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How to Outsmart the Decline of Facebook Organic Reach

Categories: Blog, Marketing, Social Media | Posted: April 19, 2017

Facebook Algorithm ChangeIf you’ve been managing a Facebook page for the last couple of years, you may have recently noticed a considerable dip in the number of people viewing and engaging with your posts. Don’t be alarmed; it’s not just you. Facebook has done this on purpose to prioritize certain content, but there are ways you can outsmart the latest Algorithm change. Here’s what you need to know.

Declining Organic Reach Timeline

2007: Fan Pages were launched. You could create a page, post to it whenever and however many times you wanted in order to collect fans and grow your following.

2011: Facebook abandons original algorithm format for one much more complex, utilizing machine learning.

2012: Page managers began learning that only about 16% of their fans were seeing the content they were posting in their newsfeeds.

March 2014: Organic reach for the average Facebook page had declined all the way to 6.5%.

So if you do the math, a page that has 1,000 fans means only 65 of them are seeing your posts in their newsfeeds.

Early 2016: Facebook adjusts the algorithm to further prioritize friend and family content over brands, while releasing a blog post to warn pages that their organic reach could anticipate a dip.

July 2016: Facebook adjusted its Newsfeed Algorithm, resulting in now an average of only 3-5% organic reach on each post.

Facebook tells us to expect one day the average organic reach will in fact reach 0%, so supplementing your organic posts with paid advertising now is a safe bet.

The less people that see your posts inevitably results in less comments, likes and shares, which make it even that more difficult to turn your Facebook efforts into conversions and leads.

So Why Would Facebook Do This?

According to Facebook, there are simply too many pages posting too much content.

With over 60 million brands marketing on Facebook, they want to make sure only the best and most relevant content is being seen. This means connecting people to the stories they want to be connected to.

Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland, says “We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook. If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses.”

How Does the Algorithm Work?

The current algorithm strongly adapts to user preferences. The less you interact with a specific page’s posts and content, the less their content will appear in your newsfeed overtime. It also ranks specific content higher. For example, native and live videos are most highly prioritized, especially those with the highest completion rates and longest engagement durations.

With thousands of other triggers deciphering what’s really important on a specific newsfeed, the end goal is to customize each user experience to their interests and needs.

All in all, there are four ways Facebook is now ranking content:

  1. By who posted it
  2. By how people engaged with it
  3. By what kind of post it is
  4. By when it was posted

 

How to Work Around the Latest Algorithm Change

There are two things you have to understand:

  1. How newsfeed ranks content
  2. Where FB is heading as a business

 

It’s plain and simple; you have to really know your audience. Newsfeed knows what people wants to see. So your page needs to post quality content that your home buyers wants to see and engage with. The more engagement a post gets, the more it AND your page’s featured posts will be seen in a newsfeed.

Here’s how you can do that:

Practice Less is More. Your organic reach drops with each additional posts, especially more than 3 times a day, so be selective. Target posts to specific audiences who are more likely to take interest in that specific post.

Avoid Click Bait. FB tracks the amount of time people sending reading and watching videos – decreases visibility if people bounce or scroll past it

Remind Fans of How to See Your Content. Going to the left-hand sidebar to “Pages” is another way to view all the content posted by a user’s liked pages, even if they aren’t showing up in their NewsFeed. After all, they opted to follow your page, so just because they aren’t seeing your content, doesn’t mean they don’t want to.

Super fans can also update their notification settings in the “Following” tab in order to see your content first.

Share Engaging Video Content. Facebook is becoming more and more like a video platform and algorithm factors this in. A recent study showed that native Facebook videos have a 186% Prioritizes and are shared 1000% more often, so don’t just make sure your videos are engaging through good captions, animations and visuals, but make the extra step of publishing your videos specifically for the Facebook platform.

And don’t forget to use Facebook Live! Remember that users spend 3x more time watching these broadcasts than any other videos.

Target Specific Audiences. Try using preferred audience tracking to optimize who will see your content in order to increase engagement rates. You can track the behaviors of your site visitors from Facebook ads by making sure audience optimization for posts is turned on in Settings. Additionally, the next time you post, click the tiny target button, and choose interests relevant to your content. Lastly, there try creating custom and lookalike audiences based on your current database.

