Making Sense of Social Media in the Remodeling and Home Building Industry
Marketing can take many forms and serve different purposes for home remodelers and builders, but in the end, it’s about one thing: increasing brand awareness. Cultivating an online presence and maintaining several social media platforms (along with your website – of course!) is the standard practice now in almost every industry.
For builders and remodelers specifically, social media streams are where your clients live. They’re everything from daily logs to scrapbooks to mood boards to research hubs. Social media is where clients, brands, bloggers, and influencers discover your work. Simply stated, you must use them and do it well.
With an ever-growing amount of social media platforms popping up each day, it can be hard to know which ones are most worth investing in with your precious time and resources. Who has time to be posting on all the different platforms, multiple times a day? Not us! As fellow small business owners, we understand, which is why we’re taking the mystery out of social media.
Read below to get an overview and the pros and cons of the top 8 most common social media platforms. Along with our recommendations about which are most necessary and helpful for builders and remodelers. Remember, it’s important to pick and choose with this, no one can do all of these well! We'd suggest you choose quality over quantity. Start small and increase your usage if you have the time.
Choose the one or two social media platforms that your target market is most likely to use.
Unarguably the most popular social media network around, Facebook started the game and is more than one billion users strong! Facebook connects people of all ages with their network of friends, allowing them to see recent content posted to their page. Nearly all businesses (in every industry) have Facebook pages now. It’s a great place to share company news, events, projects, blogs, photo albums, and more. Facebook is also an easy way to interact with people and get noticed. Boosted posts (for a small fee that you determine) are ideal for gaining new followers and increasing brand exposure through targeted demographics of your choosing. Additionally, the newer “live” feature is a fun way to make announcements and talk to your audience in an informal setting.
Pros: Since almost everyone is on Facebook, this social media tool should be at the top of your marketing list.
Cons: To keep your business in front of users, you must post regularly — you have to keep your page active, or it won’t be an effective tool. Ever-changing algorithms also make it harder to reach who you want to without spending a little money.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is a wildly popular picture app with 700 million monthly users! Meant only to be used on phones, Instagram has become a favorite of businesses. Visual, with a small amount of sincere or playful content, Instagram is great for connecting and showcasing your brand. Users like to comment, tag, hashtag and share each others’ content also, which only means more eyes on your projects. Builders, designers, and remodelers with strong photos should be sharing them on Instagram – it’s just that simple.
Pros: Fun and easy to use. One of the best ways to get your project images noticed by new people through engagement, tagging, and hashtags. It’s also ideal for interacting with potential clients, brands, and influencers.
Cons: A mobile experience only (i.e., use it on your phone) that isn’t popular with every demographic. Not very helpful if you don’t have excellent images or a very visual business, or if writing fun content isn’t your strength. It’s also an investment to keep up on comments and communication.
People are attracted to visuals, and Pinterest is a format that lets users effectively organize and “pin” photos or images into mood boards of your choice. Featuring crafts, art, fashion, interior design, DIY projects, recipes, and more, Pinterest has become the most mainstream platform for idea-collecting. You can also post images of your projects in the hopes that they get repinned by other users for greater exposure. Pinterest also allows for shared boards between influencers and sponsored pins for generating more brand awareness.
Pros: A visually-appealing way to share information with followers that are often creatively inclined and like beautiful things. Functions as another online portfolio of your best work for people to discover.
Cons: A strong percentage of users are there to find inspiration and dream about their someday spaces, rather than connect with building collaborators.
Similar to Pinterest, but intended specifically for the home industry, Houzz was founded in 2009 as an online image-based community for interior design, home improvement, and all things home related. Builders, remodelers, and designers can post business info, projects, products, and idea books, and the 16 million users (mostly homeowners) can save those images in their lookbooks for future reference. Additionally, the site hosts articles written by home design experts, as well as product recommendations and a user forum. If you’re in the home industry, you need to be on Houzz.
Pros: This highly visual sight allows builders and remodelers to put their work directly in front of the right target audience. A search engine gives homeowners the opportunity to seek out potential remodelers in their area. And the site can function as an excellent website accent, with an easy way of posting lots of images for potential clients to see.
Cons: Since the site is worldwide, many users are collecting photos as reference only, and will not necessarily look for (or even be in the vicinity of) the remodeler or designer who posted a photo they like. And your profile rating is stronger when you answer user questions, which can be a time-draining activity with little benefit.
YouTube is a well known online platform for posting videos. Individuals and businesses alike can post a video about almost anything, and viewers can share the video on other social media platforms. YouTube is the original online hub for hosting videos, and 5 billion are watched on it every day. Influencers, brands, and personalities are all on YouTube now and make good money there.
Pros: Sharing a video with your potential clientele is a great way for them to view you in a more personable light and see you as an expert in your field. Offering short “how-to” video clips makes them more share-worthy, and creating an “about-me” type video allows people to get to know you better. It’s also a good place to feature any recent ads (you paid for them anyway, you might as well keep an online record of them!), showroom tours, or behind the scenes glimpses of projects.
Cons: Creating a video can be time-consuming and expensive. YouTube as a whole is cluttered, and a lot of constant content makes it hard to stand out unless your videos are impeccable. While YouTube is a powerful tool, it’s best to not take it on unless you have quality videos or resources to invest.
6. Linked In
LinkedIn is a longtime business-oriented social networking site that has grown to over 70 million people worldwide. Launched in May 2003, the site’s mainly used for professional networking and recruiting, with minimal interaction. Some users share different articles or posts and interact with each other, but it’s not common.
Pros: If you’re looking for more professional followers or want to connect with individuals who you might be able to collaborate with later, it’s good to have a LinkedIn profile. The site helps to build professional relationships and collaborate with experts in the field. It’s also a good place to find new potential employees.
Cons: LinkedIn isn’t necessarily going to drive business your way and isn’t a format for advertising your business. Although there is a large base of users, many people aren’t very active outside of job hunting.
Twitter allows you to shout-out short 140 character text messages called “tweets,” and read the “tweets” of others. Only registered users can post messages, but anyone who chooses to follow you can view them. Messages are posted chronologically on viewer timelines, and also collected in categories with other messages on other social media platforms marked with designated hashtag titles. While images and memes are common, Twitter’s sweet spot is current events, articles, pop-culture, and general conversation.
Pros: Twitter is a very popular platform, and since all updates happen in real-time on Twitter, you can send out posts with greater frequency.
Cons: At only 140 characters, Twitter doesn’t allow you to say a lot. It’s also easy for users to miss your message since everything is posted on their timeline chronologically. Additionally, Twitter has become increasingly hit or miss with different users being very inappropriate during our heightened political environment.
Another photo messaging app, Snapchat allows phone users to take photos or video, add text or drawings, and then send their photo or video message (called “snaps”) to a controlled list of other Snapchat users. These “snaps” are set by the creator to display for only 1 to 10 seconds, and then disappear.
Pros: The disappearing “snaps” set this app apart as unique and exciting, bringing a fast-growing, very youthful user base, especially among teens. Businesses with a younger audience have successfully used this platform as a creative way to launch special offers and upcoming events or tap into news and trends.
Cons: Snapchat is not a great way to effectively communicate information. And with a young user-base, it’s not the most effective tool for businesses that are trying to reach homeowners in particular. For now, we’d recommend starting with other platforms that interest adults more.
With this newfound understanding of social media, take some time to review your options with your marketing team and decide the most effective ways to reach your target audience. Social media is here to stay, so efficiently utilizing your marketing efforts means being smart about how much time and energy you pour into it, mixing and matching the platforms that are a good fit for your specific business goals!