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Getting connected

Getting connected

In recent times, the digital world has changed the way people and businesses connect with each other, and this is no different in the painting and decorating industry. With this in mind, Nicolas Guichard, Senior Brand Manager at Glidden Trade, discusses how the coatings industry is being transformed by digital and social media channels, and outlines how these technologies are helping painters and decorators develop and transform their business practices.

www.glidden.com to support professional appliers in finding the right products for domestic and commercial projects. One of the enhancements to the improved site is a dedicated 'decorator' section where appliers will find practical tools and tips to help them get the best out their painting products, and ultimately achieve a better finish for their customers. These kind of digital tools are a costless way of boosting business performance and keeping up with the latest developments in the industry.

Stand out from the crowd

But paint manufacturers aren't the only ones who have responded to the growth of the online world. The past few years have seen an explosion in social media across the globe, and now many tech-savvy tradesmen are also taking advantage of social media to promote their business.

One such applier is Paul Cooper, owner of 'Bear Improvements (Handyman Services)'. He recently began using both Facebook and Twitter to upload pictures showing off his work. "I've started getting a response and attention both from clients and fellow painters and decorators. At least one new customer has contacted me after seeing my photographs posted online. It's definitely boosted my presence in the local area, and helped put me on the radar." Simon Briggs, owner of Spectrum Decorating, has also found social networking sites are making a difference in generating new business. "When I first joined Facebook and Twitter I didn't really see the point - but now I can't imagine working without them."

"A major benefit of these services is that they're completely free. In the past I've spent a lot of money on placing adverts in directories, but now I'm gaining more interest from socialising online. To date, I have earned a considerable amount from jobs that I've found using social media alone - jobs that I never would have found in the past."

Manage your reputation

Simon added: "Twitter is a great way to tap into the local community. By following the right people, I can spot opportunities as soon as they come up. Some of my followers talk about what jobs they need doing, so I can now easily get in touch with them and send them my details."

Reputation means everything, especially for tradesmen, and one of the many advantages of keeping connected online is that it makes it easy to manage your public persona. "I often have my stories and photos retweeted by industry bodies and influential people within the sector, and that helps me achieve great exposure," added Paul Cooper. "This way I can promote my brand to help customers see that I can be trusted."

Agreeing, Simon said, "My online profile represents my company rather than me personally. I use the company logo as the display picture, rather than one of myself. Coming from a corporate background, I know how important it is to appear professional to any potential clients."

As Simon and Paul's stories show, the online world can really benefit the painting and decorating trade. Whether it's by generating business leads through Twitter, or simply accessing the growing range of tools created by paint manufacturers, the digital world is big news for painters and decorators, and has the potential to make a real difference to their knowledge and skills, as well as their bottom line.

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