Social media has become so pervasive that it is no longer a question of if a business should use it, but how a business should use it. Social media shouldn’t just be treated as a way to promote your business, but also as a way to maintain and develop relationships, and have a two-way communication with your audience.

In an educational session at The Car Wash Show™, Patrick O’Malley, a social media and search engine optimization expert (SEO), spoke about how YouTube is an underrated and misunderstood social media platform. O’Malley said that Google, which owns YouTube, is likely to place user posted videos highly when a person searches Google, and because of that, videos are a valuable resource.

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Another thing O’Malley stressed is to work with customers to find a way to have them review your website. Google Reviews, Yelp and other review websites, can play a major role in how customers perceive your business. If you can find ways to encourage customers to use these websites and review your business, then you will encourage future growth.

Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform, and learning how to engage customers on the platform is one of the most important things in all of social media. O’Malley said Facebook is about creating a conversation, and not trying to oversell your business. When a Facebook Business Page is started, around seven percent of people who Like the business initially see each post, which is very low. However, that number will go up significantly when your business creates a two-way conversation, and people respond to your posts.

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The way a business creates interest in a page is by posting unique content, O’Malley said. Make your posts into questions like, “Why do you use a car wash over washing at home?” People like to respond to questions, and asking things your audience cares about is important for two-way communication. Adding humor is another way to engage your audience. Post, “You say you come for the car wash, but we all know you’re really here for the café,” and people are much more likely to respond over a statement like, “Come visit our coffee shop and get a car wash while you’re at it.”

It’s always important to remember that social media is about engaging your audience, and not selling them on your business. If people find what you’re saying interesting, they’re more likely to use your service, but you can’t sell them on your wash, you need to sell them on engaging in your social media pages. Then additional sales and customer loyalty will come with that.