What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

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What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

This article originally appeared in Professional Carwashing & Detailing where I was interviewed about Social Media. I thought you might find tips and relevant information here for your business.

Earning likes and profits

How to use social media to build customer relations and improve business

APRIL 28, 2014
Social media is one of the biggest buzz words in the business world, and it’s something that everyone says you need, but not everyone understands how to use. Professional Carwashing & Detailing interviewed three experts in the field of social media about how carwashes can best utilize it for public relations and marketing purposes. And while Facebook is still the most important social media site, there are others that you should be using to help improve your customer realations and get the word out about your carwash, according to the experts.

The 800 Pound gorilla

Facebook may have lost some of its “cool factor” with the youth, but Blane Russell, president of Social Eyes Marketing, said it’s still the most important social media website. “Make sure you’re doing Facebook in a big way, because it’s the 800 pound gorilla,” he said.

Facebook and why works to improve profits for washes

J.R. Atkins is the author of the book “Social Media 2.0,” and also a speaker and consultant on social media. He said that “Facebook is definitely the place to start, and then grow based upon your market and what you learn from Facebook.” While Facebook isn’t the only social media website you should use, Erin Sullivan, social media manager, agrees that it’s the most important resource for carwashes. “For the carwash industry Facebook is still number one.” She said that both Facebook and carwash industry appeal to a large audience, which makes them an ideal fit.

How to maximize your Facebook experience

The experts have some tips on making Facebook a good use of your time. Russell said that using Facebook to give away free carwashes is one way that his clients have gained followers. The hard cost of the wash is very low, and the number of followers it can help you get is high, he said. Facebook isn’t just about selling you to people, it’s also about entertaining them, according to Russell. “Everyone’s natural nature is to try to sell all the time, but if you want to get liked, amuse them, and they’ll like your page” he said. “Ask open ended questions, like: “Does your car have a name, and if so, why,” and you’ll start a conversation rather than turn people off with a sales pitch. He also recommends that you post regularly, at least a couple times a week, and that you have some humor and personality in your posts, so that people appreciate them. More articles on: Social media Social media is about building up loyalty and community, according to Atkins. He said it’s important to respond back to people on Facebook that contact you, and create posts that are designed around the types of things that your customer base is interested in. Facebook isn’t just about getting new customers, but keeping ones you have, according to Atkins. He said wash owners he’s worked with tell him that by “using social media, my customers keep coming back, and don’t stray.” A loyal customer is very valuable to a carwash, so keep them informed about what’s going on at you wash. By creating a Facebook account, and not using it, Sullivan says you’re doing more harm than good. “It hurts the business more than anything when they [Facebook account owners] don’t pay attention.” People recognize quickly when you aren’t engaged in your Facebook account, and not only will they not like your page, but they might think less of your business, she said. Her recommendation is to show some personality, and realize that every post you make doesn’t have to be about carwashes. “Your customers are not simply carwash customers, they have other interests as well,” she said. Another tip Sullivan has is to link your other social media accounts to Facebook when possible, to eliminate extra work, and connect across multiple platforms.

Professional connections on LinkedIn

While Facebook is still the most important social media website, there are many others that your wash can benefit from using. LinkedIn is a place that people go to discuss business, and because of that it has some advantages over other social media outlets. Atkins said that it’s “where your professional credentials live online.” He added that LinkedIn is important for wash owners who are hands on, and looking to work with other established businesses. LinkedIn is a better place to communicate professionally, according to Sullivan, who said it is definitely a supplemental tool, but can be effective for certain business situations. Russell agreed with the other experts that the major advantage about communicating on LinkedIn is that “no one will get upset or offended if you’re direct with them” about wanting to talk business. Setting up a profile, and learning how to use LinkedIn is very simple, so while you may not see a big initial return from creating an account, you will have a “virtual resume” and a place to connect with other businesses, according to the experts.

The pluses of Google+

While Google+ hasn’t taken off the way many predicted, it does have importance as a social media tool, even if it’s in a way that you might not think. “If you own a business, you need to have a presence,” said Russell. He also recommends usingGoogle Local as the place all of your reviews are put through to improve your search rankings, and get the word out about the great work your carwash does. More articles on: Multi-profit centers Google holds a lot of power as a search engine, and adding your business to Google+ gives your wash a better ability to be featured highly when a customer searches for it, according to Atkins. When you use Google’s search engine for a carwash that has a Google+ account, you will see information for its Google+ on the search page. “Google+ is definite must have now,” said Sullivan. She explained why it’s so important for business owners. “If I have a Google+ page, I now control what shows up in the Google search. When it comes up in search results, it will have the carwash name, it’s pulling the name, the description, the information … you know can dictate through your Google+ page.” She added that it’s important to get your presence on Google+ now, while it’s still an overlooked medium. It may not be the place you will go to communicate with your audience, but if you’re not on Google+ you’re missing out on improving your search engine optimization, which is one of the major ways people find out about a business.

