Listening to Twitter

Body shops have had Twitter at their disposal for a long time, but few have taken advantage of it. True, it requires the most work of any social media platform if you really want to do it right. But now you can enter the Twitter Zone and tweet directly to people who need your services. How?

Optima Automotive has the capability to listen to Twitter, in real time, for keywords in a specific geographic area such as “auto accident,” “car accident,” “fender bender,” “hit a deer,” “smashed my car,” “door ding” and “hail damage.” When someone within a particular area tweets using any of these keywords, we get immediate audible and visual alerts. We read the tweet to make sure the person doing the tweeting needs a body shop, then we tweet directly to that person from the Twitter account of our client who is in that area. And, if you’re interested, we’ll give you the ability to listen to one keyword phrase on Twitter in your area – for FREE. Keep reading…


An Open Book

We’ve been testing this system for months. Believe it or not, millions of people live their lives like an open book, tweeting about virtually everything they’re doing and things that are happening to them, such as auto accidents. We’ve been monitoring this in the Atlanta market for one of our clients, and early in October somebody in Atlanta tweeted, “Just in a car accident man.” Our system caught the keywords and immediately alerted our team of the tweet. We tweeted directly to this person from our client’s account saying, “So sorry to hear that. We are hoping everything is okay! If you need help with anything, feel free to reach out to us. Stay calm and take care.” Then we shared a link to the client’s website.


Minutes later, another alert: “Got into a car accident ☹.” We Tweeted directly to this person, too: “We hope it wasn’t serious and that you’re okay! If you need any help from us, please feel free to reach out. We have lots of locations in the area that we can help from. Take care and be safe.” And again, we shared the link to the website.

We’ve created a landing page on our client’s website specifically for this purpose. This way, we can track the effectiveness of this targeted marketing listening campaign. Not every tweet hits the mark, for example, some might say, “This is the one-year anniversary of my car accident” or something else that doesn’t apply. Sometimes even these kinds of tweets might present an opportunity to reach out with something like, “Accidents can be traumatic events, hope all is OK and be careful. Buckle up!” And then, of course, share a link to the website.


Free Opportunity

So, now on to the free opportunity for you to listen in. Visit and fill out the form. We’ll listen for one keyword phrase for you within five miles of your shop, free of charge, and our system will automatically email you when that phrase pops up on Twitter. We’ll do it for a full year, no obligation – we just think this technology is so cool that we want to share it with the industry. It will be up to you to monitor your emails and respond accordingly.


Now, you too can listen in on the ongoing conversation in the Twitter Zone. And who knows… you might get a car or two to fix.

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