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Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast Digital Marketing Podcast Hosted by Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel

217 Social Media Strategies for Home Builders - Courtney Stewart

This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Courtney Stewart of Denim Marketing joins Greg and Kevin to discuss the most effective social media strategies and platforms for home builders.

There is no question that home buyers are using social media platforms and builders must engage with potential customers there. Courtney says, “It's just important to remember your buyers are on social media. I think it's like 91 percent of the population in the United States has at least one social media profile. So, that's where they are. We want to meet our buyers where they are, make them aware of us, our brand, our company, and social media is a great way to do that.”

There are many social media platforms to choose from, but home builders might consider two in their initial efforts. Courtney explains, “Where do I focus my time and attention? So, Facebook and Instagram are typically the first two that we recommend. They're kind of the meat and the places where I would start because of the reach that they have, how many people are on them, and the advertising capabilities that they have. So, we always start with Facebook and Instagram as a recommendation.”

Home builders just beginning to focus on social media, don’t have to be experts in all of the platforms and strategies all at once. Courtney says, “…if you're new to social media if you're a new business, or even just if it hasn't been something you've focused on before and you're going to start now, don't try to do it all. You don't have to. Quality over quantity. Start with, you know, the two to three main social sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and master those before adding in more. I would rather you do a really, really good job at a few of them, the ones that you're on, than do a bad job at all of them, because that's not effective for anybody.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about social media marketing for home builders.

About the Guest:

Courtney Stewart serves as the Vice President of Client Services at Denim Marketing. With 11 years of experience at the company, she plays a crucial role in leading client service strategies, particularly in marketing and social media. Known for her dedication to outstanding creativity and effectiveness, Stewart’s deep understanding of the company’s core services and client expectations has been pivotal.

Stewart is a prominent figure in the residential real estate industry, evidenced by her leadership roles and active involvement with the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association. She is currently the Chair of Professional Women in Building and is a member of the HBA’s Board of Directors. Her past roles include chairing the Young Professionals, completing the Emerging Leaders program, and participating in the Parade of Homes Committee.

An accomplished speaker and educator on topics including social media and reputation management, Stewart will present at the International Builders Show for the sixth year in 2024.

Stewart’s professional skills include budgeting, managing advertising, creating strategic marketing plans and promotions, and writing content to amplify client visibility. She is also known for her mentorship, guiding account managers and coordinators, and developing campaigns for home builder and developer accounts.

A native of Dallas, Georgia, Courtney holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Georgia, as well as a minor in speech communications.

In her spare time, she enjoys cheering on the Dawgs between the hedges on Saturdays in the fall, spending summer weekends on Lake Hartwell or Allatoona, and reading. Currently, Courtney resides in North Cobb with her husband, Blake, and Yellow Lab, Frisco.


Greg Bray: [00:00:00] Hello, everybody, and welcome to today's episode of The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.

Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse.

Greg Bray: And we're excited to have joining us today, Courtney Stewart. Courtney is the VP of Client Services at Denim Marketing. Welcome, Courtney. Thanks for being with us today.

Courtney Stewart: Hello. Thanks so much for having me.

Greg Bray: Well, let's just start out, Courtney, and help people get to know you a little bit. Give us kind of that quick overview about yourself and your background.

Courtney Stewart: All right. Well, I have been in the industry since 2013, so right at [00:01:00] 11 years. Didn't plan to be in the real estate industry. Didn't do it on purpose, but I actually have a public relations degree. Graduated right after the recession when unemployment was still a little bit of a struggle. So, had some different internships and jobs until I found Carol Morgan and Denim Marketing and started working here. So, Denim was traditionally a PR agency, which is what appealed to me with my public relations background. And of course, once I started working there, most of our clients are in the real estate industry. And so, that is how I wound up here.

Kevin Weitzel: We're going to impact that and more, but for the time being, could you do me a favor and let our listeners know something personal about you that they can learn on our podcast that has nothing to do with the home building industry and nothing to do with your work.

Courtney Stewart: I would say something that probably no one in the industry that I know knows about me is I'm a huge sports fan, love sports, and I'm currently learning how to play golf or attempting to learn how to play [00:02:00] golf.

Kevin Weitzel: Are we talking like you have a full set of clubs or are you just going to the Top Golf place or what? What are we doing?

