Posted in Business Articles, Content Marketing, Housekeeping, Small Business Tips

Top 4 Active Facebook Groups for Building a Better Maid Service

Facebook networking pictureProfessional discussion groups jump from LinkedIn to Facebook.

In the past year, you may have observed the slow death of professional discussion groups on LinkedIn; though a few continue to receive a steady flow of new discussions started, the conversations are often a rehash of old ones.

So where have all of the veteran CBOs gone to keep their edge? Why, to Facebook, of course, where the posts and discussions and ideas flow freer and faster. No longer is Facebook simply the realm of our “social” lives but, rather, is now the critical intersection of all facets of life.

Want to check for yourself? You can find out pretty easily which of the LinkedIn groups you’ve joined over the years are actually active. In preparing this article, I check out my own groups and found only 8 active discussions (active = has at least 1 comment in the last 24 hours) out of 45 groups; in fact only 8 of those groups had a new discussion posted in the last week. Four were in ISSA and two were in ARCSI, so I’m definitely staying in those groups.

To check on your Facebook groups, navigate to your groups menu on the left side of your Facebook News Feed; make sure you are scrolled all the way to the top of the page. Hover to the right of the word Groups and click on More. Now you’re looking at a complete list of the Facebook groups you’ve joined or been added to. You can see the currently active one – with recent notifications you haven’t looked at yet – by the number to the right of each group name.

What we learned at CBT is that our Facebook group, CBT Cleaning Industry News is far more engaged than the exact same posts and probing questions to our LinkedIn group.

Toward helping you find your next amazing group to help you move your business forward, here are 4 of the most active and engaged Facebook groups with exclusive or very heavy emphasis on cleaning and maid services:


Groove Learning

Started by Rohan Gilkes, owner of as well as several SaaS platforms and subscription boxes

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is highly focused on digitally automated customer interaction and employee management, and could be a good resource for those maid services adding or converting to online booking from traditional in-home or phone estimates.

Quality Driven

Started by Martha Woodward, owner of, and Maria Dorian, owner of as well as Quality Driven, an SaaS platform for maid services

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is focused on the quality control and continuous improvement systems you need to ensure that the performance your technicians deliver meets/matches up with customer expectations so that both groups of people are more likely to stay with you.

The ZenMaid MasterMind (Exclusive)

Started by Amar Ghose, owner of Fast Friendly Spotless as well as ZenMaid, an SaaS platform for maid services

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is focused on all aspects of starting up a cleaning or maid service – from how to post recruiting ads on free job sites to handling your first breakage claim.

Turnover. Help for Move In/Out Property Managers and Service Providers

Started by Kayla Storlid, owner of Kayla’s Custom Cleaning as well as turnoverapp, an SaaS platform for maid services

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is focused on helping other cleaning services establish a profitable turn-clean process, whether as an annual division or as a seasonal project, such as with local college dorm and apartment turns before the start of term.

Keep in mind that nearly all online discussion groups – even those on Facebook – are started and operated by individuals who have a product or service to sell. Keep this in mind as you choose new groups to join. There are also a number of groups you can join when you purchase or subscribe to a particular technology or service; these groups are often “Secret,” so you won’t be able to search for them.

As always, what happens online, stays online – forever – in a digital format that someone can always get to no matter your privacy settings. Be social responsibly.
CeCe Mikell is the Editor-in-Chief for, coming to the cleaning industry from a 15-year career as a college professor of communication and business. She also consults with cleaning business owners on business development projects.

Originally published on January 27, 2016 at

Posted in Small Business Tips

How to Foil a Facebook Hack

internet securityNeed a procedure for handling a computer hack or other malfunction? Here’s a free one for you!

As I was trying to post to Facebook an announcement about Derek Christian’s webinar on sales last month, I got logged out unexpectedly. When I hit the POST button, all of a sudden I was on the Facebook login page. So I entered my info and hit the LOGIN button, and it happened.

Facebook error messageNow thanks to my extreme nerdism from the early days of computers for the masses, I’m well acquainted with the various diagnostic mechanisms of a single CPU, and Facebook isn’t one of them. So when I saw that Facebook had so kindly managed to scan my computer and detect malware – AND was offering to clean my computer for me at the click of a button – I was, naturally, suspicious. And I called Facebook some names.

Here’s where we confirm that I’m a top level nerd: I got excited that I had caught a hack-in-progress. Not mad. Not frustrated. Not even irritated at the work interruption. Excited. Why? Because it gives me the chance to share this experience with you – and most especially the chance to foil a hacker.

Step 1: Inform my Network Administrator. That happens to be tech junkie Tom Stewart. He advises step 2.

Step 2: Run a full system scan for viruses and malware. Naturally, ours at work are all set to run once a month, and mine came back fine 22 days ago. So off the scan goes – and finds some malware! I know, I’m the only one who’s excited by malware!

My next step isn’t likely to be a common one because, come on, who has two different Facebook profiles? I do: one for friends and family and another for work – which is the one you all can see. But, you see, I couldn’t login to my work account because the hack attempt was blocking me.

