We all know a sound reputation and word-of-mouth advertising are the crux of earning new customers in the painting world. In today’s business climate, taking your reputation to the digital realm of social media is one of the most important ways to help amplify those word-of-mouth recommendations and get more exposure for your painting company.
If you’re not using social media to spread the word about your painting services, you’re leaving leads and money on the table. If you are using it, there may be techniques you could be employing to make it work more effectively for you.
Here are a few general tips and tactics to help you increase your company’s visibility and secure new leads.
Where to Post
Every minute of your work day counts for what it’s worth to your bottom line, so taking significant time away from painting to manage multiple social media accounts simply isn’t realistic. Of the handful of bigger, more widely used platforms, your time and effort will garner the best value with two heavy-hitters: Facebook and Instagram.
Both are business-friendly platforms with built-in marketing and customer interaction tools. And, they’re versatile enough to work for multiple content formats — text, images, videos, live videos, and Stories.
The more you post, the more exposure your company will get. And more posts create better potential for others to share your posts with their own networks, which amplifies your efforts, leading to additional sales opportunities.
What to Post
So what kinds of content and topics should you share? Here’s a general rundown:
Whether you specialize in residential or commercial work, sharing before-and-after photos of your work with short tidbits about each job is a great place to start. It can position you as a strong company with lots of business activity and it showcases the caliber of your work. Don’t get too hung up on creating “beautiful” photos — they simply need to show your work. And in the realm of social media, candid imagery tends to resonate with audiences more than carefully composed and edited shots, mainly because candid shots feel more honest and authentic to users.
Luke Jarrell, owner of All Touch Painting & Property Services in Grafton, OH, often posts photos and videos to showcase his company’s work and drum up new business.
“Facebook is key for marketing these days,” says Jarrell “We’ve been so busy that we almost need someone specific to just do our advertising.”
In an age when many potential customers first engage with products and services online, customers want to connect on a personal level with businesses, and especially businesses that offer a human element. Posting short (under a minute) videos of your work in progress or off-the-cuff interviews with your painters and their technique or interests helps build trust and relatability with potential customers.
In New Prague, MN, Nick Slavik and his crew at Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. host a weekly Facebook Live video stream called Ask a Painter Live in which they tackle painting industry topics and answer customer questions. It’s a massively popular feed that’s earned Slavik and his company hundreds to thousands of views each week.
Giving your target audience a chance to win something is one of the most effective ways to get Facebook users to engage with your company on social media. Joe Shriver, owner of Pittsburgh’s Shriver Fine Finishes, has perfected this art, with the goal of raising his company’s visibility among his target audience. He conducts semi-regular Facebook contests and offers prizes like live edge walnut shelves, cutting boards he makes from reclaimed wood and even a free day of painting services from him personally.
These kinds of posts are effective because they incentivize people to engage with his posts and share his contests to their own Facebook networks. Any one of those points of communication could turn into a potential job lead. And the playful, off-the-cuff tone lends Shriver Fine Finishes an approachable personality that’s attractive to potential customers.
Lastly, one important note when posting photos and videos: Be sure to get permission from the homeowner before posting any imagery of their home’s interior publicly.
How to Get the Most Exposure
Knowing what kind of content to create is one piece of the challenge. Knowing how to post it to get the exposure for your company is another. There are two main practices to consider when getting your posts in front of the most appropriate audience: boosting and hashtagging.
Equally important — arguably even more important — to what you’re posting is who you’re posting to. Enter the value of boosting.
So what exactly are boosted posts and how do they work?
A boosted post is, in essence, a small paid advertisement that gives you control over what you say, how you target it and how much you want to spend on it. It’s the simplest, most immediate way to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. (There are also targeted ads that offer more features and greater control, but boosts are a good place to start for their sheer simplicity.)
The higher your selected budget, the greater your reach will be. But for even as little as $20, you can promote your business’s name and service offerings to more solid leads than you could ever hope to accomplish with word-of-mouth recommendations alone.
So say, for example, you’ve just wrapped up an exterior residential paint job in a neighborhood and you’re sharing before-and-after photos of your work on Facebook. In your post, select “boost post” in the lower right and use Facebook’s tools to select your budget (as little as $1 a day, but the more you pay, the greater your potential reach), your target audience and the duration of the boost.
The real key here is target audience. Facebook’s targeting allows you to narrow your target audience by age, gender, location and interests. In this case, you could select 30- to 35-year-old men and women (i.e. most likely to be new homeowners) who live in the vicinity of the home you just painted (i.e. they may have seen you working or passed your logo on your work vehicle) and have an interest in home improvement (i.e. they may have a near-term need for a pro painter).
In a matter of minutes, you can increase the probability of getting your name and craftsmanship in front of an audience likely to be in the market for your services.
Hashtagging and Location Tagging
The main benefit of including hashtags is that you can make your posts searchable by category or topic. Hashtags allow you to get more eyes on your posts by connecting them with other posts using the same hashtag. You can use more general terms like #painting and #homeimprovement combined with more specific terms like #cabinetrefinishing, #summerrenovation or #paintcolors, and even terms about a specific promotion you’re running, like “#SmithsPaintPromo.
Similarly, location tagging — attaching a specific geographic locale to your posts — is important because it associates your posts and your company with the specific regions where people are most likely to need your services.
Combined, hashtagging and location tagging simply make it easier for Facebook and Instagram users in need of a painter in your area to connect with you.
In the age of digital communications, it’s imperative to make social media a core part of your business growth strategy. Your bottom line depends on it. The good news is, social media channels like Facebook and Instagram have low barriers to entry and a relatively short learning curve to start seeing results. And the more you use social media, the better you’ll get at finding and connecting with potential customers.