By Eric Lawton of RepairPal
The ability to find new auto repair customers is a challenge for every auto repair shop, especially female customers. Often, the female gender is so stigmatized in the auto industry, that women will send their male counterparts, or simply stay with the same mechanic over the lifetime of their vehicle, for fear that they will be taken advantage of by unscrupulous repair shops. While the auto industry is working to change the preconception that females are often taken for granted, there are still boundaries to overcome.
The website, “Social Media Examiner” has discovered how one auto repair shop has started attracting female customers using social media, and they share the ideas in their article, “How an Auto Repair Shop is Winning Female Customers with Social Media”. The article mentions three actions taken by the company to attract a female audience, but in the end, the three actions they took can be used to bring in new customers of all kinds.
1. Thinking Like The Customer
The auto repair shop featured in the article had hired a woman to handle their Facebook page, and she quickly realized that she, as a woman, would never interact with the page. In response, she began changing their social media communications to reflect a more inclusive way of thinking. The page began to focus on more than just cars. It focused on things that matter more to customers– the people working there, traffic conditions, safe travelling, commuting, and all aspects of keeping families safe in a vehicle.
In order to create effective and relatable content for your social media channels, it’s important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What kind of content would be interesting or useful to them? What would make them want to engage with that content? Like it, comment on it, or share it with their friends?
If your current strategy is largely promotion-based, you may want to rethink. Sure, your followers may want to know if you’re running a special deal, but that should not be the entire basis (or a even a large part) of your social media messaging. Add value to your online channels by posting interesting articles, infographics, or facts about car repair or vehicle safety that would be helpful to the average car owner. If you have a blog, share those posts with your audience. Save promotional content for when it’s really important.
2. Showing The Friendly, Personal Side Of The Business
From there, the repair shop worked to build trust and humanize their image by showing off what was happening in the garage. Workers were tagged in photos, as were customers, with permission. The Facebook page became friendlier and more relatable. It became a place of community for all customers, who could visit the site to see everything “behind the scenes.” This provided a sense of transparency and genuineness that was beloved by customers.
To implement this in your own social media strategy, consider featuring some of your employees on your social media sites, uploading pictures of group outings or community service projects, and sharing stories about your business or even some of your long-time customers.
Men and women alike will find you company more sincere and approachable when they can tie human faces and real stories to your auto repair business.
3. Embracing The Community
The auto repair shop in the article also used their social media channels to promote and support the community around it, drawing in more women, who are often volunteers and community organizers. Additionally, the shop donated garage bays to programs that fix cars for needy families and for other volunteer organizations. The repairs were done for free or for a deep discount. Again, this attracted female customers, who are often leaders in nonprofit, not-for-profit, and volunteer community organizations.
Showing that your repair shop cares about the community and makes efforts to give back demonstrates to customers, of every gender, that you’re interested in more than just turning a profit. Consider donating a portion of every auto repair service to a local charity, organizing a food or clothing drive, or participating in or sponsoring charitable community events. Then, share those experiences on social media for all of your followers to see.
Each of these tips will help make your social media presence more welcoming to female customers, but it will also boost your appeal to men as well. Social media should be thought of as a tool to interact with potential and current customers, not a place to simply promote your business.
Eric Lawton, with over 8 years of auto repair marketing experience, is the trade marketing manager at RepairPal. He works on connecting with shop owners and exploring ways to optimize and increase their business. You can visit the RepairPal blog for shop owners for more tips, or contact them if you'd like more information on attracting new customers to your shop.