Everyone knows social media is important. These days, using social media effectively can be the difference between making it and breaking it as a contractor. But with all the hype and attention, how do you know where to begin? Check out this simple list of 7 steps to start thinking about, and optimizing, your house painting company's social media.

Determining Goals and Outcomes

Posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter is simple enough. But it's much harder to develop a workable social media strategy that makes sense for your followers, and doesn't overwhelm you in the process.

Account for the fundamental goals of your social media strategy. Do you want more people to follow you? Are you specifically targeting new jobs. Or are you just looking for a place to communicate with and provide ongoing service to your customers? Settling on real goals and objectives will get you off to a great start with social media. It’s also one that many people tend to skip.

Content. Content. Content

Everyone will tell you that the secret to social is creating and sharing 'great content'. Ok, great. So what is 'great content', where does it come from, and how are you supposed to create a steady stream of it while also running a residential painting business?

Unfortunately, there's no single correct answer. But there's an easy mental check you can perform to let you know if something qualifies as 'great content' for your specific visitors.

First, create a basic profile in your mind of three different types of people you'd like to be connecting with on social media. Put yourself in each of their heads, and read the post you’ve just written. Are you glad you found that post? If yes, post it! If not, ask yourself why and rethink.

Design Your Posts for Sharing

Shoppers share things they find relevant, fun, interesting, or that will have value to their followers. So plan your content with share-ability in mind, and look for content posted by others that you can share and comment on yourself.

Conversations Not Billboards

When it works, social media has a community feel to it, with consumers and producers posting back and forth in equal parts. The famous 80/20 rule says you should devote 80% of your posts to sharing content from relevant sources and influencers, and reserving just 20% for posting about your house painting business. Don't be too self centered with your use of social. If you only post about yourself, you'll quickly run out of that 'great content' we talked about. Ask questions. Respond to comments. Repost things you find valuable. And be willing to let your own voice speak through your social. After all, it's yours!

Video Killed the Copywriter

Getting a bit more specific, let’s talk about video. The majority of brands and companies, especially smaller ones, will admit that they wish they were doing more with video. But the upfront investment of time, energy, and money can be hard to justify. That said, the importance of video cannot be overstated, and there are stats to prove it.

Social posts containing video receive almost 50% more views than their non-video peers, according to a recent HubSpot article. And as new platforms like Vine and Vimeo continue to grow, video will play an ever larger role on social media.

Stop Dividing Social from Your Website

In the early days of social, social media and home websites tended to remain in separate silos. Don’t let this happen to you. Insure that visitors visiting your main website have an easy way to link out to your social channels. Forbes lists social links on their shortlist of social media musts. And this simple update takes only about two minutes with a free social icons plugin like this.

Linking Back to Your Website

Now that you're linking from your website to your social media accounts, it probably makes sense to do the same thing in reverse. Most social media platforms will let you add links to your profile, or elsewhere.

But today, you can go even further, and embed your social media content right in your residential painting company’s website. There are many of free social media widgets and plugins out there that will let you add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social feed to your site. Some even let you combine posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms into a single feed, like this!

What role does social media fill in your house painting company? We're excited to know what lessons you've learned from social media marketing. Let us know in the comments section below.