Case Study: Auto Shop Outsources Social Ad Campaigns

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Merchant: Reliable Auto Repair
Location: San Jose, California
Platforms: ReachLocal, Facebook, Google, Yelp
Bottom Line: Business owners that don’t have personal Facebook accounts are more likely to outsource the management of their professional social media campaigns.

As social media advertising becomes more pervasive, businesses have to do more to get noticed. At Reliable Auto Repair in San Jose, California, Operations Manager Michael Jidkov says the hardest part about reaching customers on Facebook, Google, and Yelp is standing apart from the competition.

“People can search for any service that they want and get literally hundreds of phone numbers to call, and unfortunately that creates more pressure to get the customer through our doors before they can call the next five places, which is sometimes challenging,” he says.

Jidkov says his customer acquisition tactics have shifted in recent years from print to online channels, like Facebook, Google, and Yelp. The change in medium has been necessary, he says, because customers nowadays are much more likely to message a business online than to pick up a telephone and call for an appointment.

“We have to seek more technologically advanced ways of reaching people that are constantly staring at their phones and computers,” Jidkov says. “[Consumers are] too socially anxious to consider calling someone on the phone or building a working business relationship in person.”

For Reliable Auto Repair, the key to success on social media has been outsourcing the most complicated tasks to an agency that specializes in marketing for SMBs. Jidkov has been working with ReachLocal, not just for help with social media advertising, but also for search advertising and lead management.

Like many small business operators, Jidkov doesn’t have the time to devote to understanding the minutia of Facebook marketing. He doesn’t even have a personal Facebook account, so implementing a sophisticated social media strategy for new customer acquisition seemed like a task that would be better to outsource.

“I’ve never managed a Facebook ad campaign, so I would not be able to tell you the pros and cons of using ReachSocial in comparison to laying my own social media bricks,” he says.

What Jidkov is able to evaluate are the metrics being generated by his digital campaigns. One of the major reasons he relies on an agency for social media marketing is because it’s easier, at least in theory, to evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing campaigns. In reality, Jidkov says the five months he’s been running ReachSocial campaigns hasn’t been a long enough period of time to generate quality feedback.

“The way that we measure the impact that advertising has on our bottom line is we document how many new customers we were able to service during one month, pair that with the amount of calls that we had received via our ReachLocal app, add up the total amount the new customer’s invoices generated, and compare it to the amount of money we pay ReachLocal a month,” he says.

In the past two months, Reliable Auto Repair has received 150 website clicks from ReachSocial Ads. The business has also generated more than 740 calls through ReachSearch, ReachLocal’s search advertising solution, in the past two years. These data points are useful to Jidkov as he looks at how many interactions result in sales and compares that information to how much he’s paying for ReachLocal’s service each month.

“I have no doubt that it will bring new business, he says, “but it has simply not been enough time for me to provide any meaningful judgment.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.