What is Social Media Marketing?
There is a reason that we have left this subject until near the end. That’s because the other stuff took priority. This isn’t where you start. Your website, content, video, all of those things come first. People think they want to start here because they think, Oh, I’m already on Facebook. I’ve already got 20,000 followers. That’s not social media marketing.
One major question is, do I post it as myself, or do I post it to my brand? It depends on how you are branding your business. If you are a sole expert, you can interact as yourself and automatically reflect on the business. Or you can interact as the brand and talk about professional things. It’s fine to separate the two because sometimes you post on your business page and sometimes based on you. Keep it to what is relevant to each audience so you can have separate followers, so that the people who are only interested in your business don’t have to watch the size of that fish pulled out of the lake on the weekend because they don’t care. And the people who are interested in pictures of your family or pictures of the barbeque you went to
don’t have to see everything about your business because they don’t want to.
If you maintain only one profile, people can get confused. They’ll think, Ah, that’s not why I followed you. We’ve got to honor the relationship we have which isn’t always to be advertised to. A lot of friends feel uncomfortable when you start pushing to them.
One of the great things is it’s a ready-made audience. You don’t have to talk people into using Facebook. It’s not like getting somebody to go to your website. They’re already on Facebook. All you’re doing is saying add me, or even just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll use advertising to reach you if you’re in my target market. Or I will put interesting stuff out that other people who are interested in will find. So, its own little inner circle, its own little sphere where you can interact with the audience already there. And it’s the same with all the other platforms. LinkedIn already has people on it; they’re already looking for connections. You are one of the people they’re looking to connect with or willing to connect with. It’s there, it’s already happening. That’s the big advantage of social media.
Social media isn’t a thing everybody has to do. If social isn’t your strong suit, if you find Facebook a waste of time, don’t use it. Your mindset is going to be wrong. You’re not going to enjoy it. Your content is going to be bad because it’s something you don’t want to do and don’t enjoy.
You’ve got to find yourself and make sure that your social actions really support your brand.
Fish Where the Fish Are
We already know that the ready-made audience is on the platform, but there are certain groups, there are certainly interests, that are expressed there, whether it’s a certain hashtag that’s being used on Twitter, whether it’s groups on Facebook, there’s almost always a local community group for buying and selling or for listing tradespeople. You definitely want to be aware of that group, in that group, following that group. Because even if you don’t want to advertise, even if you don’t want to be talking, you want to be listening. Because when people are complaining about things they hate about certain services, you want to be aware of that before you make that mistake.
(Jeff Bond) I took your advice. And I did go to Facebook and I did a search for real estate Bay Area. It came up with some groups. So East Bay Area Real Estate Group have 1000 people, and a Keller Williams San Jose had 3000, Santa Clara County associations board had 3300. Women’s Council of realtors had 3000. Right there are 12,000 people that done right, they may want to interact. Now I’m watching those groups. I’m just seeing what’s going on in the group. That’s all I’m doing right now. Just checking them out and seeing how they’re playing and what they’re talking about and getting a feel for that market.
Read the Room
Before you just crash into a group and do what you want to do, get a feel for what that group is like, how they’re going to react, before you do something.
A lot of people are on social media to interact with friends and family and a salesman suddenly coming up and pushing is going to be the last thing they want. You crash the room, there’s 3000 people. The one person in the room that really doesn’t resonate with what you’re saying happens to be very powerful, influential, and says something to 100 people. There’s 100 people now that are going, that guy right there, no. You don’t even know what happened. It’s just happening. There’s a quiet canceled culture that goes on. People talk.
Different rules for different people as well. We are talking to people. Social media is talking to people. Everybody has their own rules. Some people would rather you sent them a direct message to ask something. Other people don’t want direct messages from strangers, full stop. If they haven’t asked you to direct message, you don’t. Sometimes it is worth dropping a note in public, Can I DM you? And then go to DM. Always try the fail safe.
You can interact with people just solely saying, what a great article, that’s really helpful, great information. And then when you see that, and see it consistently from someone, either that’s coming onto my page, or coming onto my personal information, that’s that building know, like, trust.
I get friend requests from people I’ve never had a conversation with. I get it, they’ve heard of me, and they follow me. But Facebook lets you follow somebody, lets you subscribe to follow them, without being friends. Do that. My friends have at least interacted with me. If I haven’t had a conversation with you and you sent me a friend request, it’s getting rejected straightaway.
