How do you market a start-up cleaning service? Or any start-up service? It’s a difficult task—especially when the owner has to get things going fast.
Nairobi-based Aimie Akinyi’s challenge was that, because of COVID-19, her employer wasn’t having anyone come into work–which also meant that no one was being paid. Aimie was determined to find a way to pay her bills. Her solution? Launch her own cleaning service, Shine Bay Cleaners.
By creating a social media marketing strategy that allows her to get the most impact from the least investment of time and money, Aimie has grown from startup housekeeping service to a thriving residential and commercial cleaning service in just one year.
Aimie estimates that about 90% of her clients have come from social media–specifically her Facebook Business Page.
How? You ask.
We asked Aimie to share her secrets, and this is what she said.
8 marketing strategies for your cleaning service (or other business) on social media
How does it feel to go from start-up to running a thriving business in such a short period of time?
It feels really great. The fact that I can also create employment for other people makes me feel very proud of myself.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you learn how to start a cleaning service from scratch?
In the middle of COVID, I was looking for a way to pay my bills.
I decided that I should try doing something that I love doing–and I love cleaning. So I started Shine Bay Cleaners.
At first, it was domestic cleaning only. I was doing the cleaning and running the business alone. Then our domestic customers recommended us for commercial jobs.
Initially, I thought it would be just me, by myself, doing domestic cleaning. But as time went by, I wanted to grow. I think it’s natural to want to grow your business. To have other people on your team.
Now we provide commercial cleaning as well—offices and commercial buildings. And I have a team of six people.
What would you say is Shine Bay Cleaners’ specialty?
We started with upholstery cleaning. That’s what most people know us for. But now we do post-construction cleaning, general house cleaning, and about a month ago we started doing fumigation and pest control. And we plan to add more services in the future.
1. Ask your friends and colleagues to help spread the word about your new business
You have over 4,000 people following you on Facebook. How did you build that following?
I’ve had a personal profile on Facebook for a long time. I was very active on social media even before I started my business. So when I started Shine Bay Cleaners, I created a Facebook Business Page.
Initially, I invited my Facebook friends to like my page. I started sharing Shine Bay Cleaners posts to my personal profile, and kept asking my followers to like my Page. I’d tell them, “I’m doing this business, and I’d like your support.”
But now our following is growing organically because of the content we publish.
How do you keep up with both Instagram and Facebook?
I have it set so that when I post to Facebook, my post automatically goes to Instagram–and vice versa. And sometimes I will post separately so I can write different captions. I do get a lot more engagement on Facebook.
2. Post often to demonstrate that you are a real business serving real customers
I post about Shine Bay every single day. Sometimes I post more than once. But I make sure to post at least once every day. I think people get interested when they see that you’re consistent. That you are doing this every day.
Because I post so much, people see that we are a real business serving real clients. It shows them that other people are hiring us and that our customers trust us. And it shows that we do a great job.
What was it like the first time someone responded to one of your videos?
I was really surprised because it was someone I didn’t even know, someone who was not on my Facebook friends list. So I’m like, “Okay, so there are people who see this. They just see me online. They’re not my friends. They’re not on my friend list, but they see this.” It really made my day.
How did it feel the first time you got a new customer through social media?
I was surprised and, of course, anxious about doing the job well. But it worked out great and she gave us a good review.
3. Use photos and videos to give people a behind the scenes look at what you do
How do you decide what your content is going to be?
Basically, I find a way to share whatever we’re doing that day. If we’re cleaning sofa sets, if we’re cleaning a house, if we’re cleaning an office. On the days when we don’t have work, I post cleaning service flyers to remind people that if they need cleaning, we are here.
I take photos and videos every day, and I post what I like best. I don’t use any sort of plan, I just do it as I go. People like to see what you do–and how you do it. It helps them get to know you and increases their interest in what you are doing.
4. Use before and after videos to demonstrate the difference your service makes
What types of social media posts perform best for you?
I get the best response when we show videos of our upholstery cleaning. Especially when I post the before and after cleaning pictures. That’s when I get the biggest reaction. Because seeing is believing.
People like that they can see that we really do make things look better than before. It gets them thinking about their own upholstery, homes, and offices–and how we can make their spaces look better too.
5. Shoot multiple photos and videos so you will have options to choose from
I admit that I find your videos mesmerizing. How do you get such strong photos and videos?
I take a lot of shots and notes. On average, I shoot about 5 photos and 2 videos of every job.
Later, I review what I’ve shot and choose the one that has the best angle, the best lighting, and actually shows the difference between before and after.
6. Use short social media captions to help people make a connection between what you’re sharing and themselves
How do you approach your captions?
I like my captions to be very short and sweet; to the point. People don’t like to read a lot.
I let the photos and videos speak for themselves as much as possible. The caption is just to clarify what they are looking at and help them relate our content to themselves. We say things like, “Cleaning salon chairs. Your business should be clean too!” and “Sofa set cleaning. Contact us if you need this service.” It helps move them from “This is a cleaning service,” to “I want my couch to look this good.”
7. Make your contact information easy to find so customers can contact you right away
We include our phone number in most of our social media captions so that if someone sees a post and thinks, “I need my sofa cleaned” they can take action right away. If they have to hunt for the information, they may get distracted and never make the call.
8. Use customer feedback to connect with your customers, improve your service, and to create social proof
You post customer testimonials on your Facebook feed. Why is that, and how do you get customers to provide them?
After I’ve done some work for a client, I always ask for feedback. I ask: “Did you love the job?” and “Is there something you didn’t like?”
It’s important to ask people to give you honest reviews. That way, you know where you can improve. No one is perfect from the start.
If they aren’t happy, I ask for the opportunity to go back and redo the job and make them happy. That shows that we have integrity and strengthens the relationship. The few negative reviews we’ve gotten have helped us learn a great deal. And sometimes, these customers do end up giving us referrals.
One time when a customer gave us a bad review, I asked if we could come back to do the job again for free. She said yes and then she was so happy that she ended up giving us referrals for other new customers.
If they did love the job, I take a screenshot of the customer’s message and share the positive feedback on social media. This tells prospective customers that our current customers are very happy with us.
How do you create your graphic assets without making a big investment?
I use PosterMyWall to create the flyers I use on social media. I also used PosterMyWall to create my first logo.
When I was starting out, I didn’t know anything. Finances were a problem. So I was doing everything by myself. I created the flyers myself. I did my first logo myself. PosterMyWall enabled me to create the marketing materials I needed myself quickly–and without spending a lot of money.
Any final tips for other budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t let people forget about your business. You have to keep reminding them that you’re there. Sometimes I make a post that is totally unrelated to Shine Bay Cleaners, just so they remember that we’re here.
And when you’re just starting out, there may be times when you want to give up. Sometimes you’ll have sleepless nights–especially when you get a negative review. It stresses you out, but if you keep pushing on, it’s going to be alright.
Great! Thank you Aimie, for sharing your tips for marketing a cleaning service with us.
New to PosterMyWall? Check out our range of templates that small business owners can use to take their marketing to the next level.
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