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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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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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You’ve Got to Watch This!

One of the biggest trends in digital marketing for 2017 is audiovisual media. People just love watching videos online! It’s incredible! According to a recent YouTube study, the world watches over 1 BILLION HOURS of video per day.
What does that mean for you as a Chem-Dry owner? Text posts and pictures may not cut it. It’s time to invest in video.
What Videos Work?
Generally speaking, people want short (30-120 seconds), digestible videos that don’t take much time, but are full of remarkable information or entertaining antics. As a Chem-Dry franchise, you have the ability to really show off some amazing things that you can do for people.
Live video is also a big thing for your business – especially if you can capture something interesting like showcasing how you remove tough stains, or a great tile job. The big thing for videos for your business is that they need to be interesting and show your personality. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go viral overnight.
What’s Available To Use?
Marketing Toolbox Button
Well, because we love our Chem-Dry franchises, we’ve made some GREAT videos that talk about the benefits of Chem-Dry cleaning services and the Healthy Home Study. You can find many of these videos in the Marketing Toolbox on the Gateway. You can download the video and upload it to your company’s YouTube channel, or just upload it directly to Facebook with a good caption.
How Do I Make a Video?
Here’s the thing you have to remember about internet videos – generally, they don’t have to be super polished. You can go through a lot of effort to modify, edit, add music, transitions, titles, etc… But at the end of the day, what matters is the content. You can probably shoot a good enough video with your smartphone that will serve you just fine.
Just make sure that you brand yourself properly (use proper colors, uniforms, and introduce yourself by your whole company name) and that you don’t misrepresent brand promises, and you’re golden!
For more tips on shooting a great video with your smartphone, I recommend this helpful tutorial.
Big Takeaway:
Videos are a great way to quickly communicate the value of your business not only by talking about it, but SHOWING it. Try doing these things:
  1. Shoot a short, easy video highlighting your service. Show results.
  2. Get in front of the camera to talk about WHY your business is the best choice.
  3. Upload a video from the Gateway to get the ball rolling and remind people about the power of Chem-Dry.
Videos are a quick, easy way to show some personality in your business and engage with customers to remind them why they chose you in the first place. It’s about time you shared some with them.
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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.
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Finding Free Clients on Facebook

 
The social media giant is really changing the way business owners connect with customers online. There are SO many options that include:
  • Paid ads
  • Retargeting
  • E-commerce
  • Reviews
  • Video showcases
  • Pictures

But what if you’re on a tight budget? Is there a way to drive sales for free? Luckily for you, there is.

Enter Community Pages & Sales Groups

A recent trend in Facebook has been the rise of community or location-based classifieds and buy/sell/trade groups. If you’re reasonably active on Facebook, you’re probably a member of one, or a quick search for “[your location] Classifieds” will bring one up.
Members of these groups will often post questions such as “I need a good mechanic. Who have you dealt with that’s been good?” People then start throwing in their personal recommendations.
Now, you won’t be able to join the group as your business – at least, not if you’ve set up your business profile correctly. But you CAN join as yourself and (somewhat shamelessly) plug your business.
These groups are absolutely free to join and are a great way to connect with potential clients.

How Can I Find Jobs?

A great thing about local sales & classifieds groups and an easy way to find potential jobs within them is to use the available “search” function within it.
All you need to do is type in the kind of service you offer in this search bar to see who’s looking for you. It doesn’t take too long, but you’ll want to do it on a regular basis if you want to really leverage it. Facebook moves fast.
Once you’ve found a recent post that offers an opportunity for you to plug your business, simply comment on the post with your recommendation and, possibly, your contact information. You don’t have to know the person to leave a comment.
One suggestion I might add is to utilize any alliances you may have with other business owners (commercial accounts) or service providers in your area. Make a mutual agreement to keep an eye out for such posts and recommend each other personally saying “I’ve used Paul’s Plumbing Professionals for years. He really knows his stuff and his prices are very fair.”