Use Facebook as a Paid Ad Platform. If you haven’t been already, use your targeted audiences to share quality content you’ve created from your blog, website pages, etc. through paid ads. These will help amplify their reach to the right people, while preparing you for the inevitable days of 0% organic reach.

What’s to Come in Facebook Advertising 

Builders can expect things to continue to change, so you can’t let your online marketing ever get complacent for too long. It’s important to continue to evolve your efforts with the changing algorithm to make sure the content you’re working hard to produce is being seen by your buyers. You now know some ways to do this, but if you really want to get the ball rolling and get your content on Facebook’s good side, contact us to make it happen for you.

By Nicolette Miller –
Online Content Strategist

 

 

 

 

What’s New on Social? Facebook Messenger Ads

Categories: Blog, Social Media | Posted: April 12, 2017

Another day, another new Facebook ad. But we’re not complaining because with each one, it keeps getting easier for your buyers to start a conversation with you whenever, wherever they want.

Facebook Messenger has one of the latest ad updates, allowing users to have a fast and convenient way to schedule appointments with you or ask questions about your homes, communities and building process.

How Does It Work?

The ads function similar to most Facebook ads in that they will show up in a user’s news feed. However, now when they click or tap the ad, it opens a Messenger conversation between your page and the prospective buyer. If the user is on a mobile device, the conversation will open in the Messenger app, and if they’re on a laptop or desktop, Messenger window will open on their screen.

Even when that particular conversation ends, user can return to this messenger window at any time and on any device to continue the same conversation.

Facebook Messenger AdHow Should Builders Use It?

Share an Offer. By creating an ad that introduces an offer (i.e. money toward closing costs, included appliances, or other limited time incentives), you enable potential buyers to easily click to ask follow up questions or get more information. This helps you keep ads short, sweet and enticing, offering just enough info to start a conversation, and to tempt them promotions or savings.

Introduce Something New. Whether promoting a new community, a Grand Opening or your sales center, these ads make it easy for potential buyers to gather all information necessary to attend the event or visit on-site. While introducing something new often requires a decent amount of detail in your post descriptions, but too much copy can distract users from the get-go. These ads provide real-time answers to interested users.

Get Feedback. Messenger ads are a great way to encourage unique engagement that gets your buyers talking without the pressure of their responses being public. Ask for opinions or feedback on your processes or products, or simply ask fun questions that start a conversation. They can answer directly on the post, or feel more comfortable talking with you through the messenger. Either way, getting any conversation going is a step in the right direction. Just make sure to have a team member (or Group Two!) standing by to respond.

Messenger Ads in a Nut-shell:

  • Fast & Convenient – An easier for buyers to get in touch with you.
  • Real-Time Answers – Buyers can schedule appointments or get answers regarding specific content you’re posting
  • Saved Replies – Can be used for common questions such as sales center hours, location, etc., making it easier to manage but still giving a personal feel.
  • Greeting Messages – can send automatically when conversation opens so buyers are addressed right away, and know when to expect a real response from you

Something to Note:

Your Messenger ad will not appear to people on mobile who do not have the Messenger app. So if you’re looking to get your buyers talking, and establish a personal connection with real-time interaction, then contact us to learn more about how you can utilize Facebook Messenger ads in your digital strategy.

Builder Success Story: March Madness Grand Opening Event

Categories: Blog, Builder Stories | Posted: April 4, 2017

Recently, Group Two helped one of our clients, Elite Homes, with a Grand Opening event. We recommended tying the event into a timely topic that is trending throughout the media world and that people could relate to right now.  (Not only can this can make the event more enticing, but it is also better for impressions and interactions on social media.) So, Elite’s standard grand opening event became “March Model Madness,” complete with basketball imagery and messaging throughout the month of March.

Grand Opening Email MarketingWhat Group Two Did:

  • Eblast. We created an eblast featuring the theme with information on the event that was sent out to their internal list.
  • Social. We used a variety of social platforms to promote the event, including:
    • Creating an event on social
    • Boosting custom graphics
    • Using the event as the cover photo on the social page
    • Creating a banner on their website home page

We consistently boosted posts, and pushed the event page out on social platforms starting three weeks prior to the event. We spent a total of $85 on social.

