Why do painting contractors need social media?
No longer considered a fad and not going away, social media is here to stay. Over the past few years, we have seen many new social media platforms with millions of users seemingly pop up overnight. What people like most about social media is the ability to share and comment on information plus stay connected to people and the brands they like.
As a painting contractor, you’ll find that social media marketing can quickly grow awareness of your painting business across the Internet while increasing search engine optimization for your website. This translates into more people seeing your site and having the opportunity to connect with you on your social media platforms.
What are other painting contractors saying about social media?
According to APC’s Contractor Survey results in the October 2012 issue, “Investing in more marketing efforts is a tactic used by 27 percent of our respondents when asked what they are doing to combat the market.” According to this article, the biggest marketing changes were found in social media. “Results from 2009 showed that only 27 percent of painting contractors were participating in any form of social media. The results from 2012 showed that 49 percent of painting contractors use some form of social media, 34 percent of whom are using Facebook, 12 percent using Twitter, and 3 percent using Pinterest.” That means that nearly half of all painting contractors are using social media. If you are not in front of your clients there, more than likely your competitors are.
What does social media mean for your business?
When you are a small-business owner, social media is a way to build awareness of your company, build relationships and grow your credibility (reputation) on the Internet. In addition, posting consistently helps your search engine optimization, which will allow your website to rank higher in a search for terms related to your service. Social media platforms also have analytics that will help you gain a better understanding of the demographics of your audience and what they are finding relevant on your social media channel.
Why is social media a good marketing strategy for painting contractors?
Like email marketing, social media is an easy and free way to stay connected with current customers and to keep your company name at the top of their mind when they are considering future projects or referring a friend. Everyone knows someone who will eventually need painting services; let it be you and not your competition who gets the call. Since social media is “viral,” meaning that friends can often see a fan’s comments or “likes” on a business page, it engages others. For example, let’s say you post a picture of a recent project that illustrates your amazing craftsmanship and a past customer likes the photo – you’ve just opened that photo up to that customer’s network of friends. Social media is a great way of introducing your company and its services to potential customers. Social media is also a way to position yourself as a leader within your industry among your fans and colleagues. Being a problem solver and a giver of relevant information makes you the “go to” person in people’s minds, which begins to build confidence toward you and your business.
Why are 34 percent of all painting contractors using Facebook?
Although other social media platforms are beginning to gain in popularity, Face-book still remains most-used social network. For you, this means being where your customers are. Create a fun and engaging business page, and ask your current and potential customers to visit your page and like it. Perhaps you can offer a small discount if they like your page. Although you should focus more on interaction with fans than on sheer numbers, having a following will produce more credibility for your company in people’s minds.
I recommend posting on your page either daily or at least four times per week. It’s important to know that only about 16 percent of your fans will see your post in their feed. This is due to Facebook’s algorithms for business pages. The only way to combat this is to post more often and post interesting, fun and relevant information that will get people to engage. By engaging, I mean hitting the like button, commenting or sharing.
One way to increase the likelihood of engagement is to post using images and ask people to share or like them. Don’t forget to vary the content! People want to see your job photos and have links to articles, not just about painting but on other home improvement issues. Share a joke, quote, funny story, holiday craft or recipe. For pages fewer than 100 fans, you can run contests for free using an app. According to Facebook’s guidelines, you must run any contest through an app, or Facebook may take down your page. If you have a blog, post your latest articles, visit other contractor blogs and share interesting information. Another way to find information is to like other painting contractors’ business pages to see what they are posting. Set up a Twitter account and follow painting contractors, home improvement channels and magazines … and don’t forget to follow paint brands!
Consider being active on more than one social media platform. YouTube is a great platform to showcase images of your work in a video slideshow format along with how-to videos to teach and showcase your expertise.
What if you’re too busy to post consistently for yourself?
You might consider allowing another person in your company to manage your social media or outsourcing to a marketing company that handles social media marketing. Also, if you are doing it yourself, you might like to automate your posts on a platform such as Hootsuite.com or Tweetdeck.com. This allows you to spend a couple of hours a week finding content and images and scheduling posts, all within the dashboard on the site. You still need to add your photos to Facebook manually in an album and fill in the description information. Search engines do not index images, but they do index text about images, so those captions can be quite helpful in aiding search engine optimization.
Why should you advertise your social media sites?
Let people know you are on social media by advertising your sites through your traditional marketing channels. Show social media icon buttons on your business cards, T-shirts, website and all print advertising. Tell your customers which social media sites you are on and that they should visit them. Getting the word out will increase your follower base.
Social media marketing is about relationships and gaining awareness for your company. When people comment on your sites, acknowledge them quickly. Don’t use these platforms solely for self-promotion or you will quickly lose your following. It’s OK to periodically let your fans and followers know about great deals and what is going on in your business, but spin it to their advantage, not yours.
If what you are doing is not producing the results you would like to see, use analytics to gain insight into your efforts and change your direction along the way. Although analytical data is available on all social media sites and within your Google Analytics for your website, there is some ROI that cannot be measured. You never really know the impact of your social media site on viewers. Lots of people may be visiting your website and clicking your social media links, only becoming a customer in the distant future. Remember, it takes time and consistency to carry out a successful social media marketing strategy. Keep at it, and have fun! APC