CHICAGO — Are you on Facebook because somebody suggested your business should, “Have a presence?!”
Is that all you care to be? A place-holder in cyberspace? Or do you want to make your brand stand out, and turn it into an influencer in the realm of Facebook? There is a lot more to social media than just being there.
You can educate, bond with, and entertain people with your style, your goodwill, and your positive attitude. Really, you can!
Two separate drycleaning business presidents are going to share their first-hand knowledge, experience and views all about Facebook — what works and what doesn’t — for reaching your drycleaning customers and going beyond just counting ‘clicks.’
Here we go again getting.... beyond – the – clicks.... with our next company president....
“People love dogs. Not too long ago, we asked our managers to take photos of customer’s dogs that came through the drive-thru. Dogs love to come to A Cleaner World; we hand out treats to dogs that come visit. We received tons of photos from our managers, and our Facebook followers loved it!
“A few other ideas that come to mind are behind the scenes photos, sharing employee milestones, and funny laundry memes or cartoons. The bottom line is to make it personal and have fun. Followers really respond to those sorts of things.”
That’s Chris Edwards, president of A Cleaner World in High Point, N.C., a family-owned dry cleaning and fabricare business founded in 1969. The business specialize in uniform rental services; oriental rug cleaning; smoke, fire and water restoration of textiles, and sells, services and installs drycleaning and laundry equipment under our Tri-State Laundry Equipment Co. brand.
Edwards adds that, “We also have a brand that caters to the couture and upscale customer wardrobe. These three locations operate as Shores Fine Dry Cleaners and is a member of The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.”
What are some unexpected challenges and surprises to using Facebook in new ways?
“We always knew that Facebook was photo driven, so we always use great care when selecting our photos. We have seasonal posts, like out-of-season storage tips and when to have your winter coat cleaned, that we work into our calendar as a reminder to our customers.
“When we posted this winter coat cleaning reminder: Wool coats should be dry cleaned at the end of the season. Moths are attracted to everyday human scents like perfume, smoke, and food. Putting a wool coat away dirty makes it susceptible to critters. We chose to include a photo of a moth, and we never expected it to grab so much attention with 545 engagements and 95 shares,” Edwards says.
Share a memorable ‘lesson learned’ about interacting with customers and businesses on Facebook.
“First lesson learned: don’t run a Facebook contest,” Edwards says.
“A few years ago, we tried doing an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest, and we offered four $25 free drycleaning winners and one grand prize winner of $100 free dry cleaning. We received very few entries, and Barb Mitchell, our social media manager who works out of her home near Nashville, ultimately had to private message a number of friends and business acquaintances to beg for submissions.
“We learned that not that many people have Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and you need a bigger prize to generate interest. It looked good on Facebook, but we really had to work at it.
“Second lesson learned,” he continues, “folks tend to try Facebook first when they forget to pickup their dry cleaning and need you to open the store on a Sunday. This has happened a number of times, but the most memorable one was last summer when Barb and her family were getting ready to get on a cruise ship headed for Cuba. It took her a bit of time, but we were able to get the customer her clothes. She was most grateful for the Sunday help.”
What does your team like about your Facebook page? What do your customers like about it?
“Facebook is a wonderful communication tool,” Edwards says. “We are able to help our customers solve day-to-day laundry, garment care, and fabricare issues; share happenings in the community, especially those where they can help neighbors that may need assistance; share information from other businesses and social media platforms; and offer our assistance should they need a problem solved.
“Customers like that we have fun on Facebook. Barb frequently shares crazy laundry issues her son and husband create, funny laundry jokes and memes, and photos of her Wonder Beagle.”
And lastly, What tips can you pass along to other drycleaning owners and presidents who may be thinking about doing more on Facebook? Helping them to get beyond the clicks.
“Focus less on benefiting or promoting yourself or your business, and focus more on helping the customer,” Edwards relates. “Once you develop an outward focus, customers will automatically start responding.”
One other thought Edwards shares: “Our style is to be personal, approachable, and helpful. We avoid using lots of technical terms and are never stuffy when we share information, we give real life examples. Barb ribs her husband a lot. Be an authority, but be an approachable authority.”
So there we have two influencers on Facebook. You might already be doing some of those things, but if you’re not there yet, keep those simple things in mind: Help your clients; keep messages friendly and brief; make use of photos; share your team culture; and be true to you.
The old saying, just be yourself and you’ll be fine has no better home than on Facebook.
To read Part 1, go HERE.