6 Ways this Field Service Business Used Facebook to Grow Their Customer List into the Hundreds
Facebook selected Handmaid Cleaning as a new member for its Small Business Council, so we caught up with these Facebook pros to get their social media tips and tricks.
“We didn’t really understand exactly what was going on at that point, so it was kind of mysterious. And surreal!”
That’s Grace Reynolds, owner of Handmaid Cleaning (and longtime Jobber customer), talking about arriving at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters in early April to officially start Handmaid Cleaning’s tenure as part of Facebook’s US Small Business Council. (In the group shot with Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, Grace is second from the left in the back row.)
Handmaid Cleaning, owned by Grace and her husband Kevin, is based in Walla Walla, Washington. They started their business a handful of years ago with a broken vacuum cleaner, and have since grown their company to employ over a dozen people and service hundreds of customers.
According to Grace, their success is largely due to marketing their company through their business Facebook page.
“When it was still just Kevin and I, we dove right into Facebook. We have been mastering marketing and advertising on the Facebook platform, and it’s been our number one form of connection with the community.”
Their efforts and experimentation caught Facebook’s eye, and a council invitation followed.
Handmaid cleaning was one of 11 businesses invited to the council in 2017, bringing the council to just over 40 members. Facebook’s US Small Business Council is a way for Facebook to test and improve new and existing features, and collect valuable feedback from their top users. In exchange, Facebook provides advice and training to ensure council members are getting the most from the platform. A win-win.
Handmaid Cleaning’s top 6 Facebook tips
As the only field service business on the council (the other, a plumbing business, is ‘retiring’ from the council this year), we knew Grace’s Facebook tips and tricks would be a goldmine of information for Jobber Academy readers.
Here are her tried and true Facebook marketing strategies along with a few insights straight from her time spent at Facebook hq.
The biggest thing is that all of us are pretty passionate about the fact that we grew our businesses off of Facebook and we know we did. We know that it’s the future of marketing and it’s not going anywhere.
1. Start a Facebook business page *today*
“A lot of times when we talk to other businesses about Facebook they really don’t see the importance,” says Grace. “They think it’s a waste of money, time, and effort.”
The Small Business Council members’ marketing success proves these people wrong. Although the other council members Grace met at Facebook hq are retail-focused with either e-commerce or brick and mortar shops, they all had one thing in common:
“The biggest thing is that all of us are pretty passionate about the fact that we grew our businesses off of Facebook and we know we did. We know that it’s the future of marketing and it’s not going anywhere,” says Grace. “It’s huge.”
If it worked for Grace and the other 42 council members it can work for you, no matter the size of your market. Walla Walla has a population of just over 31,000 people, and Grace and Kevin have gotten value from every minute and dollar spent on their Facebook page.
Ready to get your service business on Facebook but don’t know where to start? Check out our post on setting up your Facebook page, complete with a month of posting ideas.
2. Use your Facebook business page to build community
Handmaid Cleaning isn’t trying to sell something to their customers every time they post on Facebook. In fact, they put a lot of effort into building a community on Facebook that shares their interests and values.
“The most effective way to really bring the community together is sharing your charity work,” Grace shares. She and Kevin have created special cleaning packages where 10% of the profit makes it way back to a family in need, they’ve run coat drives, participated in Cleaning for a Reason (an initiative that allows cleaning companies to donate free cleanings to cancer patients), and they’ve used their platform to ask other local businesses to join them in helping others.
“It makes people feel good about our community and what our businesses are doing,” says Grace about using their Facebook page to communicate causes and initiatives they care about. “Thousands of people can see it, instead of just an announcement being made at church or with a little group here or there. It really does help bring the community together.”
You likely have a cause or charity that’s dear to your heart, so if you’re not already using your company’s voice to bring attention to it, you should think about sharing your charitable efforts with your followers. They’ll better understand your company’s values, and they might be interested in helping and contributing.
From a marketing perspective, you’re also creating a genuine connection with customers that’s outside of you selling to them, which means you’re now connected in more ways than one. And you don’t have to do anything big to show you care.
“It definitely brings an element of deep trust. The more we grow, the more we’re able to do, but even before we could do a whole lot we were doing what we could,” explains Grace. “It just makes people feel good about doing business with you. This business is going to give back to my community. They’re not just out there to take my money and get big.”
3. Contests are great for engagement
No surprise, people like free stuff.
