The Critical Eye!
Social Networking - The Business Perspective
I took the time to format some electrical bonding information here on my blogging website and then I invited some fellow inspectors to visit the page and click the “Thumbs Up” like button at the bottom and share it on their social networks if they did indeed found the information beneficial.
I received back the following response...
Michael, Don't get your feelings hurt if some of us don't want to spend every waking moment on the Social network sites. Everyone has their own idea about how to handle these things, and there are other resources' out there - NAME REMOVED FOR PRIVACY
I then took the time to write my thoughts. At first I had to deal with what could have been veiled sentiments by the home inspector, but then I took the time to share some good thoughts about using Social Networking in our business marketing plans. keep in mind that the inspector that responded has no current website, although he has had some over the years and saw no return on investment. He also has seen no return on his time investment with other online listing and directory services. You could say that he is “Old School” in his marketing approaches, but they are working for him. I don’t want any of his current face to face marketing efforts to be diminished. I just think that his local inspection martketshare will be enhanced if he incorporates the business social networking aspects into his current marketing plan for 2013.
I have removed his name for privacy, but the rest of the information is actual and real as it relates to Google searches using his name.
Ouch! Love ya man! Did you not have any positive comments on any of the “bonding” information I took the time to format and share? I simply invited you to visit my blogging website and read the information and look at the pitcures, then click the thumbs up “Like” icon if you indeed liked the information, and then share it online with others if you so desired. Would it be of help to me?... Yep. Am I sorry I asked for your help by way of online participation? Nope! My first concern was to organize the bonding information for the AII™ membership. The side benefit was to aid me in my business Social Networking goals by your participation. Your response above is a bit cryptic, but hopefully things are good between us. If not, then please contact me privately and let’s work it out (801-636-6816).
Hopefully your message is just your verbalizing that you are going to have to be drug into Social Networking, while kicking and screaming against it all the way, and I can understand those feelings. Change is difficult, but trust me when I say that as a business owner the benefits far outweigh our avoidance of Social Media. I think it can be integrated with all of the other great things you are doing to market and promote your business, but it should not be avoided. My Great Grandfather could not understand the concept that his horse and buggy would soon become a relic. My brother Jimi hated the idea of giving up his quadraphonic 8-track stereo for cassettes, then CD’s, then…. And today many people are avoiding the vision of the benefits of Social Networking for business. I took the time to write the positive information below regarding business Social Networking. When you have time, it is lengthy but you might enjoy it. And if you don’t have time, that is okay too…
None of us wants to spend time on Social Media while we work unless our efforts help to promote our business, learn something, or help somebody out. Our AII™ Hotline is a private Social Network that helps AII™ members. We all understand those benefits. We socialize on the Hotline both for education and for brotherhood, but being private it does nothing to help us with internet Social Networking rankings. Usually when we talk about business Social Networking we are using the internet to help promote our businesses publicly by engaging with the public, home buyers, and other real estate professionals.
Social Networking is so much more than Facebook, Farmville, and giving somebody a dozen radishes. But mistakenly we often think of Facebook primarily for our personal interactions. The business side of Social Networking is an idea we need to warm up to because many of our clients are already there. Many of our competitors are setting themselves up to take away our portion of the local inspection market by shoring up their online Social Networking presence. I completely understand about fellow inspectors not wanting to waste time online, and my feelings about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. etc. are that most people are wasting way too much time visiting them. I also understand the separation of our private lives and business lives. It is important to take charge of your internet presence so that you can make an impact upon the prospective clients who are searching for you online. Phones are great, but who still uses a phone book to find your number? Instead, clients look us up online and then either visit our websites, send us a text or email, and/or give us the direct phone call. And if you‘re in a smaller area that does still have a local phone book, then understand that they are obsolete and a thing of the past generations. Today, online is how people find one another, and the majority of people are using Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to do their online searches.
So how set are you in the Social Networking world of today?