Courtney Stewart: I don't have my own clubs yet. We want to make sure that I actually am decent at it and it's something I want to stick with before spending that kind of money. But my husband has an old set from when he was younger. It's literally probably 15 or 20 years old, if not more, that I've been using. So, I'll go play with him. Like, if he plays a twilight evening round or something when we can be sure there's nobody behind us, so we can go slow. I'll go play with him or go to the driving range. That's kind of where we're at. He's currently the one teaching me, but I don't know how long that part will last. I probably at some point, husband and wife teaching each other. It's kind of like your mom teaching a kid how to drive or a parent teaching the kid how to drive. It's not necessarily the best idea.

Kevin Weitzel: I can relate to that 100 percent because Tina and I go to the driving range. Little known fact, back in 1998, I hit the third longest recorded hole in one of the world. It was 355 yards. The call was 368, but it only measured 355. And I [00:03:00] got sponsored by Carson Manufacturing, which is paying to do long-drive tournaments. I did it for about a year and then realized that I was only locally good, but when I go up against the actual real pros, they would kick my tail.

So, yeah. There we go. But yes, learning from your spouse, significant other, there's only so much you can do before it turns into little fights and nitpicking and, you know, yeah. How about you, Greg? You and Alyson go out there and do any freaking hating on each other exercises?

Greg Bray: Not that I would ever admit on a podcast, so.

 I am a very much an amateur golfer. I took a PE class for credit in college because I figured, Hey, at least I would know which way to go. Right. I know enough now to really admire the people that are good at it. That's what I know now is enough to admire people because it's a lot harder than it looks.

So, Courtney, tell us a little bit more about as you were investigating PR and some of those things, what is it about real estate that kind of got you excited and interested in being part of this particular industry?

Courtney Stewart: Well, so like [00:04:00] I mentioned, I didn't intend to get in to this section of the industry. It just happened to be when I got my job with Denim that that was where the majority of the client base was, but I've definitely learned to love it, grown to love it over the years. I think it's so interesting because it changes all the time. As we've all seen over the last three, four years now, it's a very I don't want to say volatile industry because that's such a negative word, has such negative connotations, but it changes so much.

There are so many different facets to it, there's so many different segments of the industry, it's never boring, and it's never the same. It can be stressful for sure as things change. Again, like we've seen, but I've really enjoyed it. And even just, you know, from a personal perspective, I knew so much going into the home buying process when I went to buy my first home, that it was a huge benefit for me on a personal level, just having the knowledge that I did, which I really appreciated.

Kevin Weitzel: Let me ask you this, [00:05:00] you know, a lot of people with their pathway into the industry, they have various pit stops, they have different places that they stop and learn things, pick up tidbits. So, I had the pleasure, Greg, of having a really fantastic chat with Courtney, I think it's been what? Two or three years at the International Builders Show, probably two or three years ago we had a fun little chat. It was when we were all up, actually all of us, Greg, we were up for the award with Carol and, and Meredith and some other people too, but where did you pick up your ability to just have meaningful but easy flowing conversations? How is it so easy to talk to you?

Courtney Stewart: Well, I actually in college took a speech communication a couple of classes. That was my minor. So, I think it started there. It was something I wanted to be better at. I'm not great at the in-person, small talk one-on-one networking with people that I don't know. I would say, like, networking events always stress me out. But in situations with people that I know, or in speaking, like, at the Builder Show, those things don't bother me at all.

Put me in a room in front of 100 people, I'm great. Put me one-on-one with someone I've never met, and [00:06:00] I'm sweating. You know, I'm very nervous. I don't know why I do better at the big stuff than the small interpersonal stuff, but I definitely think taking some of those classes in college helped, and focusing on that just forced me to be comfortable with it because we did so much speaking in that aspect.

And I know that there are programs or clubs that as adults, you know, in your business or personal life, you can be a part of like, speech clubs where they give you topics on a, maybe a monthly basis, and then you have to speak about them in front of other people. I think it's a good skill to have, to be comfortable. So, if you're not, I think that's something to maybe look into. And then, I did actually bartend for a while in college and after college, and that does force you to have to be comfortable talking to people about anything at any time. And then I would say my husband, he's in sales. He can talk to a wall. He never meets a stranger, so.


Kevin Weitzel: But does he talk to walls?

Courtney Stewart: No, he doesn't, but I've noticed. [00:07:00]

Kevin Weitzel: Oh, so he's not, he's not crazy then. Okay.

Courtney Stewart: No, but you know, he loves to sit at a bar and meet strangers, make friends. You know, he's great at that. So, I think some of that has rubbed off on me over the years too.

