Social media FAQ: How to use social media in the motor trade

June 29, 2016 15:05

Social media as an effective business tool

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are certainly very popular. While many use them for keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances, and to get the latest news and views or to participate in wider discussions, they can also be serious and highly effective business tools. This social media FAQ helps explain how the independent motor trade can use these important community platforms to attract interest, generate leads and increase sales.

FAQ1. What social media can motor traders use?

There are a range of social media platforms that are relevant to independent motor trade businesses. Here are the main ones with some ideas:

  • Facebook – create a company page and share updates. Consider posting motors for sale, special offers such as ½ price MoTs in August; or how about backing a winter tyre sales promotion in October with an article on why to fit winter tyres. Consider petrol head gossip and other things of interest like motor sport events including F1, Goodwood, Le Mans and track days.
  • Twitter – create an account and customise your account page. Get the news out about offers and start driving traffic to posts on your Facebook page and your company website. Start conversations like: ‘Is Chris Evans actually any good or is he trying too hard to follow Clarkson?’ Or: ‘Did Mini get it wrong with the Clubman?’
  • Instagram – is image based so consider something creative; share pics of unique, custom or concept cars, 15 seconds of video evidence of service issues to be on the lookout for…
  • LinkedIn – focused on business users, so create a company page and consider targeting trade customers such as cab firms, luxury cars, or commercial fleets. Think about putting out useful info, connecting with fleet managers, or advertising to relevant people.

FAQ2. What’s the best way to do social media?

There are a range of social media platforms that are relevant to independent motor trade businesses. Here are the main ones with some ideas:

  • Social media is something you can do yourself - or you could outsource it to an agency or a freelancer. If you’re (un?)lucky enough to have one, another option is to make use of those spare parts usually found hanging around your home playing computer games, often known as teenagers!
  • Build networks - by connecting with and following businesses and people that share your interests or that are in your space; think about networking with businesses offering complementary services that link with but that don’t directly compete with your business. How about local insurance brokers (there are a few left!) Or mobile auto touch-up services?
  • Plan social media activity - create a plan to schedule what you are going to put out (content) and when you are going to put it out, collectively known as a ‘campaign’; decide which social media platform(s) you want to run it on and, how you are going to attract followers; think about having a strong call to action (CTA) such as ‘call us’; ‘text us’ or ‘drop in and see us’.

FAQ3. How do we initially promote our social media channels?

One of the big things to consider is how to get the word out about your social media presence. It’s all very well having created the content and running campaigns but how do attract initial interest?

  • Signage – put up signs on vehicles and in-garage; just like you do for the phone number, consider putting account addresses on the main signage above the door
  • Web - Make sure social media accounts are linked from your company website
  • Print - account names on stationery, business cards invoices
  • Consider having a compelling CTA - if space permits on your signs think about wording such as ‘Visit us on Facebook for deals on wheels! or run competitions to get followers.

More efficient garage management with Motasoft VGM

The effective use of social media has an impact on your business. It will generate ‘leads’ often seen by increased numbers of enquiries and followers and connections on the social platforms. Turning these into business requires thought and regular and consistent brand messaging to support your business and present it as attractive.

To maximise the return from social media, the most successful independent garages need to be super-efficient, so consider the benefits of Motasoft Virtual Garage (VGM). VGM provides a range of outstanding benefits that accelerate your ability to put jobs through your workshop.

Just click here to find out more about how Motasoft Virtual Garage Manager equips your garage to better deal with increased volumes of business that results from effective use of social media.

The importance of having a professional website for your business

June 28, 2016 10:00

Credibility through professionalism

If you own a business in the year 2016, it is crucial that you have a well functioning website if you are to rival your competition. Every year the number of people doing business online rises at a consistently significant rate.

In 2008 around 54% of people living in UK purchased goods or services online, now that figure stands at around 76% - with the numbers ever increasing. These figures highlight just how important it is that you establish a strong online presence with a website which is both intuitive and professional looking.

If your site doesn’t look professional, chances are people will make the assumption that you aren’t professional, which will ultimately make them feel less inclined to do business with you as you are lacking the credibility necessary to make people feel comfortable in parting with their cash.

Improve your customer base

If the stats alone aren’t compelling enough, there are numerous benefits associated with the ownership of a website - all of which revolve around boosting your customer base, the principal factor being the ability to market your business online.

This can be achieved through many different methods such as optimising your site for search engines, making it easy for potential customer to find you when searching. As well as this and most importantly, you can use your site as a medium to advertise goods and services 24 hours a day, as well as giving potential customers easy access to your contact information and opening hours.

However, there are still many business owners who are reluctant to get themselves a website, (or update a severely outdated one). What they are failing to realise is the importance of having a professional, well designed website for the progression of their business, as without one they are isolating themselves from a large section of the market.