Getting the picture with Instagram

The experts see Instagram as a supplemental tool, but an important one none the less. And the best thing about it is how simple it is to use. Grab your smartphone, take a picture, write a caption, add a few hashtags, and you’re done. “The beauty of Instagram is that people are going to promote you if they get excited about what you’re doing,” said Russell. Instagram is particularly popular with young people, and learning how to use it now can keep you ahead of the pack. Instagram is the perfect place to host pictures you’ve taken for a charity event or to showcase something unique or interesting that happened at your wash, according to Atkins. Another great thing about it is that it can be integrated with other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. For example, Atkins said you could “promote your event on Facebook, and then post pictures of the event on Instagram.” The ability to place pictures across multiple platforms makes Instagram a tool that can help you increase your Facebook and Twitter as well. “People respond to visuals more than something they read,” said Sullivan, which is a major reason why Instagram has become so popular. She sees it as an additional tool, and one any wash owner can utilize because of its simplicity. “It’s a good sort of extra … I think it’s a clear winner for how easy it is to use, and connect with other platforms.” Signing up for an account takes minutes, and you’ll be snapping pictures and posting them on Facebook and Twitter in no time. Taking pictures is fun, and Instagram is so easy to use.

How to follow Twitter

While Twitter is a platform that seems pervasive in our society, it is also the one that most people don’t understand how to use well, according to Atkins. You might not use Twitter to cultivate a following, but it is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, he added. Read also: How to start a carwash articles Twitter is the place that you can “turn a raving lunatic into a raving fan,” according to Atkins. The way you do that is by responding to people who tweet you. For direct communication, Atkins sees Twitter as a better tool than Facebook, “it’s like texting,” he said. If someone finds you on Twitter and asks you a question, it’s easy to grab your smartphone or hop on your computer, and immediately respond back. If Facebook is the place to communicate to people, Twitter is the place for people to communicate to you. “It’s a conversation more so than other social media sites,” said Sullivan. “You need to expect to interact.” Twitter, more than Facebook, is about a two way communication between you and your audience, according Russell. Sullivan recommends how you can use Twitter as more than a way to communicate with your customers. She said you start by following some hashtags, and seeing what successful carwashes and other businesses do when they’re tweeting. It’s also important to think of the phrases that your customers would be searching for, and post on those hashtags. Russell said one way to effectively use Twitter is to find the important people within your community, and tweet them. Twitter is a conversation, so just like talking to people, there’s ettiquette, and things you can do to make follow and unfollow you. Once you figure out how to have a conversation on Twitter it can be a great tool. Even if you don’t want to utilize it for communicating to your audience, you should have an account so they can communicate to you.

Taking it all in and having fun with it

Facebook is still the most important tool you have at your disposal, but there are many other sites that offer their niche that can help improve your profits. If you need to connect with a local business, there’s LinkedIn. If you want more people to find you on Internet searches, use Google+. Want to speak directly with your customers, tweet them on Twitter. Need somewhere to showcase all those great pictures from the charity even you did? Well put them on Instagram. Social media doesn’t have to be hard work; in fact our experts recommend that you make it fun. Come up with a contest, and hype it up on Facebook, respond back to your customers on Twitter, and use Instagram to show pictures of the event. There continues to be those who don’t think social media is a viable resource. However, as Atkins joked, “If you can overturn the government of Egypt [with social media], I think we can increase sales 10 percent.”


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PodCast: Social Media Overview

What’s the big deal about Social Media? This course will explore the main Social Media platforms and trends. Examples include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, YouTube, Pinterest and more. Does Social Media improve relationships or increase isolation? Your instructor is J.R. Atkins, MBA from Something Different Companies


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Can Success be Simplified?

Success Simplified by Steven Covey, J.R. Atkins, Tony Alessandra & Patricia FrippIn the book Success Simplified by Insight Publishing, several authors, strive to cut through clutter and identify strategies and steps to help us all succeed. I took a look through the book and identified a few ideas and quotes worth sharing.