You Should Tag That

pricetag
One small idiosyncrasy with Facebook is that it’s helpful to make sure you “tag” your business in the comment you make. That way, whoever is looking at it can easily find your business on Facebook and call you right away.
When you tag a business page, Facebook may suggest the tag automatically when you start typing the name. If they don’t, you can try adding the “@” symbol before the page name. As long as you personally have “liked” the page, it should come up.

Big Takeaway:

Facebook is changing the way people do business online – literally. Social media is connecting people in ways faster and more visible than ever before. Your business can get a lot of attention online without paying a dime.
  1. Create a business Facebook page. If you don’t know how, Facebook will teach you here.
  2. Join a local community/area sales and classifieds page.
  3. Do a quick search for the services you’d like to do. Comment on the post recommending your business. Tag your Facebook page if you can.
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What Should You Use Facebook For?

Many people are very ready to write off Facebook as a waste of time. “Too many game invitations and cat videos.” Not me. Though, to be fair, I’m a big fan of using it for business.
Here are 3 ways you can use Facebook to build your advantage:
1 – Reviews
2 – Customer Service
3 – Advertising

Reviews

Facebook is the world’s largest social network. To many people, if your business can’t be found there, you “don’t exist.” While you know that’s not true, you need a presence so potential customers can see how AWESOME you are.
Next to Google, Facebook would be my number one choice for places to get business reviews. Google is even starting to show your Facebook review rating on their search results page! Also, far more people have a Facebook account than have an established Google account, so it’s a natural place to send them for a review, a like, and to engage in the awesome content you share there!

Customer Service

Not every one of your customers is going to be thrilled with your service. While you can expect it to be a VERY small number, you’ll run into the occasional Debbie Downer that is never satisfied with anything and leaves a bad review or post on your page. Facebook is a great resource for not only getting the notice quickly, but also responding quickly and publicly so that other potential customers can see how responsive you are.

Advertising

According to a recent study, the average amount of time spent on Facebook every day is 20 minutes (obviously, some people are MUCH higher than that). That means you have a short, but sufficient, window of time to catch someone’s attention with posts from your page.
When you log onto Facebook personally, you only see a fraction of what your contacts are actually posting. The Facebook algorithm essentially chooses what content you see based on what you’ve liked in the past. So, unless your customer has been really engaged with you in the past, they may not see your regular daily/weekly posts. Plus, the average consumer needs to see an ad or post from you at least 5 times before they’ll make a purchase.
BUT you have an opportunity through paid ads to garner more attention with past and future customers. Not only can you target demographic groups based on their characteristics, but you can also create different ads for people who have or haven’t already liked your page.
*BONUS: If you’re really into this, you can get what’s called a Facebook Pixel, which is essentially a small bit of code you have embedded on your website. Every time someone visits your website (regardless of how they got there), that pixel will “fire” and follow them around so that the next time they log on to Facebook, you can show them an ad and remind them how amazing you are.

Big Takeaway:

Your business needs Facebook. In today’s market, you’re going to fail in the long run if you don’t have a presence there.
  1. You need to have a business Facebook page. If you don’t already have one, watch this webinar recording to learn how.
  2. Encourage your customers to like your Facebook page and leave a review. It’s easy for them!
  3. Make sure that you, or someone you trust, monitors your Facebook page to quickly address any customer service issues that may arise there.
  4. Take a look into advertising on Facebook. It’s very inexpensive and is a great way to connect with interested people.
Take control of your social media today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.
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Good, Better and BEST Online Reviews

  Image Source_ Huffingtonpost.com

In addition to last week’s message on Pay-Per-Click ads, I’d like to propose another goal for your business to work on in 2017 – online reviews.

Google’s search algorithms tend to favor two types of businesses – online retailers and brick & mortar shops that do business at their location. Neither of those describe most Chem-Dry franchises where you operate out of a home or shop and service a specific area. But there seems to be a workaround – REVIEWS.

What Reviews are Best?

When it comes to valuable reviews, I’d put them into three tiers: Good, Better, and Best.

If you’re going to put resources behind acquiring online reviews, I feel it’s worth going after the ones that are going to do you the most good.Here’s what I mean.

