Social media engagement is a big part of boosting your business in algorithms and driving traffic to your profile for additional information. This is even more important when you are in the Home Building industry. Don’t be fooled, while many companies seem to post anything and get great engagement, a lot more is going on behind the scenes to create content that the audience 1) wants to see and 2) is compelling enough to warrant great engagement. If you’re new to social media, you might be thinking “What the heck is going on? And why does social media matter to my business at all?” Social media strategy plays a large part in bringing in new prospects, especially when you are a business that is limited in location, such as a home builder or remodeler. This article outlines what you need to know about reaching your audience and capturing higher engagement rates than ever before.
First Things First: Ensure You Are Posting Where Your Audience Is
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this: you need to be on the social channels where your audience is. As a home builder or contractor, your prospects are less likely to be on professional networking social media platforms and more likely to be on platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Facebook is a preferred platform for many businesses that offer local services and cannot travel outside of a certain radius. This is the ideal platform to connect with local patrons, interact with community pages, and showcase your work. Facebook is also perfect for establishing your business’ location, hours of operation, phone number, website, and including an about section for the services you offer. This is also the place where you can host reviews from previous clients for your potential prospects to see.
Facebook has a large set of publishing tools that can help your posts shine and feel organic, even if you don’t have extended periods of time creating your social content. Remember that this is the place to let your personality shine and engage with your audience. If one of your prospects comments on a photo, comment back. If other interested individual messages you on Facebook Messenger, try to respond in a timely manner.
And let’s not forget about the unique opportunity to promote your business within Facebook groups. The communities where your ideal clients live are bound to have groups and pages dedicated to community events and a place where you can promote your services. But be warned, some of these groups have strict policies about business promotion and will remove your business from the group if you do not adhere to their rules.
Pinterest was made for all things visual. However, many businesses do not put a focus on this platform because they think they will not be able to target their ideal audience. Pinterest might just be the ideal place for you if you have stunning imagery to use on your page. Showcasing beautiful homes is the perfect way to find individuals that are ready for your services.
To ensure you aren’t connecting with the wrong crowd, be sure to include your city and state location in your profile, captions, and pins. You’ll want people to know, without a doubt, that you are located in one specific area. An example of this would be including phrases such as “home builder in Charlotte, NC” or “dream home by Dream Builders located in Charleston, SC”.
Also, keep in mind that individuals on Pinterest are initially looking for inspiration. They are looking for finished pictures, before and afters, and potentially floor plans they can use for their home project. Progress photos with just framing completed probably won’t perform well and get a lot of interaction.
Instagram is the place to be if you don’t rely heavily on website traffic to bring in leads. While you can include links in your bio or through linking platforms, this really is not the place to promote your latest blog or newest premium content offer. Instagram should be used similarly to Pinterest, in that it is a highly visual platform where people often look for inspiration.
This is the place for your audience to experience the culture your company has. Lives, stories, and IGTV are just a few ways you can interact with your viewers to communicate the kind of company you are. This platform is also made for photo sharing. Post pictures about project updates, your team in action, and of the finished homes you have helped create, just be sure you’re correctly sizing images so nothing gets cut off.
And don’t forget hashtags and location tagging! Instagram is the primary stomping ground for a solid hashtag strategy. These hashtags can help categorize your business’ profile based on the kind of company you are and services you offer, while also drawing engagement from locals looking under area-specific tags. Do your research and find which hashtags for your area have large followings and that other users are posting to. For location tagging, keep it simple and tag your town or a nearby neighborhood. Users will use these locations to find you and interact with you!
A final note about social media is that these platforms are almost always awareness platforms. The users on these channels are exploring their options and seeing what is out there. They might not be ready to sign on the dotted line, so be sure to direct traffic back to your website or send viewers to reach out in your inbox with any questions they might have to continue nurturing the relationship.
6 Ways to Boost Social Media Engagement
Now that you’ve determined where you need to host your content, you might be wondering what kind of content gets the best traffic. If you’re just starting your profile and have no followers, be sure to introduce your company. Don’t jump into your post rotation without any introduction as to who you are, what you do, where you do it, and any other formalities you feel are important. With that in mind, here are 6 ideas for generating engagement on your posts and profiles.
1. Showcase your work!
As much as we don’t want to burst your bubble, stock photography is not the move for any home builder profile. You create gorgeous work and your best tool for bringing in new work is to showcase it. If your feed is full of obvious stock photography, this can hurt your credibility in the eyes of your audience.
Get creative in creating photo assets. Enlist the help of your crew or hire a professional to help out a couple of times a month. With the latest phones on the market, you can capture stunning images and videos that will work well on social media, just be sure to use a clean cloth to wipe the lens before you start clicking away! Or opt for a camera that is dedicated to your work photos - which can be deducted as a business expense, more on that here.
Take photos of your crew in action, take photos of your projects before you start and in the same place after you finish, take photos of families seeing their completed dream homes for the first time. Pay attention to details as well! Try to keep areas neat, don’t leave tile wrappers and empty water bottles laying around. While a construction zone is messy, the general public will pick up on those small details.
At the end of the day, individuals are more likely to interact with a business profile that they think is real and credible. And while having great imagery seems like a no-brainer, it can be something that is frequently overlooked by business owners. If you have fallen into the rut of pulling a stock image off the internet, try switching it up and seeing the kind of engagement it brings.
2. Use video assets
Video has quickly dominated the way consumers prefer to digest their content on social media. Videos allow your audience a deeper dive into a specific project and allow you the opportunity to continue building brand awareness and personality. This is where you can show your expertise in the industry by pointing out special designs, unique materials, and explaining why your craftsmanship is built for life.
