How to use social media to get more business
The question isn’t can social media be used to increase business for home inspectors, it’s how can it be used? A Facebook presence means potential exposure to more than 700 million. This exposure can be used for advertising, acquiring demographics, communications and possibly the inspecting of new homes. While there are no guarantees, from a percentage perspective (1% of 700million is 7 million) the probability of how many new customers you could gain outweigh the amount of work involved.
In addition to homeowners, there are thousands of businesses utilizing Facebook. How many are in the real estate business with houses that need inspections? A little homework and research on Facebook could translate into home inspections in the offline word. This is a great social network and socializing with others in your field could lead to new business. Consider all of the other areas of specialty that would know if, when and where a house might need to be inspected, then search for other professionals and business pages in those categories.
It can be beneficial and is highly recommended to build relationships with other home inspectors via social networks; look up those who work in areas that require the services of inspectors. Your new rapport could get you an invite to projects you would not have otherwise knew existed.
When it comes to other home inspectors, the potential for collaborations is strong. You could become affiliated with an entirely different company, and each of you does the home inspections for the other when availability is an issue for one of you. You could receive a small fee for the reference of work and pay a fee to the other company(ies) for theirs. You might also find out about conferences you were unaware of, receive invitations to events or decide to host one of your own!
All of these are ways to leverage the power of social media networks. Even though Facebook is the one we’ve mentioned thus far, Twitter is another popular network. Boasting active membership of over 300 million, the platform is different than Facebook, but the potential for business is still extremely high (1% of 300 million is 3 million). When you went into business, chances are you were told about marketing and sales or you investigated those areas yourself; social media is yet another avenue to be explored.
Since data happens in “real-time,” by the time you finishing updating a page someone is already viewing it; that is powerful advertising. If upon your search you discover there aren’t that many home inspection companies on these sites, don’t let that discourage you! On the contrary, get excited! It means you have the advantage of being the “one” that becomes huge online first. While there are numerous marketing strategies for social media networking, one that can catapult your business are industry videos you create, upload to Youtube and post on Facebook with links to it on Twitter.
If you’re familiar with multi-level-marketing, apply an altered idea of that process to social media and it could lead to major triumphs. One way to do this is to see how many friends your friends have on Facebook. You might be shocked to discover one, two or even a few with the maximum of 5,000! That is a friend who is popular, and observing movie stars has certainly taught us that the “popular” can be persuasive! You can come up with numerous ways to get these heavy users to help you increase business. Seeing who in their friend’s list (on Facebook) or connections (on LinkedIn) works in the industry can help you determine if you should reach out to those particular individuals or companies as a “friend” or “colleague” of your mutual connection.
If this language is foreign to you, do some homework. Before jumping in and creating a business page or ad, become a member of these sites. Be sure to include LinkedIn, which was created specifically for professionals to have a platform in which they could utilize each other’s business connections. Do a thorough review of all of these sites, become a member once you’ve figured out some of the basics, then create a marketing strategy that will work with your business.
Of course with LinkedIn you are automatically posted as a professional or expected to be one. It will ask for things like your current occupation, previous positions held, your area of specialty and a listing of all of your skills. In addition, you will be able to find out whom else you know on LinkedIn and become a part of their connection list. Having access to their list can allow for a connection with numerous others. LinkedIn also has “recommendations” where people you’ve worked for or with can write a recommendation for you and your business.
While Facebook will have a much more “social” atmosphere, many of the 30 million on LinkedIn are already making excellent use of the power of Facebook. You will find that users on one will search for you on the other sites, and you should by-all-means search for them too! Collaborate, research, plan and be creative! This kind of exposure is only as limited as your imagination. If you lack in marketing and advertising skills then hire a professional! Yes, professional writers, advertisers and marketing companies are working in this market.
Though they tend to work from a “first-person” basis, meaning you’re reading the updates on Facebook, or Twitter and believing it is one of the company’s employees, the owner, the president, the home inspector, etc., it could be a professional that was hired to engage in a way that will produce real business results.
Often companies supply “how to” tips, discounts, trade secrets and various other incentives to get users to continuously visit their page and hire them professionally. The old adage “give something to get something” goes far in regards to social media. Don’t concern yourself with how much you’d be giving away if you supplied users with a discount, instead, realize the business you receive from the offer may not have come about without the motivation supplied by your discount. A company called Groupon.com specializes in handling discounts for your business, and they too have an extensive following.
No matter what industry you’re in, the world has become interactive; you’re either interacting with the rest of us or wondering where customers have gone. Wonder no more, they’re on a computer someplace checking their Facebook, Tweeting, gaining new connections on LinkedIn, using a coupon from Groupon or utilizing the knowledge and information gained from these sites in the physical world.