Service businesses have it tough these days. There are more ways than ever for customers to leave reviews, talk negatively about your business or recommend a competitor. Auto shop owners have an especially difficult time due to the complexities of auto repair services and the availability of bad information online from amateur mechanics. Social media can be an intimidating place for shop owners, but it can also lead to more customers and repeat business if you use it well. Here are the 6 critical mistakes that we see auto shop owners making repeatedly on social media. Avoid these at all costs!
1. Ignoring Customers
If a customer walked in to your store and asked for a quote on tires, what would you do?
Hopefully you would smile, ask for a little more information and give them the best tires for exactly what they need. You would NEVER ignore them because that’s not what good business owners do.
Problem is, you may be doing just that on social media without even knowing it.
Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and YouTube are all places where your customers are gathering. They are asking questions and even have the capability to privately message your page if they need something. If their questions go unanswered, you may have just lost a customer for life.
2. Responding to Negative Reviews Poorly
It’s really hard to see negative reviews come in when you have so much time and effort put into your business.
As tempting as it is to react emotionally when somebody posts something about your business online, that is one of the biggest mistakes business owners make.
A fiery response from an angry owner can be seen by family, friends and potential future customers as a red flag. If too many people see this type of interaction, it can damage a business for a long time. Here is an example of a bad response.
A negative review can turn into a positive experience if you post a calm, apologetic response. Many customers are willing to work with you if you treat them with respect and show that you care about their situation.
For more tips on responding to negative reviews, read our blog post Respond to Any Negative Review Online in 5 Simple Steps.
3. Only Trying to Sell
Imagine you’re wanting to watch your favorite TV show. You turn on your TV, sit down in your recliner, change to your favorite channel…and all you see are commercials.
Commercial after commercial after commercial.
How long would you be willing to watch that channel and wait for your favorite program?
This is exactly how customers feel when businesses constantly post promotion after promotion.
The word social is in social media for a reason!
The occasional promotion is fine, but shoot for 80 percent fun and engaging content that will get people to interact with your pages. Earn their trust with valuable content and they will keep coming back.
4. Not Asking for Feedback
You already have customers that love you, so why not use those customers to your advantage?
A whopping 92 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and every positive review from your best customers will help point people to you instead of your competitor.
If you know you provided somebody with great service, simply ask them to leave you a review on social media. It’s one of the easiest ways to boost your online presence.
5. Missing Out on Advertising Opportunities
As of this writing, there are more than 2 billion active monthly Facebook users.
If Facebook were a country it would have more people than China and the United States combined!
There is a huge potential for local businesses to reach people in their area using Facebook targeting. Set a radius, input demographic information, define a budget and Facebook will show how many relevant customers there are in your area.
Since Facebook allows you to set your own terms, this type of advertising can be much more cost-effective for local businesses who don’t want to spend a huge amount on other advertising options. Consider moving your postcard or billboard budget to Facebook where the impressions are much, much cheaper and more impactful.
6. Not Showing Appreciation
Your customers are the most important thing to your business and they should know that. Here's an example of a great response.
Make sure to at least say “Thank you!” when people leave positive reviews or post on your page saying kind words. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even give them a small reward like a “10% Off Oil Change” coupon to show your appreciation.
Your customers will be surprised and delighted which will lead them to spread the word about you even further.