CHICAGO — A decade ago, visiting the social media of the day was an entertaining way to kill a few minutes but the concept of utilizing the online channels for business purposes was largely untested.
But today, social media influencers and content creators are everywhere, and the rise of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other online media has created new marketing opportunities for self-service laundries.
Achieving success through digital marketing using social media begins and ends with a strong strategy, according to Dennis Diaz, founder of Spynr, an online marketing services firm that works strictly with commercial laundry businesses.
“Social (media) is becoming a search engine,” Diaz says. “Before, it used to be searches for people and brands. Now, people are actually using social media to search for solutions to problems, like they do with search engines.”
Small businesses profit from having a step-by-step guide to help them along their online journey, because wandering into the digital world without a plan costs time and money and could lead to great frustration.
OVERCOMING THE HURDLES
Has the average laundry owner taken hold of their ability to use social media to market themselves to prospective customers?
“I would say awareness of its importance is out there,” says Diaz. “I think a lot of people know that they need to do it, but don’t do it, and I think they’re crippled by the idea that they have to do it ‘right.’”
More often than not, their biggest hurdle is not knowing how to put together a strategy to do it, he believes, or they don’t have the time or discipline to maintain a strategy effectively. Laundry owners, especially those who are “hands-on,” have many responsibilities. It takes time to create and post on social media and to do it well.
“We just become so overwhelmed. We’re thinking about our growth strategy, our revenues, everything else that’s important to our business.”
It’s human nature to want to see immediate results but social media messaging takes time to develop and to distribute for the greatest effect.
“We tend to not see the results as quickly (as we would like) and we say, ‘OK, this is not really working, so let’s go to something else,” Diaz explains. “That hurts a lot of businesses from being successful on social, in that continuity supports brand awareness efforts and it supports people finding you, the visibility of your business.
“Once you stop, the visibility stops, the attention for your brand disappears, and you may be missing out on some opportunities.”
Would it benefit these business owners to seek others, either within their organization or on the outside, for help with this task?
“The value (in that) is there’s dependability on someone else to continually do it.”
EASY POINT OF ENTRY
Some of the most popular social-media platforms—based on numbers of monthly active users (MAU)—are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter.
When one starts to look at social media as it relates to their laundry, focusing on and developing content for one media can become the foundation for an effort that’s sustainable before incorporating others.
“It’s an easier point of entry when you only have to focus on one channel,” Diaz says. “Then you figure out what’s working in the channel and start to optimize it.”
Starting small is good, he continues, and you don’t have to dive deeply into it. Just figure out where your customers say they find you and “talk” to them there.
“There are ways to do it. You can certainly share your content on all the major platforms using automation tools. But then again, you’re struggling with whether this content makes sense for the audiences that live on these platforms.”
For example, Facebook and even Instagram may not be important to people interested in attracting younger audiences. Even TikTok is quickly “growing old,” he says.
“As soon as Mom and Dad get on it, there’s a shift happening,” Diaz says. “However, there’s still opportunity in all those platforms and you just need to know how to deal with the audiences.”
Scheduling and plotting distribution of your social media content contributes to the development and success of the effort. But whereas things were more regimented not all that long ago, there’s been a shift there, too.
“Automation platforms tend to schedule out posts throughout the day. We are noticing that these platforms now have a selection you can make that says ‘humanlike,’” Diaz says. This follows a more “scattered” approach, posting irregularly just as the average person would.
“I think a lot of people are suffocated by the idea that they need to be systematic with it, whereas the actual platforms understand how humans use social media,” he continues. “You actually gain more attention the more spread out the content is. A series of days allows your current posts to get more action.”
Check back Thursday for the conclusion!
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].