Everyone knows social media is important. Today, using social media intelligently can be the difference between making it and breaking it as a mechanic. But where should you begin, and where are you going to see a return on your efforts? Right off the bat, here are 7 things to think about and include into your social media plan.

Determining Goals and Outcomes

It’s easy enough to begin posting things to various social platforms. What’s harder is creating a coherent strategy of what and why you are posting.

Account for the fundamental goals of your social media strategy. Are you trying to grow your overall following? Are you specifically targeting new car owners. Or is social media a place for you to provide service and communicate with existing clients? Settling on real goals and objectives will get you off to a great start with social media. No matter what your larger ambitions.

Content. Content. Content

Experts and novices alike all love to extol the value of creating ‘great content'. Ok, great. So what is 'great content', where does it come from, and how are you supposed to create a steady stream of it while also running a auto repair business?

This varies so much, both by industry and circumstance, that there is no correct answer. But there's an easy mental check you can perform to let you know if something qualifies as 'great content' for your specific followers.

First, create a basic profile in your mind of three different types of people you'd like to be connecting with on social media. Now, to the best of your abilities, step inside each of their minds, and take a look at the post you're planning. Are you glad you found that post? If yes, post it! If not, ask yourself why and rethink.

Make it Shareable

The most shared and reposted content will be that which is genuine, valuable, and helpful to its readers. So plan your content with share-ability in mind, and search for content posted by others that you can share and comment on yourself.

Conversations Not Billboards

At it’s best, social media is a vibrant conversation, with posts coming from you, your followers, and your clients. The famous 80/20 rule says you should devote 80% of your posts to sharing content from relevant sources and influencers, and reserving just 20% for posting about your auto repair company. Don’t treat social media like a billboard to post updates only about yourself. Ask questions. Respond to comments. Repost things you find valuable. And be willing to let your own voice speak through your social. After all, it's yours!

Video Killed the Copywriter

Getting a bit more specific, let’s talk about video. The majority of brands and companies, especially smaller ones, will admit that they wish they were doing more with video. But the time, resources, and effort needed to create quality video can be a determined blocker. Well here’s a statistic to inspire you.

Social posts containing video receive almost 50% more views than their non-video peers, according to a recent HubSpot article. And as new platforms like Vine and Vimeo continue to gain traction, video will play an ever larger role on social media.

Tear Down this Wall

In the past, there’s often been an unnecessary wall between social media and primary websites. Obviously, this makes very little sense. Insure that shoppers visiting your main website have an easy way to link out to your social channels. Forbes lists social links on their shortlist of social media musts. This is a no-brainer, and takes just a couple minutes with a social icons plugin like this.

Send Traffic from Social to your Site

Now that you're linking from your website to your social media accounts, it probably makes sense to do the same thing in reverse. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most other social platforms have space in your profile to link to your website.

But today, you can go even further, and embed your social media content right in your auto body shop’s website. There are tons of free social media widgets and plugins out there that will let you add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social feed to your site. There are even plugins out there that let you combine multiple social channels into a single stream.

What role does social media fill in your auto repair company? We're excited to know what lessons you've learned from social media marketing. Tell us in the comments section, and maybe we'll share your content on our own social channels!