No Pipe Dream with Social Media

No Dig, No Fuss, Just Great Results from Social Media

Interview by Dan Willersdorf

Owners: Sam Foss
Years in Business: Since 2005
Facebook Page:

nuflow-site  nuflow-fb

Does Social Media work for businesses like plumbing? Surely not…after all this is a service you only need when your tap leaks or your pipe bursts. How would Social Media work in this case?

There’s nothing glamorous about the work Nuflow Wide Bay does. They are in the drainage business: poo, sludge, silt, nappies, baby wipes, grease, fat, and anything else that can block a drain business. Nothing at all glamorous about it in the slightest.

So by conventional wisdom, it should not work on Social Media. Who would want to follow a Facebook page about “poo”?

In an interview with Social Media Success Magazine, NuFlow Wide Bay owner Sam Foss shares how he was finally convinced to try out Social Media for his plumbing business and what results he has achieved.

SMSM: Tell us about when you first thought about using Social Media.

SF: Initially, when I set up the business, I probably thought Social Media was a waste of time. As I got to know more about the rest of it, I knew it was a necessity.

I saw a Social Media consultant talk at a “ReIgnite Business” conference, and he talked about using Social Media. Previous to this, I had thought about Social Media a lot, but I couldn’t see how it would work for my business. I also didn’t have the time to look into it.

During the presentation, I saw how many people were on Facebook in my region, and how many were over the age of 50. Almost everybody uses it.

That means that you’ve got a massive audience that you can target very specifically.

“Who would want to follow a Facebook page about poo? But it’s worked. I know from the questions people ask when they ring up that they’ve seen us on Facebook, and the business is growing.”

SMSM: What surprised you when you started using Social Media for your business?

SF: I wasn’t expecting so many people to interact with it, like it, post on it, whatever. I kind of figured Facebook only works for a café or massage parlor or something exciting like that. [NuFlow Wide Bay is in] an industry based around blocked drains.

SMSM: So you were skeptical if it would work…

SF: At first I was not sure at all. But yes, now I can see the value in it.

I can tell on the phone–I always ask where people got our number from or where they heard about me. They are not necessarily saying Facebook, but I can tell by the questions they’re asking me when they ring up that they’ve seen us there.

They’re asking about the drain camera and other stuff. They’re asking more in-depth questions than they used to before I did Facebook.

I know they have seen our Facebook. It’s the only way they could know to ask these questions.

SMSM: What makes you say you can see the value in it now?

SF: We’re also getting better customers. They’re probably easier to sell to once they ring because we have already got a foot in the door. We already have a relationship started through Facebook.

Blocked drains always block for a reason. On Facebook, we’ve been telling people the causes behind blocked drains. Now they understand that we must fix what caused the blocked drain, not just unblock it. And if the pipes are damaged, they know it will need to be relined.

Now our customers are more willing to purchase our reline service and other products because they’re better informed about what we do and its benefits.

Our reline service is one of our more profitable products. I would say the reline service is what the business is built around. Before (our Social Media marketing), only about 30% of customers were using our reline service. Now we’re at about 60%.


SMSM: Why did you decide to use Social Media professionals to do it instead of doing it yourself?

SF: I’m just not creative enough. It’s easy it to do with professionals guiding you. It’s like a one-stop shop. They’ve created the graphics and the ads for me. And obviously, they are a lot more experienced with the targets in the advertising and reaching other people. Those things, I will never know how to do it myself.

They just turned it into something I’m not going to really worry too much about now. The content was kind of on the internet. I don’t sit there for hours trying to come up with something informative or whatever. Social Media consultants also take care of the advertising or copywriting category. Hiring professionals has made my life easier.

SMSM: Part of the Social Media strategy for Nu Flow Wide Bay was giving away free advice on Facebook. Were you worried about giving away your “secrets”?

SF: We do give free advice like how to unblock a drain yourself. People are going to read it and 10% will follow it and do it themselves, but these people were never going to pay for relines anyway. The other 90% are going to get us to do it because they can see from the advice that we are giving away that we are the trusted professionals.

SMSM: As well as outsourcing your Social Media, you also pay for advertising on Facebook. Why pay for advertising when it’s free on Facebook?

SF: Why do people pay for anything? Because generally, it’s worth paying to get a lot more exposure. You get your free listing on Google. You can get free listing in Yellow Pages. But when you pay for it, you get a lot more.

If I’m doing it for free, I’m only going to be reaching the people that liked us or connected for whatever reason. With the paid advertising, we’re reaching people that I’ve never seen or heard of ever before.

Also, even though I knew you could target audiences on Facebook, I didn’t realize was how far you could narrow that targeting down and utilise it to your advantage.

SMSM: How is Facebook compared to the Yellow Pages in giving more information?

SF: There’s a lot more with Facebook. On the Yellow Pages, I’ve got a quarter page that doesn’t change for a year or whatever it is. With Facebook, it’s new and it’s fresh every day. Even with a radio campaign or a TV campaign, you get to see it every day, but you don’t [get to change it as quickly]. So with Facebook, it’s always new and fresh.

Also, in the past when someone asked “who’s your target market?” I said “it’s just anyone that owns any property”. But now I can see through their posts from Facebook, who our target market really is.

SMSM: Were you ever concerned about negative feedback?

SF: No. I think any feedback is good, even if it’s negative, as long as you respond to it in the right way. Having said that, no, I don’t have any negative feedback.

I’ve heard of people in the past where somebody’s had an issue and they’ve gone through Facebook and posted negative feedback. Then the company has gone to see the customer privately to sort it out. But it’s better to respond on Facebook for everybody to see what you’re doing about it, how you’re handling it, and all the rest of it.

SMSM: Why do you say Social Media is a necessity?

SF: For the same reason that Yellow Pages is a necessity. You’ve got to be there. It’s one of the most wide-reaching forms of advertising. With Facebook, with the organic posts, the people that see them are going to pay attention because they’ve already liked you. Then their friends might see it because they’re sending it to people that they want to see it.

You might be paying for a newspaper ad to 20,000 people. Probably half of them don’t own their own home, read the ad, and will never use your service.

NuFlow Wide Bay owner Sam Foss

NuFlow Wide Bay owner Sam Foss

Plumbing company NuFlow Wide Bay promises to fix your blocked drain for good. Visit their Facebook page to see Sam’s karaoke singing

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