Unfortunately, iPhones aren’t always the best for capturing professional-grade videos. Sure, they are fine for a quick live on your Instagram or a story video on Facebook, but if you are truly looking to wow your audience, invest in something that will make your projects (and you!) look amazing. One of our personal favorites is the Go-Pro range of products. These small cameras are mighty and great for mounting to capture time-lapses.
The key takeaway here is that video assets can be as simple or in-depth as you want. While it might be tempting to create an hour-long video showcasing the tiled backsplash throughout a home’s kitchen and bathrooms, don’t underestimate the power of a quick 5-minute video that will wow your audience and leave them wanting more. For further engagement, ask your audience to answer a question in the comments section, or ask them to leave their opinion of the project. While it may feel awkward to ask, it can go a long way in creating engagement for your profile.
3. Engage with your audience
This might be one of the simplest things you can do on social media, but it is often forgotten. Engaging and interacting with your audience is a quick win in your social media efforts. Your audience wants to know that there is an individual behind the screen that is excited to interact with them. Answer your DMs, reply to comments, and go the extra mile by interacting with other business accounts in your area.
For example, if Susie posts a question about tile on your latest post, take the extra 45 seconds it takes to answer. Susie will appreciate that you took the time to reply to her, and it will also set you in the audience’s mind as someone who has the knowledge to answer questions and eventually complete projects.
The same goes for your direct messages. Don’t leave the individuals in your private messages hanging. That is missed business! Harry might only be reaching out in your DMs for an estimate, but knowing that you took the time to reply in a timely manner will give you a foot above the competitor companies Harry is going to that didn’t take the time to reply to him. You’ve heard the saying “You get what you give”, and social media engagement is no exception to that rule.
4. Try your hand at digital advertising through Facebook
Facebook is one of the best platforms to advertise on. Not only does Facebook have a huge audience for you to potentially reach, but the advertising platform itself is also a wonderful and simple tool to use. And let’s not forget that Facebook advertising can be used with any budget, low or high!
One of our favorite features about Facebook advertising is the ability to target specific locations and individuals in those areas with specific interests. If you’re looking for individuals in Woodbridge, VA, that are interested in whole home renovations, you can easily set your parameters up to a 50-mile radius around that area and select whole home renovations, home improvement, and home construction as a few of the interests you want to target.
Facebook advertising also goes beyond traditional ads. You can opt to spend a small amount on “boosting” your posts. This kind of advertising will display your post in front of your target audience with the intention of increasing video views, likes, comments, shares, or with the aim of driving traffic to your website.
But remember these words of caution, not every advertisement set will be a winner. Think about the time of year you are advertising. If it is around major holidays, you will more than likely be competing with other businesses for ad space. Try not to over-target your ads. If you put too many parameters around your audience preferences, you might find that you are not getting the results you want. If your budget allows for a little bit of wiggle room, play around with your settings and see what works best for your company.
5. Add on hashtags and locations
As we mentioned above, hashtags and location tags are a great way to improve the visibility of your posts and increase engagement. This is especially important for Instagram and Facebook. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for consumers to start their hunt for a service partner by checking out business posts in the hashtags related to their community.
Do your due diligence here before you start adding in a million and one hashtags. While what seems like great hashtags to you might not be the hottest in terms of followings and engagement. A good rule of thumb is that a hashtag with 1,000+ posts is a solid hashtag. But try to stay away from hashtags that have a massive number of posts associated with them. You run the risk of getting lost in a sea of posts. Keep your hashtags relevant to what you're talking about as well. Adding hashtags related to nail services when you’re posting about carpentry can be seen as spamming and not help you reach your target audience.
Also, don’t neglect the importance of tagging your city, other businesses, or other locations. These tags can help your audience locate where you are, the areas you service, and other companies that you might be interacting with. For tagging other companies you work with especially, you are broadening your post audience to individuals that follow that particular business, and in turn bringing them to engage with your profile.
6. Personalize your platform
Don’t let your business’ personality get lost in these large social media platforms. This is the place to let your characteristics shine. Go crazy with branding in terms of profile images and cover images, include company slogans or mantras where appropriate in posts, and use language that you would use in conversations with your prospects. If you love emojis, use emojis! This is your profile, and you want it to give off the impression of your company.
As a bonus, the more you let your company culture shine, the more individuals will want to interact with you. People rarely want to comment or share posts that sound robotic or inorganic. Let your heart show here by talking about why certain projects are special, and people will reward you with engagement.
Measure Your Growth
One of the most important parts of growing engagement is measuring it. If you don’t know where you started, how will you plan to improve? The analytic tools within the business accounts for social media are surprisingly insightful. With these tools, you can determine when your audience is online, the kinds of posts they already enjoy, and the posts they aren’t particularly fond of.
From here, you can make internal adjustments to boost your engagement. If you notice that a post you published two weeks ago on a Wednesday at 2 pm got more engagement than a post from Wednesday last week at 11 am, try posting again on Wednesday at 2 pm to see if your likes and comments go up. Small changes like this can make a large difference in your engagement.
Additionally, if you find that your audience isn’t loving your detailed post captions, try a shortened version for a while. This could indicate that your content is not easily digestible and needs to be a high-level overview to really grab the attention of your audience. Keep in mind that these recommendations or examples may not relate to your posts directly. You will need to spend a little bit of time digging into the “why” of your analytics.
Find the Right Agency to Partner With
At the end of the day, you’re an expert in building dream homes. You aren’t a social media expert and you probably don’t have time to dive into the deep end of social media. That is where an agency can partner with you to create outstanding results. Agencies work in social media on a daily basis, they keep up with trends, and if they’re like LAIRE, they have strategies best suited for each industry they work in. We’ve got great information for you in our Construction Marketing Checklist and our Social Media Prospecting Workbook. As always, if you have any questions about how your company can up your social media game, let’s talk! We’d be happy to help!