Facebook is the best known social media site, and the Number One website on the Internet! Of course it makes sense for your cleaning business to have a presence on Facebook, but try to not get sucked into the time-draining vortex it can so easily become, and do not expect much business to come from your FB page.
Facebook is an issue of “functional fit” vs. popularity.
What do people actually spend time doing on Facebook? They are not looking for solutions to their problems, they are caught up in FB's virtual-party atmosphere, looking for distraction. They are there to express their political views and to be entertained. The only way a new customer could find you on Facebook (unless they just happen to love entertaining themselves by perusing cleaning business sites), is if they were to see an ad for your cleaning business – which you would be paying for. So, Facebook is only going to operate as a tool for promoting your business if you pay for ads. Think about it. Are your ads really going to exert enough interest to pull readers away from their friends? How many times have you clicked away to a business ad from FB? Not very many, if you're like the rest of us.
Let's analyze it a bit further. What about someone sharing your cleaning business website on their Facebook page? Well okay, let us say a friend does that, and that thread will be seen by, oh, what percentage of their friends in their newsfeed? Probably less than 5%. That thread with your business link on it will be completely replaced by other feeds in a matter of hours, maybe even minutes, and then never seen again.
I have several Facebook accounts. The one that does benefit from having a Facebook presence is the one where people hang out and talk about the topics that are relevant to that business. Who sits around for hours on Facebook yakking about having their home cleaned? People will talk on and on about politics, TV shows, or the dumb stuff celebrities do, but next-to-absolutely never about having their house cleaned. Furthermore, even if they did that, only a few people are going to see it in the feed. How many of those people will think that is interesting? Seriously. Make more of an effort to promote your business. Get a grip. Facebook has a very limited appeal for the owners of cleaning businesses.
Oddly, those conversations about house cleaning would be where your ad would likely show up, because they are conversations relevant to your business. This is how it works. Great, if you sell iPhones or concert tickets, but an awkward fit for a service business.
Twitter is another popular social site that has functional-fit problems when it comes to promoting a cleaning service. Like Facebook, it cannot hurt your business to be there, just so people can relax about how professional and relevant you are when it comes to your cleaning business. But it is not going to bring a client right to your door. It is not capable of notifying enough of your followers fast enough for you to get excited about.
Now, Groupon makes a bit more sense than Twitter or FB, because people click onto those emails looking for services. They are usually in work mode, or get-stuff-done mode, not goof off and get-out-of-work mode.
Now this is a good fit, but still with a few caveats. One of our clients landed over 30 jobs very quickly through livingsocial.com. That is good news for getting your business up and running with some sweet momentum, but it is not all roses.
Livingsocial is a double-edged sword. Its customers are bargain shoppers. They are not going to pay top-dollar for your services. So, it may be a good way to get some work rolling and practice bidding and cleaning, but you will want to upscale over time, and get off that particular track at some point. This is only of course if you don't mind killing yourself for about $12 an hour.
Craigslist is a mixed bag. It is simple and costs nothing to list your business on their system. It is well-known. But, you easily can get buried in the results, and you have to post often. In addition, you may violate their rules if you post too often.
Due to problems of scale, it looks like Craiglist does better for cleaning services that are located in smaller towns and rural areas, where the listing does not get buried in just a matter of hours.
The same mechanism is at work in small local populations, but with far fewer participants. Craigslist is an old, out-of-date infrastructure. It is an idea that people love, and it just will not die. However, it lacks the sophistication of more automated and future-coded systems. Experiment with it and see if you can live with the return for your time spent administering.
I had a client that had great luck with craigslist between 2007 – 2011. Then it dried up, due to the policy changes they made about how you could use it. At that time, she switched her focus to Yelp and started having much better luck with Yelp.
Yelp is a service that finds and rates services in whatever area you find yourself. It is a godsend for travelers but many local people use it too. It is popular. I have had clients who get good results using it. Be willing to experiment with it, and see if you like the results you get.
Again, you can never rely on just one service as a panacea of good luck to float your business. We all have a spark of built-in or conditioned hope that one simple idea will make it all work. We just see what works, and that is spreading it out and testing what works best. Then toss out the ones that don't satisfy your goals and adopt the tactics that prove themselves.
The rule of thumb is to try to be seen everywhere, on every platform. But focus on the ones that perform. Think of it as “span” and targeted. The results will be different for different people in different contexts. For some, the combination of craigslist and Yelp will work best. For others, it may be Living Social and Groupon.
Everyone should be on Facebook and Twitter, because it looks fishy to some clients if you are not. It is as if you are not willing to be transparent. But these services rarely deliver actual jobs. They are useful in one important way, and that is so that potential clients can vet you in a public way, and feel safe and secure to go ahead and use your services.
*These are excerpts from a member's only Action Plan.
Social media for cleaning service companies