“But It’s So Complicated”
The one thing I hear over and over from operators is that “social media is hard”, or “marketing is too complicated”, or “I don’t know how to do it”. My response to them, every time, is “it doesn’t have to be”.
If you’re reading this and have that same response to the question of “do you have a Facebook page”, then you are only hurting your business by not being active on your page. You are better off not having a social media page, than you are having one and never interacting with your followers.
Some of our best customers have great followings through social media because they use it to draw in customers. They offer them specials they couldn’t get if they didn’t follow them. Operators are offering their customers tips and tricks at their car wash to understand how to better use the equipment or how to save more money. Whether you have a self-serve location, an In-Bay, a tunnel, or a combination of any and all, social media is your friend and you should really stick your hand out there and greet it.
If you’ve ever checked out our Facebook page, you’ll see we put out regular posts on how to manage and maintain your social media. It doesn’t have to be hard, and it certainly doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your schedule. In fact, there are a lot of articles we post that you can gladly share with your followers. That’s why we post it. Just for you!
So whether you are new to social media or marketing, or have been trying to get on the train for years, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started on your ventures.
Tips To Go Social
Choose 1 platform to start with
One of the biggest tips I have heard over the last several years for small businesses, is to simply get out of the store(3). You can reach far more people online than you can with those who drive by your location every day. It’s time. People have always talked about business, life, and community. Now they’re just doing it online.
If you find yourself struggling with all the different social media platforms available to you, just take a step back and choose 1. It’s much better to be great at one platform than it is to never post to any of them. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you will never go wrong if you simply start with ONE.
Can’t decide which one to start with? Think about what your goals are first of all. If you’re looking to simply interact with followers, other companies and brands, maybe take a few customer service issues on through your social, go with Twitter. If you’re looking to post lots of images and short videos and gain a quick following, go with Instagram. If you want something that covers all of this on an easy platform, go with Facebook.
Still can’t decide? Check out what your competition is doing. That can give huge insight not only into what platform to go with, but what kind of posting you could be doing. The great thing about any platform you choose, there are tons of brands doing a great job out there that you can take tips and tricks from all the time.
GO ALL OUT
Ok, maybe not ALL OUT. But don’t slack on it the first month you’re on there. Yes, it will take time to gain followers, and you may need to pay for some of those followers, but in time you will gain an audience who is loyal to your brand. It will also take time to figure out posts, content you want to share, etc., but in the end it is definitely worth it. To help you gain more followers, consider posting any videos or images later at night. Why is this you ask? Posting around 9pm gets 34% more interactions than any other time of the day. (1)
One way to help you gain followers is to run contests online. Give a free wash to anyone who shares your post, or to the first person to answer a question. Get creative. Do things you would want yourself. I mean, if you own a car wash it’s hard to imagine what you would want. But imagine not being the owner and think “what would I want from my local car wash as a giveaway?”
Want to be found more easily on Google? Statistics show there are 16,600,000 Google searches for ‘Instagram’ per month, meaning simply signing up to Instagram could help your business get found online more easily. Of course, this does mean you do have to post to it regularly and keep up with interactions.
Use Tools to Help You
Recently, Adobe put out an online program that is helping social media kings and queens all over the world. Adobe Spark is a program that allows you to easily create your brand, create social media posts of all kinds, create video, content, and so much more! It’s an amazing tool for small businesses who don’t have a ton of time. There is a free version, as well as a paid one. Take some time to check it out. We can certainly help walk you through it too.
Paid advertising also really helps. Facebook has amazing tools to get your message to the eyes that matter most for your business. I could write an entire post just about that. So for now, I’ll leave it at this: don’t ignore the power of spending $20 a month on online advertising.
Don’t Forget About Google
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I turn to when researching a company is Google. What are the reviews? Are there photos of the location? Is their website attached? Google is a huge, and I mean HUGE, tool for businesses. There are a few steps you need to do as a business though to make your Google listing stand out.
- Claim your business on Google Maps
If you haven’t done this yet, it’s a pretty easy step to take. Simply Google your business name, and there is usually a little button that says “Claim this business”
- Add a phone number, website, hours, etc.
Do everything you can to add information to your Google listing. This helps people find you, as well as make a decision about whether or not to visit.
- Encourage customers to leave a review and photos
Whether it’s on your Facebook page or Google. Having valuable feedback and reviews gives potential customers the confidence that your business is a good one.
This simple act of getting your Google listing going is a big deal. HUGE. The impact it can have on your business is crucial to the validity of it.
Marketing Strategies That Matter
Embrace Your Brand
Between your website, your business cards, your social media platforms, and whatever other marketing materials you have, everything should match. Nothing drives me more crazy when I see a business who has a great website, but their social media is lacking, or the business card they hand me looks completely different than the rest of their brand. Branding is your story. It’s who you are as a business and customers do pay attention to it. Don’t put it on the back burner and think “it’s not important”, because it is.
To that note, WashCard does offer full marketing services for our customers. Including logo creation, signage, websites, heck we’ll even do a billboard design for you. We’re here to support you and your business in every way possible.
The great news is, once you have a great brand set up, it isn’t much work going forward. New artwork uses the same colors, logo, etc. Your social media can be branded around the same idea and concept. The initial work can take time, but in the end, it’s so worth it for your business, and to your customers.
As a company that has been in the loyalty business for nearly 30 years, it is critical to our mission that in order to keep loyal customers, you have to be generous to them. Which in some ways means they’ll get 20% off their wash when they use a loyalty card. But that can also mean you send them a gift here and there. A bonus 50% off. Or a free vac. Maybe a free air freshener. Heck, even a $5 gift card to a coffee shop nearby. There are so many items you can brand with your logo and give away to customers. Mugs, pens, notebooks, car towels, I can keep going but I think you get the idea. Again, get creative. Just know that however you reward your customers will come back to you in higher profits and even more customers who will be loyal to your business.
Bring On The Bacon
Or the tacos, or the spaghetti, or cupcakes. Just feed them and they will come. Partner with local businesses to get both of your names out there and recognized. Make it fun, different and get creative. You can even use it to create great PR. One company sent S'mores kits to local TV newsrooms to help promote a camper and RV show. The possibilities are endless.
Help Other Employees
There is a certain food joint that sells some awesome burritos and burrito bowls (we’ll let your imagination run there) and sends out amazing offers to certain industries of people now and again. Whether it’s nurses, armed services, teachers, etc. They have one day where a specific group can do a BOGO when they show their ID.
You can also do this same thing with businesses around you. Say you have a large company a few blocks away. Go talk with their HR team and see how you can partner with them to offer discounted washes. Not only does this make you look like you care for that business, but it will gain you more business from those employees.
Had Enough Yet?
Ok, so this was supposed to be about how to simplify your marketing. However, there’s a LOT of stuff here to do. The great thing is, you don’t have to do it all! You can pick one or two things and really go after it. I highly recommend starting off with social media and Google. In today’s world, those are two critical pieces to starting any marketing for your business.
I once had a CEO who didn’t “believe in Marketing”. To hear that as the marketing person, it really left me defeated in my job. However, the moment he stepped out of his position and someone who came in who DID believe in marketing, the whole business changed and instantly started earning more money. Yes, more money was put into marketing but it was done with intelligence and intention. When I left that business, the marketing department was double what it was and the business itself doubled in revenue. The moral of the story is that marketing DOES matter. It DOES make a difference.
Here at WashCard we always want to support our customers in their marketing needs. If you need help, give us a call. We can walk you through everything you need to create a marketing strategy that helps your business, but isn’t too complicated or takes up too much of your time.