By Alex Kane | Mar 21, 2011
One of the biggest advantages social media offers to the laundry owner is a personal connection to the store. A good social media site can “paint a picture” of the coin laundry that the user can identify with. Whether they are a current customer or not, successful content on a social media site will create a user experience that corresponds closely with the actual human experience of visiting the store. This will allow the user to achieve a comfort level with the laundry, a key aspect that every good laundry owner strives to achieve.
By providing information on the equipment and amenities, hours of operation, photos of the exterior and interior, or even video footage of the store, the owner has the possibility of shaping that all-important first impression of the laundromat. By doing so, a new customer can confidently walk into a store and at least have a vague idea of what to expect.
After the customer has visited the laundry, social media can continue to build on the relationship with the customers by giving them that same sense of comfort and ownership that most laundry owners like to demonstrate in their stores. Posts by other users can be evaluated and shared as part of the user experience. After patronizing the laundry, users can now fully identify with photographs taken of the store.
Probably the most important way the owner can use social media to connect with the customers is by offering discounts or specials, which are only available on the social media sites. Everyone likes to feel as if they have a “special deal.” When the offer is only accessed by a select set of customers who participate in the social media experience, it strengthens the bond of the personal connection between the owner and establishment.
Where to Start
I would suggest laundry owners begin by making sure that their businesses are represented on the Internet. Google Places makes sense as a first stop, since such a large number of Internet searches are initiated by this search engine. Making sure that Google has the “complete picture” of your business is a good bet. Start with simple information like address, hours and services offered.
Once this is complete, I would visit Yelp and see if your business is listed there. You may already find your business (potentially with reviews), and you can “claim your business” to add user information.
Once those basics items are completed, I would suggest gathering some photos or even simple video of your store. These items can then be added to the above pages to embellish your basic listings.
A next step would be developing a Facebook page for your business. Recent changes to the Facebook policy allow a business listing to have user comments posted directly on the “wall,” making it much more valuable to the user. If Facebook develops this experience properly, it could be a very useful feature for both owner and customer alike. Once your Facebook page is created, make sure that you can establish links with as many “friends” as possible by spreading the word. Also, post a sign in the laundry that your business is on Facebook.
If you are able to get some video of your store, it would be worthwhile to open a YouTube account and post your video there. In the description area, be sure to include the name and location of your laundry. The description field here can lead to people finding you through YouTube as well.
The bottom line to increasing your Internet presence is to list your business in as many popular sites as possible to make sure your name can be found by random Internet searches.
(For more about social media from Alex Kane and others, don’t miss the April issue of PlanetLaundry magazine.)