Do you dare get your business into the social media arena? Are you afraid you will only expose yourself to complainers? You will be happy to know that by far the greater number of Yelp.com users who post reviews give businesses a thumbs up. While there are no guarantees of five star reviews, the feedback will allow you to improve your service quality. And besides, people are going to talk about you regardless so you might as well participate in the party. Social media may be the best free automobile service marketing idea available.
Photo by Dan Taylor
Yelp'ers have written more than 7 million reviews and 85 percent of those reviews rate a given business three stars or higher out of five. Obviously Yelp users are there to share beneficial tips with their social networking friends not just complain. Like any public social setting people seem to be focusing on the positive aspects of their life. You too can easily tap into this low cost auto repair advertising.
Another study by Forrester Research found that 75% of adult online users use social networking websites to connect with each other and that almost 50% read ratings and reviews on a regular basis. If you think social media won't affect your business your in for a surprise. People are probably saying something about you right now.
Your Already There
If your wondering if you should set up a social media website business profile you might be surprised to find your already listed. Either someone has created a profile for you so they could make a comment or the social media website has found your business info somewhere on the web. Just 'Google' your business name and see what pops up. That's what your prospective new customers are doing.
Participation = Control
You can't control whether or not your business is discussed in social networking. But you can increase the odds of a favorable profile. Here are three actions you can take to make social media benefit your business:
- You need to 'claim' responsibility for your profile(s). It's free automotive repair advertising so why not? Make sure your business information on the profile is correct. Add a little more detail about your business. Keep it brief and include a photo. Just enough to catch the viewer's eye and, most importantly, lead them to the link to your auto repair shop website!
- Get as many reviews as you can. Ask all your customers if they use social media. Make note of which websites they mention. Encourage them to post a review for you. Try to get them to focus on one specific website but take any review you can get. Make it easy for them by having instructions and links from your website. Give them one of your business cards, point out your website address and where the social media info is. Did I already mention having a good business website to focus your marketing from...
- Actively monitor reviews and comments being made about you for two reasons. First, is to quickly respond to any unhappy customers. You can't prevent negative or low rating reviews but you can show your willingness to solve the issue and prevent it happening again. This goes a long way to building a reputation of trustworthiness and even rescuing the dissatisfied customers. Second, feedback from those three and four star ratings can be very valuable! It is so difficult to discover the little things that irritate people. Think about these reviews as a crystal ball into your customer service.
Photo by ClickFlashPhotos
Do It Now
Social media is not a fad. It is a new world of marketing; a social revolution that has a massive following which grows every day. The website it happens at may change but the deep human emotional need this technology taps into will not. People will seek out this new found way to expand their sense of community. Get started now. Jump in, learn, experiment, and find what works. You will be way ahead of your competition.
Don't have any hesitation about diving into social media. The benefits far out-weight the slight chance of any negative consequences. With very little cost and effort you can gain so much. I think it is a dream come true for auto repair marketing.
 www.yelp.com/about, on 2009-09-28.
 The Growth of Social Technology Adoption, October 20, 2008, Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research, Inc.