Facebook

A lot of small businesses create a Facebook page because they feel like not having one hurts them. As long as there’s a page in the Google results, they feel like they’ll avoid losing potential customers — may not gain any, but at least it won’t be a net loss.

Wrong.

One of the easiest ways to drive away potential new clients is to create a Facebook page and then completely ignore it. There’s nothing more sad and discouraging for a hopeful Googler than to come upon a Facebook business page that is empty, dark, and hollow. Rather than finding the page and thinking, “Oh, well at least there’s a Facebook page; must be legitimate,” they think, “Where’s all the content? This looks like a front.”

So, in fact, having a Facebook page that you ignore is a net loss. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can turn social media into your most powerful marketing channel just by showing it some love. We take about one or two hours every day to manage this blog and our Facebook and Twitter pages. The key is to give your page a personality — as though it were an employee, or a mascot.

Make sure you have a well-written about section and all of your vital information, like contact numbers, location, hours, and prices. Use high-quality, colorful photos (avoid amateur-looking iPhone snapshots if you can).

As for the posts themselves, this is the most important part. They key is to build an audience by engaging it. Share information that you believe will be useful for the people you hope will be your customers; transportation articles, car care tips, and your own promotions are all great examples. The more you encourage them to comment and “like” your posts, the wider their reach will be.

Sometimes, you may be running a major car wash promotion and want to advertise it far and wide. Facebook offers something called post boosting. You can boost a post by clicking the button at the bottom of any post. Once you have an action-oriented message, a great photo, and a link, boost your post by choosing the city and interests of your audience. For car wash businesses, your audience’s interests may include car topics — or you could leave that option blank to reach a more general crowd. You can also choose a target age. Thirty- and 40-somethings is probably your best bet.

Ultimately the goal is to accumulate “likes” for your page. These people will see your future posts. Presumably they’re your most loyal customers and are interested in what you have to say. So make sure you stay relevant to them.

Here are some examples of car wash businesses doing Facebook the right way:

Do you have as many likes as these car washes? Tell us about it, and let us know what works for you.