6 Reasons Dry Cleaners Should Ignore Social Media

Last night I was at the Digital Advertisers Roundtable organized by Vanguarde Consulting Group and hosted by New York Institute of Technology Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, School of Management. Nice event with great panelists and moderator.

Panelists included:  Danielle Robinson (Saatchi & Saatchi), Stacey Aronstein (LinkedIn), Kay Lucas (MediaSense) and Theresa Braun (Likeable Media).

One of the anecdotal discussion threads was about dry cleaners and social media.

While I do think that ALL small businesses should a) consider online marketing and all should b) create content – I do believe the focus on these two items varies greatly depending on the type of business.

I strongly feel that while it’s cute for a local dry cleaner to Tweet and “engage” their audience – overall people just want to have their clothes quickly cleaned – this is not a relationship business – necessarialy.

However, I think INSTEAD of focusing on social media, the local dry cleaner should focus on knowing who their customers are and collecting email, txt and postal addresses on each of their customers. This enables them, with permission to reach out to customers in interesting ways.

Postcards, special SMS messages about cleaning specials, an email when their clothes are ready and so many other things.

I posted about this on Facebook some people agreed with me, some did not.

6 Reasons Why Dry Cleaners Should (initially) Ignore Social Media

  1. Focus on those customers who are walking in your door
  2. Work to have them come back again and again
  3. Create a referral system to have them recommend other customers (Infusionsoft can help with that and read John Jantsch’s book “Referral Engine
  4. While business is always about a relationship all transactions are not warm and fuzzy relationship focused
  5. Social media is quite broad and dynamic and real time – email is quick, fast and right to individuals
  6. Your customer does not necessarily want to “engage” about their pants they just want them back quickly
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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

9 thoughts on “6 Reasons Dry Cleaners Should Ignore Social Media

  1. W3 Consulting

    There are several issues at hand here, so I’m going to try and parse these as best as I can:

    Culture: Raised as a New Yorker myself, New Yorkers may not want to be engaged by their dry cleaners because they’re used to limited English proprietors running these dry cleaners and laundromats. If a dry cleaning business decides to engage in Social Media, yes, it’s going to take some overcoming the inherent racism/class/language barrier but it can be done. As well, you have to balance out needs versus wants here; second-generation owners of dry cleaning businesses want to expand their marketing presence in ways that are different than their founder-parents, while they need to pay attention to their long-time customers’ perceptions of the dry cleaning business (quality, convenience and affordability over “relationship”). Change is difficult.

    Attracting new clients: If you are looking for more clients as a dry cleaner, there are several ways you can be searching for clients and addressing their needs and attracting them to your retail location via Social Media. For example, you can engage your current clients to spread the word through their social networks with incentives. It would require you to tweet once, but it’s definitely social networking working for your business.

    Retaining current clients: If you are looking to enhance your relationship (therefore more frequent use of your services over another’s), I think Social Media works by operating under a “customer service” approach. By asking your current clients to respond to key marketing research inquiries; you may need to hear that your staff is unpleasant, your prices are reached a point that’s unaffordable for many of your regular clients, a delivery service would really help expand your business, and/or that the quality has waned over the years. You can listen and respond in a way that non-relationship, transactional interactions would not facilitate, nor would email, direct mail or other non-social marketing strategies. This has the additional benefit of spreading the good word about you to the rest of your clients’ networks via Social Media, but that’s just gravy.

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  2. Tirani Irani

    I’m pretty sure #garyvaynerchuck will not quite agree with this post. Social media is not about push marketing, but also about listening to what your customers like and want. A dry cleaner could tweet about different ways to get different stain off a certain fabric, or to educate their audience on what kind of fabrics last longer, or things that would be interesting for the audience without pushing sales and coupons all the time,

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