Home Builder Social Media: How to Get More People to Share Your Content
Does your content sizzle or just sort of, well, sit there? If you’re like many home builders you may be frustrated that the only people who seem to like, tweet, share or pin your content are your mom, your spouse, your employees, and a few friends. Does that mean that it’s time to abandon blogging altogether for 2016? Not at all.
Consider the stats:
- Compared to 2015, 77% of B2C marketers say they will produce more content in 2016. Only 2% will produce less. (source)
- 50% of B2C companies say they plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2016. (source)
- 45% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important content strategy. (source)
- 69% of marketers say they plan to increase their use of blogging this year. (source)
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts. (source)
Content is here to stay for 2016. For home builders, blogging is still one of the most effective tools to inform and influence a home buyer’s decision. But it’s not enough to develop good content. With so much content all over the web it is harder and harder to be seen in search engines, in your prospect’s social media feed, and in their email inbox.
So how can you compete? Social sharing (likes, tweets, pins, shares and comments) are more important in 2016 than ever before. The power of engaging content extends far beyond social media and into every aspect of your digital marketing.
Trends for 2016: Social Sharing is the New SEO
A few short years ago you could write a couple of blog posts per week, include a few keywords, optimize your content with on page SEO best practices, and that was enough to earn page one ranking on Google for many keywords and phrases.
Today social media has more impact on how well your content ranks in search engines than ever before. That means that the more people that like, share, tweet, comment, or pin your blog content the higher your content will rank in search engines.
And that has a direct impact on how many homes you sell. Consider:
- The majority of home buyers who take action on a website (like register for a download, live chat, or request more information) come from search engines
- The more your content is shared on social media, the higher it ranks in search engines
- More sharing > better SEO > more high quality leads
Even if an active home buyer does not follow you on Facebook, they could type “New homes in Naples, FL,” into Google and see your content based on how popular that content is in social media.
If you want better SEO in 2016, your best investment is in high quality content based on basic SEO best practices, your industry, your business goals, and content that wins over your social media audiences.
But where do you begin?
Discover Your Own Content Trends
The best way to find out what type of content your social media audiences like to share is to look at what has worked best over the last year. Then do more of that.
Review your social media and find the 10 posts that earned the most likes, comments, shares, pins and tweets. Then look for trends that can help you identify the type of content your social media audience likes best.
Some questions to ask might include:
- Do testimonials work best?
- Are product photos or people photos shared more often?
- Do short posts get more engagement or do long ones perform better?
Write down 5 trends of your most popular social media content.
Now think about whether that content is helping you achieve your business goals. Funny content or seasonal posts may earn a lot of shares but probably aren’t driving traffic to your website or helping your blog posts rank better in search engines. Trim the fat and focus on the posts that performed best for both engagement and business goals.
Test the Waters with Curated Content
Content curation is simply sharing content written by other people to your social media audience. Content curation has a lot of benefits for home builders. First, it’s a cost effective way to deliver fresh content to your social media platforms, even if you do not have the time or budget for a full time social media team. Sharing content that is relevant to a prospective home buyer about a new home purchase – even content that is written by someone else – can still help establish you as an expert in your market.
But content curation is also one of a home builder’s best tools for finding content that your audience is likely to share. For example, if you share topics related to financing a home that earns a lot of engagement then you will know to create your own content about financing that is specific for your community.
How to Tap Into What’s Trending
Fortunately you do not have to guess when it comes to finding topics that people want to share. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find topics written by other people that are earning a high number of shares. You can conduct a limited number of searches for free or upgrade to view who is sharing and linking to similar content.
Use this information to create your own content calendar of topics that are highly shareable.
Personalize Your Content for Better Results
When you know who you are writing for your content becomes much more personal and shareable. If you create content about 100 neighborhood resources for new parents, for example, that’s content that new moms are likely to share with other moms. When you focus on making your reader an expert they will want to share your content because it makes them look like an expert, too.
Begin personalizing your content based on the 6 P’s: purpose, persona, problem, product, platform and promotion.
- Purpose: What are your specific business goals? This can include selling 20 homes this quarter, building a preview email list of 500, or converting 10% of your email list to appointment.
- Persona: Who are the people that are most likely to buy homes in your neighborhood? Are they single or married? Young families or retirees? Create 1-3 specific personas for each neighborhood.
- Problem: What problem are your home buyers trying to solve by buying a new home? More space? Better school district? Relocation?
- Product: Next, how do the home that you sell solve that problem? If you sell to retirees, maybe your neighborhood features smaller lots that are easier to maintain.
- Platform: Next, what platform will you drive prospective home buyers to to view your content? Will this be a blog, a series of videos, an email auto-responder series? This will depend on your product and your audience. Where do your buyers consume information online?