It’s about the whole business relationship. Don’t take advantage of the fact that there’s a group of 3000 people. They’re not there for you. They’re there for themselves the same way you are. Learn to engage with them and provide value. Then they’re going to become accepting of you and appreciate you.
Remember that just because the audience is there, does not make a captive audience. And it does not make it your audience. It just makes it a potential audience. You are the person having to turn that potential into actuality. Find your way of reaching those people without upsetting the rest.
Each platform has its own style. Facebook is the one everybody is on, and its friends and family. There are a lot of people who only want their friends and family. They don’t like to mix the two. They don’t like business on Facebook at all. But it’s the one with the biggest audience, and there are tons of professional groups. If you can’t make Facebook work for you, it’s because you don’t like Facebook.
LinkedIn is the very professional network. It’s all about the business card, the recommendations and referrals, who else you’re connected to in your industry. It’s really good for that industry networking. If you’ve got a construction company, and it does a lot of building work for people who are turning one property into three properties, that is a great platform for being able to manage those connections by adding testimonials from people that they know. Working with a network, it’s very good. It’s very professional, it does allow articles, it does allow an awful lot of content, there is depth to it.
LinkedIn is not a real demanding platform. It doesn’t take a lot of your time. So if you can get those connections, get that professional presentation, and cannot really consume a lot of your time. Ammon says it’s the first platform he goes to. It’s in the business of doing business versus social. So it speaks to that.
At its basic level, LinkedIn can be like another business card. It’s a little bit of business networking. It’s a minimal amount of engagement, and it’s ongoing. It’s a business card with the curriculum vitae attached to it. You can toot your horn on things you’ve done, not just your title. You can also list the projects that you worked on. For example, I worked on a $5.9 million project that will XYZ the community. You can put all your business accomplishments in there, without looking like you’re for yourself. In fact, you should be.
It’s the right place to connect with other people in your network, whether it’s businesses you’ve worked with, whether it’s clients you’ve worked with. Just make sure you get those connections.
Audit your LinkedIn profile when you’ve got the time and for those people who are too busy doing other stuff. Otherwise, check in as regularly as you enjoy doing. Some people love doing LinkedIn. It’s their number one, go to, pool.
For all of the platforms, you definitely want to get your name there whether you’re going to use it or not. If you’re somebody who is really well known, always do that. Grab your name. But sometimes there is a black hole. You know, you’re never going to use it. It’s okay just to forget that platform. It is an account in your name just in case. But, it’s okay just to forget a platform.
Twitter is one of the most important platforms for what it’s good for, which is the instant, what’s happening right now. It’s the most time-based platform. It’s all about the right now, the moment. And if you want to be up on current events, if you want to be talking about trends right now, Twitter is great.
If you don’t, if this is something you’re going to be doing sometimes, Twitter might not be the platform for you. You might want to grab your account, put up posters, get your links to the homepage, and then say, I’m more active on another platform. You can turn toward where you are more comfortable.
Twitter is not for everyone, but it’s very, very powerful. It’s the only social media platform where Google pays for access. They keep up with the entire stream on Twitter. The Twitter firehose we call it. Everything that goes on Twitter goes through Google as well. People use it to identify trends that are happening that may influence search. Because a celebrity dies, their name suddenly starts trending. Google knows that it needs to grab fresh information about this entity, this person. Then it will look at new sites and it will look at official sites, the sites that are strongest for that name for any fresh news. Have they died? Have they just got married? Whatever it is, that’s changed about them. It lets them know to grab that fresh content to have the latest news. So that’s why Twitter is so important to Google.
Twitter is really useful for keeping up with national, local hazards, for instance, forest fires. There is no platform that spreads the news of forest fires like Twitter does. You’re able to keep track of that. And notice that we’ve got a storm warning.
As an inspector, what would I be telling people who have homes to do right now? If I were quickly examining somebody’s home for whether it’s safe or not, what would I be looking for? This is that time to get our content out there, help people do something useful. It’s right on trend at this moment. Or pick an article you’ve already dealt with on your site and remind people that it’s there. This is the time to go and quickly check that you are strong where you are. You’ve covered up your main fire hazards, or these things simple and easy to do, given what’s happening in the area.
So hurricanes come. You wrote an article three years ago about hurricane preparedness. You go in and you start to link back in Twitter to that article, saying, hey, look, you may need some tips on being prepared for a hurricane. Go and you catch this article right now.
