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Don’t Let the Slow Season Slow You Down

Adobe Spark (30)

You probably feel like you’re running around like a crazy turkey (sorry, I couldn’t help the Thanksgiving pun). But the craziness will end soon, and then the REAL work begins!

It’s Go Time!

For many of you, whether you like it or not, the colder part of the year is upon us. As much as you’d like to check out and just go skiing for 4 months (my dream), now is the time to double-down and prepare for the new year.

Look back over this year and think about what your goals were. How are you doing comparatively? Ahead? Behind? Right on track?

What about marketing? What did you want to try out this year that you never got around to? Here are my recommendations for things that should be on your radar for this winter.

Slow Season Recommendations:

Google My Business Posts: These free additions to your public Google listing are free and get you more real estate on the search results page when you make relevant posts and specials.

Doing PPC Right: Pay-Per-Click is a very lucrative opportunity for most markets in the country – and it’s grossly underutilized by our franchise network. You should take a look at starting an appropriately budgeted campaign.

Getting Online Reviews: Online reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should absolutely be a priority for you in 2018 – especially with the anticipated advent of Google Local Services Ads. (The link will take you to the Gateway login page. Click on the Learning portal, and then on Webinars. This one is entitled “Getting More Google Reviews – the Quick, Easy, and CHEAP Way”.)

Social Media: Facebook can be a HUGE time sucker (just ask my wife), but it can also be an incredibly useful tool for your business to get more exposure. Take advantage of features that are inexpensively available to you.

Big Takeaway:

This is a great opportunity for you go get ahead of your business for the year. Don’t let it get away from you!

Have questions about what you should work on or want to get some input? You can click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.

ScheduleCoachingCall

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Look at the BIG Picture (Leveraging the Network Part 3)

Look at the Big Picture 2Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been discussing a question from Amy Diamond Ray, of Johnson County Chem-Dry that I think is worth addressing in the Digital Minute. She said (in part),

“Can you put out some information on how franchises can help other franchises using social media networking? …What helps most, as far as improving my google ratings while also improving the ratings of my fellow zees? Links? How and where is the best place, or way, to create Links with other sites within our chemdry family? Tags? Does it do any good to tag another franchise in my posts? Or In my comments? 

“I see that Links and link structure are important, but can you explain where and how to get those links on a level that the franchises can understand? It seems we have a large base of franchise business sites that should be able to really help each other if they understood better just how to do that.

“I want to know what I can do on Facebook? On Instagram? Twitter? Google+/GMB? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Blogger? Tumblr? If I hashtag another franchise in the comments, does it help them at all?”

The first week, we discussed how being a part of the network is a great advantage that you should use. Last week, we talked about linking carefully. This week, we cover Part 3:

1) You’re part of a network. USE IT.

2) “Think before you link.”

3) Look at the big picture.

Here we go!

Look at the BIG Picture

One of the things I love most about digital marketing (and often becomes the bane of many business owner’s lives) is how you can look at it on so many different levels. You can get very granular with it, or you can zoom out to see how it all plays together.

Here’s what I would say about managing your presence on all these different platforms. Look at it like you’d look at a Thanksgiving dinner spread. You could get caught up in whether the mashed potatoes have enough salt and cream in them, or if the pumpkin pie was made with fresh or canned pumpkin. But, in the long run, it won’t have THAT much bearing on whether or not the meal is a success. What really matters is that all the “required” elements are in place and the end goal of feeding those present is achieved.

In the big picture, as long as you and your fellow franchisees are putting forth efforts to have their tables full (having as much presence as they can manage), you’re all going to benefit.

Big Takeaway:

There are great advantages to being part of a branded franchise network. Use strategic partnerships with other franchisees to grow your business. Remember the following principles:

  1. You’re part of a network. Don’t waste it. USE IT.
  2. Think before you link. Use links to and from your business that will help build your credibility online.
  3. Look at the BIG picture when it comes to online presence and social media. Don’t get too granular.

If you’d like help figuring out what you can do better, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.

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Leveraging the Chem-Dry Social Network (Part 1)

Leveraging the Chem-Dry Social NetworkOne of our own, Amy Diamond Ray, from Johnson County Chem-Dryasked me a great question the other day on the Facebook group that I think is worth addressing in the Digital Minute. She said (in part),
“Can you put out some information on how franchises can help other franchises using social media networking? …What helps most, as far as improving my google ratings while also improving the ratings of my fellow zees? Links? How and where is the best place, or way, to create Links with other sites within our chemdry family? Tags? Does it do any good to tag another franchise in my posts? Or In my comments?


“I see that Links and link structure are important, but can you explain where and how to get those links on a level that the franchises can understand? It seems we have a large base of franchise business sites that should be able to really help each other if they understood better just how to do that.


“I want to know what I can do on Facebook? On Instagram? Twitter? Google+/GMB? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Blogger? Tumblr? If I hashtag another franchise in the comments, does it help them at all?”
 
