If you were asked to list your organization’s core competencies, what would you list? Safety? Training? Those both certainly qualify. But, that leaves out a core competency that your competitors have absolutely no chance of matching — your members.

The Future of Labor

The Internet has wrought massive changes on the business landscape.  Services such as the Yellow Pages, which dominated the way consumers interact with businesses for more than a century, have all but gone the way of the dodo.  Internet companies such as Google have taken over the reins and become multi-billion dollar juggernauts.  And they have changed the way consumers do business.

On the surface, this may seem like a setback to labor.  The lack of Internet expertise in Labor would seem to suggest that the future is bleak.  But this could not be further from the truth.  The Internet era is one rife with possibilities for Labor because, at its core, it all runs on numbers.  In this case, the numbers referred to are not the zeros and ones that all computers run on.  Rather, these numbers are reviews, clicks, social signals — in short, these numbers represent individuals.

Word of Mouth

Search engines like Google and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are all, to some degree, modern adaptations of a time-honored business tradition — word of mouth.  Google, for all its complex algorithms and state of the art programming, still relies on the Internet version of word of mouth.  As part of the two hundred and some odd things that Google looks at to determine how a site will rank is how many people are talking about that site.  When you stop to consider it, the solution makes total sense.  Google is in the business of delivering amazing search results that are exactly what you are looking for at the time you do a search.  One of the ways it provides these amazing results is by relying on people.  If two sites are otherwise equal, but site #1 has hundreds of people linking to it, and talking about it on Facebook and Twitter, while site #2 does not, then Google may assume that site #1 is more popular.  Therefore, site #1 gets ranked higher.  This is a very simple explanation of a very complex scenario, but it helps to illustrate the point — digital word of mouth is important.

What Does This Mean To You?

In the Yellow Pages era, popularity had nothing to do with business ranking.  It was all based on the alphabet.  AAA Plumbing was always going to come before Burt’s Plumbing, even if Burt was highly skilled, and his employees all made a fair wage.  But now, things have changed dramatically.  Mobilizing your members can have a drastic effect on how Burt’s Plumbing stacks up against AAA Plumbing in the digital marketplace.  Does that matter?  You bet.  According to Google, more than 80% of consumers turn to Google to find local businesses to work with.  That means that people are looking for your contractors on Google and you, through your membership, have the power to affect those results.  Starting to make sense?  Properly mobilizing your membership on Internet-based campaigns is the future of growing your market share. But, in order to accomplish this, you must have open lines of communication with your membership.