“Good” Reviews

Really, any review is good – wherever you get it. Some  websites, however, are more accessible to people than others and can have a higher payoff.

For instance, I would put the following websites in the “Good” category because of their visibility online, their influence on your own website presence, and difficulty to get them:

  • YellowPages.com
  • HomeAdvisor.com
  • AngiesList.com
  • Thumbtack.com
  • CustomerLobby.com

You’ll notice a trend here. These are typically websites that are aimed at helping the in-home service industry, which is not a bad thing. However, (with the exception of YP.com) you have to have an account to really view or leave a review on those sites. If you do a significant amount of business on those sites (I know some of you do), then go for it – especially if your customer came from that site. But if you’re looking for general reviews, I’d focus elsewhere.

“Better” Reviews

For the same reasons I mentioned earlier, some review sites
that I’d put into my “Better” tier are:

  • Yelp.com
  • Bing.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Amazon.com
  • BBB.com

I’d put these sites into the “Better” tier because they will play more readily into search algorithms that benefit your business and are more visible and highly-regarded resources. But, once again, they’re not what I’d rate as “the BEST”.

The “BEST” Reviews 

There are two review venues that, to me, qualify for the “Best” tier and I’ll explain why.

Google: Google reviews are the crème de la crème of reviews. They’re the hardest to get, but they’re also the most valuable as they are built right into their search algorithm. They are the fastest way to climb the ladder in the Google Map listings and “Snack Pack”. HOWEVER, in order leave a review on Google, the customer has to have an active Google account, not just a “gmail.com” e-mail address. While most people who have a “gmail.com” e-mail address also have an account, it’s not everybody.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and for that reason, it’s a FANTASTIC resource for getting reviews. Almost everyone you service has a Facebook account and logs in daily, so they’re familiar with it. It’s easy for them to leave a review. PLUS, in order to do so, they’ll usually “like” your page and see updates from you afterward.
Facebook is also aiming to become a one-stop-shop for many commerce solutions, which means they’re doing a lot of work to SEO and making sure businesses show up on relative Google Searches – they WANT Facebook to be a part of the purchase process. When you get reviews on your Facebook page, you’re getting endorsements on a very visible platform that can turn into a LOT more business.
Who Can Help?  
I’ve written before about easy ways to get reviews and simple practices that can increase your marketing database. But you’re busy. I get it. Who else can help you get these reviews? We see so much value in getting good, valuable online reviews that we’ve done a load of legwork to help connect you with some of the best vendors in the world to get your business noticed. Here are a few we’ve recently partnered with and what they do:
*****Disclaimer***** These vendors provide tools for your use. They are only as valuable as you make them.

ReviewTrackers: If you’ve subscribed to a Premium  listing on Local Search Directory (ChemDry.com), you automatically get ReviewTrackers for free. I explain more about how it works here.

Broadly:
Broadly is a new PAP partner that has a very impressive résumé. They’re an integrated review platform that utilizes cookies and online sessions to streamline the process of posting online reviews. They’ll be at our convention in Nashville and I’ll be hosting a webinar with them early in 2017. You’ll be amazed at what they can do.

Podium: (From the their product page) “Podium brings your business’ reputation, from across the web, into one centralized place where your can effectively build and manage your online reviews from multiple sites. With Podium, it’s easy to see your portfolio of online reviews to make faster, better-informed decisions.”
So Tell Us: So Tell Us recently joined us for a webinar where they explained what they’re all about – video reviews. Yes, that’s right. Think about this for a second. You’re not just getting a text review from people, you’re getting video. Of their face. Saying words. Posting to your various websites. Can you imagine how valuable that is to viewers? Instant credibility.
Big Takeaway:
It’s Business 101. Your satisfied customers are one of your best assets, not only for getting repeat business, but also for finding new customers. You need to be getting reviews online. Want to get more in the “BEST” tier?
  1. Create a business Facebook page. Here’s how.
  2. Create a Google+ Business listing. Learn how.
  3. Schedule some time with me to go over a strategy for getting more online reviews.
Take control of your social media today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.