How to Handle Marketing with a Small Staff
As someone whose professional focus is marketing, I often see body shop owners at small facilities trying to handle marketing campaigns. Or, on occasion, shop owners entrust a part-time employee to handle marketing.
When that's the case, there's a few keys you need to keep in mind.
First, you need to focus on making your website presentable. The second area you need to focus on is social media. Here's my tips for handling those elements of business marketing effectively, even if you don't have an expansive staff.
The more content that's on the website that explains who you are, where you're located, how to get in touch with you what certifications your shop has, the better off your business will be.All that is helpful to have on your website, because it prevents potential customers from having to call you to get answers to those questions. And, the better the website is, the more content is on there, that makes it more likely that Google's algorithm is going to place your website at the top of its rankings that are sown when consumers search "collision repair" in their area.
And remember, your website should be selling for you, and highlighting your shop's value propositions.
SOCIAL MEDIA SUGGESTIONS
My first choice for effective social media marketing is Facebook, and the second is Instagram. Because think about it: at its most basic level, what we do is fix cars. And Instagram is very photo heavy because that's what that platform is built around. So, but being able to simply highlight that there was a crashed car and you fixed that car, that's what people are looking to see.
I'd say Twitter is no longer very valuable for body shops. In my experience when I did marketing for an MSO at my last job, Twitter was awesome for helping me stay on top of what's going on in our city and to see organizations I should be volunteering with, but I think there's a lot left to be desired with Twitter for marketing purposes.
TIME MANAGEMENT ADVICE
If you're handling marketing by yourself at a small shop, as a general rule, if you can carve out 1-2 hours or so per week, that's really more than enough. Because, if you devoted that much time to marketing, you could still make sure that your website looks decent, and, as far as social media posts go, Facebook offers a really free and easy scheduling option for posts. So, it's pretty quick and easy to make posts about your shop's estimators, or to post some before-and-after photos of repairs you did on vehicles, or put in pictures of your shop's OEM certifications, and you can schedule those posts. You could take one hour, on the first Monday of the month, and schedule out posts for every few days throughout the whole month.
Facebook's scheduling function works like this: when you go to post on Facebook from your shop's Facebook page, there's a little button in the corner next to the "post" button that says "schedule." So, you could schedule posts for 2 days later, a week later, and so on.
I'd also suggest making one post per week about your employees, celebrating their birthdays or work anniversaries. That shows appreciation for your employees, and people checking your page usually like to see what's going on behind the scenes, too.
The final thing I'd say about managing your time when marketing your shop is this: I'd be wary of pawning that responsibility off to an intern, like some shops do. Interns can handle some of those tasks, but I wouldn't just turn your marketing endeavors loose on someone that entry-level. Conversely, I think it would be okay to allow an estimator to handle that responsibility, if they're really on top of things and marketing-minded.