Let’s examine Pinterest first, because it seems to be the best known one on this list. Pinterest is a virtual scrapbook that enables businesses, organizations and individuals to organize and share images. Users can pull videos, photos, drawings, paintings, etc., anywhere from the Web on Pinterest and other members can re-pin the images elsewhere within Pinterest. Users can organize their Pinterest pages by categorizing content on their own boards.
The obvious goal is to generate new leads and referrals to your shop by using Pinterest. More than 20% of the people who use Facebook use Pinterest daily. Women use it more (72%) and are joining it more than men (2-to-1) which is ideal for the collision industry, because more women take their cars in for repairs than men do. Pinterest has a dedicated iPhone app that gets approximately 250,000 downloads every day. And most Pinterest users are between the ages of 25–54 and earning $60,000 annually, right smack in the middle of that highly-desired demographic sweet spot where they have money and can afford to pay their deductibles.
Sure, Pinterest is used by a lot by artists, musicians, photographers and creative types, but more and more companies of all types are using it for SEO, marketing, public relations and advertising purposes. Roger Henson from Advertising Business Consultants in Willow Glen, CA is a Pinterest expert and uses it for a wide range of his clients, he explained.
“When it comes to any of these emerging forms of social media, they offer a great opportunity, because in many ways, it’s virgin territory,” Henson said. “We’re always looking for the next thing, and that’s why we’ve recommended sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and Pinterest well before everyone started jumping on the bandwagon. It’s all about getting as many sets of eyes on your brand and message as you possibly can, and Pinterest works for us and our clients, including several body shops who are getting track able results from Pinterest.”
Henson likes Pinterest because businesses can use it to attract traffic to their websites while sharing content, products, services and news, he said. “We’re constantly seeing great numbers and the site is growing in leaps and bounds (145% in the last 16 months). People spend more time on it then Facebook, for example, and we’re hitting a younger audience. In the collision repair business, it’s wise to engage these younger customers, because they are the future of your industry. Once you build that familiarity and establish some trust, the rest is easy.”
Tumblr is a micro blogging platform and social networking website that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users’ blogs, as well as make their blogs private. Most of Tumblr’s features are accessible from the “dashboard” interface, where the option to post content and posts of other blogs that are of interest to the administrator can appear. Tumblr was recently purchased by Yahoo so expect to see some investment in the product.
Larry Sawyer, a social media maven and the owner of Da Bomb Media in Surprise, AZ. His job is to be up on all of the latest social media sites and he believes that Tumblr will be gaining popularity with businesses for a wide range of reasons, he said.
“Blogging is not going away and in fact, blogging is exploding and that’s why Google and WordPress are seeing huge spikes in membership,” Sawyer explained. “A body shop can share postings from other body shops, their vendors’ blogs and even local community blogs, to keep that level of interaction high. If you’re looking for another form of social media to use, I would suggest taking a close look at Tumblr. By adding it to your dashboard, you can be a part of Tumblr quickly and easily, especially if you already have a blog. By being involved in more social media sites, you’re building your SEO and get in front of more people on the Internet.”
Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos and apply digital filters to them. At the same time users are sharing them on a variety of social networking sites, such as Facebook (which owns Instagram), Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. A distinctive feature of Instagram is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio now typically used by mobile device cameras. Instagram is distributed through the Apple App Store and Google Play, and it was considered valuable enough to Facebook to be worth its billion dollar purchase price.
Jeremy Eaton is the marketing manager at Collision Repair Specialists in St. Joseph’s, MO. He’s always looking out for the newest social media to support his family’s burgeoning body shop and he uses all of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram because he knows they attract a younger customer that will drive for many years and probably get into at least a few accidents.
“We’ve been using Instagram for two years now to share our community events and many of the awards we’ve won,” Eaton explained. “It’s all based on photographs and other images and that’s why it’s ideal for the younger demographic (18-15 yrs.). They’re less into text and more into photos, because they get a more immediate response and have more impact.
Keeping your customer informed and engaged is always the key with any type of social media and we’ve had some very favorable feedback about our Instagram involvement. Some of our younger clients request that we use Instagram to show them the progress of their car as it is being worked on in the shop.”
By easily integrating Instagram into his other forms of social media, Eaton is able to connect everything together with just one click of the mouse. “We have Instagram on a dashboard with Facebook and Twitter, for example. It’s simple and doesn’t require a ton of time to manage it. People think it takes hours and hours to do these things, but if you do it right—you can get it done in minutes.”
The mobile aspect of Instagram appeals to Eaton and his customers, he said. “Everything is going to be done on smart phones eventually. Lap tops and desk top computers and even tablets are going to eventually become less prevalent, because people want the convenience of doing their computing anywhere and at any time. So, the fact that Instagram is geared toward mobility makes it an ideal form of social media for any business, including body shops of course.”