Here’s the Secret to Successful Social Marketing for Your Painting Company

Looking to build your brand on social media? Two words of advice: Be real.

That’s the word from Austin Houser, owner and founder of Base Coat Marketing, a firm that specializes in helping residential and commercial painting companies and is a national sponsor of the Painting Contractors Association (PCA).

Austin Houser“Social media – it is all about trust and authority,” said Houser on the recent Marketing 101 episode of the Sherwin-Williams PRO+ Training Series.

“A lot of guys go in there with this mindset of I need to sell, sell, sell,” he says. “They’ll develop ad copy and ad creative around their service in their business. Nobody cares about that. They care about you as the business owner. We’ve tested this over and over and over again – the best ad campaigns that you can run on social media are about you, as the business owner.”

David CookDavid Cook, co-owner of D’Franco Painting and Wallpaper in Huntley, Illinois, agrees.

“Sales 101 – people buy from people they know, like and trust,” he told viewers on the Marketing 101 episode. “And if they don’t know who you are, they can’t like you. And if they can’t know who you are, and if they don’t like you, they’re never going to trust you.”

Just be yourself

D’Franco Painting has had a lot of success posting short videos on their YouTube channel. They might be about a certain job, products they use, a prep or painting process or something totally unrelated like clips of their beekeeping hobby, teaching their dog to play dead, making a pasta sauce, one-week old chickens or an encounter with angry bees. They’ve even posted some blooper videos.

“I use the iPhone, I don’t do anything special at all,” Cook says. “I don’t edit anything, because they know what they’re getting. So, if I make a mistake, I keep them on there. I don’t care.”

His customers, he says, are “buying me and they’re buying what we’re doing. So I want to be as authentic as possible. I don’t want a polished product because, OK, well, is that real? I want them to know, this is who we are as a business. This is who I am as a person.”

It pays to be honest

Houser says his agency has a name for this approach. He refers to it as an “Honest Abe” ad campaign.

“We put the business owner’s face on there, and we write a little story about them and their business and why you should work with them,” he says. “What that does is, as you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, you see somebody’s face pop up that you’ve never seen before.”

That might cause you to wonder: Am I friends with this person? Why are they there?

That slight delay in interaction, he says, causes the social channel algorithm to kick in and say, “OK, this person paused for a split second, let’s show them more of that.” That builds trust and authority and helps in “getting you in the front door.”

“So I cannot stress enough, stop just trying to sell your business, talk about yourself, your personal life and what you do day to day,” he says. “That is really what’s going to drive results on social media.”

5 ways to keep it real

As the value of being real on social media has become clear, there’s also been an increase in inauthentic content masquerading as real. Call it the “new fake.” Here are five tips on how to stay authentic from LHM Strategic, an Atlanta-based digital marketing and social media agency:

  1. Only showing up when it feels right: Forced content is the worst!
  2. Don’t overshare your emotions: It’s OK to show up on stories with real emotion but don’t force it or overdo it. Also, be sure it makes sense – right place, right time kind of thing.
  3. Share what you know: Focus on content that fits your brand, industry or niche. Sometimes trends, or content strategy, do not work for everyone.
  4. Be original: If you want to be real then don’t look to copy what others are doing to be authentic. Truly share what makes you YOU.
  5. Don’t forget why you are there: What is your main goal with sharing on social media? How can telling your story aid that? Then find ways to be authentic in sharing your brand, offering or expertise. There is no one-size-fits-all on social media.

This article was originally published in the Fall 2023 issue of PPC magazine. ©2023 Randall Reilly. Read about more ways to build your painting business in the PPC magazine archive.