Last summer I found myself in the same new sub-division over and over, [and believe me, the place was one of only a few in this crazy real estate market] I was inspecting slabs before the builder called the concrete trucks for the foundation pour.
I’m currently inspecting for Bonded Builders Warranty Group where I’m confirming the size of the steel, depth of ditches and other design criteria. I take a couple pictures, report my findings and move to the next job on my calendar.
As I drove away I began to think, I wish everyone could see all this new construction activity, but how could I “get the word out”? And, I thought, if I’m successful at helping drive traffic to the neighborhood and possibly help my real estate agent friends make a sale, look at all the people one sale would employ! Plumbers, roofers, drywall hangers, clean up crews and literally dozens of other industry professionals. But how could I reach thousands of people without paying thousands of dollars?
Suddenly I realized that the neighborhood I visited each day is a point on a map. A point exactly like the point in the restaurant that I had lunch that day. And…that I could use the Check-In feature on Facebook to locate and pin-point the neighborhood that I visit each week. I began to see the neighborhood as a single point on a map. One with an identity all it’s own. A place. On Facebook, it’s called a Place Page. As a matter of fact you can “Like” Facebook Places the same way you can Like Facebook Fan Pages. While Places is mostly meant for smartphone users, it doesn’t depend on a GPS device to find your location–you can check in from a laptop or iPod Touch, too. Just go to touch.facebook.com in your browser [you’ll need Internet access, of course], and you can check in from your desk or favorite café.
On my next slab inspection I paused at the front the neighborhood, opened my Facebook app and clicked the +Check-In button. The app quickly started searching for and showing me all the places [names of stores, service stations, groceries, etc] that had been created by others on Facebook. But no subdivision name. So I created the name of the subdivision where I inspect. I took a photo of the signage at the neighborhood gate, described my job, mentioned the builder’s name and photoed the foundation. I shared the new place and the photos on Facebook.
I’m not sure how many friends and family members saw my first Check-In, but since that day last summer I’ve been checking-in and sharing my activity. I’ve realized that when you use the Facebook Check-In option, the photo and information you share is later retrievable by anyone and everyone in the neighborhood and also “near” the place. That means that someone checking in at one of the near-by restaurants has the opportunity to view and review all the information you shared days weeks or even months before. Sort-a like a history book of the actions in the neighborhood and the best part [aside from sharing this information to potential buyers] I was advertising my business to everyone, both logged into Facebook and those who were near the Check-in point for free! Thousands now have the potential to see my name and the news of others who use this method of free marketing. Download the iPhone Facebook app here and get the Android app here.
I’m expanding the idea and have a few more tricks up my sleeve, but that’s for another post. I’m headed out for another slab inspection and another Check-In.
EDIT :: Since we fist posted this story, the idea was picked up by several blogs. Here’s one example: TAP INSPECT