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Boost your reputation with social media marketing

Social media marketing is today's word-of-mouth: here are 6 tips for using it to win that next paint job

Word-of-mouth and referrals from happy clients after a good paint job can lead to more clients and repeat business. But creating the same effect with social media marketing can be difficult. Get it right and your great work can reach a whole new group of people.

Here are six steps to get you started:

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1. Set up your 'channels'

A website is great for showing potential clients what you do but it relies on them actively searching for you online, while social media marketing helps you reach a completely new audience of potential clients. If you haven't already, set up a profile for your business on one or more of the main social media 'channels'. Facebook is good because so many people use it and it lets you present yourself in a friendly way. LinkedIn might be better if you?re hoping to work for other businesses rather than homeowners, and Instagram is a great way to show off your finished work because it's the best for displaying pictures. Whichever you choose, use the "About" section to explain the kind of work you do. Once you're set up, use your flyers, website and print adverts to direct people to your social media accounts.

2. Be selective

It's better to run one or two social media accounts really well than to have a weak presence on every available channel. Timing can be important too: if spring is a popular time for decorating, it might be a good time to post more often. And try posting at different times of day to see when your audience is most interested.

3. Show off your work

Show what you can do by sharing photographs of finished work (with your client's permission) on your social media channels. Try to take pictures during the day to make the most of natural light, but don't worry if they aren't magazine standard - real-life images will look more believable. The key is to make the room look inviting. Clear away any mess and try to set up a scene that people might want to step into themselves.

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4. Ask for reviews

Ask clients if they could write a recommendation on your Facebook page when you've finished a job. This will appear in your client's newsfeed for their friends to see. If they're on Instagram, ask them to @tag you in their photo, so their friends know who did the work.

5. Connect with locals

Search for community forums on Google and look for local groups on social media channels. Follow relevant ones and offer advice where you can. This approach is often more effective than advertising.

6. Be yourself

Avoid using business language - social media marketing is a way to speak to people more informally. Adding personal touches, like using someone's first name, offering free advice, and recommending other professionals such as carpenters or builders, can also help.

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