Leveraging Social Media to Drive More Customers to Your Car Wash

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Automatic car wash

Photo Credit: Jason A. Howie via Compfight cc

Social Media has become a complex and often overwhelming prospect for most businesses and organizations. Here are a few tips you can consider to bring simplicity and focus to your approach.

If you’re just starting your car wash business here’s a few creative ideas you can steal to help promote your new services or locations, and put your business in the black right from the start.

Your Strategy: Use social media to communicate with the people who live, work, and are driving through your hyper-local community:

  • Optimize your Facebook business page with a local address, so the map is working and people can “check-in” on their mobile phones
  • Use Foursquare to create a special reward promotion for the “mayor” of your car wash (the person with the most frequent check-ins to your business)
  • Use Twitter to send out messages to remind people of your exact location and the sunny days when you have special promotions or no cars waiting in the queue
  • Use Google+ profile and pages to optimize your Google search results, for free organic traffic
  • Use Pinterest to show the before & after images and videos of your clients, or a DIY instruction process for caring for your car detailing in between visits to your car wash
  • If you LOVE working on social media, test niche apps like TV Tag, and “tag” your business watching relevant shows while the live-viewing conversation peaks. Not sure which shows to “tag”? What are you and your customers watching this Spring? The Masters

Set Up Your Own Media & Communication Channels

Get your basic social media profiles set up so anyone local who is searching online or any social community for a carwash business will at least find your basic information including:

  • Your location, connected to online map services
  • Hours
  • Pricing/promotions
  • Unique selling feature / specialty  – why should people who see your profile on this social media website choose your carwash over others on their weekly routes?
  • Website (here are some tips for setting up your website)
  • Email list optin

Take pride in getting to know your regular customers, and the social media profiles of any fleet businesses you work with – set up Google alerts so you’ll be emailed whenever a customer “checks in” to your virtual location on social media.  Reward your customers for visiting your real-world business AND being an active member of your social media communities.

Don’t forget to test smartphone cellular signal reception inside your facility and the wash (if yours is a conveyor or drive-through system). Let them know and encourage them to share, check-in, comment, or Like for small social rewards.

Promote Community Activity with Your Best Customers

Active customers of your business, and the trade organizations that continue to pay you for product or service, are the one segment of your contact list who are the most happy & enthusiastic about your business and brand.

It’s better to connect with your active customers at the start, so that even though your communities may be small, they will be valuable, because they represent your customers giving you permission to entertain and inform them on socially relevant topics.

  • On your website, be sure to link and promote your social media profiles
  • Link social profiles chicklets in your email newsletter
  • Encourage staff to join Facebook and become responsible for socializing themselves as an employee
  • On your business cards, invoices, conference & trade show set ups > every physical space

A quick tip for Google-SEO content development (a.k.a. Feeding the Beast):

If you struggle with the idea of being “social” on your business, just focus at the start on sharing the interesting trade media conversations and people that already exist. To attract trade media and their audiences to connect with you, consider creating content that showcases their efforts to create purpose-driven events and conversations in the community.

IDEA: Use Google+ Hangouts on Air to create a YouTube live-streaming video chat conversation, with people expressing their passion for cars! Make it a monthly “shop talk” show with local car club members meeting celebrity car enthusiasts (a local Jay Leno or Jerry Seinfeld), and offer your preferred product vendors to participate as presenting sponsors of your show.

You can use the show’s live-recording web page (URL) on  YouTube as an opportunity to have local residents and organizations optin to your email list, to receive special offers and incentives. Promote viewership of the Hangout video, and conversions to your list, by sharing the YouTube link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

About the author: Debbie Horovitch is a 20-year advertising media veteran and SEO content producer currently working on her 1st book and training program for marketers using YouTube and Google+ Hangouts on Air, Celebrity Hangouts on Air. Debbie has been working with automotive and aftermarket marketing professionals and media, since 1996.

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