With plenty of builders jumping into social media, the question I have been getting a lot lately is, "What now?” So you have your Twitter account with 100’s of followers, your Facebook page with fans and a blog ready for posting. That’s all good, but now you have to come up with content. I have had numerous conversations and questions while presenting in seminars regarding, "What kind of content should we be posting and where do we come up with the content?”
Before we explore that – let’s just make sure we review one important aspect. Social media/networking/marketing – whatever you want to call it is a two way conversation. It is a dialogue, not a monologue. So if you are trying to take the same methods used in other marketing sources and cram them into the social media box – you might as well quit while you’re ahead. This is a whole new ballgame – the rules are completely different. This is why it is hard to find builders who are doing a good job.
Also – let’s quickly talk about what NOT to do. It’s not all about you. We know you build homes, we know you have homes for sale, we know you are the best…tell the audience something else. Give them something of value – something they might want to pass along. I will venture to say – the audience doesn’t care as much about the "home of the day" as you do. Again, if the higher ups, owners of the company look at your efforts and say, "We need to talk more about us.” they may not be cut out for social media.
Ultimately, your goal is to connect with the right people and establish yourself/company as the thought leader in a specific area. Ask yourself what those areas are – this is where your content will come from.
Real Estate – You are a builder, watching the numbers, market data, permits, sales. Post content about that. What is happening in the local real estate market that is interesting? What would realtors like to know about? Create content related to that.
Local Economy – The housing industry is heavily dependent on jobs and the local economy. Report on good news that affects your town/county. Highlight the uniqueness of your city and the development that is occurring. Give a preview of what is going to be developing next in your town.
Green building – Green is hot right now, a large majority of builders are either Energy Star certified or use a lot of Energy Star products. Heck, you might even be LEED certified. Position yourself as the authoritative figure on green building. Show people the difference and how much they can save going green. Talk about new products, get people excited to be part of this trend.
First Time Buyers – They compose a high percentage of those buying right now, and they need to be educated on the process. Show them why they need to "fire their Landlord" and start paying themselves. Keep in mind; they are also the most active on the social media platforms.
Financing – Right now financing is a HUGE issue and one of the best closing tools. Share financing data and statistics on the national and local level. Become the financing expert and break the data down so the average buyer can understand. Record low interest rates, the $8,000 tax credit, people need to know now is the time to buy!
Local Events – Share local events and happenings around the area that make your community a fun place to live. Everyone wants to be in on the fun, so share that with the world. A blog post I did recently for a builder that got the most hits and traffic was on the local Home & Garden Show.
School District – As you well know, one of the largest factors in the location and choice of a new home and community is the school district. Share info on the schools like reports, events and issues that the parents will appreciate knowing.
Feature Your Employees – This is a fantastic way to talk about your people and what they do for the company without selling. Again, through the social aspect of this new media – it gives the customer a chance to get to know you better.
Talk About You – Yes, it is actually ok to talk about yourself. But do it right. Talk about the things that are newsworthy. Awards, Community Openings, Events, Sponsorships, mentions in the news…you get the idea. Just don’t tell your audience over and over that you are a builder and they need to buy a house.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on finding the right content for these platforms. Remember, you also need to engage. Comment on other blogs, retweet good info and engage in a conversation. Ultimately, it is about connecting with others.