If you think that all it takes to run a successful detailing business is hard work, we have to break it to you - the world we live in today just doesn’t function that way.
Yes, word of mouth and traditional marketing strategies can still help your business get in front of potential customers. But with more than 93% of American adults using the internet, you don’t want to miss out on digital marketing.
We understand that your small business doesn’t have a massive marketing budget. However, there is a way for you to tap into the world of digital marketing without paying a dime - social media.
The Value of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media has become deeply integrated into our daily lives. The latest projections show that in 2023, there will be 4.89 billion social media users worldwide - a 6.5% increase from a year ago, and a whopping 79.1% jump in just five years. The US alone has over 302 million active social media users, a number expected to reach 327.22 million by 2027.
In 2022, an average social media user spent two and a half hours a day on different platforms. That’s half the total time we spend on our phones!
Individuals use social media for many reasons including entertainment, communication, and searching for information. But businesses do too!
According to Statista, in 2021, 91.9% of U.S. marketers in companies larger than 100 employees were expected to use social media for marketing purposes.
Social media has leveled the playing field. It allows small businesses to compete with enterprises for consumers’ attention.
So if social media has been low on your list of business priorities, it’s high time for that to change.
Let’s look at some of the ways your business can profit from your social media presence.
Increase Brand Awareness & Generate More Leads
Gaining visibility is crucial for any new business. But competition in the detailing world is fierce, especially in some areas, and it’s only going to get more intense.
That’s where social media comes in! It allows you to promote your business in a quick and cost-effective way.
Every social post your business makes has the potential to be seen by millions of people. This can translate into more likes and followers, but also more prospects and customers. Therefore, social media can have a direct impact on sales and your bottom line.
The more you show up on social media, the more people will get familiar with your brand and start considering your offer.
Understand Your Customers & Your Competitors
Knowing and understanding customers is at the center of every successful business, especially a service-oriented business like detailing.
Now, you probably know some things about your customers already - things you’ve gathered by interacting with them on a daily basis. But social media can help you learn more granular information about their interests, needs, behaviors, and desires. This valuable data will help you provide better service and increase the effectiveness of all your marketing efforts.
As for your direct and indirect competitors, hopefully, you’ve already taken a look at what they’re doing on social media. If you haven’t, go do it right now. Analyzing competitors’ social presence will help you get ideas on what to include in your own social media strategy. You’ll learn what’s working and what’s not working for other businesses just like yours.
Oh, and don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from the success of businesses outside of the detailing industry too!
Connect With Your Audience & Foster Brand Loyalty
Customer loyalty is essential to building a successful business. And while that may seem obvious, it's hard to overstate the value of building a strong customer base.
For detailing businesses, social media is a powerful channel for having meaningful interactions, nurturing connections, and building long-lasting relationships with potential and existing customers.
Pro Tip: Think of clever ways to encourage user-generated content amongst your customers.
When prospects researching your business see that other people are satisfied with your services, they’ll be more likely to become customers themselves.
How To Nail Social Media Strategy: Step-By-Step
The effectiveness of social media marketing done right is undeniable. But how can your detailing business get it right without a dedicated marketing team?
Through strategy and creativity!
When it comes to success on social media, a little planning goes a long way. You need to know who you’re talking to, who you’re competing with, which platforms you should focus on, what your goals are and what kind of content you want to create.
If you’re been randomly posting things to your business’s social media account, stop!
A well-thought-out and executed social media strategy will help you create content that’s interesting and relevant to your target audience; content that your prospects and customers will engage with, which will in turn increase your online visibility.
Before you start developing your social media strategy, take some time to analyze your existing social media presence. This will help you put things into perspective.
Step 1 - Identify Your Target Audience
The first thing you should do in any marketing activity is to identify the target audience. Social media is no exception.
If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you won’t know what to say!
Even though you think you have a solid understanding of who your customers are, it’s best to pull some data to verify your assumptions.