Greg Bray: Well, Courtney, let's, get just a quick background on Denim Marketing for those who aren't familiar with what you guys do and who you serve. Tell us kind of that background about the company itself.

Courtney Stewart: Yeah, so like I mentioned, we started as a traditional public relations agency back in 1999. We're actually celebrating 25 years in business this year. And then, Carol, our owner started, I think, our first blog in 2006, I believe it was, which was a pretty early adoption of blogging. Since then, you know, we've really continued to expand our services as the technology has changed or advanced.

And now we focus more on the strategic marketing, the big picture, basically, in content creation. So, we still do a lot of public relations. It's still one of our core services, plus blogging, social media, email marketing, social [00:08:00] advertising campaigns, anything that you kind of think of that would fall under that content creation or marketing bucket.

Greg Bray: All right. Well, let's dive into the social media side of that because just recently at the Builder Show, you did a presentation on social media and shared some great tips there. I'd like to see what we can pull out here to share with our audience. So, just in general, where does social media fit in today's marketing environment, especially for a home builder? Is it like the most important thing if they don't do anything else? Is it kind of step three of whatever? Or is it kind of the little stepchild of the rest of the marketing team? Where does social media fit?

Courtney Stewart: That's a good question. Your website is your most important piece of your marketing puzzle. You have to have that first and foremost, if nothing else, a good website with a strong blog. And then, you have all of your other pieces that kind of fit together, and social media is a part of that. I don't think it's more or less important than another aspect. Say, like, email marketing or any of the other buckets, but [00:09:00] it's just as important of a component in a well-rounded marketing strategy.

It's just important to remember your buyers are on social media. I think it's like 91 percent of the population in the United States has at least one social media profile. So, that's where they are. We want to meet our buyers where they are, make them aware of us, our brand, our company, and social media is a great way to do that.

Greg Bray: All right. So, I want to be on social media because it's important. Where do I even begin? What's first?

Courtney Stewart: That's one of the most popular questions that we get I feel like, is which social platforms? Where do I focus my time and attention? So, Facebook and Instagram are typically the first two that we recommend. They're kind of the meat and the places where I would start because of the reach that they have, how many people are on them, and the advertising capabilities that they have. So, we always start with Facebook and Instagram as a recommendation.

And then YouTube is huge. About 83 percent of the US population is also [00:10:00] using YouTube on a regular basis. So, putting any video content that you have there, and I know not everybody thinks of that as necessarily a social platform. It's almost even a search engine platform as well. But we would include that in the basic starting point. And then from there, I think it really depends on your target market.

So, you know, for example, if you're a developer and you have land for sale, if you focus on high-end homes that maybe executives are your target market, or maybe you do a ton of realtor outreach, then LinkedIn would probably be a great option for you. If your buyer demographic is really young, first-time buyers, then maybe TikTok is a good place for you to look into. Although, the adult demographic is growing really rapidly on TikTok. I think TikTok is actually the fastest-growing social platform right now. So, it's something that a lot of our clients ask us about. We don't manage it for anybody at the moment, but I know, you know, that's coming down the road for sure.

So, just [00:11:00] really, I would say Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are kind of the core places to start. And then from there, it really just depends on understanding your buyer demographic, and then the demographics of the different social platforms and knowing what matches your target audience.

Greg Bray: No, I think you're right that we don't often hear YouTube listed as a social media platform. We kind of put it in a different category a lot of times, but I think it's intriguing that you put it under that umbrella. It makes a lot of sense because it is a place of sharing and following and doing all the same types of things that we do on other platforms. And it is huge from a search standpoint as well, very popular. That's intriguing. Kevin, would you have called YouTube a social media platform?

Kevin Weitzel: I will, and here's why. So, I am a big, big fan of those videos where they take something apart and they restore it and they put it all back together and it looks like something brand new. While watching those, I actually ran across a home builder up in, I believe Delaware, [00:12:00] and they did a video about the efficiency of their windows. Not just that they have, you know, like two panes, three-pane windows, whatever they were gas-filled. But the fact that they showed like a heat lamp and a temperature of the item behind the window with or without their windows.

And it was mind-blowing the difference that it made just the sunlight coming through on non-coated glazing. It was amazing. I want to say it was Insight Homes maybe. I don't even remember the name of the brand. I probably should. Maybe that's not the best advertisement for them, the fact that I can't remember the name, but I think it's, I think it was Insight Homes. But anyway, it was a fantastic video and they've done other ones too, about their insulation and everything else. So, I am a kind of a turnkey believer of YouTube.

