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Business Advisor

Home Builder Tips for Increasing Web Site Traffic

Your contracting business can benefit from online social media

In her book Loyalty is Love, internationally acclaimed speaker and business trainer Beverly Koehn explains that home builders are in the retail business and should ensure that every single contact with home buyers, from the very first interaction, is memorable.

With consumers being increasingly active on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, home builders should pay attention to the first contact and “user experience” that potential home buyers will have with their company. In this era, that first contact is usually online.

Compete.com conducts studies on online shoppers’ behavior. In their latest survey with data from May to July 2010, Compete found that 31 percent of those surveyed are checking out retailers’ Facebook fan pages or Twitter feeds. This number is up from 17 percent in the third-quarter 2009 study.

Facebook ranks as the #2 most trafficked Web site, according to Alexa and Compete, with close to 123.7 million unique visitors in the month of May 2010. Google ranks #1, with 149.6 million unique visitors during the same month.

iStrategy Labs finds that over 30% of Facebook users are 35 years of age and older. (Hmmm, aren’t there potential home buyers in this group?)

View more details in the article Facebook Stats That Can’t Be Ignored.

These numbers should cause any business owners, especially in the home industry, to raise their eyebrows and really pay attention to what’s going on in the social web.

You should start by making an honest assessment of your presence on the Web, and execute any necessary changes to boost your brand online and maximize your Internet presence.

During this difficult time in the housing industry, when social networks are so readily available, home builders, remodelers and other professionals in the home building industry can really increase their Web traffic, and that could produce more leads which potentially convert into sales.

As a home builder or remodeler, you should not miss this great opportunity to expose your content to the world.

So what should you be doing?

1. Have a Blog

Consumers love content, and so do search engines like Google. I’ve studied many builder Web sites and find that a huge number of them lack this very important social web element. Your blog is the central hub of information to share with your audience.

Use your presence in social networks like Facebook and Twitter to engage with your audience and also to drive traffic back to your site. Don’t make the mistake of just using a Facebook fan page (aka business page). Build your Web content on your own blog and refer your followers and fans to it.

2. Get on Facebook

With Facebook ranking #2 in the social media sphere, take advantage of this tool. Engage with your audience by asking questions. Don’t make it just about you. Share different things and links to other sites with information that could benefit them.

Some great examples of good usage of Facebook are: Green Building Advisor’s fan page, Fine Home Building magazine, Lennar, and smaller custom builders such as Garabedian Properties.

The neat thing about Facebook fan pages is that you can customize the tabs to really enrich your fan page. For example, you can add a “welcome” tab, a “videos” tab, and even a “specials” tab to announce any promotions.

Here are some great examples of how you can customize your Facebook fan page to make it easy for your visitors and potential clients to get information hassle-free and fast with the click of a button:

Lennar – Welcome tab set as default

Lennar – Markets tab

Pulte Homes – Blog tab

Pulte Homes – YouTube tab

Mimi’s Cafe – special promotions tab

Can you grasp how powerful social media tools can be?

Go beyond just having the standard “Photos” tab. You’ll need an expert to help you customize your Facebook fan page but the effort will be well worth it.

The point is to bring all of your information and make it available to your visitors on a silver platter, right under their noses and at their fingertips.

Don’t forget to include links back to your Web site where they can find more information (that’s why having a blog is so critical!)

Linking tip

When linking back to your Web site use the direct URL to the page you’re referencing. Avoid sending your visitors to your home page as this will cause frustration and extra work for users to search your site for the content.

Wouldn’t it be extremely frustrating if I had sent you to the home page of some of the links I’ve shared on this post, leaving you the arduous task of digging through those sites to find the information I referenced?

Make it easy for your users to obtain information. They’ll love you for it!

3. Get on Twitter

Many business owners find Twitter a nuisance, but if your audience is using it or checking you out on it, you probably need to re-evaluate it. With automation applications available, you can do the following:

  • Write your blog post
  • Set an automation process to automatically do an entry on your Facebook fan page and Twitter profile
  • Provide answers to comments or questions received as a result of your post.

Green Building Advisor’s Facebook fan page and its Twitter profile are great examples of how to take advantage of these automation tools such as Twitterfeed to auto-magically feed your news to both platforms.

You can drive more traffic to your Web site by really making it easy for people to find you and the helpful information you’re posting.

What social media tools are you using that have produced positive results?

4 Comments

  1. Allison A. Bailes III, PhD | | #1

    Great article...
    You've done a great job covering the basics here. I'd like to mention a couple of other things, too. First, don't ignore LinkedIn.com. It can be a powerful networking tool, and getting involved in one or two groups in your field can help you learn new info, answer questions and be seen as a leader, and give and collect recommendations. You can also link Twitter to LinkedIn, so that every tweet gets published as a status update there.

    Regarding Twitter, Chris Brogan wrote a great piece about how to manage it, and if you're new to Twitter, you should definitely check it out:

    http://www.chrisbrogan.com/how-to-manage-twitter/

  2. Dina Lima | | #2

    LinkedIn Comment
    Thank you Allison!

    You're right on the money! LinkedIn is a great tool to network with other professionals and have access to the brains of other successful business owners and entrepreneurs. I've connected with great people. One really neat tool that can be maximized is the LinkedIn Answers to pick the brains of your peers. Surprisingly, not only people in your network will give their piece of mind, but also others outside of your network. Will be covering this in my next article.

    Thank you for the link and your feedback!

  3. User avater
    Daniel Morrison | | #3

    Speaking of LinkedIn...
    Green Building Advisor has a LinkedIn groupas a short-term way for all GBA-ers to communicate directly with each other.

    EVERYONE who reads this should join the group so that it will be easier to email each other directly. Of course, I will continue to forward personal emails to individual members of GBA, but it will be a lot more efficient to do it through the LinkedIn group.

    Dan

  4. Dina Lima | | #4

    Joining GBA LinkedIn Group
    Thank you Dan! LinkedIn is a great tool for providers and builders alike to introduce themselves, ask questions, hold discussions, and meet other like-minded individuals. Please join!

    Again, here's the direct link: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=3063188

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