Which Social Media Channels Best Fit Your Company?

Photo via iStockphoto.com/Hocus-Focus
Photo via iStockphoto.com/Hocus-Focus

When it comes to social media, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and where to invest your time.

For car rental, social media platforms can be broken into two tiers of importance: tier 1 comprises Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Yelp, while tier 2 comprises LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, Tumblr.

Social media experts say that Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Yelp are used to participate in online trends and to inject a company’s brand name into a conversation, while Google+ and Yelp are important in regards to customer reviews.

Stefan Jagot, social media coordinator for Bluebird Auto Rental Systems, and Joe Ferguson of The Web Guys, a web design and Internet marketing agency that works with independent car rental companies, share their insight on these popular social media platforms — and how each can be helpful to a car rental operator.


Tier 1

Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

Twitter:

What is it? Twitter is an online social networking service where users can send short 140-character messages called tweets. Hashtags allow users to search for tweets that have a common topic.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: Twitter provides operators the opportunity to respond to customers and complaints in real time. It’s also effective in sharing relevant content from across the Web. Twitter can also be used sparingly to promote company rates.

Ferguson: Twitter is good for staying connected with followers minute to minute. A brand starts to grow when a company comments and interjects into existing conversations.
Twitter is also beneficial for customer service. Users will tweet if they have a good or bad experience and tag the brand; it’s best to respond to their concerns.

 

Facebook:
Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

What is it? Facebook is an online social networking service that allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and send messages. Additionally, users can build common interest groups, publicize an event and create a public page around a specific topic.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: Facebook can be used for many things. However, as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has explicitly stated, Facebook should not be used for blatant promotion — unless it’s a paid advertisement. Facebook has gone as far as to penalize business pages that blatantly promote.

Use Facebook as an “engagement tool.” That means posting videos, articles and photos that your target consumers may find interesting. Also, Facebook has a review system, which can be used for improving customer service.

Ferguson: Facebook is great for showing the human side of a company. Car rental companies can post photos of their office or their fleet getting detailed. They can post company announcements — like an upcoming sale or new fleet vehicles — or post a thank you to customers.

Facebook is about creating a community and participating in it. In addition to posting, car rental businesses need to engage users by putting themselves into other posts and using the tagging tool.

Google+:
Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

What is it? Owned and operated by Google Inc., Google+ is a social network where users can post status updates to the stream, group different types of relationships into circles and upload photos to private cloud-based albums.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: Similar to YouTube, any content created for Google+ will help a company’s Google search rankings — as long as the company’s website is synced to its Google+ page. Likewise, if a company’s Google+ page is synced to its blog, that will also improve the company’s search results in Google.

Additionally, Google+ has a review system for users, which can be used for reputation management and customer service.

Ferguson: In Google’s social media platform, reviews can separate companies from their competition and improve their click-through rates. Having a five-star logo on a Google+ profile can help build customer confidence.

 

Yelp:
Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

What is it? Yelp publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses. Originally founded to help people find local businesses, business owners can set up free accounts to interact with their customers.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: This service should be used by all operators, as it will allow you to gauge how the community views your business. From there, companies can respond (in a polite manner) to criticisms or respond to praises.

If your company is not on Yelp, you are doing a huge disservice to your business. Reputation management is important for any industry, especially for car rental. People will rent from trusted companies, and Yelp is the best way to build trust on the Internet.

Ferguson: Due to negative reviews, some companies don’t want to be on Yelp, but the fact is they are going to be on there anyway. When responding to a negative review, do it publicly on Yelp. It’s an opportunity to publicly share professionalism: acknowledge the customer had a bad experience and his or her opinion will be taken into consideration.


Tier 2

LinkedIn:
Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

What is it? LinkedIn is a business-focused social networking service, which is mainly used for professional networking. Users can create a profile that lists job experience and skills.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: LinkedIn should not be used for business-to-customer interaction, since it acts as a business-to-business platform. However, operators can connect with one another and use LinkedIn as a tool to create business connections and discuss the industry. Essentially, LinkedIn is a pure business networking social media outlet.

Ferguson: A car rental company should have a LinkedIn page to build networks within the industry, but it won’t help expand its brand to consumers. This platform is beneficial for seeing what industry leaders are posting and what kind of news is being presented. Operators can post blogs to LinkedIn, but they should be industry-focused.

 

YouTube:
Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

What is it? YouTube is a video-sharing website where people can watch and share originally-created videos.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: Because YouTube is owned by Google, anytime you create content for YouTube, it will help a business in its Google search rankings. YouTube videos should be short, interesting and direct. Unless your company possesses video production skills, content for a YouTube channel should be outsourced.

Ferguson: YouTube can be useful for posting short, informational videos on your website or linking them to your Facebook page. If someone on staff has a GoPro video camera, consider taking videos of the check-in/checkout rental process or how to detail cars.

 

Instagram:
Photo via Zenspa1/Flickr.
Photo via Zenspa1/Flickr.

What is it? Instagram is an online social networking service where users can take pictures and videos and share them on other social networking platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: Instagram is purely visual and mobile-based. It is best utilized by operators located in resort towns and/or operators with premium fleets. With no ability to post links on an Instagram profile, it’s best used to keep your business top-of-mind — not to convert to sales.

Ferguson: Similar to Twitter, operators need a point person consistently posting photos to engage users. If a company only posts one photo per week; it will get lost in the feed. Instagram could be a good fit for sharing photos of exotic rentals. Make sure to link your Instagram account with your Facebook and Twitter.

 

Tumblr:
Photo via Chad Swaney/Flickr.
Photo via Chad Swaney/Flickr.

What is it? Tumblr is a social networking website that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: My advice is similar to that for Instagram, but Tumblr is not mobile-based and does allow link posting. Still, most Tumblr users aren’t likely to respond to marketing attempts. You’re best off utilizing your resources in other social media platforms.

Ferguson: This social blogging website is better fit for a personal, public diary. A car rental company would be better off posting blogs on its website and then linking it to its Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Pinterest:
Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

What is it? Pinterest is a photo-sharing website where users can upload, save and manage images —known as pins — along with other media content like videos. These pins can be organized into collections known as pinboards.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: If your operation is based in a resort town, Pinterest could be used for the same purposes as Instagram. Stick to visual-based content, and your business should see some results.

Ferguson: Pinterest is known for being more artsy and craft-based. If a company is planning to post photos of its rental vehicles, it can do that more effectively through Twitter and Facebook.

 

Foursquare:
Photo via Wikipedia.
Photo via Wikipedia.

What is it? Foursquare is a local search mobile app where users can “check-in” at their current location and share with other Foursquare users.

How it’s helpful to car rental operators:

Jagot: While Foursquare isn’t the most popular social media app, there are enough users to warrant taking some time with it. Upon claiming your company’s location on Foursquare, you can use the service to promote specials exclusive to Foursquare users. This could build brand loyalty and keep customers coming back.

Ferguson: Foursquare is more like a directory but it’s becoming more popular. The “check-in” feature could be beneficial for an auto rental company if other Foursquare users see its brand name during “check-ins.” As users check-in at locations, they can earn specials and deals.

Comments

  1. chetan prajapati [ June 16, 2015 @ 08:25AM ]

    we are in to rent a car business from last 12 years we are looking new corporate clients for long therms rental we will give new car with train chafferers

  2. Scott Curry [ July 2, 2015 @ 11:50AM ]

    This is such a great article. I will definitely be passing this on to new clients when they need help deciding if they want to do social media for their companies.

    Thanks!

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