Spoiler Alert: Social Media Isn’t ‘Free’ Anymore

Social media is a beast. Tame it and you’ve got a powerful platform to promote your business. Let it run wild and it will run over you.

Here’s an example of “social media gone wild” that you may have experienced before (and might not even know it):

You wake up at 7 a.m. and decide it’s a good idea to say good morning to your followers. Just last week you read online that you need a photo, so why not see what’s on Google? “Picture of sun” is typed into the search bar, and 414 million results are found in less than half a second. One sun in particular that has a smile looks nice, and it has a cute quote too. It’s perfect. You save it to your desktop, go back to your social media page and attach your find with the cheerful caption “Good morning! It’s going to be another great day the laundromat!”

Now you’re done for the day, right?

Unfortunately, this is how most laundry owners operate their social media channels – if they use social media at all. Hopefully, this doesn’t describe you, but if it does, let me reassure you here and now. In this article, we’re going to discuss some proven practices you can adhere to for posting on social media. The goal is to educate you and help you promote your laundry business effectively.

Managing social media accounts can be daunting for small-business owners. What to say? How to say it? Is it the right time? Keeping up with the do’s and don’ts of social media is no easy task, because trends are constantly changing. Instead of a fruitful and simple divergence, social media has become another business need to stress over.

Posting successfully is not as easy as people think. However, the fact that people think it’s easy is most likely why so many laundry owners are still holding out and trying to do it on their own. Worse yet, hesitant laundry owners end up hiring inexperienced individuals to run their social media for them. It’s far too common these days to see sporadic, ineffective attempts, which “prove” the claims that social media does nothing for self-service laundry businesses.

Aim Carefully

What laundry owners are missing is a professional game plan. It’s one thing to know your business, but it’s quite another thing entirely to promote it effectively. Until recently, there hasn’t been a huge emphasis on marketing for laundry businesses, so experience is sorely lacking. If you want to post effectively, your first step is to decide which of these metrics satisfy your goals as a company (chances are it’s all of them!):

• Traffic generation
• Create a following
• Interaction increases
• Improve revenue

Once you know what you want, everything you do should revolve around those goals.

Think Before You Post

Whenever you’re posting something related to your laundry business on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, keep the requirements of the customers who are using those channels in mind. Instagram users, for example, are looking for emotion-striking images and video. That means you need to make sure you’re not constantly recycling photos or video that you find on the web. On the other hand, Twitter users are looking for quick, easy to browse posts that can grab their attention and pull them in a little closer. The right wording and imagery is critical in each case, but the platforms are unique in how they accomplish their ends.

In terms of general tips in this area, we have a few. Consider hiring a graphic designer to create brand-centric graphics and a catalog of videos for your business to use. Introduce your content with infographics (visual representations of data to present complex things in a simple way). Infographics are great to help explain your wash-dry-fold service or pickup-and-delivery process to your customers – and a good graphic designer will help you put one together. Lastly, help users find your content using hashtags (these things “#” ). Hashtags allow you to track engagement and ride trends happening online. Trends are what can help your company increase your online traffic and boost sales, so don’t neglect the hashtags.

Imitate the Big Brands

You need unique visitors from social websites, and the best way to do that is to adopt a content strategy with a big-brand mindset. There are three things to copy from big brands in terms of content strategy on the social media sites:

• Find out where customers talk. The idea is to plan how much marketing efforts are devoted to specific channels. If your customers are using Facebook, you may want to do more “Boosting.” Facebook allows business pages to pay to gain more visibility for posts, which means you get in the face of your customers more effectively.

• Create content that people would like to talk about. Start with a survey of customers designed to research their responses. Once you get some feedback, go a step further and start typing those responses into one of your favorite search engines to build your content strategy from the results you find. Don’t forget to see what your competition is doing – you may be able to pulls some ideas and do it better.

• Use social media to get views from customers. Being seen helps promote brands, and being seen is more complicated than it seems. Just posting is not good enough – you need to spend money to get real results. Sorry, social media is not “free” anymore. There is a reason you see other businesses more frequently than others, and that reason is that they’re spending money to promote themselves. Don’t be foolish by promoting every post, but consider investing in ones that will help you generate revenue.

General Tips

There’s a wealth of knowledge out there when it comes to social media, and there’s no way we can cover it all in one article. Emulating the big-brand tips above can boost your brand and improve your business, but there’s definitely more you need to consider when posting. I want to close with a bit of a “checklist” for you to help guide your day-to-day social media presence.

Frequency and Timing

• Post on Facebook five to 10 times a day.
• Post on Twitter one to four times a day.
• Try to post between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. so that the maximum number of people will view your posts.
• Post on as many sites as you can.

Post Effectively

• Measure the real-time market mood.
• Identify the relevant issues and content.
• Understand the user interests.
• Don’t neglect internal operational metrics.
• A competitive research with other companies is required.

Don’t Forget the Photos

• Products released
• Office location
• Employees and fans
• Deals and offers
• Events hosted or attended

Remember Your Website

• Make your websites mobile-friendly.
• Encourage people to interact with you on your website.
• Testimonials are essential to gain trust.

There’s a lot of information here, so focus on one or two areas each week. I’m sure you’ll be successful in posting effectively on social media if you keep these suggestions in mind.

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