  • Print ads. We ran an ad promoting the event for a week in their local publication. Ordinarily, we would recommend having it run longer, but they are on a rotation schedule with their ads.

The Results:

Our multi-media approach was very successful. Over 50 guests attended the Grand Opening. At least two contracts were signed that day, with several follow-up appointments in the ensuing weeks. The client was very pleased with the turn out.

The integrated marketing plan that Group Two created for this client can be implemented for any community event. We’d love to talk to you about strategies for your next marketing challenge, so contact us to learn more!

 

Your Questions About Marketing to Millennials Answered

Categories: Blog, Marketing, Social Media | Posted: March 14, 2017

Marketing to MillennialsMillennial homebuyers will play a significant role in increasing the homeownership rate this year. In fact, Realtor.com predicts Millennials will soon make up 33% of the housing market. In Lasso’s webinar titled, “How To Market To Millennial Home Buyers”, Group Two Advertising’s Andy Bergren spoke about the importance of this generation and its continued impact on the housing market. The following questions were asked during the presentation:

How can I reach and attract more Millennial homebuyers?

Like every other demographic group, Millennials have their own distinct qualities. But if you think you can generalize this group, you’re mistaken. Millennials are the paradox of consumers. They are the most diverse generation. They have grown up in a time of rapid change, giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations. For example, they’ve endured underemployment and subpar wage growth. (The average Millennial has student debt of $30k.) But having been through this has made them smart with their money, especially doing research before they make a large purchase.

Millennials are digital natives, and masters of digital communication. They’re everywhere on the web, scouring the internet for content, sharing it with their friends, following their favorite brands. Most of them grew up never knowing what the world was like without the internet. They have a different view of the world and how they interact with each other. To them, the world is more open and transparent, which has created a consumer environment of more strategic and educated shoppers.

Millennial HomebuyersAs a business, it’s vital that you adapt to their needs and take a more open and digital approach. For instance, marketing strategies that worked 10 years ago are not effective to reach this generation. They grew up amidst a dynamic online world that allowed them to view companies in social circles where they can interact with brands and fellow consumers. In order to connect with Millennials, you need to prioritize the values that matter most to them – like authenticity, individualism and brand experience.

 

What specific strategies should I use to engage them?

Get to the point

This generation rightfully has a notorious reputation for shortened attention spans. They grew up in a world where they could get any answer to any question in a matter of seconds from Google. Don’t tell them you are the best, show them by providing information on all the ways your homes and communities will add to their lives.
Be straightforward – earn their trust

Part of the purchasing experience that will resonate with them most comes down to giving them the resources they need so they’ll see you as their partner. A great example of a strategy to accomplish this is by creating a new home handbook. At Group Two, we create new home handbooks for many of our builders, with the goal of complete transparency to a buyer. A new home handbook is a sales tool that allows you to educate a buyer on what makes you different and complements your sales strategy message. It’s your way of providing them with your strengths and telling them that after they do their research, you feel confident they’ll be back.

Tap into social media networks

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Millennials are the most digitally connected generation ever, and they consume content across multiple online channels. This is why you need to have a multi-platform approach to your marketing. The best way to access this group is build their trust and establish credibility through your social media platforms.

Have a great website
Your website is your ultimate marketing tool… your online model home. It is people’s first impression of you. If they don’t like what they find – or worse can’t even find you at all – then they are immediately ruling you out.

Create a seamless omni-channel buying experience
Winning over the Millennial generation is all about becoming their partner in the home buying process. Another way to do this is by providing them with an omni-channel buying experience. The idea behind this is that for every channel you own, whether it’s online, mobile or in-store, there should be a consistent message. So, whether your customer receives an email, looks at your social page, or walks into your model home, they should be able to tell that they’re communicating with your brand.

The main thing that Millennials care most about is the experience. The path to purchase needs to be made easy for them. They have high standards for their purchasing experience, and when you understand how to connect with them you will win the sale.

Educate and offer expert guidanceNew Home Marketing
Another great tool is education. A large percentage of Millennials are new to home buying, and part of being their partner is giving them educational tools to help them with the process which immediately earns their trust. This includes content on your website, as well as collateral that demonstrates your expertise while further building a relationship with them.


