Effective Social Strategies for Service Businesses: (6) Case Studies

We interview business owners who have used social media to accomplish a goal or capture attention to deliver value.

Joe Kowalski
December 30, 2016
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This is part 6 in a series on social media for service businesses.

The full series is:

1. Introduction

2. Concepts

3. Social Platforms Overview

4. 7 Social Strategies

5. Using Facebook

6. Case Studies

Here are a few good examples of how we and others, have used social media to accomplish a goal or capture attention to deliver value to the business.

Case Study - Getting Attention

In late 2012, ServiceMonster moved from a bare metal solution to a true virtual service. We adopted Microsoft Azure. That decision would haunt me for eight months. Four months in, I was in a state of panic. The technology was solid. It had to be the platform. But how to get Microsoft's attention? They had no real support, and the level of support that I needed went way beyond a flow chart, so I created a marketing plan.

It was simple. Use Twitter and talk about my issues tagging Microsoft and Azure team members in every post, but first I had to get someone to listen. I needed to find some of their evangelists. Evangelists are people who are forward-facing about a product or service, but can stand up to technical scrutiny. From there I would find and follow the engineers that were working on Azure. My goal was to obtain email relations with someone that would listen. I figured it would take about 30 days.

I was totally wrong. In 14 days I was talking with an evangelist regularly. I was invited to Microsoft and had a personal eight-hour tour through the Microsoft campus. I talked to their top brass representing the Azure platform. It was pretty cool. I even blogged about it.

It really didn't help. Four months later I switch to Amazon. The day we switched, ServiceMonster was at peace again, and I got the first night’s sleep I had in a very long time.

The whole experience really opened my eyes to how effective social media could be in so many more ways than as a very effective lead generator.

Case Study - Gary Hite

In July of 2016, Gary Hite, a carpet cleaner in Temecula, California, published a video of a tile job. A few weeks later, he had over 12 million views. A month later, a separate company rented the rights to the video and created another 12 million views. We scooped the story as it was happening.

The main points are:

1. Have good stock video.

2. Learn how to produce original compelling content.

3. Do step one and two a lot.

4. Hope that a video gets picked up on an OCD subreddit.

I’m actually not joking. Be a student. Read the blog post. Watch the video. Gary didn’t know it would go viral, but he knows enough to put together some elements in his video that created interest and captured attention. That video has generated work for cleaners all over the United States, and Gary has taken that opportunity to expand several areas of his business.

Case Study - #entrejoe

On August 8th the marketing team and I decided to turn the Joe brand up to 11. We had not yet fully embraced the business persona of ServiceMonster. One mechanism we implemented was a daily entrepreneurial Facebook post, containing relevant content based on issues and hurdles I run into on a daily basis. I call it the Facebook long form. They are usually no more than a few paragraphs long but will often be longer than the fold. After a few weeks of posting, I started receiving encouragement to continue (love that). I even had requests to begin compiling these posts into a mini Art of War style publication. But this isn't 3000 BC. What did I do? I went back and tagged all of my relevant posts. I needed a hashtag that no one was using. Something that would create a brand. We often trade on 'Joe' and my focus is entrepreneurs, so #entrejoe was born. How can you provide the same type of value to your prospects and clients?

Joe Kowalski
December 30, 2016
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