Social Media

Marketing Value For Small Businesses



It's okay if you were intimidated when you first heard the social marketing buzzwords poked, tagged, tweeted, liked and linked. While the terms are memorable, they do sound a bit illicit.

Social media marketing is essentially electronic word-of-mouth advertising. Web sites like Facebook.com, Twitter.com and LinkedIn.com create an online environment that allows users (aka fans, likes, followers, connections) to connect with friends, family, colleagues and businesses. That's great news for auto recyclers. As a small business in a large industry, a social media network creates connections with other auto recyclers, but more importantly, it can build and enhance customer relationships.

A fictitious example: an auto recycler creates a Facebook business page and successfully connects with local body shops, mechanics, do-it-yourselfers and hobbyists. The auto recycler, featured in the local newspaper, posts a link to the article on the facility's Facebook page. The page's fans like the article and repost it for their social network to read. The auto recycler's message has now reached prospective customers with the benefit of a third-party endorsement from a friend. That's powerful marketing. And it's free.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get fans to repost messages. Presumably, customers won't repost weather updates, a photo of lunch or the latest rant on irritating radio commercials. To get the most from social marketing, start with a simple plan: a page focus, a posting strategy and put an employee in charge of the updates.

Page Focus. Consider customer support, customer recruitment or managing reputation.

Posting Strategy. What content fits the page's goal? New customers may be interested in special events, but loyal customers may want to know more about state-of-the-art efforts.

  • Repost information found through a social network, but give credit to the author.
  • Be the expert and offer repair tips, auto advice and warnings.
  • Create incentives, promotions and reward programs.
  • Post improvements the business has made like expansions, certifications and remodels.
  • Use the network to find employees or spotlight an employee.
  • Brag about community involvement, new delivery trucks and new product divisions.
  • Inform fans of new legislation affecting them, like the Right to Repair act (RightToRepair.org).
  • Offer exclusivity such as a sneak peak or a pre-sale.
  • Post photos of happy customers, rebuilds, proud employees, community events and awards.

Execution. It's important that someone maintain social media marketing. Since smart phones (like iPhone and Android) can receive social media messages instantly, followers want to know they won't be hassled. If the posts do not provide value, fans can easily "unlike" a page.

The best way to get started is to jump in, stay professional and become the ambassador of all things automotive. The result is increased customer loyalty and a super-targeted market.

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