- Promotion: Finally, where will you promote your content online? If your home buyers are urban and tech savvy this may be Instagram or Periscope.
Write Irresistible Headlines
Every successful content marketing plan includes RSS-to-Email. This means that each time you write a new blog post an email is automatically sent to your subscribers.
Blog headline structure should be “front loaded,” which means that the words that connect best to a home buyer’s needs, emotions, and search patterns should be in the first 35 characters. Headlines that are frontloaded will earn higher email open rates since most mobile phone will only show the first 35 characters of a headline. When prospects open and read your content they are more likely to like, tweet and share your content on their social media accounts.
Write headlines with emotion, urgency, scarcity, and that are benefit-driven. Avoid overusing adjectives that make your headline sound more like a romance novel than content that is useful for home buyers.
Examples of marketing gobbly gook:
- Rediscover Old World Grandeur in Our New Executive Series
- New! A Darling New Neighborhood in a Park-Like Setting
Descriptive language is fine to describe your homes in a brochure or even on your website, but it’s not enough to command the attention of a home buyer when you are competing with their email inbox or friends on social media. Your headline needs to be all about your home buyers: their problems, their aspirations, their emotions, their needs and their life. Remember, what problem do they have and how are you helping them solve it? The headline that connects with your buyer’s needs and emotions wins.
Here are a few examples:
- Parent? Stressed Out? Relax with 5 Master Suite Ideas
- 10 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid
Try the free Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer to test several different headline ideas.
The headline analyzer may not be a perfect fit for finding the right headline for your audience, but it can be a helpful tool in finding new and compelling ways to present an idea.
Make Your Content Fun to Read
Most people do not read on the internet. They simply skim. If you want your best content to be seen and shared make it easy for visitors to scan your content and easily reference the key points.
Here are a few simple tips for blog structure:
- Use short paragraphs: Short paragraphs are easier to read on the web
- Use bulleted lists: Bulleted lists give readers the chance to easily skim the key points like features and benefits of a specific plan or neighborhood.
- Use subheaders: Add a subheader every couple of paragraphs to give visitors more reasons to read (and share) your content.
- Add media: Photos, videos, embedded social media posts, and infographics are a great way to make your blog post more useful, interactive, and shareable. You can even embed videos, Houzz photos, and infographics from other sources (always with appropriate license and attribution) to help you create content that is more likely to be shared.
Additionally, make sure to optimize your content for search engines. Home buyers that find your blog post several months or years after you publish it can share it and increase the useful shelf life of your blog posts.
Content Promotion Checklist
Since social sharing is such an important part of SEO, it makes sense to create a goal for engagement and to track that goal every month. For example you may want to earn 100 engagements per month which can include likes, tweets, pins, shares, or comments.
To achieve your goal you will want to promote each new blog post for maximum exposure.
- RSS-to-Email: A must in your home builder marketing toolbox. New blog posts are delivered to subscribers by email automatically.
- eNewsletter: Send an eNewsletter to prospective home buyers that do not subscribe to your blog. Send every two weeks and include links to your most recent blog posts.
- Facebook: Include a link to your content and an attractive graphic. Test product photos, lifestyle photos, videos, slideshows and photo galleries to see which type of media earns the most shares.
- Facebook ads: Get more engagement for every new blog post by promoting your content with Facebook ads.
- Twitter: Write several Twitter updates and post them throughout the day. Keep your tweets under 100 characters to make it easy for people to retweet. Add hashtags to grow your Twitter audience.
- Pinterest: Check what’s popular on Pinterest for ideas about the visuals and topics that are trending.
- Search engines: Optimize your content for SEO to make it easy for home buyers to find in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Once you’ve posted to multiple platforms enroll your partners, employees, Realtors™ and homeowners to help you spread the word.
Create an Eye-Catching Graphic
According to a recent experiment by Buffer tweets with images earned 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets. Create a strong graphic that communicates what your content is about and that grabs the attention of your social media audience.
Here are a few resources for creating successful social media graphics.
- Sizes: Bookmark an always up to date social media image guide for optimal visuals
- Tools: Create eye-catching visuals easily using a tool like Canva or Fotor
Track, Pivot, Relaunch
Not every post that you write is going to earn a lot of shares, likes, and comments. In fact, you may be surprised to find that content you think is a “home run” falls flat with your audience, and content that you thought was “meh” turns out to be a big hit. Developing irresistible content isn’t advertising, it’s listening. The more content you publish, the more you will learn about what your audience wants, and the faster you will accelerate your results.
Need help with your content strategy? Contact us for a free initial consultation.