Social media is made for the home building market: it’s visual, it encourages engagement and it gives home builders a way to truly interact with potential homeowners.
We wanted to find out which homebuilders are leading the way when it comes to social media, so we produced the first Top 50 Big Builders in Social Media Report (get the report here).
But a report can only tell you so much. What are the actionable insights? What are they doing right on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube that you can learn from?
Well, we dove in head-first to find insights that aren’t your run-of-the-mill pieces of advice, like “inspire your followers” or “post on Tuesdays!” But before we jump in together, let’s get this out of the way:
Audience size does not mean higher engagement.
Often times, builders with the biggest follower base had lower engagement rates. This is the case in any industry or with any brand on every social media channel.
Companies score engagement in different ways, but, for example, when figuring it out for a competitor, you won’t have access to their metrics. So it’s often done like this:
Total Social Actions (Likes, Comments, Shares or Retweets) ➗ Total Number of Followers
But using this formula is a weak measure for true engagement because a brand with a large number of fans/followers will be unfairly penalized for their bigger audience numbers. To address that, we’ve normalized the engagement rates from the report like this:
Total Interactions *10,000➗Total Number of Followers
Using this methodology, we’ve got a true look at the most engaging big builder brands on social media – and the deserving company in the #1 spot comes as no surprise to us!
|Big Builder||Normalized Engagement Rate|
|Dream Finders Homes|
|Long Lake Ltd|
|David Weekley Homes|
|Dan Ryan Builders|
|True Homes USA|
|First Texas Homes|
|TRI Pointe Homes|
|William Lyon Homes Calif…|
|Wade Jurney Homes|
|D.R. Horton Homes|
|Clayton Properties Group|
|Rausch Coleman Homes|
|K. Hovanian Homes|
|McGuyer Home Builders|
|AV Homes, Inc.|
Chesmar Homes checks all the boxes on what brands should do in social media to earn a #1 spot in the hearts and minds of customers – and on the list of the best big builders on social media!
#1. Make it personal and emotional. While these two tenants are critical to marketing success, it’s never more important than in social media where the strength of the bonds you create with followers can directly correlate to brand preference, loyalty, retention, and sales.
Chesmar frequently shares updates across channels from the people behind the company, behind the logo. This automatically adds personalization and authenticity to the brand.
Another approach to personalization is seen here, in a Facebook post from Dream Finders Homes. The local agents’ first names in the post copy create a connection and let users know who to contact (providing functionality, too).
The Villages in Florida creates personal connections by featuring actual residents from community events.
Take one look at Chesmar Homes’ and David Weekley’s Instagram channels, and you’ll see excellent examples of builders that aggregates UGC and carefully curate selections to share from the company’s handle. UGC 1) creates stronger personal ties with the chosen homeowners, 2) makes the company relatable and authentic and 3) helps potential buyers envision their lives in a new home, too.
One last way is through a brand voice that’s approachable, friendly, and feels natural to social media. All of these examples share this commonality, too.
#2. Show off what makes you different.
Fun, spunk, or elegance… Know what it is that makes you different and find ways to share with your followers. No one does this better than Chesmar Homes, whose bold and entertaining content makes it nearly impossible to walk away not feel optimistic. And isn’t that how a potential homebuyer should feel as they consider your homes?
Chesmar Homes shows off its funky and fun brand personality through UGC and posts from employees.
This energetic vibe extends to Chesmar’s brand voice and photography choices, as well. See how they give users a break from the standard, stylized, polished room shots by featuring the funky details of model homes instead.
Long Lake Builders is dedicated to helping veterans buy homes, and it’s one thing that sets them apart from their competition. Through their frequent posts about it, they help reach potential veteran buyers and create an association between military service and their brand name.
#3. Mix it up.
To keep users engaged, it’s important to keep things fresh and different through a variety of post formats and content types. Builders who are nailing it in social media use different post formats such as photos, links, carousels, videos, live videos.
#4. Know thy channel.
Not all channels are created equal. Each offers different features and capabilities and often updates them on a dizzying frequency. But, the best brands in social media stay on top of the features and use them to improve the customer experience.
Toll Brothers and Highland Homes, among others, do a great job of utilizing Pinterest’s “featured boards.”
Taylor Morrison has access to video cover images on Facebook – and uses the “real estate” wisely.
Taylor Morrison also uses YouTube playlists by geographic region to help viewers find the most relevant, local content:
Dan Ryan Builders uses popups for new YouTube visitors to help increase subscribers. Very smart!
Facebook allows brands to customize their Pages to a certain degree. Toll Brothers leverages this by changing the primary button to “Watch Video”, which links to their Toll Lifestyle TV website full of custom video content.
#6. It’s not all about you.
Nothing turns off fans and followers faster than talking about your brand and products all the time. Social media isn’t the channel for broadcasting these kinds of messages; it’s about an equal exchange of shared values.
So, it’s no surprise that the best builders on social media are sharing content that’s still relevant, but from sources and about something other than themselves.
Dream Finders Homes is a great example of a builder getting this right.
Buyers are seeking inspiration for their new homes – and what better source than Instagram to find it? Dream Finders Homes taps into this by sharing top-notch Instagram accounts with fans.
They also feature their buyers in content, because after all, it’s always about the customer – not the company!
#7. Integration with Other Marketing Mediums
Whether it’s an offline tactic or another digital channel, tie in other marketing activities to social media, and vice versa. Don’t keep social media in a silo. Use it as another way to communicate.
Dream Finder Homes does this well. Here, they share updates on Facebook and Twitter about their sponsorship with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. (We’d also like to point out how they wisely tagged the team in the post copy!)
Taylor Morrison Homes (below) uses social media to create employee advocates while sharing updates about #buildingjoy in their local community.
#5. Don’t overlook the obvious.
Make sure you’re promoting your social channels on your website, in email signatures, at live events and signage, business cards, and other marketing collateral. You’d be surprised just how many brands on the Top 50 list don’t have links to their channels on their websites.
Getting it right
If you’ve read our earlier blog posts about Top 50 Reports, you may have also noticed similarities between top big builders and building product brands – and that’s because they are all doing the same – and right – things to succeed in social media marketing. (Check out earlier posts here and here and here.)
It comes down to this: the top companies in social media know both the science and the art of social media. They understand the nature and rhythm of the channels, what makes their customers tick, and contribute in meaningful ways.