Enhancing Customer Relationships With Social Media – Customer Spotlight

I’m on a journey to find small businesses that understand the importance of owning their social media presence. Today I had a great conversation with one of Demandforce’s customers – Bell Tire & Auto in Glendale, Arizona – where Dave Bankston injects a healthy dose of personality into the business’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. Spending no more than 3-4 hours a week since starting, Dave has been able to learn enough about social media tools to impact his business in a noticeable way:

What made you decide to start using social media for your business?

I’m enrolled with ATI (who is also a Demandforce partner) and attended one of their classes on social media about a year ago. I’ve always been interested in social media and was hoping that our customers would follow us.

What is your favorite thing about Twitter? Facebook?

I like the fact that I can link the two together. When I’m traveling, I can tweet something and it gets posted on my business Facebook page. It’s easy. People responding to tweets seem to be more non-customers right now, while Facebook is where my existing customers come together.

Also, it [social media] shows that we’re not just a bunch of guys working on cars all day – we have stories to tell. I always make sure to respond when someone makes a comment on Facebook, and customers seem to really like that.

What have your customers said about what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter?

The response has been pretty positive. We’ve posted events like a toy drive for a local charity, and we did a car wash for a local baseball team. Our customers tend to respond to that kind of thing on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve made a conscious effort not to have any hard sales pitches on my Facebook page – for me this is initially about building a relationship with my community.

On using social media to build relationships with your community…

Social Media lets our business have a more personal relationship with our customers. I could write a check once a month to somebody that knows more about Twitter and Facebook than I do, but you can see it in the content – it’s more genuine when it comes from you.

I really like that Dave has morphed his Facebook Page into a place where his network can come together for the local community. His stance on focusing on the relationship is key, and we’re really excited to see where this goes! I’d like to extend my thanks to Dave Bankston and the team at Bell Tire & Auto for taking the time to meet with me and share their story.

As for how Demandforce integrates with social media, we’re on the fast track with Dave and the Bell Tire & Auto team. The business already has their Twitter and Facebook profiles linked to their Demandforce account, so all of their communications drive customers to engage online. And, with the Demandforce Connect for Facebook apps launching in early January 2011, we’ll have a tightly integrated reviews, schedule requests, and coupon feed driving even more business to the shop. Stay tuned for more interviews like this where we highlight Demandforce customers who have found success with social media.

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