In chapter 2, Dr Stephen R Covey talks about how many organizations are using “the industrial model in an information age” meaning the J.R. Atkins & Stephen Covey wrote Success Simplifiedmachine was the main asset of the industrial era. “The new asset is intellectual and social capital – the qualities of people and the quality of the relationships they have with each other.” He goes on to say that “the industrial model does not work in an information age. It requires a focus on new wealth, not capital and materials.” Yet, think of how many of our analogies and structures stem from the industrial days? (p22).

In chapter 6, J.R. Atkins (me) provides information and strategies for leaders so they can make sense of social media and learn how it can be applied to their organization. Of the hundreds of social media tools and networks available, I point to The Big 5 of Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and Video. Google+ may succeed in becoming #6 but the jury is still out on that verdict. With one or more of the Big 5, an organization can share content, listen to customers, create a community, build relationships of trust and build business. “In a broad since, there are generally 3 ways a business can use social media: (1) Marketing (2) Customer Service (3) Employee/Partner Communication. “In addition to these, social media also helps you search engine optimization or SEO. (p92)

In chapter 9, Patricia Fripp discusses “How to Get Ahead and Stay There” by becoming a better speaker. At age 20 she arrived in America as a hair stylist and $500. After becoming very successful as a hair stylist in Hollywood, she began speaking and became an award winning, accomplished member of the National Speakers Association. Patricia says there is nothing that an executive and leaders should focus on more than being able to communicate their ideas and their passions. (p147)

In chapter 16, Dr Tony Alessandra talks about using the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. In other words, treat people the way they would like to be treated. (Tony owns the trade mark on the Platinum rule). He is also big on assessments. Check out his website: www.AssessmentBusinessCenter.com where Tony has over 25 different tools to measure skills such as EQ – Emotional Quotient, CQ – Cultural Quotient, Leaderships Style, Social Style and more. (p245)

My hope is that these few simple success ideas will help you become more effective today and in the future. If you would like a copy of the book, please go to http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/products/books-cds-dvds/ to order a book, CD and/or DVD.

Events Worth Considering:


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Social Media and Sales 2.0, a Case Study with NTC Texas

As I speak on Sales 2.0 I get all kinds of questions and statements. At a recent talk at the Las Colinas Country Club to a group of business leaders named “Untyed” I was confronted with an individual whose company is walking the talk of sales 2.0 – Linda Borek of NTC Texas.

What’s Sales 2.0?                    

Let’s begin with a definition of Sales 2.0 which means integrating the power of Web 2.0 and on-demand technologies with proven sales techniques to increase sales velocity and volume. In plain English, it means using your website and social media to generate sales leads and to support the
sales process. Most companies are just now implementing social media but NTC Texas is using Social Media, email newsletters and their website to support their sales process. They are a good
example of a company putting the concepts of Sales 2.0 into practice.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins writes about Sales 2.0 and NTC Texas

The CEO

About a week after the Untyed presentation, I met with Linda Borek and Britney Chan of NTC Texas, a provider of credit card processing and other merchant services. They explained how they started with Social media and built their platforms for delivering results.  As CEO, Linda began
learning about social media as an early adopter of LinkedIn. She saw how connecting on line could build relationships and provide communication.  She started attending workshops and event where people were teaching and talking about social media. Then she found HubSpot an on-line marketing and SEO company that provides great learning resources. In time Linda hired HubSpot to help NTC Texas with their social media, metrics, and lead generation strategy.

Staff Support

Linda was smart enough to realize that she needed help and contacted her staffing company, Randstad, to provide a marketing coordinator to help with social media and marketing in
general.  She also started educating the entire staff on how social media marketing was the wave of the future. Now she has 3 members of her staff that are Hub Spot Certified as In-bound Marketing Specialists and one of them is Britney Chan, who fills the role of Social Media/SEO
Marketing Director.

Creative Brief

One of Britney’s first tasks was to prepare a creative brief for NTC Texas’s “Social Media Platform and Art Direction” project. This 3 page document contained the recommended direction for the company on Social Media. The next planning document was the “Social Media Strategy & Pilot Launch” which spelled out in detail the strategy, directive on how to get started and integrate the social media platforms, key messages and consumer points and measurements to know when and if they were successful. The 5 platforms Britney recommended and implemented for NTC Texas are:

  1. Facebook Fan Page
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. YouTube
  5. Website

Data Driven Company

As a data driven company it is important for Linda to have metrics to see the results of their social media efforts. With HubSpot as the backbone of NTC’s website SEO and marketing she has a host of reports available for metrics. Here is a just a few of the key indicators tracked by NTC Texas:

