Should dry cleaners ignore social media? No way
Small business technology expert Ramon Ray was clearly looking to stir the pot when he wrote 6 Reasons Dry Cleaners Should Ignore Social Media. He must have known that social media pundits like me would be lining up to rebut his assertion that dry cleaning is not a relationship business.
First of all, dry cleaning is most definitely a relationship business. Every business is a relationship business – people buying from people. My husband chose his dry cleaner because it was conveniently located on the correct side of the road as he drove to his office 15 years ago. But he continued to take his clothes there for years after he changed jobs. Why? Because he knew them, they knew him, he liked the way they pressed his shirts, and (like most of us) he hates change. He took his clothes there even after I pointed out that the cleaner around the corner from our house charged the same exact price to launder a shirt. They had a relationship. He knew what he was getting. The only reason he eventually changed dry cleaners is that they raised their prices – and believe me, my husband mourned this for months.
Now Ramon Ray would ask: Would my husband have wanted the dry cleaner to tweet at him? Would he have commented on their Facebook page? No, he would not. But that’s not because social media isn’t right for dry cleaners. It’s because my husband doesn’t use social media, period.
But unlike my husband, many, many people do use social media. They use it a lot. It’s one of their primary communication channels. Including people who take their clothes to the dry cleaner. And consumers say in survey after survey that they do want to use social media to connect with local businesses, for reasons ranging from showing their loyalty to making word-of-mouth recommendations to getting discounts, coupons and special offers.
Don’t forget about your customers of the future
So should dry cleaners be using social media? Absolutely. Because while they care about Luddite customers like my husband, they also care about my neighbor’s son, who’s in his 20s, wears a shirt and tie to work every single day, can’t iron to save his life (I know this for a fact), and – you guessed it – uses social media every waking minute.
They should also care about my own son, who’s too young to need a dry cleaner but definitely will someday. Facebook may be gone by the time he’s wearing a shirt and tie every day, but I can tell you with certainty that some other social media channel will have taken its place. Because the only way my kid knows which movies to see, which songs to download, where to shop for clothes, and, eventually, where to take his shirts to be cleaned, is to ask his friends on Facebook. It’s a habit, a way of life, an expectation. My son is being trained to use social media to figure out which businesses his friends support and to make his own purchasing decisions accordingly.
If you’re not already convinced, there’s a P.S. to this argument: Businesses that are active in social media get found more easily and more often via online search. If I were looking for a dry cleaner in my neighborhood, my likely first step would be to do a Google search. Probably from my phone. Guess who would show up at the top of the search results? At the moment, it’s the dry cleaner with the most active verified Google+ page. Social equals “get found” – and as search engines (Google and others) rely more on social signals and personalized results based on “trusted circles,” that link is only going to get stronger.
What do you think? Should dry cleaners and other local businesses embrace or ignore social media? Leave a comment and weigh in.
Erika Kerekes heads small business social media solutions for Deluxe Corporation. To learn how Deluxe can help your business use social media to get found online and drive word of mouth, click here to request a free consultation with one of our social media experts.This entry was posted in Beginner, Social Media, Uncategorized and tagged Facebook, local business, small business, Small Business Marketing, social media. Bookmark the permalink.