Utilizing Social Media Marketing for Your Auto Body Shop

Utilizing Social Media Marketing for Your Auto Body Shop

When done effectively and consistently, social media can work wonders in connecting you to consumers.

According to our latest Industry Profile, 66% of you are over 50 years old, which means you didn’t grow up with social media. I fall squarely into that category too. So even though I see a lot of you on Facebook, we kind of don’t understand it, and some of us probably think it’s stupid. Maybe some of us were pressured into joining, maybe some of us actually enjoy espousing our political beliefs on there or sharing funny memes, while others maybe think it’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. 

Some days I wonder how Mark Zuckerberg got 1,400 acres in Hawaii for creating a gossip site, which it seems is sometimes all people do on Facebook, but of course that is an oversimplification and probably misses the mark on what this tech giant has accomplished. Maybe his billions speak to the powerful need for human connection … or just the ingenious ways he invented to get all those eyeballs trained on Facebook at all times.

And I get it, a lot of social media “influencers” are annoying. Not that all of them are Gen Zers, but for a generation that supposedly doesn’t care about money, they’re modern-day snake oil salesmen, with their never-ending and persistent hawking of beauty products, health food, clothing and more — all of it, of course, gluten-free, protein-packed, eco-friendly, sustainable and good for you. 

All this being said, if I owned a business like you, there is no way in heck I would not have a Facebook page — and not just an address but a robust destination updated every single day with posts on driving tips, customer contests, employee appreciation, etc.

Yet, according to Micki Woods of Micki Woods Marketing, even though she feels most auto body shops have set up and claimed a Facebook page, only 10 to 15% of shops are actively posting on it. But she said simply setting up a page is better than not having claimed the page at all.

“It’s super important to do that, create a Facebook page, create an Instagram page, have a little content on there, make sure your address is right, your hours are right, that kind of thing. It’s super powerful just to be there,” says Woods. “That way if somebody tags you, you already have a presence and it will link over to your page. Or if somebody got their car fixed and they want to reference you, all they have to do is tag your page and boom, people can go there and get information.”

Don’t Go Generic

According to the latest BodyShop Business Industry Profile survey, 46% of you said you market your services via social media (ranked third behind website and word of mouth), but you rated it only 3.08 for effectiveness on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “extremely effective” and 1 being “not effective at all.” It could be that your social media marketing isn’t working because you’re not active in posting or your posts themselves are not effective. Woods does not recommend hiring an outside company to maintain your social media presence and create posts.

“It’s funny because I even offer this service, but I really don’t like to do it for people because it’s so generic,” Woods says. “The more generic the posts, the less people care.”

Woods says most consumers don’t care about how you repair a fender — they just want you to fix it. This would be categorized as an informational post that has nothing relational about it, e.g. doesn’t allow the consumer to form a connection with your shop. Examples of posts that would establish a connection with the consumer are: photos of you celebrating a teammate’s birthday or photos of you treating your teammates to lunch. 

“Any company you hire, unless you’re providing photos to them, they’re just going to use stock images,” says Woods. “And if they’re writing a blog for you, they’re going to write the same blog that they write for every one of their clients they do SEO for. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, and I think that’s completely the wrong way and it makes me irritated that marketing companies sell this as a service because it’s just so useless in my eyes.”

So you’re paying tons of money to these companies who are posting generic content, and at the same time getting dinged on search engine optimization (SEO) because no one is engaging with the posts (i.e. “liking” them, sharing them, leaving comments, etc.) And then guess what? The way Facebook’s algorithm works, your page will actually disappear and not show up in anyone’s feeds.  

“So you might think, okay, well at least I’ve got some content on my page, but who’s seeing it? Nobody,” Woods says. “It’s not coming up on their feeds. And how many people are going to hunt you down to see what your latest post was?”

Since you’ll be getting very little return on your investment, Woods believes you would be better off taking the money you’re spending to have an outside service run your Facebook page and spending it on another type of marketing. 

Woods believes a shop would be much better off having the owner, manager, bookkeeper, customer service rep or whoever maintain the page and post once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be every day. 

“Every once in a while, if it’s Jenny’s birthday at the front desk, take a picture of Jenny, post it to Facebook and say, ‘This is Jenny, happy birthday! You’ve been with us for three wonderful years, you’re fantastic and we so appreciate you,’” says Woods. “Even if that’s only once a month, that’s actually your authentic self, that’s your shop, that’s your business — versus, this is how we do tire rotation. No one cares about that.