Run an experiment upon yourself by going to Google. Pretend that you are a client and that a close friend just gave you your name as an inspector. Type into the Google search bar your name followed by inspector (Name Removed Inspector) and see what Google turns up. Don’t be fooled by the 33,200,000 results that Google returns, since many of them don’t relate to you (alright, 32,199,995 don’t relate to you). Now scroll down the list and see how many of the first page listings are related to you. If you are lucky, you might be able to go through multiple pages still finding references to you and your business. The more social you have been up till now, then the more listing show up. The more webpages, blogs, and social networks that have involved yourself with, the more Google listings will show up when they type in your name.
I ran yours, “Name Removed Inspector”, and there is good news because 5 of the 10 first page Google results refer to you.
- You can thank the “Best of Willamette Valley“ for their listing. This is something you probably filled out online and never thought anymore about it again. They present your business card and you look very good from their promotion of you and your business. I recommend that you visit them again and provide any updated content information about you because they are your number one friend on the internet right now and they were probably a FREE listing. Whatever they are doing is benefitting you greatly.
- LinkedIn is your second best friend as they are number two on your search. Are we friends on LinkedIn yet? I need to check. If not, then I need to send out a “Connect” request and look for information you might share on LinkedIn and pass it along. My doing this will help you maintain a high LinkedIn presence. In fact, every AII™ member should take the time and link up with each other on this business related site. Traditionally we think of LinkedIn as a business only social networking tool, whereas Facebook is personal first, with lots of ways to exploit it for business. If we all linked up on LinkedIn, then this would help all of us. By the way, we are not yet connected and I just sent you a “Connect” request.
- The #3 listing is for a Trucking Inspection firm… You need more stuff to bump them out of the #3 placement when searching for your name.
- The fourth listing is back to you and is Manta. This is another free listing service of which you can place an image up there as well. I think it is funny that they list you as having 1 to 4 employees and make less than $500,000 a year. I giggled because I wonder how close you were to breaking $500,000.00 in 2012. I know that you are good, but let’s be serious, that information is not really that beneficial. Obviously this site is geared more towards real estate agents and they would be better off if they had a home inspector specific category.
- The fifth listing is from our very own AII™ www.Inspection.org website. From this listing I learn that you were the Secretary in 2011. Way to go AII™. Then again, the listing is actually from ZoomInfo.com and they list you and the contact information is Lower Lake, California. To find you it would be good if your contact info was listed. I do not know about ZoomInfo, but I see a link that allows you the ability to visit the Name Removed page and claim the profile. Let us know how it goes. When I am done with this I am going to search them for my own profile.
- The final front page listing dealing with you is from the Keller Williams website that list you as the third preferred inspector on their list of three. Was this a paid for designation, or do they just like you a lot? Pacific Crest is the only one of you three listed that has a clickable link for a website, so they would probably get the online type of client.
So there it is, we find some real positive things upon which you can build your online presence. I look forward to connecting with you on LinkedIn and any other way that we can help promote one another with our online interactions.
As for the rest of you AII™ members, I encourage you to be progressive and take control of your online presence. We could avoid this since we first became aware of online anything back in 1997, but with infants now being raised with smartphones, iPads, and tablets, we need to acknowledge that Social Networking is here to stay. Don’t let others take your portion of the inspection marketplace pie in 2013.
I would be interested to hear from others about their own name Google search and what sites gave them a high ranking. What free listing sites have you had good experience? Why? What free sites are you staying away from? Why?
HOT TIP: I found Zillow listings about 6 months ago and have been working with their development team on Home inspector listings. They are new to it from anything other than the real estate agent end of things, but they are in development right now. Consider going to them and taking advantage of their free professionals listing.
It is my hope that we can take a united and progressive approach to this and raise the AII™ tide to enhance all of our online presences. I would like to see us use free resources and link together to enhance our web presences. But more on that later…
Michael Leavitt – Orem, Utah – www.TheHomeInspector.com