Every social platform gives business accounts access to certain metrics, but you can also resort to third-party social media analytics tools for more in-depth insights.
The next step in defining your audience on socials is creating social media personas - semi-fictional characters that o describe and evoke a particular type of social follower.
Besides demographics like age, gender, income, education, and location, make sure to include data that will help you do better social media marketing, like:
The problems the customer has that your services can help them solve
The challenges, fears, and objections the customer has regarding your service
How your services make the customer’s life easier & more enjoyable (benefits)
The social platforms they use and the types of content they consume, etc.
You can have one, two, or multiple audience personas, depending on the diversity of your audience. However many personas you create, don’t let them collect dust. Use this information to guide your decisions regarding what kind of content should you create, where and when should you share it, which customer pain points should you address, which aspects of your service should you highlight, and more.
Step 2 - Perform A Competitive Analysis
Now that you have a clear picture of who your social media audience is, it’s time to check out what your competition is up to.
First, determine who your competitors are and which social platforms they use. Then go through their content and analyze their performance. Consider how often they post and what kind of content they share. This will help you figure out how effective their social media strategy really is. Look for their strengths, as well as weaknesses to identify both threats and opportunities for your business’s social media presence.
A competitive analysis will help you establish a fail-proof social media strategy for your business & determine benchmarks that you want to reach.
While researching your competitors on social media, try to identify patterns of which networks are popular and which types of content perform best on each platform. Write down ideas that you get for your own content along the way and figure out how you can set your business apart in the crowded social media space.
Step 3 - Choose The Right Platforms
Based on what you’ve learned about your audience’s and your competitor’s social media behavior, choose one or more platforms that your business will use for promotion.
It’s best to stick with 2 or 3 social networks unless you can dedicate lots of time and energy to creating social media content.
And we’re not saying that you should copy your competitors’ social media strategy. If they’re on Instagram and Facebook, maybe you should be on Twitter and TikTok instead!
An average Internet user has accounts on almost 9 social media platforms. This is because people use different networks for different reasons - to shop, connect with friends & family, stay up-to-date with news and current events, find entertaining content, share opinions & ideas, fill up spare time, etc. So your business can utilize different social channels for different purposes.
For example, TikTok for visibility, Facebook for lead generation, Twitter for customer service - you get the gist!
But how do you decide which platforms to focus on if your time and resources are limited?
By learning more about some of the social media giants! Let’s do it together.
Regardless of the rumors about it being in decline, Facebook is still the most used social media platform globally. It boasts over 2.96 billion monthly active users and more than 200 million businesses. In the US there were approximately 233 million Facebook users in 2021, a figure which is projected to reach 260 million by 2027.
This means that the competition on Facebook is brutal. But it also means that there’s a wide demographic range of users and that your audience is likely already there.
If you want to use Facebook for your detailing business, you’ll need to create a business account. It’s a lot like the standard Facebook profile but designed for businesses. By using a business profile, you’ll get access to more analytics, advertising opportunities, the ability to assign admin roles, and more.
When you create your Facebook page, upload your logo as the profile picture and add a relevant cover photo, as well as up-to-date business information and a short, catchy description of what you do. Don’t forget to choose a custom Facebook URL. Make it your business name, or as close to it as possible, so customers can easily find you online.
Next, let all your customers, friends, and family know about your page. Include your Facebook handle in your email signature, business cards, and other marketing materials. This will help you build an initial audience base that you can build upon.
Now it’s time to start sharing. Your customers will probably want to know more about your services, receive updates on things like discounts and promotions, learn about upcoming events, read customer reviews and see before & afters, watch how-tos on aftercare and maintenance, as well as take an occasional peek behind the scenes.
Your content should be entertaining, educational, or inspirational; short, and visual.
It’s important to test different types of Facebook content to see what works best for your business and audience. Then you can determine what kinds of posts to share more of.
Whatever you do, don’t post too little or too much. Studies show that Facebook engagement rates drop significantly for businesses posting more than twice per day and for those posting only once per week. We suggest going for 3-5 posts per week, depending on how much content you have at your disposal.
