Wednesday, 23 November 2011 16:56

Social Studies Panel Held at 2011 SEMA Show Highlights Social Media Best Practices for Shops

Written by Staff

One of the educational panels held during the 2011 SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center concentrated on how social media can best be used by collision repairers. The panel was held on Thursday, November 3 at 10 a.m. and brought together leading social media experts in the collision repair industry. Collision Hub’s Kristen Felder, Jonathan Barrick, Marketing Manager for Global Finishing Solutions, and Frank Terlep, owner of Summit Software Solutions, came together on this panel to answer collision repairers’ questions about how social media can help their businesses. Jordan Hendler, executive director of the Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Auto Body Association, moderated the panel.

Hendler started off the session by asking panelists how collision repairers know that their customers want social media from them.

A collision repairer’s customers are already on various forms of social media, says Felder, “If you’re not already there, hurry up!”

Hendler continued by asking the panel how collision repairers can start being active in social media. Terlep stated that repairers should start with the ‘big 4’ in social media marketing; Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Have a plan,” said Terlep, “Sit with other shops and put a plan together.”

Felder said a good, low-cost way to start a social media repoire could be to look at local colleges for students who need to create an online portfolio for a class project. This way the student can set-up the social media at no cost to the business. Felder also warned shops to set up a policy when it comes to who will post on the company page.

“Are you going to let employees post?” asked Fedler, she encouraged shops to define what employees can and can’t do on the page should they decide to allow them to post.

Barrick suggested that repairers spend some time researching and watching other shops’ pages to see what types of posts garner the most attention and responses from followers.

Hendler then went on to ask the panelists what some dos and don’ts were for shops just starting out in social media.

“People will read  your posts for 3 reasons; education, entertainment and exclusive offers,” said Barrick. He encouraged shops to stay away from posting just random facts. “They will follow you for what they can’t get anywhere else,” he said.

Felder warned shops to be wary of what they post online, “don’t post the politics of the industry.”

She encouraged shops to seem open and approachable online and to post helpful things for customers, like tips to get them winter-ready in the appropriate climates and texting and driving news reports.

Hendler then asked the panel how collision repairers can fit yet another task in their already busy days.

Felder said some shops may be tempted to hand off their social media to a consulting company. She said this can be a good idea if the third party gives the shop options for how and what will be posted, tailored to the size and scope of their business, otherwise these posts can come off generic and uninteresting to customers.

Barrick agreed with Felder, he said a third party can be a good way for a shop to initially set up their profiles, but they should not end up being the permanent voice of the company. He encouraged shops to have multiple people in their businesses participate in the profiles so they don’t turn into a one-man show.

Lastly Barrick and Hendler touched on being wary of getting caught up with hoarding page likes. Barrick said that although a page may only have 3,000 fans, they may generate 5,000 page views per month. So although they may not have fans subscribing to their posts, people are still using the page to get information about the business.

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