Greg Bray: Well, Courtney, when you talk about social media, I always see kind of two pieces to it, right? You've got the organic content that you're creating, and then there's the advertising aspects. You know, do you see those as two kind of separate programs or are they, you kind of lump those together in one initiative typically?

Courtney Stewart: Yes and no [00:13:00] to the first question. I mean, we always recommend social media advertising as something that any business should be doing because it's so hard to be effective organic only as a business on social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram. You almost have to advertise to really grow and to reach more than like, half a percent to one percent of your audience.

So, we always recommend social media advertising as an option for any of our clients, anyone we talk to our work with, but we don't do it without the organic aspect of it. You have to do the organic too. They do go hand in hand. You can do the organic without the advertising, but I don't recommend it. Just because again, as a business, in order to really increase your reach and your engagement, and your effectiveness, you have to advertise. So, make them go hand in hand. They should go together.

Kevin Weitzel: Let me ask you a question about individual branding versus home builder branding. You know, you see a lot of salespeople that will do their own standalone videos, [00:14:00] and basically mention their builder that they work for. What is your opinion on that individual branding outside of just the home builder branding?

Courtney Stewart: That's kind of a tricky subject and something we do get asked about from time to time, and I think it depends on a lot of different factors. So, if your agent teams, for example, are working for a builder specifically, unless they are the face of your company, the public persona that your company puts out there, we don't typically say it's a great idea. And it's more of like a quality control type thing, having control over the message that is put out there on behalf of the builder.

We have seen some OSCs, for example, be a really good public face of their company. They were trusted. They understood social media. They knew how to do it, and they did it in conjunction with the marketing team and it worked well. They were the first person that buyers come into contact with, so you have that brand and personality recognition and it was great. [00:15:00]

And it's something else we talk about for our clients or people that ask us about TikTok. One of the things that makes TikTok so successful is having that person, that personality represent a brand or a business on there. You know, it has to be that personal angle. So if you have someone in your company that can be the face of the brand again and trust to do that, I think it's great and it can work really well.

But if you have every agent that works for you doing it, you know, or every sales associate, it can get messy or tricky sometimes, or be confusing even to the buyer about where to go for information. So, we generally don't recommend it as just a broad spectrum. Like, yes, everybody can have their own profiles to represent the brand or the business, or the community, but in certain instances, it certainly can work well when done correctly.

Greg Bray: So, to piggyback on that question and comment, would you then say that it might be a better strategy where you've got the primary company post and then you invite [00:16:00] everybody on the team to be doing the liking and the sharing and the commenting on that post so as a team, they're all working together to kind of elevate the activity?

Because a lot of what social media looks for is kind of that velocity of engagement that can happen on a particular post. And if you've got a large team, you can prime the pump, I don't want to say cheat the system, that sounds a little too aggressive, but you can kind of prime the pump on that engagement and getting it out there. Is that a different way to kind of incorporate the team?

Courtney Stewart: Absolutely. I think that's a great way to do it. And you're absolutely right about the engagement. You know, the more engagement that you get, the more likely the social platforms are to share your content organically in the future, because they look at it as, okay, this is something that people think is valuable, they're interested in. And that's all based on engagement. So, the more engagement you get, the more you will get in the future, and that's what we want. So, by having it all centered in one place on the brand social media, you're not kind of watering it down amongst all these different profiles.

It's the same reason why we don't typically recommend, you know, every [00:17:00] individual community to have their own Instagram account or Facebook account unless it's a master plan you're going to be in for 10 years and then the HOA takes it over after the fact. That's a different ballgame entirely. But, you know, for a builder that's building a neighborhood with 50 homes in it and builds, you know, 10 or 20 of those a year, you don't need social media for every single community. It's kind of that same thought process.

So, yeah, I think doing it that way is great. And another thing that we've seen consistently pictures of people do really, really well on social media, or videos of people. So, utilizing your team on your brand social, having them do tours of the model home with the community they work in, and then putting it on your brand social. That's a great way to get your team involved with your social, have them be part of it, but not having it be totally separate, so everybody benefits in that way.

Greg Bray: That's a great segue into another question I wanted to ask, Courtney, because lots of times we have these great intentions. [00:18:00] We want to be out there. We get started, we do a few little things and then it's like, we run out of stuff to talk about. And all of a sudden it's like, gosh, we haven't posted in like three weeks because we don't know what to say. And I don't know, three weeks may not be a very long time.