Instagram has over 2 billion active users and over 25 million businesses, which makes it the 4th largest social platform in the world. In 2023, the photo-sharing site is projected to reach 127.2 million monthly active users in the United States, up from 114.6 million in 2020.
Since Instagram is almost exclusively a visual platform, it’s perfect for detailing businesses to show off their work. It allows you to share pics and videos straight from your phone and edit them in-app.
Instagram registers consumer engagement 18 times that of Facebook and 48 times that of Twitter.
If you want to use Instagram for your detailing business, you’ll need to set up a business account, just like on Facebook. You can also convert a personal account into a business account. This will allow you to access extra features that will benefit your business. Then upload your logo as the profile picture, come up with a brief Instagram bio, and create a custom Instagram URL.
Pro Tip: If you have a business page on Facebook, connect it to your Instagram account. This will allow you to post content to both platforms simultaneously!
Instagram posts can be single images, photo carousels, or short videos (reels). You also have the option to post stories that disappear in 24 hours and can include stickers, a question box, link, poll, countdown, location, mention, music, and more. They’re a great way to take your audience behind the scenes and connect with them on a deeper level. You can also share customer reviews and testimonials in Stories. We suggest you “Highlight” these posts to keep them on your profile permanently.
When it comes to feed posts, the options are unlimited. Our favorite type of Instagram feed posts are before and afters - the easiest way to really “wow” your audience and show the massive difference a detail job can make. You can also simply share images of shiny cars you recently detailed or showcase specialist treatments such as headlight restoration, coating installation, or window tinting.
Make sure you’re uploading high-quality images in the right aspect ratio.
Video is taking over the internet. So much so that more than half of marketers say that it’s the most valuable content type for achieving social media marketing goals.
On Instagram, you can share short educational videos and tutorials on relevant topics. For example, you can do a series on winter car care or interior cleaning. To entertain and inspire your audience, film customers’ reactions when they first see their vehicles, answer FAQs about you and your business & introduce your team.
If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a reel or TikTok trend. Who knows, maybe you go viral!
Whichever type of content you decide to post on Instagram, add a compelling caption with a clear CTA. For example, you can tell people to book an appointment via your website or give you a call to get a quote.
And don’t forget the hashtags! Instagram allows for up to 20 per single photo post. If you use them wisely, you can significantly increase the chances of getting discovered by potential customers. Bonus points if you include a location or geo-tag in every Instagram post your share.
In regards to posting frequency, we suggest you aim for 3-5 feed posts per week. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, don’t worry. The key to Instagram is consistency. If you can consistently create 1 or 2 posts a week, you’ll likely get better results than someone who posted every day for a while and then suddenly stopped. As for stories, you can post them more frequently, even daily, while you’re on the go.
Twitter is the 9th most visited website globally with over 450 million active users, 77.75 million of which are in the US, and 118 million businesses. It’s conversational and hashtag friendly, which makes it a great resource for small businesses.
People go to Twitter to find out what’s happening right now. It’s a very fast-paced environment that allows you to share original content with text and media, or retweet/repost other users’ content on your profile.
If you want to use Twitter for your detailing business, the first step is to create a Twitter profile. Add your logo as the profile pic and choose a relevant header photo. Then type in your business name as the display and the account name, and write an elevator pitch in the bio. Lastly, customize your profile with a background that matches your brand.
When your profile is complete, start tweeting! Keep in mind that Twitter is a text-based platform designed for short-form content. And although Elon Musk announced big changes to the platform shortly, the character limit for a tweet is still 280.
On Twitter, your detailing business can share industry news, quick updates, tips and tricks, discounts, special offers, events, memes, quotes, testimonials, polls, and ask questions. To add visual interest, include photos, infographics, videos, GIFs & emojis in your tweets. And don’t forget to use relevant hashtags. They’ll help you cut through the noise and get your tweets seen by audiences interested in the detailing world.
