If there are garages, mechanics, or automotive repair facilities using Twitter, I’d love to hear about it. Don’t know of m(any) out there, do you?
Here are a couple of folks I found using Twitter Search:
So, here’s a few ways in which this industry could use Twitter to build a stronger brand, attract and keep more loyal customers, and possibly even make things work internally more efficiently (although I might be overstepping my bounds on this one – my time working behind the scenes at the family automotive repair supercenter in the Fort Worth area is limited and might get me laughed at during the upcoming family get-togethers)!
A real key to Twitter is of course, having your clientele actually follow you. You are not Ashton Kutcher or Jimmy Fallon. Be creative. Offer something of value in exchange, perhaps a recurring discount for all Twitter users. Be personable and show yourself to be efficient and resourceful. Make it worth their while. Of course, as you’ll see, there is alot you can do that is considered second-hand exposure that even non-followers will see. I’ve tried to provide a few examples where I’ve seen them.
So here’s 17 ways – if you think of more, leave ’em in the comments section:
PROMOTION – the Twitter community could turn against a for constantly self-promoting, so use this in balance
- COUPONS (drive traffic to your website, Merchant Circle page, online directory listing)
- SERVICES PROVIDED (remind people about preventive maintenance, benefits of radiator flushes, etc.)
- SPECIALS – “Teacher Appreciation Month – Tell your favorite teacher to come in for 20% discounts this week only!”
CONNECTION WITH YOUR CUSTOMER
- With Twitter advanced search look for “auto repair” mentions (time consuming, but targeted!) and seek to OFFER ASSISTANCE!
- STATUS reports (Twitter folks love real-time access to info; don’t phone them and disturb their tweeting, join the conversation)
- FOLLOW-UP with customers – “checking in to see how that AC feels? Cool enough for you?” – again, this is seen by others
- QUOTES – “per your request, our 4-wheel alignment is $59 – can have you done in 1 hr if you come now”
- Schedule an APPOINTMENT (this might be more suited for DM’s – but promoting publicly that you make appointments might differentiate)
DIFFERENTIATE – people shop around for car repair – until they find one they really trust. Until they have become loyal to you, consider ways to make you stand out from all the other shops in town (there’s always someone that will do a cheaper oil change – be innovative and different!)
- Show your PERSONALITY – point them to a more detailed story on your site – something compelling about WHO you are
- WOW them with something you do that no one else does – one automotive repair shop promises “We have a plan that offers you a way to never pay for an oil change, tire rotation and tire repair again, and receive a 10% discount on any repair you may need.” Nice for the website, but wouldn’t it be nice if that same message was being RT’d around the Twitterverse in your local area? That might create a bit of a buzz to find out more details!
- Let happy customers showcase your unique BENEFITS (then try RTing it with another big THX and “Why We Offer That Is So That. . . .”)
EDUCATIONAL / RESOURCEFUL
- Offer gas-saving tips, when to buy or when to repair – establish a trusted EXPERT STATUS – point them to your site/blog
- Generously CROSS PROMOTE with strategic partners – tire dealers, detailing work, upholstery repairs
REPUTATION MANAGEMENT – let’s just face it, mechanics are not on everyone’s favorite people list (a quick Twitter search reveals a stream of expressions unacceptable for reprint here!)
- RT those awesome TESTIMONIALS from happy customers – with a great big THX!
- You can also LINK followers in your tweets over to happy customers on other social media platforms
- TRACK unhappy customer’s experience – make it right (when possible)
- DEBUNK myths – when someone tweets “automotive repair scams revealed”, you oughta be all over that (considering that most of these tweets come from people promoting a pricey book that “reveals all the secrets” – just be real, be trusted, and be honest and that goes a long way to build trust.
What ideas would you add? (comment below)
By the way, here’s a few tips on selecting an auto repair shop.
However, if you are in the North Fort Worth or Mid-Cities areas, there’s one of the very best automotive repair shops on Denton Hwy 377 in Watauga that’s been in business for 30 years!
It’s a family thing.
UPDATE (4/22/10) – * Jeffrey’s Automotive Repair is a family-owned shop, and my wife is the owner’s daughter and head over Customer Relations & Marketing – follow them on Twitter and check out their Customized Facebook Fan Page!