“If you’re going to do a shop lunch, every once in a while take a freaking picture and throw it up on social media — it will take somebody less than five minutes. The power of that is going to be tagging your employees who are in it. That’s going to go way farther than any generic post that you’re going to pay another company thousands of dollars a month potentially to do.”

And Woods believes posting yourself only once a month is better than an outside company posting generic stuff every day. 

Selling Yourself

With social media, it used to be that if you were a business, you were advised to not blatantly “sell yourself” or people would ignore you — for example, if you were a bar and constantly posted a reminder about 70-cent Wing Night with just a photo of a basket of wings. Of course, a clever, more subtle and more engaging way around that would be to post a “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke followed by, “You know what night it is.” But now that social media has been around for a while now, have the rules changed? Woods believes your posts should be a blend of regular posts and sales-pitchy posts.

“It should be a blend because you’re supposed to sell yourself,” Woods says. “Everybody expects you to sell yourself at some point in time, and if it’s mixed in every once in a while, they won’t be upset.”

For example, if you’re a shop in Texas and your area just got hit with a massive hail storm, consumers in your region would appreciate knowing you can handle their repairs with a post like, “We’re here for you! We provide hail damage repair and have availability right now, so give us a call!’ But … nobody is going to see that if all your previous posts were generic, boring and non-engaging.

Woods points out that, when Facebook first came out, there was no Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc. Now that these other social media platforms now exist, people have been conditioned to respond to certain types of posts.

“Now, we realize the power of images and also how quickly people will scroll by something,” says Woods. “People are going to double tap your post on Instagram if it’s a photo versus if it’s some informational piece with a lot of words. Why? Because people don’t want to read. It’s quick. They want that quick adrenaline shot or dopamine hit. This is the way people’s brains work now. Companies now realize they have a very short amount of time to catch people’s attention and engage them.”

I’ve Got Enough Business

What about the shop that is slammed with work right now and consequently doesn’t believe they need social media? Well, that’s kind of missing the point anyway because social media is more for building your brand and making people feel good about you.

“Whatever you do, do it consistently,” Woods says. “Even if it’s just once a month, at least you’re consistent with that. At least that way, if someone goes to your page, they can scroll down and get a feeling for who your shop is. It’s based off a feeling more than logic. Let people go there and see posts that make them feel something and feel connected to you.” 

Woods relates a real-life story of one of her shop clients who she was talking with about social media who purchased a new forklift, and she told him to have fun with it and maybe his followers could pick the color. Instead, he decided to have them name it. He put a post out there asking people to name it, and the post caught fire.

“There were so many responses to name this silly little forklift,” says Woods. “When it becomes fun for people, they start to feel involved. And then if they happen to go to the shop, it’s funny because there’s Frank the Forklift. You can have fun with it. It doesn’t have to be a chore. And the right person posting it will have fun with it too.”


This an article on social media, but yet … Woods says you don’t have to do social media. “There’s a lot of marketing efforts [outside of social media] that can get you a really big bang for your buck,” she says. But you should be at least open to the concept of marketing in general. 

“If you’re completely opposed to marketing in general, then yeah, your business is going to get left in the dust. It doesn’t have to be social media. Social media is not something that drives a lot of traffic unless you’re running ads. And Meta has made it so that if you’re not running ads, it’s hard for business posts to just show up for people, so you’re really fighting an uphill battle. But even if you don’t want to do social media, you should at least claim your page, fill out the basic information and post some pictures of your shop so at least you’re there.”

Ground Zero: What Do I Do?

Let’s say you’re starting at ground zero because you have no social media presence at all. What are the first steps to take the plunge?

For Facebook, Woods says the first step would be to go claim your page if one already exists. If there isn’t one, you should create one. 

“It’s very easy,” says Woods. “You can just Google it, really, and it’ll give you step-by-step instructions. You can also watch a YouTube video.”

When you claim your page, Woods says to post a photo of your building so people know what your shop looks like — but don’t use a photo from the 1980s, since they’re very pixalated. Take current photos with your phone. Fill out your contact information, your hours and address, and then write a little on your shop for the “about” section.

“It’ll walk you through all the little fields to fill out. It literally takes 15 minutes. It’s super easy,” Woods says. 

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