Every second, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted, corresponding to over 350,000 tweets per minute, 500 million per day and 200 billion per year.
As for posting frequency, if you decide to promote your detailing business on Twitter, you’re going to have to commit. We recommend tweeting at least 1 to 5 times per day to be seen by your followers and give them a chance to engage with you.
Love it or hate it, since its launch in 2016, TikTok has exploded and is now the 6th most used social network worldwide. Available for both iOS and Android, the app has been downloaded 3.5 billion times, making it the first non-Meta-owned app to accomplish this.
TikTok’s ascent to a global phenomenon has been incredibly quick. It more than doubled its user base between 2019 and 2021. By 2025, it will approach 1 billion users.
In the US, there are around 80 million monthly active TikTok users. And despite what people are saying, it’s not just teenagers. Yes, almost half of the audience on TikTok are Gen Zers that fall into the 18-24 age range. And yes, there are lots of kids & teens. But there are older folks too. In fact, around 24% of TikTok users are over 35. This is a significant portion of the app’s user base, and it’s currently growing.
If you want to use TikTok for your detailing business, you’ve got to set up a business account first. Simply download the app and use your Google account, business email, or phone number to create a profile. For your username, we suggest sticking to your business name or using the same username that you have on other social media platforms. Then go to your profile settings and click on “switch to a pro account”. Select “business” and add your website URL to your profile.
Want to get access to trending TikTok audios? Switch to a creator account instead of a business account. You won’t be able to display a link in your profile though.
Now for the fun part! Time to create and share your TikToks. Don’t worry if you can’t afford fancy filming equipment - your phone will do. The trick here is to keep it short and to the point.
Around 81% of small businesses say that TikTok is fun and 73% say that it's easy to use.
Here are a couple of ideas for your detailing business’ TikTok account:
Debunk common industry myths
Give your audience a quick shop tour
Film satisfying shots of clean, shiny vehicles
Announce special offers and upcoming events
Show your process through start-to-finish time-lapses
Share controversial opinions on trending industry topics
Promote services by sharing an overview of their benefits
We encourage you to get creative with your TikToks and think outside the box. If your content is good, you’ve got a solid chance to go viral. Why? Because the average organic reach for brands on TikTok is about 118%! For reference, Facebook’s organic reach is only about 5.2%, and Instagram’s around 20%.
Pinterest probably isn’t the first social network to come to mind when you think about promoting your detailing business. Yet, it holds incredible potential for marketers.
If Pinterest was a country, it would be the third-largest country in the world. In 2022, the so-called “visual search engine” boasted 445 million monthly active users across the globe, 50% of whom are in the states.
Pinterest has grown by more than 100 million users over the past year alone, mostly thanks to Millennials and Gen Z-ers. Impressive, right?
The idea of Pinterest is for it to be a sort of virtual pinboard or scrapbook where people can collect, save, share, and organize images and videos. People mostly search it for ideas, tips, motivation, and inspiration.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, using Pinterest to promote your detailing business is a great idea. Simply type in your email and password to create a Pinterest business account. Choose your language and location, enter your business name, add a link to your website and claim it. Then upload your logo as the profile picture, add a cover photo, pick a username closest to your business name, and write your “About” section.
If you have other social media accounts for your business, connect them to your Pinterest account.
Then start sharing pins and creating dedicated Pinterest boards. We suggest posting impressive before & afters, high-quality photos, and videos of freshly detailed cars, user-generated content, product reviews, tutorials, maintenance tips, testimonials… For example, you can create pins on topics like Best Car Wash Soap, How to Get Spotless Car Windows, Do You Really Need a Protective Coating on a New Car, etc.
Pinterest recommends that you create at least one new pin per week. But if you want to see results quickly, we say go for one pin a day. However often you decide to post on Pinterest, make sure that your pins are high-quality, relevant, and valuable to your audience. Don’t just pin for the sake of it! Oh, and if you want to get more traffic on your website, include it as the destination link on every post.