Kevin Weitzel: Three weeks isn't long, Greg. Yeah. I mean, I've seen companies where they still have their original posts from 2017 when they were like, Oh, let's try out this Facebook thing. And then it's still, that's all they had was like a couple of months worth of content.

Greg Bray: So, what do we talk about? What's worth talking about? How do we not run out of ideas? What are some thoughts you have on how to keep that content flowing?

Courtney Stewart: One of our recommendations is always make sure your marketing team and your sales team are communicating and talking about what the buyers are saying. If your sales team or your online salesperson is telling you what are the key selling points that are attracting your buyers and making them decide to purchase from you over the competition. What are the pain points or the turn-offs that maybe you're causing them to walk away and not choose you? Or [00:19:00] what's the most frequently asked questions that your sales team has to answer over and over again?

All of this information that your sales team or your online salesperson is getting from the buyer can help guide your marketing strategy because that's what matters to all of your consumers, all of your potential buyers. All of that information can then be utilized as social posts, as blog topics when you need it. And then, you know, not only do you have a big list of content to work from based on that feedback, but you know, it's the stuff that people care about and want to know. That's one great resource for content for both your blog and your social media.

And then, this sounds so simple, but we keep a running list in our we have a notes page in our Teams account for each and every one of our clients that we work with, and it's specifically for content ideas, every time a client sends us an idea if we think of something on our own if we see something out there in the world. We're all constantly bombarded by marketing and ads and things, everywhere you go, [00:20:00] commercials, billboards, all of that. So, there's all kinds of ideas and inspiration out there.

And when we see it, we make note of it. Sometimes I'll even take a photo or a screenshot and save that and then think through, okay, how can I utilize this for our industry or, you know, for our specific clients, brand, or communities? There's inspiration everywhere if you just look for it.

Kevin Weitzel: All right, Courtney, this question is going to come out of left field, so I apologize if I stump you because I don't know if there actually is an answer for this. Is there a magic ratio behind topical and current affairs versus evergreen? Like if I did a post about Barbie when the Barbie Movie was hot, obviously everybody was doing that, it was smoking hot and it was all over the social scene. However, if I did that post 20 years from now is anybody even going to care? Is there a ratio of what I should be concentrating on current topical versus evergreen content?

Courtney Stewart: That's a good question. I don't know about a specific ratio, a percentage, anything like that, but I'll tell you kind of our process [00:21:00] for creating content for our clients. So, we typically create content in bulk a month at a time. So, we will create 30, 31 days of social media posts. We typically do two to three a week, for example. And that is going to be more evergreen content because it's stuff that we can plan weeks in advance.

But by not doing something every single day, it leaves us opportunities to fill in with content as things come up. So, if there is something that happens, you know, in a community, that's really cool, we get, you know, maybe a picture of a buyer picking out their lot and we want to take a photo of that and share it on social. We have space to do that. Maybe there's a new trend, a reel on Instagram that starts trending that translates really well to our industry, and we can have fun with that.

But obviously, with any trend, it has to be time-sensitive for it to matter. So, we have space and time to do that. So, we always create that initial content to have it running all the [00:22:00] time, so we are consistent and don't go two or three years without having a post on our Facebook or Instagram. But we always leave room and time in our schedule to come up with things in the moment as they happen if need be.

So, I think it's not necessarily like a perfect ratio, but just being flexible, having things planned out that can go all the time so you're not missing anything. But then having the space and time available to create trending content or in the moment type of content is needed as well.

Kevin Weitzel: So, could you twist some of that? Let's go with the Barbie theme again. Let's say that, you know, Hey, Barbie enjoyed her Malibu mansion, but you know what? Barbie is 70 years old now. She needs to scale it down. She doesn't want to have to work on the landscaping. She wants to look for that active adult community that fits her 55-plus lifestyle. Boom. There's a social media campaign for all of our listeners today. Feel free to roll with it.

Courtney Stewart: I love that. I think that's a fun idea. Anytime a trend or anything, you know, so big and mainstream, there's so many people obviously that piggybacked off of the Barbie [00:23:00] Movie and everything that went around with that, you know, just doing pink and their branding are all kinds of stuff, and it was so fun. But the biggest question is, does it match your brand and your personality that you're putting out there? And does it make sense for your target market?

