If you are like most conveyor carwash operators, your main goals look something like this:
- Get them on the lot
- Get them through the line
- Get them on their way.
So when someone tells you to build a community using social media, you have to ask yourself, where does that fit into my business model? How do I use social media to fit my unique business needs? Here are a few tips that may help you use social media to grow your conveyor carwash business.
- Top of mind presence: If they have seen you online, and know you, then they are more likely to come to you for a carwash. Otherwise, there is no loyalty and prospective customers are more likely to stop at the first carwash they see. The tip here is to use social media to remind your customers you are here for them and to encourage the loyalty you build at your location.
- Provide some humor and some information: You might wonder what to post online that will attract customers. Keep it light — lighthearted, yet professional and informative, but not too deep. It can be a picture of your location and a quote, a picture of the "Employee of the Month" who is here to serve you, a reminder of a holiday and how you can help, encouragement to support a local youth sports team, joke of the week, etc. Ask your community to get involved by submitting material you can share with others. Have them send it to you by email or direct message so you can review the content and pick the best ones to share.
- Turn a person with an issue into a fan: Unfortunately things do not always go as planned and people complain online. It’s nothing personal; it is just easier for some people to speak out online and hope you respond than it is to stop by and chat in person. An online response is like “fire and forget,” the second response is an event they have to plan and prepare for. So it is often easier to complain online.
The main point here is a quick, positive response. When someone has a question or an issue, respond. The dead silence between his or her comment and your response can make a situation worse. At issue here may be the technology and less about the willingness to respond. Here are a few suggestions:
- Monitor social media on your mobile device and check it often.
- Assign someone to be a “first responder.” He or she doesn’t have to have all the answers, yet a quick response of #LookingIntoThat or #LetsTalkSoon is a good start on the answer or solution.
- Set up alerts with your location name so you will be notified when a comment is published online with your name in it.
Social media marketing is not too different from operational maintenance; a little planning can go a long way. Set aside at least an hour each month to plan and discuss your social media marketing. What are you talking about? Promoting? Avoiding? Encouraging? Hearing? Saying? Then schedule your content and monitor online comments using a tool such as HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com). This tool provides a dashboard so you can review what posts are scheduled, monitor and respond to comments, all from one screen.
I hope you find these tips helpful and encouraging. Social media and online media are replacing radio, billboard and print advertising in some markets. By learning how to use it effectively, you can grow your business and stay ahead of the competition.
J.R. Atkins is an author, speaker and consultant on social media and online marketing. He has presented at carwash industry functions and conventions. He resides in Texas where he teaches at local colleges and enjoys sailing. You can find out more at his company website www.SomethingDifferentCompanies.com or search for him on social media.