Everyone in the region is safe. Here’s some quick tips to make sure you’re ready for this to burn out.
Facebook again, is so important. Subscribe to consumer groups in your area. Look at what they’re complaining about ,what they didn’t like about services, because it’s something to avoid. This is free advice on what not to do. It gives you ideas of the little things that are pertinent you never thought to mention. But it’s a big selling point, and you’ll be surprised what you can sometimes find and how much of a difference it makes. You can just go there and get the read. You don’t have to say anything.
You’ve got two ears and one mouth. Listen to people talking. Don’t go thinking, I’ve got two ears, but I’ve got 10 fingers. Just read, then share and comment. Use 80% of that time to interact with folks or reshare.
Instagram works with anything that’s visual. They’ll do so well there. Property inspections, the building trade, all of those things. Things that have been built. New houses do phenomenally well. Interior decoration is massive.
On Instagram find the brands you like even if you haven’t interacted with them. If they have a great story, share that as a story and tag them back. That action creates goodwill with people, when all you’re doing is saying, look at this cool information.
Follow the hashtag #homeinspector and #homeinspection. Then it pops up when people are posting using that hashtag.
Each day you’re out doing discovery and it’s something new. So there’s always something new to be seen. And a lot of times it’s pretty unusual to see someone’s taking a very creative approach to solving problems. So it’s great to share things that are kind of unusual.
There is an awesome opportunity to really help someone. For instance, a duct tape around something that is supposed to have waterproofing. For you, you might add a client because as a customer, they’re thinking I did that in my house.
A lot of people forget that YouTube is a social network. They think, Oh, it’s uploading videos. Yeah, but it’s so much more. It is a channel. Your channel has a comments stream and dialogue. You can create posts through your channel that everyone sees and gets updates on. Content creators, release schedules, like what they’re games streaming and what was coming up. Don’t forget there is a whole social media aspect to YouTube as well.
Organic vs. Advertising
What we’re focusing on here is the organic. Because we’re doing a whole episode on digital advertising. When you’ve created posts, you’ve got some organic content, and then you pay to make it be seen by more people. That exists on a lot of different platforms. And that’s okay, that’s the crossover point.
Paid advertising is something you would want to consider. If you’re having trouble initially getting a real audience, start getting a little bit of both the emotional piece and really getting into the nitty gritty of the targeting. Next time, we’re talking about advertising specifically. A little bit of paid promotion can help you be seen by the right people.
Let’s say you’re on Facebook and you have some content and you’re really trying to get your message out to the realtor’s, to the people that will use your services. You can go check the rooms, do the group search and find those groups. When you advertise on Facebook, you can target those groups to interact with them. You can float your message out in front of them. And so now you’re using this organic post and using the social media advertising to really try to feed your message to the audience you want. It puts your money right where you want it to be applied.
For a lot of businesses, social media, they’re not quite sure what to do with it. But when you work out how you can use it in your business, and you’ve got the right mindset to do so, it can be phenomenally powerful.
There are sandwich stores that advertise and run polls on social media for the special for the next week. They let the audience that follows them select at least two of their recipes as specials that come in. And then in the store they point out that these are the ones that their Facebook group picked out. It tells everyone that comes into the shop, they’ve got Facebook groups where they can influence the menu.
That feeling of ownership and being acknowledged is powerful. You’re saying, Hey guys, I’m listening to you, I’m watching you and I want to have your input. That’s magic. That type of advertising is not intrusive. So it feels helpful, rather than pushy. People are opting in and choosing to participate at that point. It’s a whole different bias. They want to be part of your business.
There’s that old saying, it takes a village. It takes a village to make a business. All of those connections, those who are your customers, and your helpers, and your advisors, and your suppliers are all needed for your business to exist. So don’t forget that community is the heart of business just as much as it is any person. Being a part of your community acknowledging in your community, that’s where social media can be a really powerful tool for doing that.
That emphasizes how home inspectors can best participate in social. Be educating and let that be the value you add. And then when people need you, they’re going to remember that. They’re going to really remember.
The ninth in a 10-part series of marketing with Ammon Johns dedicated to property inspectors in the United States. He has been variously described by others as a veteran, pioneer, and expert in the field of SEO and search marketing. He has spent over 20 years in all aspects of Internet marketing, working with several leading SEO agencies, helping to launch several of them to industry-leader status. Ammon is best known for innovation, pioneering many of the common strategies of today, and he continues to innovate strategies.