Social media marketing, SEO, social media analytics tools, "social proof", follower count, Google analytics, "social selling"... for most painters, taking the leap from local small business to national or global brand is daunting, and the potential costs might be intimidating. But social media marketing has become more and more accessible, and a range of online tools have made social media marketing easier than ever before.
In this quick 'how-to' article we'll explain some of the quick and easy ways you can boost your business, establish an online presence, and reach new customers.
What if I'm already online?
These days, many businesses start online. Etsy stores are popping up every day, Facebook businesses, eBay sellers, and Amazon resellers are carving out a niche for themselves. Those businesses are in a unique position in that they are already online, and their current customers are already online. For online businesses, social media platforms make for great business tools that they can use to engage with new markets, test the popularity of new products, and respond to market trends quickly and efficiently.
Online business owners often know who their target audience is already, and some already have a social media presence by virtue of where they sell their products. But expanding to other social media platforms can open up new markets and allow a business to reach new audiences. For painting businesses, those opportunities may seem limited at first, but don’t lose hope!
If your painting business already has a presence on Facebook, start by creating an Instagram account to post pictures of work in progress or completed painting projects. Start a Twitter account and comment on some of the popular business practice posts. When you post on Facebook from your business account, post about the same project on Instagram. When you post to Facebook Marketplace to tell customers about your latest deal or discount, post the same to Twitter with a link to Facebook.
Read on for tips on how to use different social media platforms as part of your social media strategy...
Will social media work for a traditional business like painting?
Yes. PaintAccess has partnered with thousands of painting businesses and we know how challenging it can be to promote a traditional trade like painting and decorating on social media. Tradies of all kinds often find it difficult to reach potential clients and customers outside of their local area. That's okay for customers looking for "a painter near me" but what about people just outside your local area who could be great customers... if only they knew you existed?
Start by creating social media accounts for your business... create a business page on Facebook, open an account on Twitter, and join Instagram with an @ for your company name. Then use the tips in the next section of this post to grow your presence on social platforms and engage with new customers.
In general, the aim is to use social media channels to develop your brand, and engage with social media users. For most active users, social media isn't the first place they go for a painter. But if you're active in the news feed of your social media followers, you'll be front-of-mind when they decide they need to repaint a room or their whole house. Believe it or not, social media is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for traditional businesses to reach potential customers.
How do I use each social media platform to my advantage?
There are many ways to use different social media platforms to engage with different customers and create opportunities for your business in different ways.
The original "social network", Facebook is a great way to organically connect with target customers who are already using the platform. Facebook allows you to create a page (a social media profile) for your business that customers can like and follow. From there, you can pay to promote particular social media posts to reach other potential customers in a particular area or demographic. Facebook is a great place to establish an initial customer base and to "test the waters" with new social media communication. A business profile page also allows you to post your business hours so that people know when you operate, your location, and details of the services you provide. You can also use Facebook Marketplace to sell painting services directly to customers.
The focus of Twitter is breaking news, social trends, and social commentary so it's a great place to engage with already-socially-engaged users. Twitter users believe themselves to be well-informed and that makes Twitter a great platform for business. Twitter has become a popular platform for company announcements, but can also be used to publish (in multiple parts) about your company story, or company culture. You can introduce employees, post progress pictures of your work, and comment on industry trends. If you’re a colour consultant, it can be a great place to post links to interior design blogs and products that your customers might be interested in. It's also a great platform for competitor analysis and can be an opportunity to learn from your competitors' mistakes. When you post, make sure you research and include relevant industry, location, and issues hashtags.
Instagram is a great place to re-post your social media content from other platforms and then use effective hashtags to tell your followers what you've been up to. If you are self-employed, a sole contractor, or a small business owner, Instagram is a great place to establish your brand while promoting your personal brand and gaining followers. When posting a photo or video to Instagram, make sure to include a range of relevant hashtags. If you're not sure where to start, search for images and videos relevant to your painting services, copy the hashtags used in the most popular posts, and post your own promotional content with those hashtags. If your business operates in a particular area, you can do the same with locations like #Sydney or #painterssmelbourne
Depending on the type of content you are creating, Pinterest can either be the ideal customer engagement tool, or an afterthought for random social posts. It can be challenging to align the often vague visual nature of Pinterest with efforts to promote specific, relevant content. But for the same reason, it can be a great gauge of current social media trends. Pinterest can be a great tool for painters; if you can produce high-quality images of your completed work, posting to Pinterest and having your images included in relevant lists and boards can be a great method of audience engagement. Pick some appealing images of your completed painting projects, use an editing app to add a watermark for professionalism, and post away.
The "new kid on the block", TikTok is a great place to post short, pithy videos to promote a service, demonstrate a technique you use, or show customers how something is done. It can be a great way to give customers a realistic visual reference for the work you do. There is also a huge appetite for experts offering their personal opinion on the latest industry news, trends, or ideas. The new and often experimental nature of TikTok advertising and promotion means that it can be hard to determine traditional advertising metrics like conversion rate. But if you can establish a presence on TikTok and combine your viral videos with promoted posts, being "TikTik famous" can send your business soaring. Switch your phone camera to video mode while you're painting and show your followers what your business is about.
Yes, LinkedIn. It's a great platform for building your professional networks and for hiring new employees. But the ability to post blogs, comments and promotions means you can engage with professional customers who are already in an environment where they are thinking about work and professional engagement. LinkedIn is a great place to link to your blog posts and establish yourself as a thought leader who should be taken seriously. Whenever you post something to your website, post about an idea to Facebook, or comment on a business trend or news item, post the same to LinkedIn and let your contacts know what you're working on.
How much does a social media marketing campaign cost?
Big businesses now spend millions of dollars each year promoting themselves with social media campaigns, across a variety of social media sites. They employ professional social media managers and teams of customer service staff to respond to social media trends and customer queries in real time. They understand that social media can be a powerful tool.
But you can start your social media engagement with minimal investment and develop a business marketing strategy that slowly builds on your current level of engagement over time.
You can start by promoting a couple of Facebook posts for less than $100. If that improves your engagement rate, increase your number of promoted posts each week.
PaintAccess has now partnered with paint industry influencer Harriet to help Australian painting businesses build their social media presence and promote themselves to customers. Leveraging our own social media engagement experience, we’re developed social media marketing packages to suit different social media marketing goals.
In each case you can benefit from the combined 18,000+ followers that PaintAccess and Harriet have gained over years of retail business and social media engagement, and you can even connect with PaintAccess’ more-than-15,000 registered customers through custom-created Mailchip promotions.
Rather than starting from square one, you can get the boost you need right away and launch your social media campaign like a rocket!