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How to Use Social Media as a Business Tool

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Man using laptop for social media.

Social media can help grow your business.

Participating on sites like Facebook and Twitter is key to the survival and growth of your painting business.

A few years ago, an ad in your local phone directory was the way most customers found you. Today, social networking sites are the primary sources for finding local businesses.

Consumers rely upon sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ to learn about other people's experiences with products and services, making purchase decisions based on the opinions of trusted friends, family members, and colleagues.

As a painting professional, you can also use these sites to drive business, not by advertising, but by making connections, building relationships, and leveraging those relationships to generate referrals.

Why You Should Use Social Media

Developing an online following will make your business
stand out from the competition.

Social networks have become primary ways to build links to your website, thereby increasing your ranking and making you easier for customers to find.

Social sites give you a stage on which to showcase your skills and expertise in a friendly, helpful way that builds trust.

Getting Started

To begin using social media sites to grow your business, set up accounts on the free sites listed below to create business pages, post tips and comments, list your business, and even create your own videos—all at no cost to you.

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Google Places for Business which is now merged with the Google+ social network. (On this site, customers can find and post reviews about local businesses on Google+ Local.)

YouTube

Joining all these sites is free. Refer to each site's help center to get started.

Creating Content for Social Networks

Participation on social networking sites takes some time and effort, but it's well worth it. Here's how to do it:

  • Post helpful tips and before-and-after photos of your projects. Encourage your audience to visit your website.

  • Post brief, interesting or humorous stories about your experiences that will make visitors want to connect to you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter.

  • Post and Tweet (on Twitter) about industry news, tips, and special offers. Share links to articles or websites you think are helpful or interesting.

  • Add a "share" button to your website (available from most social sites, or from services such as Share This.) It allows visitors to share your page with all their connected friends with one click.

  • Promptly answer all questions and encourage feedback from customers and prospects.

  • Expand your customer service by keeping in touch with customers before, during, and after the job is complete.

  • Post how-to and project videos on YouTube.

  • To help build referrals, network with other businesses related to your profession by joining professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How to Deal with Complaints or Negative Posts and Tweets

Social media shapes your business reputation. Just as a favorable post or recommendation carries a lot of weight in the online community, so do negative comments. Nothing spreads faster than bad word-of-mouth.

Monitor your sites and respond immediately should you encounter a complaint or negative comment. Convey your understanding and the willingness to address the problem. Ask the person to contact you via direct message, phone call, or private email so that you can discuss the issue personally and off-line.

Learn easy ways to monitor your online reputation.

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