Social media is great for connecting with long lost friends, proudly displaying your vacation photos, and keeping up with the latest family events, but is it necessary for a commercial laundry to have social media accounts? Not only is social media important, but it is the future of connection and communication. Your clients, employees, prospects and family all rely on social media as their primary source of communication. It is a pivotal factor in their decision making. The number of social media platforms and the time needed to correctly run these accounts may seem overwhelming, thus the key to success, when it comes to social media, for your business is efficiency.
Does your business have a Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat and Instagram? Unless you’re a social media expert (and have a lot of time on your hands), I hope the answer to that question was a resounding NO. The first step in effectively utilizing social media is selecting the best platforms to fit the specific goals you are looking to achieve. In an attempt to keep this article shorter than all of the Harry Potter novels combined we will stick to the top 3 social platforms for business: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Pros: With 1.79 billion monthly active users, Facebook has by far the greatest reach and capabilities. Facebook is viewed as a trust symbol and is often a necessity to prove your business’s legitimacy to your customers. A large (and growing) number of people use Facebook as the primary way to connect and communicate with businesses online, so it is a great way to engage and communicate with customers.
Cons: Facebook keeps its shareholders happy and makes its money (about $25 billion a year) from the ads that companies run on the social platform. Thus, the reach of organic (non-paid) posts has dropped drastically, making it difficult to reach a significant audience without spending some advertising dollars.
Best Practices: Facebook is primarily a media-driven platform, so posts that include a picture or video typically perform significantly better than a post with only text. Also, make sure to download the Facebook Pages app and check your page frequently, since some of your customers may try to message you through Facebook. It is never a good thing if a customer contacts you through Facebook and you never respond to them.
Pros: The most effective social media platform for companies focused on B2B selling. LinkedIn allows you to get noticed and to gather a large audience, since it is not over populated with content, such as Facebook or Twitter. You can easily locate existing or potential clients by searching for specific organizations or individuals you would like to target.
Cons: The total reach and engagement is materially less than the other social platforms.
Best Practices: LinkedIn is a tremendous tool to generate leads and build a reputation of being an expert within the industry.
Pros: The most trusted source for news and spreading information to the public. Twitter is a great platform to publish any news or updates about your business. If you decide to use Twitter for advertising, as well, its cost-per-click is less than most other platforms.
Cons: Twitter is notorious for spammy messages, thus trust in the platform has declined. Twitter has a healthy user base of 317 million active users, however, this user base is not growing and engagement is lagging. This means that investing a significant amount of time and money into the platform may have a diminishing return on investment in the long run if the trend continues.
Best Practices: In our industry, Twitter is a great platform to connect with users and keep them up to date on your business. Twitter is the perfect platform to post a quick update on expanding your service area, or to announce your new website launch.
Your Social Media Strategy
To sum things up, first, you need to select the best social media platforms suited for your goals. You must then make sure to stay on top of your accounts to continuously promote and improve them. The best strategy to follow with social media updates is to post a weekly update. Each week you should post something to keep your followers engaged. Typically, the most effective posting pattern is to post two interesting articles monthly, one sales oriented message, and one company update. You should also continuously monitor the accounts in each platform in case a user tries to message your business. If you receive a message and never respond, it can have devastating effects on that individual’s perception of your business.
If you or someone in your company will not have the time to effectively write the necessary social media content and stay on top of things, then the easiest option is to hire an outside agency, like Infinite Laundry, to monitor and update this for you. Since these agencies specialize in social media, typically they will be able to build your following and keep them engaged. The most effective way to discover a quality agency is to reach out to other linen and uniform service companies to find out who they are using to manage their social media. Most likely, if another company is happy with their social media agency, then you will be, as well.
Don’t miss out on the opportunities social media provides. Without it, the public’s perception of your business will suffer and you will miss out on a number of potential sales opportunities.