Check out what a typical Friday looks like at Kral Bros. Auto Body & Hail Repair in Lewisville, Texas. One shop operator begins a short Facebook video. He starts walking around the shop pointing out an adjuster working and walks inside to say hello to everyone on the team.
It’s a short video, only about 1 minute long, but in that short time, the customer can gain a glimpse into the work the shop performs.
Comments praised the new business concept and the team at the shop was quick to respond. On other Facebook posts, like a December #throwbackthursday post, they received over 40 likes and reactions from customers. Every post is reshared at least once.
These posts are just a part of the shop’s larger plan to increase engagement through social media.
Nathan Kral purchased a pre-existing body shop building in 2017 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Eventually, he grew the body shop from a family business into a collision repair facility that also performs PDR work. Last year, the shop produced $1.8 million in annual revenue.
As the business underwent changes in its services, it was equally important for Kral to keep the shop’s marketing modernized and up to date, too.
Today, the shop’s Facebook page has over 750 likes and followers, and the shop is rated 5 out of 5 stars. On Google, it’s rated 4.8 stars. The team makes sure to post consistently to generate engagement on the page.
Kral started in the recycled parts industry and then a friend introduced him to paintless dent repair. He spent ten years at the beginning of his career traveling around the country and performing paintless dent repairs in areas often hit by hail damage.
While Kral Bros. Auto Body & Hail Repair began as a shop that focused 100 percent of its repairs on fixing hail damage, it has since expanded its services. Hail damage repairs evolved into many quarter panel and roof/hood repairs, and continued to grow from there.
Today, the team at the body shop splits work, roughly 50-50, on hail damage and collision repairs. During the hail season in the spring and summer months, the shop works on more paintless dent repair than other body work, Kral notes.
And, not only has the shop expanded its services, the shop has grown from the family-business to a facility with nine employees. When it first opened, Kral was working alongside his two brothers and a couple of contract workers that would come and go as repair jobs increased.
From the beginning, the Kral brothers oversaw the shop’s social media posts and Facebook campaign. Yet, as the shop grew in size and increased business, Nathan Kral says the brothers had to refocus their Facebook strategy to reflect the different type of content they wanted to post. In its first year of business, the shop saw tremendous growth and produced an annual revenue of $1.2 million.
Two years ago, the staff started using CCC management software and was able to identify more easily how many customers were coming in for just hail damage repairs versus standard collision repairs. They started tracking these numbers.
The brothers needed to find a way to switch the intent behind their content while also maintaining engagement on the platform.
Kral looked around his shop and saw that he was surrounded by young, passionate employees. These teammates were a part of a generation comfortable with using social media to share messages.
Kral wanted to try posting to social media every day so he built a plan that would allow everyone in the shop to participate in its Facebook presence. Simultaneously, he contracted a family friend to come to the shop to help film some videos of the team. While the video contractor also helped with front office and parts work, he would create a video at least once a week. The cost for that position was about $1,000.
First, Kral decided that anyone in the shop can document repairs they’re working on. Once the employee has a video or photo, they go to a member of the management team and show the content. The brothers get a chance to view and edit the content to make sure it complies with legal practices before posting. They aim to post once a day.
Over time, the team has found that shorter, 15-30 second videos perform best on Facebook and every post that has some sort of picture performs really well.
The type of post relies on the message conveyed to the customer. For instance, a before-and-after picture of a car can be eye-catching and generate more engagement on the post if the damage is larger. However, a video explaining the car’s repair works better for smaller damage that the naked eye has trouble seeing.
To determine the message being conveyed, Kral recommends asking these questions from the viewpoint of the customer, essentially answering the following question: What would a customer get out of looking at a particular post, and how would they benefit from looking at it?
If a shop is unsure of how to drive engagement to its page, Kral recommends visiting other body shop Facebook pages to see what type of posts are getting a lot of likes and comments. Kral visits Facebook once per day, even if it’s simply to scroll through the posts of other shops he follows.
To start, the shop only had about 100 followers on Facebook due to inviting friends and family to like the page. Once the team posted a walk-around, get to know the team video, within the first couple of months, followers increased by the hundreds and the shop’s sales increased.
Kral also discovered engagement needs to be tracked regularly. The easiest way to do so is by using the Facebook app on a phone and going to the Insights tab on the company’s page, he says. Or, visit the company’s advertisement manager tab.
The Insights tab alone will show numbers on how many people reacted to a post and how many people are viewing posts in general.
The body shop’s content is geared to be educational for the customer, Kral says. He finds that their posts do better when the message offers a lesson.
“We want our brand to say that we’re a family,” Kral says. “It’s our last name and it’s a family business, so we want to treat customers like family.”
Shop: Kral Bros. Auto Body & Hail Repair Owner: Nathan Kral Location: Lewisville, Texas Staff Size: 10 Shop Size: 4,000 square feet Average Monthly Car Count: 30 cars Annual Revenue: $1.8 million