If your dealership is brand new or a third-generation operation, every business operating in this day and age needs a social media presence, and that includes your auto parts store. The reason why you need one is the exact same reason why every shop needs one, and it has surprisingly little to do with sales: there is no better way to do interact with your customers and be able to solve their needs than forming a relationship with them over social media. We all know good relationships lead to the trust necessary to close sales.
Here are a few reasons you need to be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or similar sites:
You’ll Be Better Able to Solve Their Problems
There is nothing more frustrating than walking into a store and continually finding that the part you need is either not carried locally or out of stock. There will always be a large amount of inventory that needs to be carried in every shop, but inevitably, you will not always have that specific part on-hand for your customer. Having an online web presence allows you to order the part for your customer and deliver it direct to their home without the hassle of them coming in to get the part and realizing it is not on site.
You’ll Be Able to Provide Excellent Customer Service
If someone had a great experience at your store, you can count on the fact that they will tell their friends about it; if they had a bad experience, you can count on that even more. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that 85% will tell others about a good experience, while 97% will tell other people about their negative experience.
The number one place these people choose to complain? Social media, and if you have a Facebook page setup (or something similar), that’s the perfect place for them to run to. Not only will it allow you to see their complaints that they may have, but also can help you address them as well.
You’ll Be Able to Anticipate New Parts To Get in Stock
When things go “viral” on the internet (meaning it spreads rapidly from person to person, like a virus), then anticipating and capitalizing on that trend can mean more revenue for you, and a lot of happy customers through your doors. But unless you have your finger on the pulse of the automotive industry, there’s little chance you’ll be aware of it before fifteen people come through your door asking if it’s in stock. Make sure you stay aware of what the current and rising trends are in the auto world today, and you’ll have a better chance of gaining and retaining customers tomorrow.
Hopefully, this convinces you to give social networking a shot, but in case you’re a little unsure about what to do next, here’s a list to get you started.
- Pick One Channel – Typically, the best type of social network to set up on for any store, auto parts or otherwise, is Facebook. This allows you to have a business page set up with all your pertinent operating information, as well as announcements for giveaways, sales, and announcements about future stock. Too many businesses get overwhelmed by trying to open up accounts on every channel known to man, which means that every one of them gets minimal attention. It’s far better to start on one, master it, and then move on to the next one.
- Follow the Herd – Find your industry leaders that are doing social networking right, and imitate them. This doesn’t mean steal their tweets or images outright, but it does mean posting when they post, posting the same type of information they post, and paying attention to the details. If you notice that a picture of a Corvette is trending better than a Viper, pick the Corvette! As you get more comfortable with your own online presence, you can start to blaze your own path, but the best thing to do when starting out is imitate the leaders.
- Strategize – For this step, it might be wise to have one person in charge of your social network presence, if for no other reason than it gives your page continuity. You don’t want one person posting something today, and then a different person posting something completely different the next; it makes your presence seem unprofessional. Pick a game plan for what you want to do, whether that’s posting three times a week or three times a day, and brainstorm about what kind of things you can implement. Then, once you have the plan in place, execute.
- Engage – Social networking is about communication and relationships, and you won’t have either unless you’re interacting with your potential and regular customers. When they send you a message, respond promptly. When they make a comment on your page, respond in some way. And if nothing else, if they leave a complaint, handle it. The last thing you want as a business is a reputation for being a disinterested and detached company.