CHICAGO — Small businesses like vended laundries have long considered the building blocks of their marketing efforts to be things like store signage, newspaper advertising, a Yellow Pages listing, and direct mailers.
But in this digital age in which we now live, those marketing building blocks have evolved to include business websites and social media like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat that can connect businesses and customers virtually.
“Traditional marketing is a completely different concept entirely,” says Jennifer Rae Schulman, president of Fortune Web Marketing. Her New Jersey firm offers an array of online marketing services, including search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing services, and will be exhibiting at the Clean Show in Las Vegas. “Digital marketing must be done frequently and with more consistency.”
“Every business should have social media in its marketing plan,” says Dennis Diaz, president of Spynr (pronounced “spinner”). His New York company offers software and online marketing services to laundries and dry cleaners, and will be exhibiting at Clean. “Social media has one of the highest lead-to-close rates. The key is figuring out which one is right for your business.
“The simplest way to discover where you need to be is by speaking with your current customers. Find out where they ‘hang out’ online. It’s likely you can locate others like them there.”
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS
Let’s take a quick look at some popular social networks:
Facebook — Arguably the world’s most popular, Facebook enables users to connect with others by sharing status updates, photos, videos and other items of interest.
Diaz says Facebook is great for social advertising: “It offers tons of data that you can leverage. Utilize ‘Boost’ to gain more exposure.” And Schulman says that “this channel will be most effective for most businesses,” and recommends users utilize ads and post two to four times per week.
Google+ — Google created it several years ago in response to Facebook’s success, Schulman says, and she believes 1canadianantibiotics.com it is a “good place to find customers, especially for B2B. Google+ hangouts and communities can be beneficial. The content you post on Google+ will also be immediately ‘crawled’ by Google, thus showing up in searches more quickly.”
Diaz calls Google+ an SEO magnet: “Make sure your social posts have keywords that will help you get found online. Google+ is a strong player in the SEO world.”
Twitter — The online news and social networking service is unique in that users post and interact through messages restricted to 140 characters. It’s made the word “hashtag”—term for the # symbol that precedes a word or phrase used to identify a specific topic—part of the mainstream.
“Keep it short and sweet,” Schulman advises. “Utilize hashtags here as much as possible. Twitter is the place where you can really perform some great relationship building by retweeting or tagging social influencers in your industry.”
“Twitter is also an SEO influencer,” Diaz says. “Make sure you hashtag (#) and mention influencers to gain organic visibility.”
Instagram — This photo-sharing application/service allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately.
“Hire a graphic designer to help with creating beautiful designs that you can share with your followers,” Diaz says. “Instagram is tied with Facebook so it offers some of the same outreach that Facebook has in terms of advertising.”
“Instagram would probably do well for a vended or self-service laundry, as it is visual and if you have someone that can be taking photos (get creative!), this could work out well,” Schulman says.
Snapchat — The photo-messaging application allows users to take photos or record videos, then add text and drawings and send them to a controlled list of recipients. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their content.
“(It’s for a) millennial audience, for sure. For businesses, you can get very clever with flash sales and promotions,” Diaz says.
Thursday's conclusion: tips for success, and mistakes to avoid