PART ONE: Building Customer Advocacy

THERE’S NO DENYING IT: In national news, personal networks and business, social media has quickly become an incredibly powerful communication tool. Word of mouth, good or bad, can spread like wildfire, making reputation management an important part of your shop’s marketing efforts.

BUILDING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
When a customer is involved in a vehicle collision, how do they choose a body shop? Typically, a recommendation will come from a friend, an online search or their insurance company. Online search is where your social media presence matters and, with a little effort, can help grow your business and manage your reputation. With so many social media options, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, where do you start? The answer: start with the basics and go where your customers go!

A great starting place is Yelp—it’s the most popular destination for consumer reviews on just about everything. Your business is most likely already listed on Yelp. If you haven’t done so already, your first step in building your social media presence is to claim your business on this powerful review site.

HELP WITH YELP!
Claiming your Yelp Business Page and creating a business login is a great, free way to engage the Yelp community. To do so, follow these simple steps:

Claim It!—Search for your business at biz.yelp.com, the official Yelp for Business Owners website. Yelp will then walk you through all the steps to claim your page and set up your business account.

Confirm It!—To verify that you are the owner of your business, Yelp will call the number listed on your business page and ask
you to enter a verification code. Be sure you are at your place of business to answer this phone call.

Manage It!—After confirming your Yelp Business Page, you’ll be able to:

1. Update information such as your business hours and phone number
2. Track user views and customer leads
3. Add photos and link to your website*
4. Respond to reviews with direct message or public comment

*You need a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy or robust. A one-page landing page that promotes your business is a good place to start.

MANAGING YOUR REPUTATION
Yelp and other review sites are great forums for spreading the good word about your business and harvesting referrals. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch! You can amplify the impact of good reviews and minimize the hit from the bad by using Yelp for Business to monitor reviews. The key is to be responsive. Be sure to thank the positive reviewers for their feedback. Just as important, proactively and publicly acknowledge any bad review and use a direct message to resolve the issue privately, directly with the customer. Turning a bad experience into a good one by acknowledging and fixing the issue goes far in customer satisfaction.  That customer may return to Yelp and write a glowing review on how you resolved the problem. Happy ending!

YELP SUCCESS STORIES
According to Yelp, 3.6 million business owners have claimed their Yelp Business Page. To view Yelp success stories from a variety of businesses, visit biz.yelp.com/support/case_studies. There, you may find some great Yelp game plans you can use to help your collision repair business grow!

Facebook Primer
Facebook is still the largest social network in the world, catering to more than one billion users. It gives you the widest variety of options and functionality of the social channels. With a Facebook page, you can directly message anyone who wants to know more about your business. Similar to Yelp, your customers can also leave you reviews, and if you want to respond, you can either do so publicly or by sending a private message.

We’ll take a deeper dive into Facebook in the next issue of Collision Pros, giving you tips on how to set up your Facebook page and manage your content to present the best image for your business. Stay tuned!