Senior Ecommerce Manager at Perricone MD
03 June 2011 17:18pm
I have a friend who runs a flooring company (carpets, laminate, etc). For a bit of background, his company has no store or shop front as he works by bringing samples to peoples homes so that they can match flooring styles to their furnitiure/decor (I'm told this approach is becoming more commonplace).
Now, with so much focus on Social Media I'm wondering what would be the best approach/channel for a company that sells products that are generally a "1-time only" purchase?
To me it doesn't seem suited to the likes of Facebook as you're not going to be that interest in the latest 'flooring news' after your new carpet has been laid.
Would I be wrong in thinking this? Are there other networks/areas that would suit better?
Thanks in advance,
Jonny (Social Media Dunce)
Technical Project Manager (MBA, MBCS, CITP, CEng) at Naxtech.com
05 June 2011 16:50pm
I do not think social media is the answer here. My personal feeling is that a customer service centric approach is what would probably work best; something which will help both the business and the customers.
A somewhat interesting example within the same sector with your friend's business is a client of ours for who we developed a simple example of what "your living room would look like with X type of wood" which can be seen at http://www.touratzis.gr/en/showroom-floor-ChooseFloor.html
Although it's a simple example it appears to have helped them a lot and eased their customer service activities.
I hope this helps.
06 June 2011 16:07pm
Thanks Denis, I think that's a great idea.
I'm wondering though, with there being so much chat at the moment around search engines taking more and more notice of how websites are connected to social networks, where does this leave this type of business?
Will it matter to Google if a site has zero presence?
06 June 2011 16:17pm
In my view doing something just for the sake of doing it will not add much value. So unless there are the resources to engage via that channel and the business feels that there is something to offer customers via there and I would say that you could try it. But personally I would not recommend it purely for SEO purposes without any business value. ..plus social media indeed do contribute in google listings but so do another 450 different factors. So it's not like you will succeed simply because you have a facebook page. If you do engage your customers though via these channels and it's used for a dialog then it could certainly help with more than just Google rankings.
07 June 2011 12:46pm
Wise words Denis - thanks again for the advice!
CEO at Econsultancy
07 June 2011 18:28pm
Does your friend have a (halfway decent) website? It doesn't have to be complicated given what he's selling - just some content pages + lead generation. Could do using WordPress or even just something like Google Sites.
But I think his main focus should be a good website that is optimised for some of the 'long tail' searches that no doubt exist around flooring. It's pretty niche so I'm sure he stands a good chance of ranking. Then he could do a bit of content, which he could distribute via social media (e.g. just Twitter) and view it more as SEO / customer service.
Wouldn't bother with Facebook. Could set up a basic company page in LinkedIn and use it to point links/traffic back to his site.
Director at Chrobis Consulting
10 June 2011 11:19am
I don't think any one particular channel is the question, so much as what your friend wants to get out of this. I presume leads and referrals?
With that type of a business, what customers will be looking for is a local (usually) supplier, who is available and has the right products / acceptable price, and good feedback from prior clients. He could do all this without the internet - I know a bunch of accountants who don't bother with online marketing as they can get all the business they need through word of mouth - but if you wants to use the internet to spread the word, then he could look to a collection of places where people use the net, whether that is searching, surfing content or socialising.
It will depend too on where potential customers are. Who is his typical customer? Professional or Domestic? They might be located through Facebook and if so a FB page could be useful, but he will also need an online directory listing (Google Places), some advertising (maybe Goole Adwords or Facebook), somewhere to demonstrate his results(Youtube), somewhere to collect reviews and recommendations (Yelp or Qype) and have a simple / basic company page / Landing Page of his own - to capture enquiries. A Facebook or LinkedIn page could exist purely as a channel to direct leads through to the Landing Page.
One trend you will see on search engines and their organic listings is how companies can dominate page 1 with a variety of media, especially video. Doing so requires a strategy covering a little bit of everything to embrace searching, surfing and socialising channels. In this way, Google can pick up from a small site presence, boosting it with feeds from these other channels.
Hope this helps
Social media guy at CSC
16 June 2011 10:09am
Without a store or shop-front, it is obviously wise to build a virtual presence. No more is necessary than a simple, professional looking, website. This adds a level of stability and trust to your company in the eyes of consumers (there are stats to support this all over the web).
Once you are 'established' online, Facebook is fantastic for sharing deals...if you can shape a deal that's appealing enough for people to share with their friends, or if you can leverage the past experiences of satisfied customers, then you're onto a winner!
Facebook isn't all about building lasting networks and back-links, it can also be used to execute short-term referral marketing drives.
28 June 2011 11:54am
Thanks for all the advice. Can't really argue with anything written above.
I've pushed him on to focusing on local searches on Google and he's starting to hit the top ten for Edinburgh on a couple of keyword phrases already, which is getting some hits through. Think he needs to optimise a bit more on site though and set up conversion tracking on his "thank you for contacting us page" to track leads.
Then he can perhaps start testing some local ads on search also...
I like the idea of simply pushing a deal through Facebook instead of the 'traditional'route of trying to get followers and pushing deals at them.
Digital Marketing Consultant at GRIT08
01 July 2011 00:06am
There are so many ways to attract customers through the social web.
The most important task. First decide on strategy linked to the business objectives. And then test a number of different options.
Developing a strategy for the social web is an excellent way to attract customers and develop a conversion funnel.
You can use advanced search methods to identify customers and then target those customers with relevant incentives.
There are a number strategies and tactics that you could use. The best advice I can give is to hire a company or individual who understands how to develop and implement a digital strategy
Hope this helps.
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