As changes to the Facebook platform roll out, effectively reducing organic reach for business pages to zero, I’m hearing from a lot of people that they are moving OFF of Facebook, and onto other social media platforms. Well, what took you so long?
I’ve always advised clients that having just ONE marketing strategy was a precarious position to be in. A one legged stool is not the most stable support one can reply on. When that one leg breaks, all gets pulled out from underneath you, and you end up on your (_!_). And now that Facebook is making huge changes for businesses and how they use the platform, many cleaners who were only using Facebook, are now severely and adversely affected.
Many cleaners are running to Instagram. Instagram is more of a visual social media platform where one can communicate and build communities using images and very little text. But, I have some bad news. Instagram is another social media platform owned by Facebook, and Instagram has already announced that they will be following the changes made to the parent company platform, and the same restrictions made on businesses using Facebook will soon be applied to businesses using Instagram.
See what’s happening? Already other legs are being attacked, and crippled. But not to worry, there is still Twitter, YouTube, Snap Chat, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, and more. If you have been actively engaged in building communities on each platform, you can continue to communicate with your customers. Multiple legs may require you to double up your efforts and time invested in creating content, but as changes occur, you are much more resilient to changes that can wipe you out. The extra work is worth it.
The same applies to your communication strategies you may be using today. I’m so old I remember having a very limited number of media to reach out to prospective and current customers. Back when I started out as a cleaner, we had radio, TV, newspaper, telephone, and direct mail, to reach out to our markets, and we had to PAY to use almost all of them. But today, you have free or low cost tools such as email, text messaging, chat bots, messenger, videos, social media, search engines, and who knows what’s coming next week.
I strongly recommend having more than one way to communicate with your current customers. I used to be only accessible by telephone and mail. When email came along, I embraced it. Now today, I’m available via my own private forum, Facebook messenger, cell phone, text message, in addition to regular land line and email. Watching my millennial children, they are in an always on universe with chat via gaming station, snap chat, and more. The lesson I draw from this is: you HAVE to be communicating on the channel that your customer wants you to be on. If it’s more than one, you’d better be on them all.
But, let’s keep communication open based upon our customers’ permission. With today’s ease of access to free tools, the temptation to be prolific pushing out our message is great. We do need to moderate our enthusiasm as our customers expect us to keep in touch with them, but only when and how they want us to. As an example, customers DO want to be contacted when something happens to the expected delivery time of their order, or if something goes wrong during the cleaning of their clothes. Customers appreciate you reaching out to them if you are going to be late, or if you need to make a customer aware of a potentially damaging procedure. BUT, and this is a mighty big but, when you reach out to market to a customer, you will find their expectation and permission regarding contacting them can change. Not everybody likes a sales call, email, or text message inviting a customer to partake in a sale or special offer. We need to change our internal practices and policies as well as configure our point-of-sale systems to collect, store, and use customer contact information appropriately so marketing messages are going out to people who want and have given us permission to market to them, and reminder messages and ‘your order is ready’ messages are going out to only customers who want those types of messages, and on the channel they want to receive them on (such as telephone, cell, text message, email). If you would like a copy of a ‘permission marketing’ form you can use in your business to capture customers’ communication preferences, simply shoot me an email, a text message (306) 209-7558), or message Darcy Moen via Facebook Messenger, and I’d be happy to send it to you.
Today we truly live in a multi-multi-multi channel universe. It’s entirely up to us to change and adapt to these new channels and systems and master using these new tools. Yes, it is more work, but it’s work we have to do because ignoring or refusing to change is the first step on our way out the door and out of business.