I recently read an article called 6 Reasons Dry Cleaners Should Ignore Social Media and my first reaction was, “Is this writer crazy?” My second reaction was to respond as to why that is not true for dry cleaners or any other small business owners.
What is social media? “Social Media is the new Wild, Wild West of Marketing, with brands, businesses, and organizations jostling with individuals to make news, friends, connections and build communities in the virtual space. A plethora of platforms ranging from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to a vast variety of newly emerging and rapidly dwindling services, like, Foursquare and MySpace, social media is all about influencing people one-on-one; and achieving P2P (person-to-person) communication that influences awareness, acceptance and behavior. Powerful tactics and tools of communication, social networks can and should play an important role in every brand-building, maintenance and protection strategy.” Deborah Weinstein — Strategic Objectives More thoughts on what social media is here: 30 Social Media Definitions
As the Director of Marketing and Social Media Manager for Kreussler Inc., I feel I am uniquely qualified to write this piece as I work with social media and dry cleaners. Kreussler Inc. works in the dry cleaning industry and supplies chemicals to dry cleaners. We are involved with Twitter and Facebook. I encourage all dry cleaners and other small business owners to be involved in social media and here is why:
1. Build relationships
Imagine that Mrs. Jones just moved to a new town, she doesn’t have a dry cleaner yet. She makes some new friends and they friend each other on Facebook. Mrs. Smith likes a comment on her dry cleaners page and Mrs. Jones sees this in her timeline. She didn’t ask Mrs. Smith directly for a referral for a dry cleaner but she got a vote of approval on Facebook. She likes the dry cleaners Facebook page, checks out their location and decides to try them out.
Facebook and Twitter are great places to stay involved with your community. Share community events and talk about what your business is doing in your town. Small businesses are the heart of every town and your small business is no exception. Puritan Cleaners posted this cute photo guaranteed to get a few likes.
4. Blend your traditional marketing with social media
Starting with social media doesn’t mean that you need to stop your older methods of reaching clients, especially if they have worked for you. Using your existing methods can help boost your new social media program. Small businesses should have an updated website to list their hours and services which can work together with newer media.
5. Fantastic marketing opportunity
Share your services, your hours, your “customer of the month,” you name it! Social media is direct, current, and easily available. Take the time to learn some of the tips and tricks to most effectively reach your clients and jump in!
6. Word of mouth marketing starts in social media today
Remember this commercial?
Well, today if someone likes something, they don’t just tell two friends they tell ALL their friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Word of mouth buzz for your services has never had the opportunity to reach so many people!
Take a look at this case study on Word of Mouth Marketing Association‘s (WOMMA) website: Snackers look to Social for New Products. ”Whether it be a car wash, a dry cleaner, your neighborhood Chinese restaurant, or your favorite snack foods, all brands and services can greatly benefit from passionate and genuine advocacy.” Imagine your very best customer sharing the story of their love for your small business to potential customers. Now make it happen with social media! Creating a Facebook page gives your advocates a place to share their recommendations and learn more about your brand.
Of course, you should be too! It would not be prudent at this stage of the social media game to ignore it. You don’t need to jump into all the different platforms at once, start with Facebook and branch out to Twitter when you are comfortable. Pinterest is also a fun way to get in social media.
8. Chances are your competitors are already there
Don’t lose market share and a competitive edge by letting the cleaner across the street talk to your customers.
9. Make sure you are listening to what your customers are saying about you on social media
Social media is a conversation so you need to be listening to what you customers are saying. Worried that you might get a customer complaint on Facebook? Guess what, it is going to happen but you can use it as an opportunity to fix the problem and rebuild the relationship with your customer. If you aren’t there to respond, it is much more damaging.
10. Talk to your customers where they are talking
4.8 billion people now own mobile phones. Just 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. My first thought, “ICK!” Second thought: “Bet they would love to get a coupon for 20% off their next dry cleaning order on their smart phone so they can use it when they stop in later.” Check out the great infographic with more info here.
11. Build your brand
People like to do business with people they like — humanize your brand with social media. Tiffany Couture Cleaners posts a fun picture of Pooh waiting to be cleaned which is engaging and interesting. Instead of just receiving a static coupon in the mail, let them see the picture from your company softball game over the weekend or something fun!
I’d also like to mention that in the post, the writer says “10 Reasons Why Dry Cleaners Should (initially) Ignore Social Media” but then only lists six in the article and title. I am guessing he didn’t have four other thoughts on why they should ignore social media.
As you can see, social media is the PERFECT place for a dry cleaner or any small business. What are your thoughts on social media for small business? Any other suggestions or arguments about dry cleaners being on social media? Article by Peg Fitzpatrick
Peg Fitzpatrick is proud to be a Managing Partner and writer for 12 Most. She is Director of Marketing and Social Media Manager for Kreussler Inc., and hosts the popular #MyBookClub chat on the 1st Monday of every month at 8 pm EST.
She has also started speaking at events such as the #140 Conference and is honored to be included on several “best of” online and blogging lists. Peggy loves to travel and enjoys photography as well.
All about being positive and connecting, she is a true social butterfly. Tweet her and say hi at @pegfitzpatrick, find her Stumbling on StumbleUpon, rocking Google+ here Google or happily pinning on Pinterest
- Use GoogleAlerts to see where their customers are talking about them
- Define a strategy for engaging those customers where they are talking...and keep the engagement consistent
- Besides brand protection, definitely look for the natural brand advocates. Their testimonials will go a lot further than anything YOU can come up with in regards to other consumers' trust. Definitely leverage any good UGC (user generated content)...especially if it involves videos or pictures that can be shared on YouTube/Facebook/Pinterest
- Find other ways to engage with customers w/competitions, polls and even slightly irrelevant...and perhaps irreverent depending upon the industry...topics
- Make sure your social profiles are available everywhere (blog, storefront, mailers, etc).
- Get involved with some form of community outreach to show you are there for the community...not just to make a buck.
And the list can go on...and on...and on. Depends upon the type of small business!
I just finished the statistics report for a new client. We did the bare minimum in social media and we still got leads. Just proves to me that social media is a must have, even if it is not your main focus. Messages spread much further than you think.
Spot on, Peggy! Every business I run into seems to think that its industry is the exception to the rule when it comes to being active on social media. And it's precisely because they think in this way that 1) they don't get involved or 2) they try but completely fail at it.
Super post Peg. My Ariel Screen Arts, llc business gets almost half of our work off of Facebook alone - a lot of the people who follow us are real life customers, but something we post gives them a new idea.... or, it just reminds them that we're here.