  • Website traffic ranking compared to competitors
  • Website Indexed Pages
  • Keyword ranking
  • Inbound links
  • Organic searches
  • Visit to lead conversion rate
  • Twitter Grade
  • Monthly lead reach

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recommends HibSpot

 

 

CRM + Social Media =Sales 2.0

The leading edge of sales force automation and the Sales 2.0 movement is the combination of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management too) and Social Media. In a perfect world, a sales person would receive a notification in the CRM system that a prospect is ready to be approached. The sales person would then click on the notification and see how the prospect has engaged with the on-line content from the company. They might see that the prospect has attended webinars, viewed video content, read the company blog, connected with staff on LinkedIn, “liked” the companies Facebook Fan Page and is a follower on Twitter. All this information would likely
mean that the prospect would welcome a call or email from the sales person.

This is the future of marketing and sales working together and this is exactly where NTC Texas is headed with the integration of Oracle CRM and HubSpot. “By tying our social media, website and email marketing into the CRM we can see who is looking for information on our products and services,” says Linda Borek. “When we provided valuable content our community responds.”

NTC Texas has come a long way since Linda first started seeking to understand how social media and digital marketing could lead to growth for the company. As the staff has learned and grown, so have the company results.” Now we are on the verge of measuring everything from engagement to customer purchase.” (Linda Borek)

Future Events of Interest

8/11/11                August DFW IT Pro Networking Lunch

8/12/11                Luncheon for the Tech Titans Horizon Finalists

8/17/11                AMA Luncheon: Brand Awareness is not Enough

8/17/11                DFW WAC & Dallas Bar: “Prohibition” – Film Preview with Ken Burns

8/18/11                Social Business Panel by Peter Kim

8/18/11                Dallas Safari Club Kick Off Meeting

8/19/11                Lunch with Nikki Haley, Gov. S. Carolina

8/29/11                DFW WAC: “Raw Opium” – The Economist Film Project

8/30/11                The Last Tuesday Happy Hour at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas

9/22/11                World Affairs Council Dinner Featuring Keynote by Thomas Friedman

 

 


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What’s Your LinkedIn # and Who Cares?

Have you seen anyone post what number they are on LinkedIn? Here is how you find out.

  • Dallas social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins tells how to find your LinkedIn numberLog into LinkedIn
  • Go to your profile
  • As you hover your mouse pointer over the word “profile” (in the LinkedIn tool bar across the top of the page) you will see 2 options, “Edit Profile” and “View profile.”
  • Click on view profile.
  • Now look in the URL address field on your browser. You will see a number like, 5,238,918 imbedded  int the address.
  • That is your LinkedIn number. It was automatically assigned to you when you set up your LinkedIn account.

 

Now that you know your LinkedIn number, so what? Who cares? I’m sure you care but most other people probably don’t find it interesting.

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins suggest LinkedInWhat really matters is what you do with LinkedIn. Here are a few tips

  1. Make sure your profile is complete and then some.
  2. Post Daily or weekly depending on your purpose.
  3. Add a power point or key note presentation of something interesting to the Slide Share App
  4. Consider connecting your LinkedIn account to other online tools such as Twitter, Foursquare, Your Blog, and post a link on your website.
  5. Participate in Groups: what I mean is to get into the conversation, post questions and comments and be relevant and interesting with your content.

Once you set up a Social Media tool such as LinkedIn, the next task is to make it work for you. I hope these tips help you reach your communication goals.

 


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Is Facebook Main Stream yet?

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins sees Facebook as mainstreamWhen I am asked to speak on Social Media, such as my talk “The Big 5 of Social Media” and talk about how main stream Facebook has become. I tell business leaders that if they do not have a Fan Page on Facebook, it’s like not having a free one page add in the Yellow Pages of the past.

Now, the Cameron County District Attorney in Brownsville, Texas is using Facebook to help pick jury members. This is confirmation of how Facebook has become a common communication tool. So, if your not on Facebook, you are missing out on a current and effective communication method.

Please see the following article for the rest of the story on the Cameron County District Attorney use of Facebook and let me know what you think.

Texas County to Use Facebook to Help Pick Jurors

Published : Monday, 17 Jan 2011, 5:54 PM CST

PATTIE SHIEHPATTIE SHIEH Reporter

HOUSTON – Most people use social media for just that — the social part. But websites like Facebook gather personal information that is very attractive to many. Now, the Cameron County District Attorney in the Brownsville area will use Facebook to help pick a jury.

Because attorneys for sides in a trial can strike jurors, every bit of data helps the decision making process. So when you think of Facebook as a massive source of personal information… you start to get an idea of its value.

