In the last two days, we have discussed the importance of creating and managing an online presence for your painting business. The most important part of your online identity is your website. Most potential clients will seek out your website prior to working with you, so it is important that what they find is a great representation of what you offer.
That said, there are a number of other tools available online that you can use to leverage your brand and reach even more potential clients. The tools below aren’t guaranteed to bring new business on their own, but together they can help establish your expertise and professionalism in a way that separates you from competitors that aren’t putting in the time and energy to cultivate a positive online reputation. The following services are all online, free to setup an account, and are a great way to engage with potential clients, as well as your professional community. As a note, I’ve provided links to help you get started with each service as well – it really is simple!
- Yelp! Yelp! (yelp.com) is a local business directory where customers and clients can review and rate your work. As the owner or manager of a painting business, you can “claim” your business page and update it with appropriate contact information and portfolio pictures. You can also post a short description of the services you provide and the markets you serve. The Yelp! platform also gives you the opportunity to respond to clients that are satisfied with your work and to offer resolution to those that are not. Yelp! has become a trusted review service for many potential customers, so it is important to be aware of what is being said about your business on this platform. Additionally, once your Yelp! profile has been established, it is a wise idea to ask clients to post a review of your business and your work after the job is complete. Prospective clients will often look for this kind of information online before contacting you, so stacking the deck with positive reviews on Yelp! should work in your favor.
- Facebook. Facebook is the most popular social network on the internet, connecting billions of people around the world. While you may use Facebook for personal use, did you know that you can create a page for your business on Facebook as well? Visitors to your Facebook page can “like” (the electronic version of endorsing) your business and share your profile with friends. You can also purchase Facebook advertisements for just a few dollars that allow your brand and service offerings to reach hundreds if not thousands of potential clients in your area.
- Twitter. Twitter allows you to interact with clients and customers around common interests. From publishing specials and coupons to sharing links to articles and stories you find interesting, Twitter is a platform useful for building relationships with clients and customers. Because of the network effect inherent in social media platforms, it is easy for others to mention your business on Twitter and have dozens of other people see what they are saying.
- Instagram. Instagram is a mobile social network organized around sharing pictures. As a painter, this is great news! If you use a smart phone, you can quickly and easily post pictures of your own work or paint work you find interesting to Instagram. Customers, clients, and friends can view these pictures, which will further validate your brand and remind them of the services you offer.
- Google+ and YouTube. Google+ (“Google Plus”) is Google’s social media service that ties in to many of their online offerings, including YouTube. If you are not familiar, YouTube is one of the largest video providers on the internet. Thankfully, you don’t need a production crew and a large budget to produce a film for YouTube! Most any digital video camera can record footage and post it to YouTube in a matter of moments. YouTube is a great way to provide video content, which search engines and internet users alike absolutely love. Why not make a short sixty second video introducing yourself to potential clients? How about a video showing how to properly strip wallpaper from walls or how to use a drawdown card? Offering informative or instructional videos gives potential clients a window into who you are and the expertise you offer.
Cultivating an online presence that helps validate and promote your paint business takes time and effort. Like most things worth doing, cutting corners or looking for short-cuts will yield suboptimal results. The good news is that anything you do online to promote your business is substantially better than doing nothing at all. Furthermore, I bet you’ll find at least some of the tools available to you both fun and interesting to use. For example, it is exciting to see a client post a positive review of your work on Yelp!, just as it can be fun to make short videos showing people the pride you take in your work. What is most important is that you recognize and understand the importance of an online presence and take control of the conversation! Click here to see some of the amazing videos BYK has produced and posted on YouTube.