Online is a lifeline for many PMPs

|  March 1, 2019
LOGO: JOSH ALPERT

LOGO: JOSH ALPERT

As pest management professionals (PMPs), we regularly run into bored housewives, lonely retirees, unhappy husbands, talkative nine-year-olds, etc. I always joke around with my techs that we are like bartenders: People tend to feel very comfortable around us. If we are friendly and genuine, customers will open up and tell us some very intimate things.

In my March 2018 column, I discussed the many Facebook pest control groups that have sprung up and are relevant to our livelihood. Some people are taking it to the next level by making Facebook Live streaming videos. Most of the info being presented is outstanding. With the advancements of social media, more and more PMPs are going on Facebook, YouTube and internet radio platforms, and they are sharing. A lot.

“Hi, this is Bobby from Saskatoon Pest Raiders on ‘Canadian Pest Pros Mobile Action LIVE!’ I want to talk to you today about my penny-pinching monster-in-law.”

PMPs are telling their tales of starting up their businesses, retaining their clients, lowering insurance costs, etc. But something else has risen out of the web: PMPs also are helping one another with topics that might have been taboo a few years ago, such as depression, divorce, sexuality, bankruptcy and politics.

Reaching out

I recently talked to Josh Alpert, founder of Green Earth Pest Control, about his Facebook page “Let’s Talk Business Mobile.” I asked whether he was surprised at the level of frankness on his site. Keep in mind, these are videos, not just text.

He told me PMPs “need a place to vent;” they need to know that “I’m not alone and I’m not the only one going through this.”

What Josh admits he has been surprised by is the volume of PMPs joining his platform: “When I started my page, it was a hobby. Now it feels like a business.”

He also points out that Facebook pages are, to some degree, usurping association meetings because, instead of driving somewhere to see people once a month, “You can meet with people every day. You also have access to people you never would have met before.”

Paul Bello, president of PJB Pest Consulting — who, like me, is an administrator on “Let’s Talk Business Mobile” — notes that with these online forums, “I can connect and interact with anyone about anything, anytime I want.”

Paul says he believes social media platforms are helping many PMPs.

“I think it is overwhelmingly positive,” he adds. “Years ago, people used to work without a ‘safety net.’ But now, a PMP can reach out to a Facebook pest control page and ask for advice. Within 10 minutes, 30 people will have recommendations.”

Editor’s note: Read another of Schopen’s columns, “PMPs: Be generous with your industry knowledge

Posting tips

I have a few thoughts and suggestions when making your videos or posting to these sites:

Keep your videos short. I would love to watch many of these videos, but I’m running a business. I don’t have time to watch a 30-, 20- or even a 10-minute video. Try to keep your videos between 60 and 90 seconds. Sometimes you can venture up to two minutes if the content needs explaining. Paul also posts great videos on “PJB Pest Consulting” — and they are very rarely longer than two minutes.

Make sure the content is relevant. If you’re creating podcasts and you’re purposefully putting out 30-minute videos, make sure you publicize the content and make it useful. Mid-sized companies like mine can use the longer videos for training purposes with our employees. But if you are going to ramble on about your diet or how a customer made you mad, I’m going to tune it out quickly.

Dress for success. If you are recording yourself in your work truck and you’re wearing a wrinkled shirt with food hanging out of your beard, what message is that sending to a young technician? Look professional if appearing in your videos.

The future is in Internet radio: I predict that the next great wave of video content is going to be internet radio with live feeds. Can you imagine a 24-hour Internet station devoted to pest control? “And for all of us at Pete’s Pests Internet Radio . . . Good night!”

Pete’s picks

Here are six of the best Facebook groups I found for podcasts and professionals sharing information:

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