This might be the first time I can clearly identify having two separate profiles as an advantage; if I didn’t flip back and forth several times a day, I might have gone days or weeks with malware on my computer and not known it.

Step 3: Login to my personal Facebook profile to see what might be happening on my work profile. Thankfully, I didn’t see anything, couldn’t detect any weird or downright inappropriate posts, so I asked my connections to help me out by checking out what they could see – but not to friend my other profile or click on any links. It’s good to know some other tech junkies who’ll help out!

Step 4: Report final results of the system scan to my Network Administrator – yep, Tom. In this case, definitely malware.

The most important thing that I did during this entire process is pay attention. I know, that sounds so simple, but it’s really not. Paying attention with social media assumes that

  1. I’m on a particular social site often enough to develop a sense of what’s “normal” so that
  2. I am surprised enough to see something “not normal” that I actually recognize it as “not normal.”

That’s really all it means to pay attention – in general. In this case, paying attention netted me two discoveries:

  1. Logging in takes me to my News Feed, not a big box with red highlighting that uses the word malware, and
  2. Facebook isn’t in control of my computer, so telling me that Facebook could clean up my computer with one button click was a BIG RED FLAG.

Thankfully, I have an experienced network administrator on site who knows how to run reliable scans and purge the nasties from my computer or our entire network. If you don’t have someone on staff, you’ll want to search out and establish a good relationship with someone who can. After all, there aren’t many CBOs who can effectively and efficiently run their businesses without a computer, even if all they’re using is a free email account, Google Calendar and MS Office in the early years.

CeCe Mikell is Editor-in-Chief for Cleaning Business Today, coming from the cleaning industry from a 15-year career as a college professor of communication and business. She also works with several cleaning business owners on business development projects.

Originally published on August 12, 2015 at

Posted in Business Articles, Small Business Tips

5 Ways to Win the Game of Reviews

online reviewsCleaning up your customer service and your quality procedures are key to getting great reviews online – and upgrading the not-so-good ones.

In March 2014, it looked like the online review landscape might be changed when Joe Hadeed, owner of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, won a suit against Yelp that would require Yelp to release the legal identities of seven anonymous reviewers who had posted reviews that could not be matched with actual customer services provided.

The ruling was later overturned on a technicality because Hadeed could not show definitively that the anonymous reviewers were not customers; their names or service addresses were not available to be compared with Hadeed’s customer records.

And so began the saga that led to more lawsuits from businesses against Yelp and other online review sites/services where, many suspect, there are more purchased reviews than organic ones. The sheer volume of lawsuits against Yelp alone that Prost Productions, Inc., has successfully raised funding for a documentary Billion Dollar Bully investigating Yelp’s alleged transgressions.

But if Yelp’s recent food delivery acquisition is any indication, Yelp is headed for direct battle with Google and Amazon in the online marketplace arena, far beyond the game of reviews.

The Question: Is buying (good or bad) reviews unethical?

Business and technology lawyer Joy Butler (link: explains, “Not only is buying reviews an unethical business practice, it is illegal and can lead to significant punitive monetary damages leveled against you by the government. In one case, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) penalized Legacy Learning Systems $250,000 to settle FTC charges that the company paid affiliate marketers to pose as independent consumers and write glowing online reviews about the company’s products. Posting negative reviews about a competitor’s business could lead to lawsuits alleging things like libel and product disparagement.”

While creating and posting positive reviews for your company may initially seem like a good marketing technique,” Butler continues, “it can be an expensive mistake. The Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Prohibitions specifically prohibit such online shilling. If you pay anyone for endorsing or recommending your company’s services, the law expects you to disclose such compensation. This even includes bloggers and other social media types to whom a company might give free company products in the hopes of favorable blog and social media mentions. The FTC regards those freebies as compensation and expects that compensation to be disclosed in any resulting online reviews.

The First Amendment versus The Internet

Despite the fact that buying reviews is illegal – whether good ones for your own business or bad ones for a competitor – the fact remains that it’s so easy and fast to do that the legal system’s ability to track and catch perpetrators is strained.

Why? Because “the Internet” empowers the creation of new options and opportunity faster than laws and legal loopholes can keep up.

At this time, the law cannot compel a website like Yelp to reveal the identities of reviewers who wish to remain anonymous. And without clear evidence that an anonymous review is made by someone who is not a consumer of the services about which the review is written, the court is obligated to protect the reviewer’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech, even anonymously.

Amazon Fights Back

In April 2015, Amazon filed suit against California resident Jay Gentile as well as several anonymous owner/operators of “reviews for purchase” websites, several specifically aimed at securing reviews for product listed on Amazon’s open marketplace.

Bobsled Marketing owner and consultant Kiri Masters works with a number of companies with products listed for sale on Amazon; she offers these insights about the practice of review purchasing:

  • Customer reviews are critical to sales conversion on product pages. One of my clients who had only two reviews across their product listings recently ran a promotion to encourage genuine customer reviews; now their sales are around $1,000/week
  • Amazon’s terms of service defer to the FTC’s requirement for persons receiving a product for free to disclose it as such in their reviews. Most reviewers comply with this requirement, so it should. It is interesting to note however that when a brand is generously giving away their product for free, few testers will give it a poor review, opting instead to attempt to resolve it with the brand.


