Although you may already be engaging on one or more social platforms each day, your engagement as yourself will differ from how you use the platform as a business. For home inspectors, like with most service businesses, word of mouth is crucial for growth and social media makes word of mouth spread simple and convenient. Home inspection brands should make it easy for their clients to share the good news about their services. Your client is probably on social media, so if they had a great experience with your brand, but you’re not on social media you’re just making it more difficult for them to tell others about you. Make it easier for them to market for you. We’ll help you get started.
How should you think about social media as a home inspector?
Social Media should be viewed as a relationship building tool. Don’t use social media to constantly talk about yourself or shove a sales pitch down your audience’s throat. Focus on posting high quality content and asking your audience questions. Try to understand what your audience cares about. What questions do you get all the time from clients?
- “Is this crack in the foundation something I should worry about?”
- “What about those cracks in the drywall?”
- “When will I need to replace the roof?”
- “What are those stains on the ceiling?”
- “Why should I get a home inspection when its a brand new house?”
These are just a few of the questions that you can work on answering through social media. You can use it to educate your followers, which makes you seem like the expert, increasing the trust clients and especially agents will have in you and your brand.
Remember – Engagement trumps quantity of posts.
Start with a Plan
When starting anything new it’s important to set some goals. What do you want this new project to accomplish? Although it’s super easy to jump right into social media, if you don’t have a plan for how your brand will use social media, then you’re likely to become frustrated and eventually fail. Below we’ve outlined some possible goals you might have for social media.
- Build Brand Awareness
- The vast reach of social media combined with the low cost makes it an ideal conduit to get your name out there. Social media also allows your brand awareness to spread rapidly and organically, which makes it more potent. Plus, each social platform makes it really easy to be visible through various strategies to promote virality.
- Develop Customer Relationships
- Social media, as the name implies, is meant to be social. While it doesn’t replace face time with people, for a business it can certainly help break the ice, so to speak. Social media allows prospective clients to observe and eventually engage with your brand with very little risk. They aren’t purchasing anything and they haven’t committed any time, other than a few minutes online. Your social presence can lower the barrier to entry into a relationship with your brand and that’s how you should approach each post.
- Build a Brand Personality
- Brands, like people, are more enjoyable to engage with when they have a personality. If you can develop a personality for your brand you are more likely to attract clients who gel with your brand. It’s a great way to weed out some of the problem clients and helps to set expectations, leading to less frustration for you and your clients. It won’t eliminate all the problem clients that might come to you, but it will certainly help.
- Generate Leads
- 97% of consumers ages 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business. If you don’t have Facebook reviews, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
- 44% of internet users use social networks to research brands.
- What Type of leads? Do you want users to book you for a home inspection? Do you want Agents to bring you into their office as a subject matter expert? It may seem like a simple concept, but post about what you want to do. Post about what makes your brand unique.
- Keep in mind that gaining a new customer is oftentimes harder than maintaining a current one. And although you may not perform a home inspection for the same client twice, you will hopefully perform dozens, if not hundreds, of inspections for the same real estate agent. Each new lead could become a very profitable long-term relationship.
- Build Brand Awareness
After you’ve decided on your goals it’s time to check out the competition. Look for other home inspectors who you respect and who have attracted a decent following on the social channels you want to use and ask the following questions.
- How are they using each platform?
- Are they posting educational content, sales content, contests, questions?
- What is the general tone of their posts? Serious, humorous, witty, dry, confrontational
- Is their audience engaging with their content? Likes? Comments? Shares? Retweets? Reposts?
One of the main components of a social media strategy is the development of a content calendar.
- This is a crucial step when developing your plan of attack. A content calendar is simply a way for you to visualize the content that you need and when that content should be used throughout the time period covered by the calendar. It helps you stay organized, on track, and accountable. If it isn’t habitual, it’s super easy to forget about posting to your networks. Even if you have developed a habit of posting regularly, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to post. But, if you develop a content calendar, focused on the services you want to provide to the clients you want to work with, then it becomes much easier to gather the necessary content as you go through your busy day. Otherwise, you may realize at the end of the day/week/month that you haven’t posted and now you have to scramble to find something to talk about.
- Once you have a content calendar nailed down and you have some content ready to go, it’s helpful to use a scheduling tool to schedule your post. A tool like HootSuite, Sprout Social, or Heropost will allow you to create your post in advance and simply schedule them to post in the future. That way you can spend a day developing your post, instead of having to remember to post each day.
What networks should you focus on?
- What are the most popular social networks?
- Understand the demographics of each network, they might surprise you
We normally recommend that home inspection brands focus on three social networks, especially when getting started with social media.
- Facebook – for reasons mentioned above
- Instagram – because of its reach and the fact that most inspectors are creating tons of photographs during a typical home inspection.
- LinkedIn – for professional connections with realtors.
- 2.7 Billion Active Users!
- Biggest Age Group: 25-34 (26.3%)
- Gender: 44% female, 56% male
- 38 minutes spent per user per day
- Facebook still remains the most-used and engaged-with social media platform. So it makes sense to consider Facebook when developing your social media strategy.
- When considering your marketing mix Facebook should probably be where you spend most of your energy.
- The infrastructure for business engagement is robust and no matter your audience they’re probably using Facebook in some capacity.
- Ads: Due to Facebook’s sheer size and engagement rate, it makes sense to advertise there in some way, shape or form (even if that means cross-posting).
- 1 billion active monthly users
- Biggest Age Group: 25-34 (33.1%)
- Gender: 57% female, 43% male
- 29 minutes spent per user per day
- Instagram is the second largest social media network, right behind Facebook. Over the last couple of years Facebook has worked to more fully integrate Instagram business profiles with Facebook profiles, which makes managing both much simpler.
- Because both Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform there are many cross promotional opportunities
- We love instagram because it is much more focused on visual content and visual content is what most home inspectors are creating at each inspection. Think about the hundreds of defect photos you might snap in a week. Not to mention the corresponding narratives. All that content is a treasure trove of information that your followers care about.
- Instagram also makes it easy to follow other home inspectors in different parts of the country to see what they’re posting and what interests their followers. These other inspectors can help give you “easy-win” ideas for your own posts. For example, Common Concerns Home Inspections in Puyallup, Washington posts great content mixed with humor and some occasional personal stories.
- 738 Million users
- Biggest age group: 46-55
- Gender: 51% Male, 49% Female
- 63% of LinkedIn users access the network monthly, and 22% weekly
- Although not as large as Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn is the third platform that we recommend home inspectors focus on.
- The demographics are quite different for LinkedIn so you’ll need to tailor your content specifically for LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn is great for B2B (business to business) connections, i.e. home inspectors and real estate agents. So keep that in mind when developing your content for LinkedIn. Really focus on connecting with agents and not so much with prospective clients.
- Freedom Home Services, based in Rock Hill, SC, does a great job of posting consistently and tagging the agent and the agent’s company on each post. It’s all about brand recognition which keeps your brand top-of-mind
That’s it for this post, but we’ll continue to post more useful advice on how to leverage social media for your home inspection business, but I hope the information above helps you get started with your social media marketing plan.
Ready to get Social?
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If you’re already on Social Media, but you’re not sure how to make it work for your brand then it might be time to conduct a Social Media Audit. Hootsuite has put together a nice Social Media Audit.