“Free cleaning giveaways have always been really popular,” says Grace.
Keeping it simple with using the ‘like and comment’ actions is key she says.
“We’ve tried things like ‘share a picture of this’ or ‘do this’ and if you ask them to do too much, it can get too complicated and they won’t even try. If you keep it simple, generally they have the time to follow through.”
You can give away a free service, a company gift card or gift cards for stores or restaurants your customers would appreciate, company merchandise, etc.
Take a look through the ‘Promotion’ rules on Facebook’s list of Page Guidelines, and try out a contest. After you run a few (and you only need to keep contest entry open for a day or two), you’ll have a good idea of what prize gets people most excited to engage with your page. And the more people engage, the more likely your post will rise to the top of your follower’s newsfeeds.
4. Make your posts mobile friendly
“Something we discussed with Facebook is that the majority of Facebook usage is on mobile devices, so you want to tailor whatever you’re doing with your advertising and marketing to mobile phones,” advises Grace.
According to Facebook’s April 2017 numbers, more than 50% of users access Facebook exclusively from their mobile device. So you need to catch their attention on a small screen.
“Generally a lot of text and static pictures are kind of going out in terms of engagement, so you want slides, some kind of motion, or short video clips,” explains Grace. Especially when you’re paying to promote posts (using Facebook’s advertising feature to get your post to show up in the feeds of your target customers), Grace’s experience is that motion of some type draws in a lot more attention for less money, simply because people are attracted to these posts more.
“If I was to give any advice—and we’re working to transform our own strategy that we’ve had for a long time—it’s to use videos. Get apps like Boomerang to do quick little moving shots.”
Most recently, Handmaid Cleaning used a Boomerang of Grace pointing a feather duster at viewers to announce their expansion into new markets. You can also use Facebook’s Hyperlapse feature to turn a 10 minutes service demo or standard equipment maintenance session into a really fun 30 second behind-the-scenes video.
If I was to give any advice—and we’re working to transform our own strategy that we’ve had for a long time—it’s to use videos. Get apps like Boomerang to do quick little moving shots.
There are many more apps out there that you can access from your desktop or phone that allow you to create animations for announcements, thank yous, and more. Throw ‘animation app’ into Google or your app store, see what comes up, and try them out!
5. Don’t just sell, entertain
Once again, Grace offers advice that goes beyond selling to your followers.
“What kind of people are you trying to attract to your page and advertise to? Instead of making everything you post about your business, share interesting posts that are related your business and attractive to the audience that you want—then spend money to boost those.”
For Handmaid Cleaning, this means finding and sharing funny and relatable images and videos of what it’s like to want to avoid cleaning your own home. Shutting doors to messy rooms, seeing the laundry pile up, before and after shots—their customers will relate to feeling this pain, so Handmaid Cleaning will get some business along with laughs and likes.
Take some time to think about what makes your target audience chuckle or what they’re most curious about when it comes to your business. Here are a few examples from Handmaid Cleaning’s page:
6. Experiment, experiment, experiment
“You have to either hire someone to be creative for you, or you just have to get creative,” says Grace. Easy, but essential advice.
“Put on your thinking cap and think outside the box. Try different methods, and if one thing’s not working, try something else. Don’t keep trying the same thing if it’s not going to work!”
For Handmaid Cleaning this means diving into Instagram. They learned a lot about Instagram’s integration with Facebook while they were at Facebook hq with the other new council members, and Grace is excited to grow Handmaid Cleaning on this platform.
“Once we master that as well, we’re not going to regret it,” says Grace about spending the time to learn something new.
And that’s how you grow your business successfully on Facebook, straight from a Facebook Small Business Council member!
Put on your thinking cap and think outside the box. Try different methods, and if one thing’s not working, try something else. Don’t keep trying the same thing if it’s not going to work!
“Business owners at this point really should start looking into it and learning about it now,” she advises. “It’s better to get a step ahead.”
Continuous learning is what Grace, Kevin, and the Handmaid Cleaning team are all about when it comes to using social media to market and grow their business.
“We fake til we make it! That’s one of the funnest parts!” says Grace with a laugh.
“As Facebook, and Instagram, and other platforms change how they do things, it can be frustrating for some people, but the reality is they’re making it better for us. They’re adjusting and so are we. If you’re not constantly learning, you’re doing something wrong!”
Looking for more Facebook page inspiration? We put together a month of Facebook post ideas to get your page started.
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