Six tips for social media success

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Fixed ops can shine in social media marketing efforts 

It was just a few years ago that traditional advertising was king of the kingdom. You could blast your message to the masses and inevitably someone would hear it.

Direct mail and email marketing were the “go-to” players for Fixed Ops managers who wanted to get more cars in the drive. Today, the colossal growth of social media has altered the Fixed Ops direct marketing landscape for good.

Many parts and service managers believe social media is something separate from their department’s marketing plan. Some of these managers say: “It’s something we need to do but the real customer is out there somewhere else.”

The truth is that social media and direct marketing go hand-in-hand. I’ve been in the trenches myself with many traditional Fixed Ops marketing campaigns. Now that I’m entrenched in the world of social media, I witness daily how it can support direct marketing. Even more, when used in tandem, they make each other more effective. Here are six moves you can make to integrate social media and direct marketing into your Fixed Operations:

  1. Establish consumer & employee awareness. When you offer parts and service specials, you inform your staff and your customers about them, right? Create the same awareness for your social media efforts. If you’re running a social marketing campaign, make sure you have visual representation to remind your staff and your customer that you’re using social media. Use QR codes on service mailers and on physical signs throughout your department to direct them to your Facebook and Twitter sites. Growing your fan base is easier when your staff knows you’re on social media and they direct your customers there.
  2. Fuse social links with direct marketing campaigns. Have you been watching a TV show lately and seen a hashtag (#) in front of a word at the bottom of your screen? That’s so Twitter users can all converse about the show online. Capitalize on that same tactic by including icons, links, hashtags and even stories around your social networks on your direct marketing. “Join us on Facebook,” “Follow us on Twitter” or “Love us on Yelp” are becoming more and more expected by the customer on direct marketing campaigns. Email marketing to your repeat customers linking to your social profiles helps build your online community and boosts your online reputation.
  3. Use direct marketing principles in your social media channels. Service mailers and email marketing are only part of your department’s overall marketing strategy. They reach a certain customer you want to stay in touch with. Social media allows you to reach another type of customer — one who’s looking for the best repair shop in town, a nice parts discount or just chilling with their friends on social media. Once someone has agreed to like or follow you, they’ve given you permission to market to them. However, the marketing they’re looking for must have a human component to it — it’s social after all.
  4. No interruption marketing. Attention is scarce these days and you’re competing for it every step of the way. Intrusive, noisy pitches will get you nowhere fast. In fact, it’s a good way to get your hard-earned fan base to bolt, just like they fast-forward through TV commercials. It’s time to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
  5. Plan your content strategy. Who are you? By that, I mean what is it about your Fixed Ops departments that makes people want to buy from you; what brings back those repeat customers? Take time to define who you are and what you stand for and communicate it well on social media. Then, take that same telephoto zoom lens and aim it at your customer. Who are they? Describe their likes and interests, what their challenges are and how they live in your local community. This will give you ideas on what content to share and write about. Now you have a solid foundation from which to build your content marketing strategy. If this sounds like something you’ve never done, remember that you write content for direct mail pieces, newsletters and email marketing.
  6. ABM: always be measuring. With all marketing, direct or social, it’s essential to measure how you’re doing. Once you’ve got your content strategy in place, set the goals for your campaigns so you have something to measure from. For example: one goal would be to grow your Facebook Likes. (Facebook ads and relevant content for your audience are the best tactics for that). Start your campaigns, monitor using Facebook Insights (Analytics) and Ads Manager, and measure your daily efforts. One of the best parts of social marketing is you know almost immediately what’s working and what’s not.

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