Emphasize investment

Emphasize investment and attainability. If your communities offer special loan programs like USDA or FHSA loan programs then highlight that, and show them why investing in their future is a valuable opportunity right now. This will help them decide that now is the time to stop throwing away their money.

How can I best attract people to my Facebook page?

If utilized to its full extent, Facebook has the ability to become a large driver of both online and on-site traffic. The best way to attract and grow your online Facebook presence is by:

  • Optimizing your page.
  • Posting engaging content tailored to your audience. Follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of content is informative and resourceful, and 20% is promotional.
  • Advertising to your targeted audience to ensure maximum reach and frequency of your message.
  • Sponsoring your posts. The average Facebook organic post may only reach 2-4% of your audience. Ensure delivery by “boosting” your content to reach all of your audience.
  • Keeping it fresh. Give users a reason to come back by consistently adding new features, updating cover photos and providing new inspirational content.
  • Giving exclusive social media offers.
  • Taking advantage of Facebook LIVE. This free tool is reaching an average of 3.2x amount of users than a typical Facebook post.
  • Capitalizing on trending topics to help push immediate engagement.
  • Giving fans a look behind the scenes at your team and operation.

    How many posts do you recommend each week for Facebook?

Effective advertising is all about reach and frequency. Social media is no different. Your goal with social media is to connect with followers without driving them away. You should aim for the perfect balance of sharing and listening. At Group Two, we find that posting once per day is an ideal balance in connecting with our audience and not crossing the line into annoying them. The key is not just to post for the sake of posting but to make sure you have relevant and timely information to share with your followers.

How much of your budget should be dedicated to social media advertising?

The best approach in answering this question is first finding out what percentage of your marketing budget you’re currently spending on social media. In recent years, most builders have spent an average of 8-12% of their budget on social media. However, with the overall impact of social media advertising, we are seeing this figure increase. In 2017, we recommend boosting this number to between 13-18%. These figures are, of course, relative to your results. If you are tracking your ROI and seeing an effective return, then logic tells us to increase this percentage to drive more qualified traffic that end up as sales!

Thanks again to Lasso for hosting the “How To Market To Millennial Home Buyers” webinar. If you didn’t get to check it out, click here to watch the full program. If you have any follow up questions on this topic or regarding Group Two services, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at abergren@grouptwo.com.

 

By Andrew Bergren –
Senior Account Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Builder Success Story: 55+ Community Sales Center Grand Opening

Categories: Blog, Builder Stories, Marketing | Posted: March 13, 2017

Recently, Group Two worked with Cornerstone Homes to launch the Grand Opening of the sales center for their newest community, The Villas at Ashlake. The challenge…this new Sales Center is in a strip mall about a mile down the road from the site where the community is being built in Chesterfield, VA. So, in addition to the usual business of promoting a new community, our job was to help overcome the location challenge to ensure that prospective buyers knew where to go for a community preview and the Grand Opening event.

Sales Center Grand Opening

What Group Two Did:

Custom URL. We created a new URL (Ashlake55.com) for both the signage and print ads that redirected to the Ashlake community page on Cornerstone’s main website. This allowed us to better track print and drive-by traffic and cleanly display the web address on materials.

Sales Center Displays. Since there were no homes to see on site, we wanted to make sure prospects had a strong sense of the community as soon as they stepped foot inside the sales office. With plenty of lifestyle imagery and photos of product soon to be built, we were able to create excitement around “what will be” on the currently empty land.

Onsite Signage. Even though the community hasn’t broken ground yet, we used the site to promote the Sales Office address and Ashlake55.com URL with signage that made it clear where the sales office is located down the street.

Eblasts. We sent eblasts based on the print ads to an interest list, promoting the grand opening date, and emphasizing pre-construction pricing.

Email MarketingIncentives. We promoted pre–construction pricing, a preview of all amenities, and first choice for lot selections as a draw for potential buyers.

Print Ads. We ran a series of ads in two local newspapers, for two weekends leading up to the opening, including the day of event. Since this is a 55+ community, print was definitely valuable here. As an added value, one of the papers gave us digital ads on their website.