Masters notes that the ethics of giving products away for free in exchange for a usually-favorable review is murky, even when the reviewer is careful to disclose this fact in their review.

5 Steps to Earning Positive Organic Reviews

With Amazon Home Services – including cleaning services – expanding rapidly since its launch earlier in 2015 and Google expected to follow with its own online marketplace and reviews plugged in, the Amazon lawsuit is being closely watched by all stakeholders in the review industry.

But what we know is that consumers rely on what appear to be objective reviews by fellow service recipients to determine not just with whom they actually spend money but often whom they even visit your website with your credentials and amazing testimonials or call for a conversation first.

For business owners choosing to steer far clear of any hint of wrong-doing, continue developing your quality control procedures and metrics as well as your customer loyalty-building initiatives:

  1. Train thoroughly
  2. Inspect and quality check pro-actively
  3. Anticipate and respond to complaints quickly and positively
  4. Wow each customer
  5. Ask happy customers for reviews periodically

CeCe Mikell is the Editor-in-Chief for Cleaning Business Today, coming to the cleaning industry from a 15-year career as a college professor of communication and business. She also works with several cleaning business owners on business development projects.

Originally published August 11, 2015 at

Posted in Business Articles, Small Business Tips

3 Ways You’re Doing Facebook All Wrong

Facebook marketing the right wayStop doing these three things to improve your return on engagement.

With every marketing guru adamant that a cleaning business must have a Facebook Page to facilitate growth, the internet is flooded with advice on what “to do” to get the most out of Facebook. But here are three things you want to avoid doing on Facebook if you want the best ROE (return on engagement) out of your social media strategy:

1. Stop Hashtagging on Facebook

View infographicPost view and engagement statistics show that Facebook posts without hashtags perform more than 50% better than posts with hashtags. More than that, the more hashtags you add to a Facebook post, the less likely it is to be seen. Why? Facebook has never truly embraced the hashtag from Twitter, which it sees as competition.

If you are dedicated to the hashtag, focus your social media efforts on Twitter and Instagram – but only as long as your strategy is netting you followers that you are able to send to your website and convert into customers. Just because you like hashtags and Twitter doesn’t mean your target consumers do. Make sure you play their game in their playground to make the most of your social media strategy.

2. Stop Posting Videos Directly to Facebook

It’s tempting – oh, so tempting – to take the easy route when you’ve snagged a super cool video of your techs doing something cool like hallway swimming and upload it directly to Facebook. It’s quick; it’s simple.

But it doesn’t support your online presence. Remember, the core of your online existence is your website. Everything else you do online – on any social media platform, on review sites, with lead generators, with contests – must lead your prospects to your website (where presumably you have great sales conversion calls to action).

So when you post a video straight to Facebook, you lose the opportunity to drive traffic to your website or otherwise boost your SEO. Instead, take the extra time – literally minutes – to post that video to your company YouTube channel (which you’ve connected to your website); that way you can add a card to your video, program in some keywords and phrases, and make it searchable – independent of your share to Facebook, which is still an awesome idea!

3. Stop Posting ONLY About Cleaning

Cleaning may be the only thing you think about and talk about during the business day, but it’s not likely to be the only interest in your life. The same applies to the community of followers and fans you’re trying to grow and cultivate through your social media channels. So make sure your posts appeal to all of the aspects of life of your most common target markets.

If you’re currently shooting in the dark with your topics or are posting exclusively on cleaning topics, consider this strategy: make a list of the 10 most common features of the majority of your current clients: have pets, have kids, military families, sports fans, stuff like that. Make that your 2-week rotational pattern for your daily posts. When followers see you connecting with something they care about, that’s when they Like, Comment, and Share posts, and that’s what you’re looking for in your ROE (return on engagement).

When you use the information at your fingertips to take stronger control of what you can do to create a fan following, you’ll see a higher ROE. And then you’ll be better able to connect your ROE and your ROI as the connections between community engagement and sales becomes clearer.

CeCe Mikell is the Editor in Chief for Cleaning Business Today, coming to the cleaning industry from a 15-year career as a college professor of communication and business. She also works with several cleaning business owners on business development projects.

Originally published on June 11, 2015 at

Posted in Business Articles, Small Business Tips

Post, Share, and Comment at the Right Time Each Day

600600p3069EDNmain1112social-times-300-x-250Scheduling your social media checks and posts around high activity points can improve your lead generation rates.

Knowing WHEN to post on each different social media and networking site is just as important as WHAT you post. Here’s a quick guide based on research from SendSocialMedia that will help you

  1. schedule your live social activity time each day – minimizing wasted time and maximizing “the moment”
  2. schedule your auto-posts directly or through a social media management platform – allowing you to set up posts for days, weeks, or months ahead of time!

Consider scheduling 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon to check on your social activity.

And don’t forget to follow Cleaning Business Today where you like to get your updates!


Originally published on August 19, 2014 at