I’m going to try to address this as succinctly but fully as I can. To keep this digestible, I’ll break it into three parts and cover them over the coming weeks:

1) You’re part of a network. USE IT.

2) “Think before you link.” (I like that, I might trademark it.)

3) Look at the big picture.

Well, here we go.

1) You’re Part of a Network. USE IT.

One of the great advantages of being part of a franchise network is the opportunity it gives you to connect with people in the same boat as you. As we’ve seen many times over the years, you become like family and support one another professionally and personally. Some of you will attest to having some of your best friends be fellow Chem-Dry owners.

When it comes to networking your businesses online, I only have one suggestion. As my friend Starsky would say, “Do it.”

It would benefit you as a business owner to connect with other Chem-Dry owners to help each other grow. BUT, you have to do it carefully. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Instagram “Pods”: A recent trend among social media influencers (people with a large-ish following that are paid to promote products) is the concept of having a “pod” which acts like a co-op. A group of 10-30 people or businesses get together and they agree to help each other play the algorithm by commenting on each other’s posts to boost the engagement numbers. This, in turn, tells Instagram that the original poster is providing engaging content and should therefore be recommended to even more people. It’s a way of gaming the system that’s working for now, but may not work in the future.

So, if you want to, you can work together with other Chem-Dry owners to engage in each other’s content, but you have to do it in such a way that the comments and interactions feel “organic” and not robotic. For example, on a before/after that a fellow franchisee shares, you can comment with something like “That’s a great example of what Chem-Dry can do!” instead of typing “Amazing!” (which will quickly get marked as spam).

Sharing on Facebook vs. Google+: As much as I want to tell you that Google+ is a dead platform that nobody uses (which is true in some senses), it still poses some opportunities that Facebook doesn’t. When you post to Google+, make sure it’s something that refers to your website (a new blog post, a new YouTube video on your site, etc.). You can also do something similar to what I mentioned with Instagram where you co-op with other franchise owners to share each other’s content, which links back to your partner’s website and boosts SEO value. HOWEVER, sharing similarly on Facebook, doesn’t boost SEO because all Facebook traffic is tagged with a value of “no-follow” to Google, which means that when someone gets to your website from Facebook or interacts with what you post there doesn’t influence Google’s algorithm or your search rankings. But it DOES work into Facebook’s algorithm (essentially the same as Instagram because they’re the same company) and make it more likely that you’ll be recommended to a potential customer or follower.

In plain English, feel free to share each other’s posts and content on Facebook, and tag (mention the company name to create a link) your partner Chem-Dry franchisee on Facebook, but don’t expect the post to benefit you or them outside of Facebook. If you want to help each other boost your SEO (again, carefully and not to be overdone), you can share your fellow franchisee’s Google+ updates. Work together to share the brand.

Big Takeaway:

There are great advantages to being part of a branded franchise network. Use strategic partnerships with other franchisees to grow your business. Remember the following principles:

  1. You’re part of a network. Don’t waste it. USE IT.
  2. Find a group of “friend” franchises (There are 1,000+ of you, so that shouldn’t be hard).
  3. Work together to share content and support each other’s posts.

If you’d like help figuring out what you can do better, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.

ScheduleCoachingCall

 

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Social Media, Local SEO, Pokemon & You

Adobe Spark (9)

A virtual phenomenon swept the country last year aiming to get “gamers” who stereotypically live in their parents basements, wear sweatpants, and subsist on hot pockets out into the real world, interacting with the elements. You may have heard of it – “Pokemon Go.”

While I have to admit that I tried it out and enjoyed it for a while, it became a waste of time. HOWEVER, my son has recently taken it up and since he’s only 8, I have to go around with him.

Essentially, the game consists of walking around your neighborhood or city hunting and “catching” virtual and fictitious animals with ridiculous names that you can then use to battle against other players’ collections.

But part of the game is “checking in” at various places of interest to collect supplies. They’re called “Poke-Stop’s.” Walking around with him got me thinking, “This is what Chem-Dry owners should be doing!”

You Want Me to WHAT?!…

Okay, so I don’t literally want you to go out playing a video game. You have more important things to do. But I want you look at it this way:

As a service-area business, you want to be local. SUPER local. A great way to do that is to tie your business to local places of interest. What does that mean?

Here are a few ideas:

  • When your technician gets lunch, does he/she go to a popular local diner? Have him/her snap a quick picture of their plate along with your business card.
  • Cleaning for a business? Take a picture of your team out front of the establishment before you begin. Encourage people to come by the next day to see what a great job you did.
  • Participating in a town parade? Share your parade position and what you’ll be handing out.

Ideally, you should pair a picture every time you do this (it improves engagement). But the biggest thing is that you “check in” when doing so. It’s easy.

How Do I Do That?

On Facebook (Desktop):

Click to start writing a post from your business page. Then “Check In” to a local place. If you’re not actually nearby, you can search for it and select the location.

 

Facebook Mobile:

pencil

Just touch the “Publish” icon to start typing a post (the pencil & paper one like you see over to the right).