I think that's really what you have to ask yourself because there's all kinds of trends. They're changing every day. You know, we see again, just using reels because reels are one of the biggest trending things that everybody's trying to get on board with and figure out from a business perspective how it works. So, if there was a Barbie-themed reel trend that went around for a while, does it make sense? Does it fit? Will it resonate with your audience? Do they care?

And if the answer is no to any of those questions, then no matter how fun or cute the trend is, it probably doesn't make sense to spend your time doing that. Look for other things that do fit. So, there's going to be all kinds, but just making sure it matches like your branding and your philosophy or your goals is what is the most important thing.

Kevin Weitzel: So, you're saying that a home builder in the Dakota shale fields [00:24:00] that sells homes predominantly to oil workers might miss the mark with the Barbie-themed social media campaign?

Courtney Stewart: Probably. Probably could let that one pass them by.

Kevin Weitzel: All right.

Greg Bray: Courtney, you may not know this, but a full one percent of our listeners tune into this podcast in order to find out Kevin's latest marketing tip of the day. I think it's a full 1%.

Kevin Weitzel: I have had some home runs. I've actually had people afterward saying, you know what? We tried what you said, and it was awesome. I've never had anybody say, hey, we tried that dumb idea you came up with, and it was crap. But honestly, that Barbie, you know, she is 50, she's 70 years old now, what? I think she was originally, when did Barbie come out? Like in the mid to late 50s? Somewhere around there? Early 60s?

Greg Bray: No idea. No idea

Kevin Weitzel: She needs an active adult neighborhood, not a big mansion with nine bedrooms.

Greg Bray: I apologize if I offended you in mocking your idea.

Courtney, I have a connected question though. I see a lot of posts around like holidays, for example, where everybody just puts out there, Happy Valentine's Day, and that's all it is is a [00:25:00] big heart or whatever. Or happy whatever day and all of a sudden my feeds just filled up with a bajillion little happy this with no real value other than reminding me that it was happening this week, which everybody else already did.

Is that worth the effort? Does that make us look connected if we are that on top of that? Cause then sometimes I see those like four days later because it was delayed in my feed and then it feels like out of date somehow, you know, when it's a little later, but any thoughts on some of that?

Courtney Stewart: I have a lot of thoughts. I have a love-hate relationship with all of those things. I think the nonchronological feed makes that hard. It's just one of the many reasons why people don't love a chronological feed. It's one of those things we have a lot of clients who love it and want to express for the big holidays the love that they have for family or, you know, the appreciation they have for their buyers. They try to find ways to kind of mix that into the messaging about the holidays. I think it's nice.

I will say from a reporting standpoint, you know, a statistics standpoint, we [00:26:00] see those holiday posts get a pretty decent amount of reach a lot of times. They actually do well from that standpoint in reaching people. Are they effective at selling homes? No, absolutely not. But, you know, do they give people the warm and fuzzies? Maybe. And that's nice too, you know, to have a good association for the brand, for the company.

It's not super helpful. It's not going to sell a home. Is it a nice touch? Yes. If you are limited or constrained on time and you want to put those out there to have some content to, you know, get something up, I think it's okay. I don't think doing, you know, all of the different national days. There's a holiday for every single day of the year when you go look at those calendars online. I don't think focusing on those is super effective. But if you do the major holidays, you know, say Happy New Year. You know, a lot of people just did St. Patrick's Day, all of those things. I think it's okay, but I wouldn't make it a focus.

One of my biggest pet peeves is I don't like putting them in the feed, especially like on Instagram, [00:27:00] because they don't match your branding and your overall imagery and they're distracting. So, they're great on stories because it goes away in 24 hours. But I don't love them. I don't hate them, kind of a necessary thing sometimes, but not my favorite type of content.

Kevin Weitzel: Since you mentioned something that bothers you, I'm going to mention something that bothers me just because I feel like getting it off my chest. I loathe, L O A T H E, loathe, hate, despise, can't stand insurance company holiday holiday. And birthday cards that are just stamped. They're so disingenuous. They're so impersonal. Why they waste that money on marketing for that is beyond me.

Greg knows this of me, that I can't stand Christmas music. Hate it. Hate everything about it. However, I don't think there's anything wrong with just the generic, Happy Holidays post, because that is really the sentiment that people are trying to just pass on to each other. But where I find the best creativity is those Clydesdale ads. You know, those ads where somebody comes up with something that makes you feel something different.

