Gone are the days when a decorator could rely on business leads coming from placing an ad in The Yellow Pages.
These days, advertising, marketing, winning new business, chatting to customers and showing off your work all happens in one place - social media.
Social networks carry so much power due to the numbers of people using them every day that establishing a presence and growing an audience can be critical to the success of any decorator's business.
However, if you’ve never dipped a toe into Facebook, Twitter or any of the others, and are more comfortable with a brush in your hand than a smartphone, it can be daunting to know where to start.
That’s why the Dulux Academy has a Marketing With Social Media course as part of its commitment to supporting decorators to grow their businesses and professionalising the industry.
Tony McCawley, of MCC Property Services in Brackley, Northamptonshire, was fairly confident using social media in his personal life, but not in business - however after attending the course, he can now directly attribute new business to the results of his social media activity.
Tony says: “It’s made a real impact and I’ve seen enquiries and bookings increase since I got the business set up on social media.
“I felt that social media - especially paid and targeted posts - would be useful in helping to get new jobs. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“The course taught me the basics of setting up Facebook ads, how to target the audiences I wanted via their interests and age range and crucially, how to track the results.
“It clearly laid out what to do in order to inject personality into my posts so I would get a greater response. I never felt overloaded with information, I had clear things to take away and put into practice.
“Since doing so and using the new skills I learned, my Facebook ads have led to lots of new leads and jobs. The return on investment is also proving much higher than advertising in the local paper or using online sites that list tradespeople.
“Another spin off has been the number of customers leaving reviews on the business Facebook page. Positive customer feedback like this will also be instrumental in growing the reputation of the company and helping us win more work.
“I felt fairly confident on social media before, but this course definitely developed my skills and taught me things I didn’t know about.”
DULUX ACADEMY TOP TIPS FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
1. Identify who your customer is and build a pen portrait - right down to what age, gender and interests they have.
2. Think of how you add value to that person’s daily life - can you solve problems they might have? If so, how would you communicate that without adopting a hard sell approach?
3. Develop and post content that is going to engage and turn potential customers into paying ones.
4. Content dos - before and after pictures of your jobs help show off your skills, as do basic decorating tips for DIYers. Above all, be yourself and be engaging.
5. Content don’ts - don’t get too personal (i.e. steer away from politics); don’t post too much and risk spamming people and handle any negative comments calmly and professionally.
The Dulux Academy Marketing With Social Media half day course assists professional painters and decorators in how to set up a social media presence that reflects their business, how to engage with their audience and gives you a clear plan of action to grow your community and win new business in the most time effective way.