Want to know something … fast? It’s not rocket science! The first thing you do, when you want to find something out, or find someone, is … search on google.
We’re all very familiar with typing what we need, or who we need, into the google search box and finding instant gratification from the results!
You are just one of billions of people doing this. The numbers for Google searches are absolutely staggering:
34,000 searches per second;
2 million per minute;
121 million per hour;
3 billion per day;
88 billion per month … (figures rounded) Source: Search Engine Land.
So, it stands to reason that you, as a professional property person, need to be “find-able” via google. “Why?”, you may say. Well, it’s simply because business is moving on-line and if you want to be relevant, and credible, then you need to be where the action is! And the action is on the web.
Some examples of what is happening now …. (and this is only going to increase in the future as the web invades every aspect of our lives):
- Tenants are increasingly vetting Landlords on-line before deciding to take a property to see if the Landlord has a track record of professionalism.
- Lenders are increasingly searching on-line as part of the “vetting process” for mortgage applications to see if you are a professional person.
- Tradespeople will search you out on-line to find out if any other tradespeople have had problems being paid on time.
- If you are searching for JV partners, the first thing they will do is “google” you to see if you have a track record of successful projects.
Anyone considering doing any form of business transaction is going to look you up on-line and “check you out”. It’s called due diligence and google is king.
The transparency of the web rewards those who reveal, rather than conceal, so it would be wise to invest time in building a strong on-line brand … and part of that is setting up professional profiles.
These should be populated with a small biography, professional photograph, professional avatar, links to your websites, and full contact details.
I have profiles on all these sites … as you will see if you click on the links above. I regularly up-date these to keep them fresh. Otherwise, they start to look the equivalent of a shop with no new stock in the window and dust on the shelves.
Here is an example of one of Nick’s professional profiles:
Notice how consistent both of us are with how we present ourselves on-line. It makes it easy for people to recognise us across the different spaces. Having a funky hairstyle (in Nick’s case) is surprisingly eye-catching! (We were even recognised in a busy hotel lobby by James Davis, CEO of Upad, who we ended up doing business with!).
Those of us that build up a long tail of contribution and helping and supporting others on the social web, will be far easier to “check out” in the future. We can become known via our content and profiles. I use my real name and picture everywhere I go on the web and have done for the past five years. Posting online using a false name and avatar is paying three times over – with your attention, your time, and fuelling a site – but you will never be able to get a return on that investment. Maybe some people don’t want to, and that’s fine, but if their circumstances change in the future, they may need it.
It takes at least a year to get traction on-line in my experience. In order to future-proof yourself, you should consider doing it regardless of what your business is at this moment in time. Your web contribution will become the equivalent of your CV.
Your reputation is priceless. Your on-line reputation is the future of your property business. Are you investing in building it?
To get started: Put your own name into google and see what, if anything, comes up about you. Then create professional profiles on the sites mentioned above.
Further related reading from the Property Tribes forum:
Building a reputation
Tenants starting to vet Landlords?
Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property.
I hope you find this blog insightful and get started with building your on-line brand. The best time to start is now.
Follow me on Twitter: @4_walls
Vanessa Warwick is a former TV presenter, turned professional residential Landlord, consultant, and speaker. Along with her husband Nick Tadd, she founded Property Tribes, which is now the U.K.’s busiest on-line Landlord and investor community. Nick and Vanessa have just launched their new tech product, Yulpa, an on-line “property office/filo-fax” that helps you organise and manage your entire property life in one place. It comes with an iPhone app that does auto due diligence on any property being considered for purchase.
Vanessa and Nick advocate the use of technology and digital and social communications in property, and speak at events all over the U.K. as well as consulting for the BBC on property. They invest mainly in flats London and family houses in the South East and are also big advocates of holiday lets, having two upmarket holiday lets on the South Coast that achieve above-average occupancy thanks to the couple’s web efforts and vertical marketing strategies.