Significant long term benefits

This wilful exclusion is the result of a common misconception, that being the idea that having a website developed is not cost effective, whilst being unaware of the fact that the long term financial benefits greatly outweigh the cost of having one made. Realising the value of having a website is imperative for the growth of your profit margins and a necessary step for any business looking to expand.

Euro 2016 football shirt FREE when you sign up for VGM for 12 months

June 8, 2016 10:28

Have the shirt off our back!

Across the UK, June 2016 is a very European flavoured one. However, it’s for two very contrasting reasons…

1. A certain referendum… (‘Nuff said…)
2. The Euro 2016 football tournament

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are all competing until the group stages end on the 22nd (at least:-). This is the day before the UK votes on whether to stay or leave the EU. It’s a certainty that for much of the month both political and sporting media is going to be heavily dominated by the topic of Europe.

We’ll leave it to others to speculate on the politics. However, to help celebrate the football, for each independent motor trade business that signs up to Motasoft Virtual Garage Manager in June, we’re ordering one £60 JD Sports voucher to enable you to get the official shirt of your national team. To qualify for the voucher the business needs to subscribe for 12 months.

Don’t fancy the national shirt?

Some might think a national shirt might be a bit undesirable should their team make an early exit… In that case you might consider a club shirt or other sporting apparel a better option.

If you decide against the national shirt or you already have one, you can always use the voucher to get the club shirt of your choice or as part payment for other sporting goods up to the value of £60 FREE of charge.

Motasoft VGM a game changer for garage management

If running a garage was like a game of football, then bringing on VGM at half time would be like substituting a misfiring striker for one ring on all cylinders! VGM connects all the key aspects of running a motor trade business efficiently, enabling you to take control.

Indeed, once they have experienced its benefits first hand, few would disagree that Virtual Garage Management is a game changer and turns independent motor trade businesses into real winners.

If we have to sum up VGM in a word...

...then it has to be ‘efficient’.
So, as much as we’d like it to be Roy Hodgson’s boys, if VGM was a national football team we’d have to say it's Germany.

And if we had to pick the tournament winners? Well, of course it’s obvious. It’s going to be…

To find out more about how Motasoft Virtual Garage Manager could make your garage run with efficiency worthy of Germany, simply click here!

5 things you need to know about Virtual Garage Manager

May 11, 2016 10:54

Virtual Garage Manager is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to running your motor trade business.

With it's wide range of range of features, it's often easy to miss out on key functionality that could be helping you get more out of your business.

1. Connecting with potential customers via online booking

Using Virtual Garage Manager, you will be able to offer your services to customers online, allowing them to book themselves into your workshop diary in a quick and seamless manner. All booking slots will be configured by us (or by you if you prefer to do-it-yourself) to your specification, so you have complete control over how many potential bookings you can take online. All slots available to the customer will be subject to availability in your diary, so as you book slots locally, they will no longer be bookable online. This rules out the possibility of any double booking occurring.

2. Keep your books and workshop in check with jobsheets and invoicing

VGM is not only a workshop diary, but also has complete financial functionality, allowing you to create a job sheet from a booking with a single click of your mouse. You can then add parts from your stock and labour times (if you are using our technical data) directly onto the job sheet. Once you're happy with the job sheet you can convert it into a sales invoice, again with the single click of a button and this can be edited further if required. The job sheet and sales invoice are both easily printable, or alternatively can be emailed over to the customer - all from within VGM.

Touch base with your customers with messaging & reminders

Whether it’s to send them an annual MOT reminder or let them know that their service has been completed, through VGM you will be able to send your customers instant messages both through SMS and email. You can even compose a message template to be printed out and posted if that’s your customers preferred method of contact. As well as this you have the facility to send bulk messages to your entire customer base should you desire to, for example to inform them of any seasonal promotions that you might have going on.

Get accurate technical diagrams for any vehicle with our Technical Data

We are always looking for ways to improve VGM, whether that's through improving usability or adding new features. For this reason we have implemented Technical Data into our system which will give you access to a vast resource of vehicle specific data - everything from lubricants, wiring diagrams, engine specifications and everything in between. As well as this you will have access to step by step guides (both illustrative and text based) on how to perform various different procedures, whether it’s removing and reinstalling a cambelt or simply changing a sidelight bulb.

Generate work from existing customers with automated SMS and Email reminders

It is every garage owner's goal to maintain a flow of consistent income, it is the formula for the progression of any commercial business. Here at Motasoft we understand this, so we’ve built our software with this in mind - giving you the ability to schedule automated annual reminder messages. This gives your customers a friendly reminder that their MOT is about to expire (or that their annual service is coming up) whilst also giving them your contact information so they can call you and get booking.