One last thing - keep keywords in mind when using Pinterest to promote your detailing business. Think of the words or phrases your target audience is searching for and include them in pin titles and descriptions, as well as Pinterest board names. If you want to go the extra mile, include alt text in all new pins to boost SEO.
Step 4 - Plan, Create & Schedule Content
Now that you have decided on which social networks you want your detailing business to focus on, it’s time to plan your content. The best way to do this is by creating a social media calendar.
A social media calendar is a list of your upcoming posts on different social platforms. Apart from the creative assets (photos and videos) that you’ll be sharing, it should include information like: when and where each post goes live, what copy is going to be in its caption, as well as which hashtags and which links are you going to include.
This might sound like a drag, but believe us, it’s well worth it.
With a content calendar, you’ll be able to come up with a mix of different types of content to maximize your chances of social media success. It will help you focus on goals and spot content gaps, create content with higher quality & reduce mistakes.
While filling out your content calendar, keep in mind everything you learned during the first 3 stages of this process. Plan to create content that’s valuable and relevant to your target audience, different from that of your competitors, and designed for the right platform. Consider your content creation budget and internal capabilities. Then get to it!
Our advice for content creation is to do it in batches. For this, you need to have a good amount of raw material that you can work with. Take pictures and film clips of as many vehicles that you detail as you can - outside & inside; before, during & after; exterior & interior; as well as the products you use, your shop or mobile rig, etc. Then choose a day when you’ll edit and prep all of your content for the next week or two.
Don’t create content on the fly - it’s more time-consuming and stressful.
Now all you have to do is schedule your posts using a free social media scheduling tool.
Once you get the hang of planning, creating, and scheduling content in advance, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’re saving every day!
Step 5 - Identify Goals & Key Performance Indicators
Social media goals for detailing businesses can relate to increasing brand awareness, managing brand reputation, increasing website traffic, improving community engagement, generating leads, boosting conversions, increasing revenue, providing customer service, gaining marketing insights, attracting talent and new business opportunities, etc.
To define them, we recommend using the SMART goal-setting framework.
SMART goals are clear, easy to measure, attainable, and sensible for your circumstances. Each goal is assigned a specific time frame.
After defining your social media goals, identify metrics that you’ll assign to them. Some of the metrics that you can track include reach, impressions, engagement, profile visits, mentions, etc. Explore what each of these metrics mean to decide which ones are actually relevant for your business. Don’t get caught up on “vanity metrics” such as likes and followers - they may make you feel good, but won’t help you achieve your goals.
Your detailing business will benefit more from a small and engaged local following than a large international following of people who will never end up becoming your customers.
Once you choose metrics that you want to track, define your key performance indicators and benchmarks by comparing your numbers and processes against the industry standards.
Step 6 - Manage, Evaluate & Optimize
We’re guessing that your detailing business won’t be hiring a full-time social media manager in the near future. So it’s going to have to be you, at least for now.
Community management is the ongoing process of transforming your social media audience into a community through online interactions. This includes answering questions, responding to comments, and engaging with other creators’ content.
The goal of community management is to make people feel connected to your brand so that they become your customers and, eventually, brand advocates. It’s also an important factor in ranking in algorithms as all social media networks reward accounts that are active and engaged.
The more you interact with your followers, the more likely you are to show up in their feeds.
Another thing that you’re going to have to do continuously is to evaluate your social media presence. Keep an eye on how different types of content are performing on different platforms, what days and posting times are proving to be most effective, which tactics lead to sales and which are a waste of your time, money & energy. Then take this data and use it to implement changes to your social media strategy.
We know that you’re busy and that your time is valuable, but so is social media.
The truth is, if you want to see your detailing business grow, you need to get online and start leveraging digital marketing. For those of you that are on a budget, the best way to go about it is through social media. Your customers and prospects are already there, waiting to hear from you!
To ensure that you get the most out of your social media presence, follow this 6-step guide and develop a strong social media strategy for your detailing business.