Those are the kind of ads that I think that I seek [00:28:00] out, I look for those. I try to find those, those ones that pull on the heartstrings. I think it's challenging in the home building industry. do you have any examples of a home builder that maybe has put something else out there that is just so off the beaten path that it really makes you almost think differently?

Courtney Stewart: Oh, I don't know. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I've seen builders do. I don't know if you guys have Publix where you live. Their commercials always make me cry. And, you know, they used to just do them Thanksgiving and then they expanded, I think, to Christmas and now they do all kinds of holidays. The same kind of thing, they focus on family or gatherings, that sort of thing, and that's a similar messaging a home builder could definitely use.

I can't think of anybody off the top of my head who has done a good job of that type of marketing, but you know, that's one thing, like if you are doing the generic holiday posts, you know, the graphics that have hearts or shamrocks or whatever on them, you know, we typically when we do them for clients, try to come up with some sort of wishes from the client that associate well [00:29:00] with the holiday so that people know that there's at least a little more thought that went into it.

Other than, you know, just sharing the basic graphic out of Canva that you didn't even touch. You just downloaded it directly as is, and just saying Happy Valentine's Day. So, that's kind of the thought behind it when we do it that way, but I would love to see a builder go really outside of the box and do something like that that really pulls on the heartstrings. I think that would be interesting.

Kevin Weitzel: Can I ask you one more follow-up to that? Tchotchke marketing? There's nobody, and I'm going to give her credit for this, Carol Morgan has got to be the queen of coming up with the coolest thank-you gifts to builders. I've got an apron that I still use. I have a little barbecue kit that I still use. I still have an oven mitt. These are things that you literally, they're practical, but they have a branding on them. So, I see that Denim Marketing all the time. What is your opinion on home builders using just like a generic versus something really crazy and outside the box?

Courtney Stewart: So, I hate going to any kind [00:30:00] of like trade shows or events and getting another chapstick or squishy thing. Yeah. Stress ball. You know, I always take a pen. I always take a good pen. That never goes out of style. But some of the other stuff is just so like, I don't want more junk to junk up my house to junk up my car, my purse, whatever the case may be. Like, if you're going to spend the money on that stuff, most of it's not cheap, not really when you buy it in the bulk that you're talking about for that type of stuff.

And marketing in general, it's not inexpensive so why are you going to put stuff out there that people are going to throw away or not utilize or not pay attention to as soon as they get out of sight? At least make it memorable, make it useful, make it something that people want or need, or maybe they don't even know they want it or need it, but you do. And then when they get it, they enjoy it.

Greg Bray: But you said something really powerful a minute ago, and you may not have even realized it. So, I put out a thesis that holiday posts, are they, or are they [00:31:00] not of value? And you came back with data to say, yes, they get engagement. To me, that's a powerful message there that, hey, you know what? Try it and measure the data about whether it actually works for you. So, when you are looking at the data on social media, what are those indicators that are most important for somebody to be paying attention to to kind of measure did this work or not? Should we keep trying it or not?

Courtney Stewart: That's a good question. For social media specifically, you know, engagement, engagement rate. Those are two of the big things that we look at because that's telling us what people are actually interested in and what you should share more of, and that's kind of the important metric to the social media algorithms in determining whether or not your content continues to be shown. Are people interested in it? Are they clicking on it, commenting on it, viewing it, all of that?

And then, paying attention to what's driving traffic to your website. Are your social media channels driving traffic to your website so looking [00:32:00] in GA4 and Google Analytics and making sure that you're seeing that traffic come there? If you're not, then we need to look at your messaging and reevaluate what we're doing. Because the ultimate goal always for everything that we're doing from a marketing standpoint is to either drive people to your website or drive them into your model homes, one or the other. We want them to come to you, to your assets that you own, that you control. Those are the biggest things that we're looking at.

And then on social media, you know, we want to look at reach and impressions. We want to look at page growth, audience growth, over time. If you're advertising, you're looking at cost per result, cost per 1000 impressions, click-through rate, all of those things as well to make sure that they're all effective.

Greg Bray: So, it's not just counting likes. It's a little more than that it sounds like.

Courtney Stewart: It is. Yeah, absolutely. And social media can have a variety of goals and each individual post can serve a different purpose. So, understanding what your goals are and what purpose that content is serving will help you figure out what metrics to [00:33:00] look at for that individual piece of content or that individual platform as a whole.

