The business efficacy of maintaining a social media presence is universally known. It has become a necessity to adequately compete. Yet, in the car wash industry, there are still operators who have not exploited the benefits it offers. Others have taken the plunge, but still seek clarity about various aspects
The following provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
What Are the Best Social Media Platforms to Be on?
The favored three platforms we want to ensure our washes are active on are Google Business, Facebook, and Instagram.
How Do I Grow a Following on My Page?
There are a few ways to accomplish this. There are paid ways, such as growth campaigns that target your area and invite people to like the page, and there are organic ways such as giveaways and contests. You can also get a quick start by simply having anyone that works at your wash invite people to like your page. Lastly, putting your links to social pages on websites, onsite signage, and other marketing materials can help remind people to like/follow your page.
What Are the Best Ways to Hold a Contest or Giveaway?
We typically like to host competitions that evoke a response or comment. Sometimes this is as easy as putting four images up on a post and asking people to guess where the free car wash is. Other times, we ask users to estimate the score of local events such as a football or basketball game. When we can create some interaction, it helps boost our reach organically. Ideally, we like to run a minimum of two giveaways per month, if not more.
How Often Do I Need to Update My Google Business Page?
Ideally, we like to update the pages every couple of weeks with some sort of new information. This can be a new photo, coupon, etc.
I Got a Bad Review. What Is the Best Approach for Handling It?
First things first: Gather as much information about the experience and find out what went wrong. We always like to ask what day/time did this occur, what location, etc.? We respond to the customer in a kind, fair manner to all parties. Typically, bad reviews deal with a wrong wash package or a vehicle not being fully cleaned. The easiest way to rectify those situations is by offering the customer a free rewash. Ideally, we make these offers in the form of a private message to ensure the privacy of customers and the wash, Afterward, we follow up with that person to see if they were satisfied, and if they are, ask if they mind changing their review from negative to positive.
With damage claims, these need to be handled a little more carefully. You want people to know you take claims seriously but do not want to admit fault or dismiss their claim in a manner that makes the wash look like it does not care. This can send mixed signals to someone who looks up your wash online. Ideally, the best response is to say, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We take these matters very seriously and will have someone with management or ownership contact you directly regarding your claim.” People then see you are doing what you can to take care of the problem.
How Often Do I Need to Post?
Currently, we post two to three days a week for our accounts. We have found that a higher frequency of posting is not necessarily better. We want to make sure that our posts have a reason behind them, as too many washes post for the sake of posting. This becomes mundane very quickly, and people will begin to lose interest in your page. Also, when you post more, you can get dinged by algorithms that choose how often your post is seen. When you post several times a week, they begin to compete with each other
How Can I Track My Success or Failures with Social Media?
There are multiple ways to do so. First and foremost, you want to look at your analytics regularly. This can let you know how your posts/ads are doing and when/where you need to pivot. These can be found in the Facebook Business Manager/Ad Center. We also like to align ads or posts with unique coupons or text codes to track when someone engages with your brand.
Speaking of Ads, What Is a Boosted Post?
A boosted post is a paid ad through social media platforms. You can use a wide variety of targeting methods to spread your message to people that have not engaged with your page. The easiest way is to drop locational pins around an area you want to pull customers from. You can drop these pins anywhere from a 0.25-mile to a 50-mile radius. As you get more comfortable posting on social media and running more ads, you can play with your targeting methods. One advantage to having a professional oversee your social media is that we constantly monitor ads, who interacts with them, and when they see them. Effective targeting allows us to build a customer profile. These ads can run very efficiently without breaking the bank.
How Much Should I Spend Each Month on Paid Ads?
This can depend on your location, competition, current number of followers, time of year, budget, and how aggressive you would like to be. Typically, a budget of $200 or more a month will see great results. Again, we have several accounts that spend more than that, and some that are lower due to fewer competitors
What Are Facebook Pixels?
Facebook Pixels are tools that can be added to your website to track and follow people who clicked on triggers to your site from Facebook. I am sure anyone who has social media has been targeted in this way. They are easy to install and highly recommended.
How Can I Stay on Top of My Reviews?
The best way to stay on top of your reviews is to install the apps that social media platforms offer to help manage your page. For your Google Business page, the app is called “Google My Business,” and the “Facebook Business Suite” is for Facebook and Instagram. These are great resources that send out push notifications to let you know when a review or comment has been made on your page. The quicker you get notified — good or bad — and respond the better!
We like to create the pages as soon as we have a logo, address, and construction has started on the wash. Early on, we do not post often. It is more about growing a following before you open and teasing the area about what is to come. We like to provide monthly construction updates and occasionally feature some of what the wash will offer. As we get closer to opening day, we begin to ramp our post frequencies and ad budget to get the word out.
Are Automated Message Responses a Good Thing? Are They Easy to Set Up?
Yes, to both! We receive several questions a day for the wash pages we run. Many of them are simple questions, such as, “What time do you close?” or, “What are your prices?” The less time you have to focus on answering those easy questions, the better. After all, you do have a car wash to run! Set up is easy due to our premade list of commonly asked questions and takes about 10 minutes.
What Is A Big Mistake People Make on Their Pages?
First and foremost is not having a presence at all. We often start working for accounts that have not set up anything only to find a customer or even an old employee has set up a rogue page. These pages can contain misinformation, bad reviews, and a bad look for your company. These platforms are free, so take advantage, even if you decide not to put ad spend into them. The other big mistake we see is people posting just to post. Be as calculated with every post as possible and have a goal for each one. Too many people post just for the sake of posting, and this can over-saturate your social presence with unprofessional content that eventually drives customers away.
How Can I Generate More Positive Reviews?
The best time to ask for reviews is right after the wash experience has taken place. Most people do not think to leave a positive review when everything goes as it should. Simple reminders of your social pages on your signage can drive more reviews. One solution we implemented was to place stickers near vacuum stations with a QR code that links directly to Google Business and/or Facebook. Another strategy we used was to offer free washes to people who were willing to share their positive experiences publicly.
Are Videos Important?
Yes! We love to use videos to help deliver messages to our customer base. The age-old saying is, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” We like to avoid having people interpret pictures and graphics when we can. With video, we can lead the customer down the path we want them to go. Most of our videos deal with an offer for monthly plans or a holiday that pushes gift cards. We like these to be highly creative and fun for people to interact with. Also, cool videos of your tunnels and features can help you drive the message home of who you are and what customers can expect when they come to your wash.
Zach Davis is the president/CEO of WashMore Media, a full-service advertising agency that focuses on the car wash industry. He currently works with more than 65 franchises nationwide to help with their marketing needs. Zach has 13 years of experience in advertising and 10 years of experience in the car wash industry. Zach also built his own express tunnel wash in Texas earlier this year. He is a 2010 graduate of Lubbock Christian University where he received a degree in business with a marketing emphasis. You can visit the company on the web at www.washmoremedia.com.