[caption id="attachment_3520" align="aligncenter" width="508"]Twitter can have a variety of uses for auto shop owners. Twitter can have a variety of uses for auto shop owners.[/caption]

There are several ways you can use Twitter to attract and keep customers, improve your bottom line and make your other social media feeds and advertising dollars work more efficiently for you.

You certainly don’t want to use Twitter as a base for your social media advertising or presence—you need your own website, Facebook page, blog or all three to do that—but Twitter can help drive customers to those places and allow you get the most out of them.

Here are a few examples of autoshops that have used Twitter to their advantage, along with what they did right, what they did wrong and how you can do it better.



The good:
There’s a lot to like about this feed. Take a look at the first message. It’s informative with a mildly humorous edge to it. Bill is cautioning customers and potential customers about deals that are too good to be true while picking on two classic automotive punching bags: the Pinto and the Vega. He’s also not directly identifying his competitors, which will help build a bond of trust between him and his customers—new and old.

The second message tells a short story to highlight a unique service he offers while offering practical—and free—advice.

The bad:
There is no call to action, or link to any of his contact information.

The solution:
Make sure you use Twitter to link back to a site where customers can find more information about you.



The good:
This shop does what people expect from a social media site: offers free advice with a purpose. While the top message is essentially straight-out marketing, the second is merely a personal touch while the third poses a problem and offers a solution. In general, try to stick to this formula: 30 percent marketing (at most) 70 percent advice or social interaction.

The bad:
His Twitter handle, cute as it may be, doesn’t let you know who he is. Also, the tweets are spaced out a bit.

The solution:
Use your Twitter handle and profile to help build your brand, and tweet every day.



The good:
This shop’s Twitter feed features a clear identification of the brand, both in the name and the profile picture. There’s a clear call to action with the phone number attached (although, in a social media form like Twitter, a link usually works better). He offers practical advice in the form of a question, too.

What struck our interest, however, is the use of Twitter to solicit customer feedback. Positive customer feedback is one of the best ways you can promote your shop because it builds up the confidence level of prospective customers and increases the trust of current ones. And, because the feedback will come through Twitter, it will be, by definition, short.

The bad:
The top message is a big vague, and might be dismissed as “click bait.” There are enough characters available to give readers a hint about what they’re going to see, which will make them more likely to click the link.

The solution:
Twitter messages are only 140 characters long. Use the space you have!

Those are a few examples. Do you have others? Let us know in the comment section.