Greg Bray: So then, connected to that, what is kind of the typical call to action that a social media campaign or post should consider? And of course, it's going to vary a little bit, I think. But what are some of the common ones that, because I think a lot of times people forget them completely and they have no call to action. They just put this nice thing out there and like, what do you want to have happen from this needs to be part of that strategy, doesn't it?

Courtney Stewart: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, and obviously, we don't want every piece of content we put out there to be a sales pitch. We don't want it to feel that way, to look that way, but that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be, you know, a next step or giving people an opportunity to learn more, to get more information. You know, those are some of the most common ones that we use is learn more, you know, get more information, connect with us here, stop in, visit the model home, different things like that.

You know, I would say 80 to 90 percent of your social content needs to have that call to [00:34:00] action that directs them to your website preferably, a link to your website, or maybe a phone number if you want phone calls directly for that particular message, whatever it is. Those are probably the biggest two.

Some of them are just purely engagement-focused. So, maybe we'll ask for a response to a question or voting on a poll, something like that, where the call to action is really just designed to get engagement. But 80 to 90 percent of the time I want them leaving Facebook or leaving Instagram, wherever, and coming to the website or driving on-site to a model home so that we get that potential buyer to an asset that we own and have more control over.

Greg Bray: So, as you're trying to manage all of this social media across different platforms, doing your scheduling, getting everything done on time, what's like your favorite tool or top couple of tools that you think folks should try?

Because it can get really complicated if you're just managing this individually inside of multiple platforms and trying to schedule and keep things up to date and not have [00:35:00] to wake up at five in the morning to make sure the posts went out and all this kind of stuff. What do you recommend?

Courtney Stewart: Yeah, I think that's one thing people underestimate is the amount of time that social media actually takes to do it effectively. There's a lot of different pieces to the puzzle. First, use a monthly content calendar to plan out your content. Like I mentioned before, we like to do it in bulk, a month at a time in content. So, we literally just use the calendar template that's on either Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

It can be that easy. And that way, it's really nice to share back and forth with our clients, to make adjustments to. You know, multiple people can edit it, all of that. I mean, it's super simple. First, plan out your content, have some sort of organized platform where you're planning your content. And then, I would highly recommend using a social media scheduling tool.

If you're only posting on Facebook and Instagram, you can definitely just use the posting platform that's built into Facebook natively, but I personally [00:36:00] love a scheduling tool that allows you access to all the platforms. I think it makes the process a lot faster cause you can upload one post to all the platforms at the same time, usually, and just make, you know, adjustments depending on the platform. Like taking your link out of Instagram, for example.

And then, it's really just easy and makes it a lot faster. And then I also, I would say, almost always prefer the analytics or insights that are in a social media scheduling tool over the native ones like on Facebook. I'll just be totally honest right here, I hate the insights that Facebook gives, the way that they do it now. I much prefer what you see on pretty much any scheduling tool I think I've ever used, I prefer over Facebook's native insights.

I've used HubSpot. I liked that. Brandwatch is good. Planable. We're actually getting ready to make the switch to Planable this year that I'm really excited about. It's good if you are an agency, if you have an agency that you work with, cause it's great for collaboration, [00:37:00] or if you just have multiple people internally involved in your social media or content creation process, it's really helpful for that as well, when you have a lot of people hands-on.

Greg Bray: Well, this has been great, Courtney, and we really appreciate all that you've shared. Any last words of advice to help people with their social media before we kind of wrap up?

Courtney Stewart: We touched on this a little bit during the conversation, but especially if you're new to social media if you're a new business, or even just if it hasn't been something you've focused on before and you're going to start now, don't try to do it all. You don't have to. Quality over quantity. Start with, you know, the two to three main social sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and master those before adding in more. I would rather you do a really, really good job at a few of them, the ones that you're on, than do a bad job at all of them, because that's not effective for anybody.

Same thing for the blog, I would rather you write one really good piece of content every month that's going to do well in search engine [00:38:00] rankings and answer people's questions and get people to convert on your website than you to do three or four short, unhelpful pieces of content. So, I think that would be the biggest piece of advice I could offer anybody ramping up a social media program.

Greg Bray: Well, if somebody wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to reach out and get in touch?

Courtney Stewart: You can reach me through the contact form on our website, denimmarketing.com, or through email directly. It's just courtney@denimmarketing.com.

Greg Bray: Well, thanks again, Courtney, for being with us.

And thank you everybody for listening today to The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.

Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse. Thank you. [00:39:00]

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