Power Of The Collective Voice
On-line Social Networking is a recent phenomenon that has exploded in popularity. One outcome of this new virtual community is a collection of shared consumer experiences. Participants are using these collective reviews of products and services to make informed buying decisions. Auto repair shop owners should be participating in these online communities to promote their businesses.
Photo by Photo Mojo
People are participating on social networking websites by the millions. They're communicating with strangers, colleagues, friends - just about anyone. These online communities are helping people find great places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play. People are expressing their opinions about businesses and enabling consumers to decide which to deal with - and which to avoid. This is grassroots consumer empowerment in action. Powerful stuff! You must get involved.
Tell everyone what you think
Websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more are bring together a massive number of people who ask questions, discuss, and share information about anything. Other websites like Yelp and Angie's List are focused on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of knowledgeable locals. BimmerShops and CarTalk are even more narrowly focused on a specific product. The common element of them all is the power of the collective voice.
No escaping reputation
Social networking websites are being used to build Social Proof of reputation. Sure many businesses use testimonials but everyone assumes they are of suspect credibility. True social proof comes from third party websites where everyone has the freedom to express their opinion. This is the stuff consumers have been dreaming of.
If your looking for a new way to promote your business social networking websites are like no other form of advertising ever available. I strongly feel all auto service businesses should become active in these online opinion based communities. Greater numbers of consumers are relying on them to make decisions as to where to spend their money. Opinion is a very powerful tool to help attract new customers. Are you willing to be part of this fast growing opinion economy?
Social networking in action
Here is an example of a typical comment. This shop has a great business profile and I'm sure attracts a large amount of work from Yelp.
Chelsea Beth H., Seattle, WA
So I'm getting my oil changed at this ho-hum-found-a-coupon-for-a-cheap-oil-change place and I told them to keep any eye out for my alternator belts. They came back with a distressed look on their faces. My serpentine belt was shredded they said. One of the guys gave me a quote of $550! Ridiculous, I said. So I jumped on to trust ol' Yelp to see if I could find a better mechanic in town. Luckily, Yelp hasn't failed me yet. I went in today, they replaced my belts in a hour and a half (when the other place told me "a couple of days")!! To make the story even sweeter, they only charged me $146!!! I'm definitely referring everyone I know to this place. You won't find better service anywhere else in the city.
Wouldn't you like to have 30+ reviews like this one! These guys do.
What's next: In the future I'll write some tips and strategies on the Seven Steps to Yelp Success. At the moment read my article on using social networking websites as a new approach to repair shop advertising or read all social media related blog articles.