I don't know about you but as we start the last quarter of the year, all I can think about is putting the closed sign on my door and going fishing. I just want to throw out a line and let the boat carry me down the shore line.
Which then had me thinking that having a good Social Media strategy for collision repair is a lot like going fishing. Follow me here..... I promise it’s good.
Great fisherman spend time planning their trip. They research the weather, the water, the equipment and what bait or lure is having the best results for body of water they intend to fish. You can't just show up or worse send someone else to fish and expect a boat full of customers at the end of the day. The upfront work is critical to your success in the long term.
But the work doesn't end once you hit the water. While in the boat you're constantly adjusting your location, pole, bait choice and casting technique. In some cases you may even use the latest technology to find more fish or attract them. There are so many options and outlets in the media world. There's YouTube, Yelp, blogging and SEO optimization. It's like Bill Dance's tackle box!
We can't continue to stress enough that YOU plan your companies communication strategy before you get in the boat. Determine what lake your going to fish and what equipment and bait you'll need to make it a successful trip. While many of us like to focus on the poles and tackle box, it's important that you think about some personal items. I never take off to the lake without a first aid kit and some sunscreen. In your business you need to plan for the problems and strive to insure you don't get burned. Be sure your employee handbook is up to date and addresses social media interactions. It's also a good time to establish what your voice will be with each social medium and types of content that will be distributed in each. What is approved and what should never be posted?
Don't forget to stop and fill up the boat before you hit the water! Too many companies run to the lake quick to launch their boat and be first to the fishing honey holes of social media. It can be one of the biggest mistakes a collision repairer makes. It happens over and over in our industry. Companies rush to launch their pages without evaluating the time and employee resources needed to keep the campaign running. Worse, they outsource the entire enterprise to a third party that fails to deliver or closes their doors months after launch. Abandoning your pages is just like jumping overboard. Only in this lake you'll leave a boat full of fans and customers stranded and disengaged around you and your brand. Let's also not forget the cost of gas if you buy it on the lake. Ever been caught out in the middle of the lake and out of gas? Once you're stranded, calling in for help is going to be expensive.
Sometimes to get the biggest fish you need to hire a guide. There are many companies that seem to have launched social media management services overnight. Last year they’re tools and supplies and this year they’re marketing experts? A third party option might be a partial solution for your business, but research your guide. If you've formulated your communication strategy, you'll have no problem weeding out the real guides from the latest to the lake. Having someone handle your company voice and image should be an interview you control and not a sales pitch over lunch. You're future depends on their ability to find the fish!
If you'll think of your social media plan as a fishing trip you may find the mystery of being effective will disappear. Break it down into digestible parts and learn to bring home a never ending boat full of customers.
Be sure to watch www.collisionhub.com next week to see if I make NACE or I go fishing!