Social Ads. We ran both boosted posts and targeted ads, aimed at 55+ prospects within a 50-mile radius of the area with a length of current homeownership over 7+ years.

Blog. We used a blog about the event as a landing page for social ads, and also pulled it as “News” on the Cornerstone homepage.

Remarketing Ads. Community specific remarketing ads followed web visitors who had landed on the community page through eblasts, ads, and paid search campaigns. Remarketing Ads helped reengaged prospects that were considering The Villas at Ashlake. 

The Results:

Our multi-media blitz with the right messaging was very successful. Over 60 guests attended the one-day Grand Opening – and at least 3 contracts were signed that day with plenty of appointments in the books. This boutique 55+ community has a long interest list of qualified prospective buyers.

The integrated marketing plan that Group Two created for this client can be implemented for any community event. We’d love to talk to you about strategies for your next marketing challenge, so let’s chat!

 

 

How to WIN Local and Mobile Search

Categories: Blog, Tips & Trends | Posted: March 3, 2017

Local SearchRecently, Google has been improving the relevance of local search. They’ve also been aggressively increasing the importance of mobile-friendliness in its ranking algorithms. Google is prioritizing mobile so actively, that by late 2017, it will completely remove non-mobile-friendly sites from mobile results AND lower your desktop search rankings.

If your website is not ready for these changes, you will miss out on valuable traffic. Here are a few steps you can take to optimize your website and paid search campaigns for local and mobile search.

Test Your Mobile-Friendliness. Your website should mirror the pleasant experience you want the customer to have in person. Make sure your pages have fast load times and updated links. According to Google, 53% of users will abandon your website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Check to see if your website is mobile-friendly with Google’s Mobile Test.

Encourage Google Business Reviews – Not only do online reviews play a strong role in consumer purchase decisions, the quantity and quality of your Google Business reviews play a significant role in how Google ranks your business domain. All other things equal, a business with a higher number of positive Google reviews will outrank its competitors in Google Search results every time.

Set Up Google My Business – If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing already, do so ASAP – it’s free and one of the best things you can do to improve local visibility. This will allow you to update details for your business as well as manage and respond to your Google reviews.

Check Your Online Business Listings For Accuracy. A recent survey by ConstantContact found that almost 50% of small businesses have incorrect online listings. If your business information is not uniform across all platforms, not only will it confuse customers, Google will penalize you by lowering your ranking on Google.

Don’t Limit Your Contact Info To The Contact Page. Include your business name, contact information and business locations on every page of your site. In addition to making you easier to reach, it will raise your organic search engine rankings locally.

Paid Search – Organic search optimization is important, but it will only get you so far.  Even with a solid SEO strategy, ranking in the top search results can be challenging and takes time– especially if you are in a competitive industry, such as home building. A well structured and managed Ad Words campaign will allow you to appear at the top of Google for relevant local search terms.

 a. Identify Mobile & Local Keywords – Users search differently on mobile vs. desktop; mobile searches tend to be much shorter when compared to desktops, while voice search has led to a increase in conversational search phrases. In your SEO and SEM campaigns, target a mixture of shorter keywords and conversational phrases. Also, your Search Terms report in Analytics and AdWords will you the exact searches that triggered for your ad or website to show. Try combing select Search Terms report keywords with your own list of local keywords for the best mobile & local search optimization.

b. Local Feel – To optimize paid search for local, it’s important that your ads have a local feel. Local searchers want local results – serving ads with a local feel will increase click through rates, increase your quality score and drive down you cost per click.

c. Location extensions – Adding location extensions to your paid search campaigns is one of the best ways to increase your local search presence.  Location extensions help customer find you more easily and give you the ability to appear on Google Map search results as a paid advertisement and pin.

d. Click-to-call ads: Click-to-call ads are a great way to optimize paid search for mobile and eliminate a step for buyers by allowing them to click on your ad to call you and start a conversation.

When people start searching for a new home, one of the first places they go is Google.   Therefore, visibility on Google is paramount for any homebuilder or business that wants to stay competitive. If you want to start winning local and mobile search to get your homes in front of the right audience at the right time, contact Group Two to get started!

 

By Bill Doughty –
Digital SEM Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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