Defense attorney and FOX 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico has been using social media for years, “Facebook and MySpace… any of these pages, we’ll look at it as an investigative tool to get background on witnesses and other people.”

We had Tritico look at the pages of random people on Facebook. Many had their pages open for everyone to see. It didn’t take Tritico long to start forming an opinion, “The most important thing to me on this page is religious views… outgrew fairy tales decades ago.” I asked him, “What does that tell you though?” Tritico replied “That tells me a whole lot about this individual in his views and it says he’s a party member of the Socialist party that tells me that he’s really if you’re looking from just a conservative liberal point, I’m going to put this guy more… in a criminal defense case… on the defensive side of issues.”

Tritico will also browse photos that can indicate if the person has a family, travels a lot or attends a lot of parties. Even favorite music and movies can help fill in the blanks, “I’d want to know what caused him to list these on his page. That just tells you something about his insight. Once you get him talking about how he feels about things you move that into the legal field.”

I asked the veteran attorney if he could seat a jury just by using Facebook and he did not hesitate, “Absolutely. I can get enough information off Facebook pages to ask the questions I need to ask of each individual juror… to find the information I need. I’ve already gotten in my head what I want to ask. Facebook just gives me some background questions that allows me to open them up and talk to me some more to find out more about them.”

With over 500 million users worldwide, Facebook has a lot of information on hand. As an added bonus, for those who want that information — it’s free.

Original Story: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/scitech/110117-texas-county-to-use-facebook-to-help-pick-jury


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What events will lead you to more business?

What events will lead you to more business?

Events are a great way to meet prospective clients, vendors and partners, but how do you identify the right events to grow your business? Here are few thoughts to consider and I welcome your feedback:

  1. If the group meets weekly with little change in attendance, skip it!
  2. Look for groups with some kind of educational component like speakers and workshops that will help you think outside your own beliefs and grow.
  3. If group has requirements like 7 visits, 7 guest, and 7 one-on-one meetings just to join, skip it. They are more interested in meeting then getting results.
  4. Look for groups that gather around new trends and ideas. These usually collect people that are on the go and �on the grow.
  5. If the group is “just for networking”, skip it. It is short sighted and non-sustainable in the long run.
  6. Look for the value exchange: what value do you bring and what value is given to you. As long as there is a good value exchange, it makes since to attend. When the value declines, find another event to attend.
  7. My favorite events are: at unique locations, with new people, with smart people, people on the go, well educated people, good communicators and those who are creating new business. Oh yea, they usually have money or about to have money. The Ritz Carlton is one of my favorite places.

Each month, I list events that I am attending on my Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MeetUp. Here are a few monthly events I attend:

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. AtkinsSMB Social Media Happy Hour – Monthly event, changing locations, small intimate conversation about social media for business growth  Sponsor: JR. Atkins & Something Different Companies. Last Tuesday at the Ritz  Monthly event, on the Patio at the Ritz, M&A oriented, finance, law, start up’s and more  Sponsor: John Willding, Corporate and Securities Partner at Strasburger & Price, LLP

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins likes the Social Media Club of DallasSocial Media Club of Dallas – Monthly event, location varies, covers anything and everything social media and related.  Sponsor, Social Media Club of Dallas

Tower Club – Anytime I can attend an event at the Tower Club, I know it will be a quality function. I’m not a member, (yet) but I keep my eye open for events that welcome guest. The Tower Club

Chambers � I scan the local chamber websites for unique, high quality events with good speakers. Watch out for the early morning groups as they can be small and limit your exposure. The Dallas Regional Chamber

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins likes the Dallas Regional Chamber$100 Events – If it cost close to $100 for a full day event, you are usually going to meet people committed to their craft and on the go. If you only attend $25 events, you may be limiting yourself.

What have I over looked? Please share your thoughts so we can all get better.


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19% of On-line Americans use Twitter

Published by PewResearchCenter today, Twitter usage is up:

The number of Americans tweeting, or using another status-updating service similar to Twitter, has grown rapidly over the course of the year. Surveys conducted by Pew Research in December 2008 and April 2009 found that 11% of Americans who use the internet were on Twitter or a similar service. Today, nearly one-in-five online Americans (19%) are tweeting. Three groups are most responsible for the growth in tweeters: social networkers (35% tweet), mobile internet users (25% tweet) and young adults (37% of internet users ages 18 to 24 tweet). The median age of a Twitter user is age 31. By comparison, the median age for a Facebook user is age 33 (up from 26 in May 2008). More:


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