“Someone just told me she hired me because she liked my blog. How cool is that? #bloglove #buildtrustonline” This was a recent ‘tweet’ from Ryan Lundquist (known on Twitter as ‘@SacAppraiser.’ Ryan has one of the best blogs of any appraiser out there on the Internet. How do I know? I follow (and read) almost all of them. Before you get too overly impressed with my abilities, you should know it is not that hard. There just are not very many to follow.
I would assume that most appraisers do not see the point and are too focused on their appraisal businesses to care much about Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, and the like. Oh, they might have a Facebook page and connect regularly with old friends from high school, but why should they care about social media for business? Good question. I sat down (virtually) with Mr. Lundquist to find out why he spends so much time blogging, Facebooking, and Tweeting.
The Appraiser Coach (TAC): Ryan, thank you for taking the time. I am excited to look into why you do what you do with Social Media and help other appraisers get a glimpse of why they may want to consider it. How many years have you been in the appraisal profession?
Ryan Lundquist (RL): I’ve been a full-time appraiser since 2003.
TAC: What are the biggest changes you have experienced in the past 4-5 years?
RL: HVCC was an enormous change because it weeded out a good portion of my clientele. But even without HVCC, many of the clients I used to do business with during the “boom” years went out of business since the real estate market in my area was hit very hard. Over the past five years I’ve been able to reinvent my business by finding new clients (good ones) and continuing to delve into types of appraisal work I really enjoy (tax appeal, estate settlement, pre-listing, consulting assignments…).
TAC: How long have you been involved in social media?
RL: four years.
TAC: Why did you decide to start blogging and getting involved in other forms of online media?
RL: I decided to start blogging to connect with prospective clients and be a resource to existing clients. A website feels a bit naked without a blog these days anyway, so I needed to step up my online game. My blog is really the online voice of my business, so it’s a critical part of my strategy to connect with people, tell the story of what I do, listen and earn new business. It’s a way to display my knowledge, expertise and personality. My blog also helps me get found online too, which is one of the big goals.
TAC: How much time do you average per day or per week with social media?
RL: I typically post 3 times per week and I probably spend a good 30-40 minutes on each post. Sometimes I crank out posts very quickly though. It really depends on what I’m writing about and if I’m communicating by video, photos or text. Many times people say you can blog in 5 minutes, but I just don’t see how you can put together something thoughtful, original and useful in that amount of time.
TAC: Sounds like a lot of work. Why do you do it?
RL: Blogging is an investment and opportunity for your business to have a voice online, so you should take time with it if you plan to build a strong web presence. On top of blogging, I’m on Facebook and Twitter very regularly each day.
TAC: How has social media impacted your business?
RL: Sometimes we think by signing up for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or by having a blog that business will all of the sudden come flooding in. That’s not how it works because social media platforms require attention, time and nurturing of relationships. These platforms are inherently about building relationships instead of promoting business advertisements The distinction that social media is not a place to simply broadcast services is key. Do I earn people’s trust and new business through my blog and other platforms? Absolutely. Yes!! My blog and other websites help me attract non-lending work on a weekly basis. Right now I have six private appraisals waiting to be typed (and all due this week!!). Five of these six found me online over the past week or so.
TAC: What advice would you give to other appraisal business owners when it comes to their online presence?
RL: What type of appraisal work do you want to do? Write about that stuff in a way that answers the questions people are asking. Always keep your target audience in mind. Look in your “sent” email folder to see which questions you’ve answered recently. Those become great blog posts. Make it your goal to build trust with people online rather than advertise your business. Add value by what you do online and be authentic. People can smell an agenda from a mile away. If you wouldn’t say it in person at a networking meeting, then don’t say it in a blog post.
TAC: What would you say to those appraisers out there who do not see much need for an online presence or social media connections?
RL: When you need information, where do you go looking for the answer? Do you open the Yellow Pages or do you go to a search engine? Chances are you go online. Well, that’s what everyone else does when they need to hire an appraiser. This is why having an online presence is critical for success in today’s market.
TAC: Thank you, Ryan. I really appreciate your time.
No one should get the impression that being active in social media circles is a ‘silver bullet’ to your marketing strategy—and it won’t happen overnight. However, those looking to do more non-lender work should strongly consider an online presence. Chances are, you would be the only appraiser in your area working that angle. If set up and maintained correctly, whose name and company do you think will come up when someone in your area Googles “Divorce Appraisal,” “Appraisal for Estate Planning,” or “Tax Appeal Appraisal?”
Now, go create some value!
Ryan Lundquist resides in Sacramento California. His blog can be found at http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and he can be reached on Twitter at @SacAppraiser or Facebook at www.facebook.com/SacramentoAppraiser.
Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up ime. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.