September, 2013
Strategies
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Using Social Media to Grow Your Home Inspection Business:

BRIAN BELL, VP SALES & MARKETING, CARSON DUNLOP

For many home inspectors, using social media to promote their businesses seems more complex than a Rubik’s Cube. The uncertainty around using these applications causes the vast majority of us to avoid them. However, the reality is that social media is everywhere, and its increasing presence makes it necessary for home inspectors to participate.

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Social media can help many overcome their shyness toward self promotion and expand their client base through referrals. Unfortunately, a lot of the industry still fails to see this opportunity. Despite popular belief, social media is not just for Justin Beiber or Lindsay Lohan; even the Rubik’s Cube is socially active – let’s face it, you probably have more to say than this frustrating square, so get out there. This article aims to demystify the three Fs related to social media acceptance: fear, futility and frequency. We will show you how to use social media smartly and effectively to take your home inspection business to new heights.

Fear
Many do not engage in social media simply as a result of their unfamiliarity with these outlets and how they work. This unfamiliarity manifests itself as fear. Inspectors are afraid to Tweet, Like, Endorse or Pin, usually because they worry it will be difficult or that they will “do it wrong.” In reality, when it comes to social media, you have nothing to fear but fear itself – not participating is the only wrong answer. Social media is a powerful tool. Clients and real estate agents will search you, and if you aren’t there, that is much worse than if you were not using #CoolLingo or didn’t have many followers or fans.

Futility
One of the major reasons inspectors are dismissive of social media is because they don’t see its value. They believe it to be a futile and ineffective activity. Think again. There are 1 billion users on Facebook, 500 million users on Twitter, 400 million users on Google+, 175 million users on LinkedIn and 25 million users on Pinterest. That is a lot of users and a lot of reasons why being active on social media can be very beneficial. In fact, an American Society of Home Inspectors study done in 2011 found that 40% of home inspectors concluded that they receive over 10% of their referrals via online sources, whether it be their individual websites or through social media.

Frequency
Inspectors are also conscious of the alleged amount of time social media requires. While lots of people Tweet very regularly, it is not required. You can Tweet every hour if you want to, but you do not have to. Twitter is still a relatively new phenomenon, and there are several different schools of thought on the “best” Twitter behavior. Not many people can agree on one, so don’t sweat it and don’t let that be the reason you don’t have Twitter. We recommend Tweeting one to three times a day – that’s devoting less than a half hour to social media. Pin a few photos. Like a page and post a status. It takes far less time than you think.

Social Media Tips
• Maintain your professionalism – don’t Follow or Like individuals who might give clients the wrong impression.

• Avoid excessive short forms – 140-character limits are there for a reason, be concise and relevant.

• Have a profile picture – without one it might seem like your account is inactive and not worth Following or promoting.

• Peak times for social media activity are in the morning and the early evening – if you are only going to post once a day, do it between
6 p.m. and 7 p.m.; you will likely get more views.

• Do some research – there is a lot of information available to help you make the most of your time online. Use it.

Using social media tools is one of the many ways you can help grow your home inspection business. Carson Dunlop has recently joined the social revolution and these platforms have helped us reach out to substantially more clients and real estate partners.

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We regularly publish simple home maintenance tips on our Carson Dunlop blog to help educate homeowners and improve brand awareness. You too will achieve form strategies that work for you, but it is common not to know where to start. You can easily socially share the Carson Dunlop content with your clients and real estate partners to help you get started in your own social media initiatives. To visit the Carson Dunlop blog, please visit carsondunlop.com/blog. Remember, social media is not scary, futile or time consuming; it is simply a great way to take your home inspection business to the next level.