Then, from the next screen, touch the “Check In” icon at the bottom right of your screen. Again, if you’re nearby, the place should come up automatically. If you’re not, simply search for the business and tag the listing.

It’s that easy. Now, not only will your post show up on your own Facebook page, tying you to the noteworthy location, but the place/business’s page will get a notification that you checked in there and THEIR followers will see your post as well.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Instagram (Mobile Only):

If your company is doing Instagram (which I highly recommend, in this webinar), you can kill two Pidgey’s (or birds) with one stone.

After you selected your picture and typed your caption (using the appropriate Chem-Dry hash-tags), you can flip the Facebook switch (and Twitter if you like) for your own page and then use a locale that’s recommended under “Add Location”. When you do that, you’ve accomplished the Facebook Check-In AND the Instagram one.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media and location tagging is a great, easy way for you to connect your business to the community. It doesn’t take much. A few pictures/posts each month will go a LONG way.
  1. Check in at local places of interest.
  2. Find a way to tie your business to the place.
  3. Invite customers to check out the other business to see how you did. Their customers will see your activity as well.
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Tweaking Your Facebook Page for Better Local Results

FB-IG Tweaks Blog Header

Facebook is an awesome place to maintain a relationship with past customers and even connect with new ones. But a challenging thing about Facebook is making it more relevant to your local service area business. Let’s talk about a couple quick tweaks you can make to your business page to get better results on a local level.

Tweak #1: Your Preferred Audience

The first quick tweak I would have you make is this: get a list of the zip codes you cover (talk to your Franchise Administration Rep, or I can even help you get it). Use that list to refine your location and the audience you’re trying to cater to.

Facebook uses your location and preferred page audience settings to make recommendations to other potential customers (usually whose friends have liked your page). While it’s nice to get page likes and followers from outside your area, you can’t service them! It’s far better to focus in on customers you can work for.

I would recommend having your vendor go in and change the settings on your page’s “Preferred Page Audience” to emphasize the “local” nature of your business. Keep it fairly high-level by not narrowing down too much with age, gender, etc., but definitely tell Facebook where you’re most interested in being found.

You can find a step-by-step tutorial here.

Tweak #2: Location and Instagram

Instagram is a growing social media platform that’s actually owned by Facebook. In fact, it’s growing so much, that in some markets and demographics, it’s actually overtaking Facebook in growth!

If you don’t have a company Instagram account, you can create one with your Facebook account. You can even have a business account AND a personal account. The nice thing about Instagram is that if you post a picture or video there, you can have it automatically share over to your Facebook page.

BUT, that’s not even the best part! When you take pictures and tag the location where you took them, you add even more local value to your post. Are you cleaning for a local restaurant or sports team? Check in at that location with your post and get your post shared on that organization’s Facebook page too!

There are a few technical things you need to work out to do this, but that’s why I’ve created this tutorial for your or your vendor.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media can be a confusing marketing practice, but it doesn’t have to be if you use tools to pair up different systems. These are just a couple examples.

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Reviews are Reviews are Reviews

I’ve had a lot of people ask me over the past few weeks what they can do with reviews or feedback they’ve received over the years that didn’t “qualify” as official Google or Facebook reviews.
They’re not useless. Here’s what you can do with them!

Quote Them!

If you’re like many business owners, you’ve gotten comments, thank-you cards, e-mails, and text messages in the past years that have told you how much they appreciated your service. And, while they don’t count as official reviews unless the customer logs into their account and leaves it on your Facebook or Google profile, you can still use them (with their permission, of course!). 
Say Mrs. Smith responded to a follow-up e-mail where you just checked in after the job to make sure that everything ran smoothly. If her response says something like:
“Joe did a fantastic job. I’ve never seen my carpets look this clean. I’m going to tell all my friends and neighbors about you guys!”
Do you think that’s worth sharing? Absolutely! Quickly reply back to her and ask if you quote her on your website or on Facebook using only her first name, last initial, and city. Chances are, she’ll be fine with it. Hey, she may be willing to even go there and write it herself!

Snap It!

There’s a fair chance you’re reading this on a device that can help you here – your smartphone. If you received some feedback from a customer – especially hand-written – you can take a quick snapshot of that feedback and share it on Facebook, Google, Instagram, anywhere! A hand-written note is SO much more credible to the viewer.
If you decide to post it to social media, quote the note in the caption for it in case the handwriting may be difficult to read. Once again, cite the person’s first name, last initial, and city.
Big Takeaway:
You work hard to make your customers happy, so you should absolutely use every bit they give you back to its fullest potential. If you can’t get an official online review, you can still use what they give you.
  1. Always invite customers to leave you reviews and feedback on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
  2. Quote your satisfied customers on social media to add credibility to your work.
  3. Use visual media to enhance your results by sharing pictures of handwritten reviews and feedback.
To stay relevant in the online business world, you need reviews. You should do everything you can to get them – in whatever form they may take.