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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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Getting Social

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In March, Facebook reported 1.65 Billion monthly active users.Instagram (owned by Facebook) reported 500 Million. Twitter chimed in with 310 Million. Pinterest has 100 Million. Google Plus is all but useless. And LinkedIn? Well, that’s their little brother that went and got an MBA and now only talks about business.
But what does that matter? They’re just places for sharing news and cat videos, right? WRONG.
Let’s talk about them.
Facebook
Facebook is by and large the most prolific and influential social media platform in the world – and for good reasons.
Instagram
Instagram is actually owned by Facebook, which means some pretty seamless integration between the two platforms. Its primary focus is on visual media, and it’s ONLY available on mobile (you can view pictures from a computer, but you can only post from a mobile device). Here’s how it applies to you:
  1. Instagram accounts can be associated with business Facebook and Twitter accounts simultaneously. Anything you share in it can be also be shared to both places instantly. It saves time.
  2. It’s great for online business to highlight your services and capabilities.
  3. It influences SEO by generating impressions and possible web traffic by showing interesting media that will garner attention and potential business.
Bottom Line: While Instagram has a HUGE user base, it’s not a necessity for your Chem-Dry business. Nice? Sure. But at this time, you’re going to have significant difficulty driving and tracking business with Instagram.
Twitter
Twitter is a great outlet for worldwide sharing of information quickly. Each tweet is limited to 160 characters – and most are far shorter. Engaged audiences on Twitter are numerous but, like the messages, have short attention spans.
Here are a few things to know about Twitter:
  1. Very easy to use. Quick. To the point.
  2. Can get lost in the mix. A Twitter feed is often a MASSIVE overload of information, which means you can get ignored. The loudest, most obnoxious gets the most attention.
  3. Can contribute to your SEO and website traffic.
  4. Ideal for international, online sales.
Bottom Line: Get a Twitter account for your business. Connect it to your website.Use it to share what you’re doing. DON’T spend a ton of time on it, and don’t expect to get a ton of jobs from it.
The Bottom Three: Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn
Pinterest is a good resource for connecting with your key demographic,
adult women interested in families, home care, and health. However, it’s primary function is for people to “pin” things to be saved for later. Meaning you’re not getting immediate action from customers. Once again, not a necessity. It takes a LOT of time to turn it into a profit center.
Google+ serves a purpose, and a somewhat

 major one. Here it is: registering your
business with Google. That’s about it. You NEED to have a Google+ (“Google My Business” or “Google Business” or “…”. They keep changing the name.) listing. It is imperative to your online success to have your business listed with Google so you can show up on map listings on Google Search. Other than that, don’t worry too much about posting on Google+. Maybe a new post every month or so, but the traffic and user base on G+ is so minimal in comparison that your efforts online are better spent elsewhere.
LinkedIn is a wonderful resource that connects

people on a professional level. Its primary purpose is to connect people based on their skill sets, whether you’re a boss or a peon. It can be very useful for job seekers and hiring managers. It can also produce good opportunities for Chem-Dry franchises to acquire commercial accounts. You can even run ads that are targeted at facility managers within your area. Once again, however, while it is definitely part of a well-rounded social media regiment, don’t make it your primary focus. There is more fertile ground elsewhere.

Big Takeaway:
Your business needs social media activity. In today’s market, you’re going to fail in the long run if you aren’t doing it NOW.
  1. Create a business Facebook page. If you don’t know how, watch this webinar from July 7.
  2. Create a Google+ Business listing. Learn how.
  3. Have your technicians sending you pictures from every job possible. These are incredibly valuable for posts.
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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Tools for Becoming a Social Media Pro

This morning when I got into the office, I was sorting through my email (you know, like all of us do).

The email preview from my phone.

The email preview from my phone.

Just as I was ready to discard a message from Hootsuite, I started reading the first few lines and discovered it was something that was highly relevant to our franchise owner network. I’ll summarize their points and add a few of my own insights as to how it can apply to you directly.

Last year, a study done by Harris Poll, a public opinion polling organization, revealed that approximately 62% of businesses struggle establishing a social media strategy. Another study released in January showed that social media “referrals” accounted for about 31% of website visits. Now, the lion’s share were from Facebook, but it illustrates the importance of having a presence.

All that being said, here are some strategy points as outlined in the email:

Step 1: Know who your customer is.

Just like a good technician going into a home, you have to know who you’re talking to if you’r going to sell them. You speak to men differently than you speak to women. You speak to a senior differently than you do a millennial. At Chem-Dry, we know that the majority of the customers we interact with on a regular basis are women between 30 and 55, that own a home, have 2-3 kids, and 2-3 pets. Tailor your messages to THEM, and spatter in some things that will appeal to others from time to time.

For instance, talking about and showing a picture of getting tough food stains out of carpet (i.e. messy-faced baby sitting in a pool of spaghetti sauce, wine stain on the sofa, etc.). Or, to focus on the holidays, say something to the effect of “Impress your in-laws this holiday with new-looking carpet and upholstery.”

Step 2: Create a mission statement.

No social network is created equally. They all have different roles (to be discussed in another post). Facebook and Twitter are ideal platforms for managing customer service, as they’re the most active and interactive networks. LinkedIn is a great place to recruit talent and also network with other professional organizations in your area (local small business owner groups, anyone?). Instagram is perfect for showing off new services and great before/after pictures. Create a statement that states your goals with each one and do your best to stick to them.

Examples might be:

“Facebook – For connecting with people and telling stories.”

“Instagram – For SHOWING how awesome we are.”

“Twitter – Keep it short and simple, like my cousin Jethro.”

Step 3: Set realistic goals.

Getting

Getting “likes” on your Chem-Dry Facebook page keeps you top-of-mind with your customers.

Goals for social media keep you focused, on-track, and honest. For many businesses, a good goal for gaining a following on Facebook is to grow by 50 “likes” on your page every month. Or, for Twitter, aim for 3 “re-tweets” on everything you post.

Another recent study has estimated each branded Facebook “Like” to be approximately $174! While that number represents the value of a like for a national brand, the value of a like to your small business is still calculable and something to improve upon.

Step 4: Develop a content strategy.

Social Media is about having a presence where your customers “live” digitally. It’s an extremely cost-effective way for you to stay top-of-mind for your customers. Along with Step 2, keep your mission for the social network in mind, and post regularly to keep your audience engaged. Post a unique image to Instagram every day. Create a series of contests on Facebook (a GREAT way to get “likes”).

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A few last thoughts:

Services like Hootsuite are very valuable platforms to help you manage your social media posts. You can schedule out your posts, and have an entire month’s worth of posts done within a couple of hours. However, there’s a significant learning curve with it, so it will take some time to get accustomed to the platform.

They also offer FREE education resources like Podium that will help you understand social networking and get a better grasp on your digital strategy.