In this day and age, social media is a major component in any marketing strategy, but especially when it comes to selling homes and increasing brand awareness. While most home builders maintain a corporate presence, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram or another site, many are extending their social media presence to now include community-specific accounts; i.e., a community Instagram page.
Like any social media business page, there are unique ways to achieve success with a community-centered account versus one focused on the corporate brand and multiple communities.
Of course, Denim Marketing has tips to make a community Instagram page work without overwhelming your audience:
Strategizing & Planning
Start by analyzing whether an Instagram account for just one community makes sense. For small communities of 100 homes or less, it probably makes no sense to draw potential followers away from the corporate brand. This strategy works best for large, master-planned communities with thousands of homes. Another consideration is what will happen to the page once the community sells out. Will it be turned over to the community HOA or will it just go away?
As tempting as it might be to jump in and randomly start posting any and all photos and videos, there needs to be a more thoughtfully implemented strategy including the type of content published, a publishing schedule and everything in between. What are the goals? Followers, engagement, views or all the above?
Research Popular Hashtags
Specific hashtags are also an important function of Instagram. In fact, the platform’s entire search function centers on hashtags. Intentional hashtags help increase posts’ organic engagement, reach and visibility, but it is not as simple as using hashtags relevant to a post. Hashtags need to be specific search terms that have the most usage and are driving the most engagement.
Instagram only allows up to 30 total hashtags on a single post, but as it pertains to smaller-scale accounts for specific communities, we recommend using at minimum five to seven of the most relevant per post. Look up each hashtag in the Instagram search bar to determine which are used more in comparison to others and decide which are best.
Engage with Followers
Be diligent about engaging with followers and responding to comments, even if it’s just to say, “Thank you!” to positive feedback. Engagement also demands interacting with followers by liking and commenting on their own posts. Instead of simply focusing on distributing your own content, aim to build an Instagram community with followers – this is a small step to creating Raving Fans willing to share your news and posts!
Be prepared to respond to negative feedback as well. Unfortunately, ads and posts can result in responses from social media trolls, people who deliberately provoke others online by saying inflammatory and offensive things.
Establish a policy, but above all, remain respectful. Sometimes, comments are not worthy of a response at all and can be ignored, but a factual or empathetic response speaks volumes to other followers. If the comment is baited or contains aggressive language, it is OK to simply delete the post (Facebook allows you to hide comments except to the original poster and their friends, so they do not know its hidden otherwise, but Instagram does not offer this feature). If the comments continue and they continue to “troll” your account, consider blocking or banning them entirely. While this action is not recommended, sometimes it becomes necessary.
Monitor Progress & Results
Track results and growth month-to-month and year-to-year. Specifically, we recommend tracking total Followers and top posts in a report document. This is a great way to see what hashtags and types of posts/photos are performing best.
- Post inconsistently – The latest social media algorithms make it difficult to increase reach and engagement organically – it is pay-to-play now, so to speak. Be sure to post regularly and engage with others’ posts as often as possible to create better online relationships. We like to alternate between weekly trending hashtags to outline a month’s worth of content.
- Post without a caption – Unless you are leading up to some major announcement, you need to give your followers context to go along with an image. Explain what the photo is, share a quote or ask an interactive question.
- Overuse or misuse hashtags – The old rule of thumb was to use a minimum of 11 hashtags, if not more, but many now consider that many overkill. At minimum, choose five to seven relevant hashtags to include in your post. They can be included in the caption, but we instead add them as a comment to maintain the sleek, less sales-y caption on the photo. Using irrelevant hashtags just to appear in popular searches, will not help the post reach new followers. Potential fans will see through this.
- Ignore comments, messages or tags – Someone has taken the time to not only like (hopefully) but also comment on your post – do not ignore them! Make sure to have push notifications turned on related to comments, messages and tags, then respond directly, thanking them for their response.
- Post others’ content without proper attribution – Users might tag you or your location on Instagram, and if you want to share those photos to make sure they show up in the Instagram grid, use a third-party app instead of screenshotting and sharing without proper attribution, or share the photo to your Instagram story and save it as an appropriate highlight. The rule of thumb – always be transparent about who took or originally posted the photo instead of posting it simply as your own.
- Overdo selfies – Sometimes, a selfie is the only way to document a new homeowner or community tour, but do not overdo it and post a selfie a day. For homebuilding, focus on alternating between interior spaces, exteriors or community activities.
- Overflow your newsfeed – If you have multiple, separate images to share in a day, do not post them back-to-back. Redundant posts tend to get less engagement, so space them out during the day.
- Follow back everyone that follows you – Be sure to follow back channels that are in line with what you want to see or be a part of, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow every single account that follows yours. Maybe stick with employees/agents, vendors and philanthropic causes.
- Follow and ghost – Speaking of following, do not follow someone or an account just to go back and unfollow them later – it’s tacky. Users know what you are doing and if they see that as your objective, they are even less likely to follow you back.
- Don’t buy Instagram or Facebook followers – These are not your target market or audience! Sure, you might see an influx of “followers,” but they will slowly fall off over time or will not engage with your page and posts, so what is the point? Consider launching a strategic advertising program instead.
Are you ready to work with Denim Marketing on your business’s social media strategy? Our team of marketing experts is knowledgeable in all things social media and are here to help you find an effective strategy that works for you. Contact us today at 770-383-360 or click here.