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Social Media Connections: Hometalk
In a recent month, 72 percent of the social media referrals to one Atlanta remodeler's website came not from Facebook or Twitter or Houzz, though the company uses those platforms too. They came from Hometalk, a free-to-use relative newbie on the design-related SoMe field and an increasingly productive marketing tool for remodelers that use it actively.
"Even I was impressed when I saw that number," says Emily Smith, marketing communications manager at AK Complete Home Renovations, the Atlanta remodeler noted above. She estimates that she spends about four hours a week on Hometalk, posting project photos, responding to questions about remodeling, and otherwise engaging with users in Atlanta and around the country, professionals and consumers alike.
With just 100,000 registered users, Hometalk is tiny compared to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But it's a good bet for remodelers because "the conversation is specific to home projects only," says Mirian Illions, director of community at the site. Whereas Pinterest is essentially a photo site, "Hometalk focuses on not only the photos, but the full project and person behind it." And unlike Houzz, all Hometalk content is user-generated.
Of Hometalk's users, 70 percent are consumers and 30 percent contractors, according to Illions. Among the latter, AK Complete Home Renovations is a standout for its "likes" (1,300 and growing), its "shares" (17,838) and its "followers" (284). The company's followers can be in any state or country, but many are indeed in Atlanta (where Hometalk began) and at least a few have become actual remodeling clients.
As with other social media sites, Hometalk works best for remodelers that use it strategically. Some tips from Smith:
Eye-catching "detail" photos tend to generate more buzz than photos of entire rooms or houses. "People are there to have fun, to share their opinions," Smith says. "They don't want to write an essay. Make it easy-to-digest." A farmhouse sink — with a pointed question or comment about their timeliness — might go over better than a full kitchen remodel. Don't be shy about dusting off photos from years ago if they're still topical or provocative.
Link from every photo, post or answer to your company's website, blog or Facebook page — wherever you want visitors to go. "This is a must," Smith says. "I can't track the number of click-throughs to our Facebook page, but we have certainly gotten more fans since using Hometalk."
Creating and updating your profile is good, but engaging with users — answering their questions, guiding their conversations — is better. "Even if it's not a remodeling question, it might be about design," Smith says. Her company (or yours) might very well be experienced in that topic and have photos, blog posts, etc. that that speak to the answers. "If you're helpful, people will follow you," she addds. "And the people that run this site will also help you."
Illions agrees. Contractors who receive the most inquiries from Hometalk are those "who are present in the day-to-day discussions," she says. "Professionals who are active on Hometalk reap the benefits of developing a great online reputation."
They also build relationships that may play out in paying business later. "These are people who are really interested in their homes and are doing things to improve their homes," Smith says. Yes, many of them use Hometalk to discuss do-it-yourself projects, but sooner or later many of them will need to hire professionals.
"You never know," Smith says. "A DIY lampshade today might be a kitchen remodel tomorrow."
Thanks for this article, I have found it very useful for one of the websites I am building, looks like a great place to conduct marketing and share my new products.
RemodMO1899 126 days ago
A great feature on a really great site, and one that I have come to find real value in. The user community on HT as well as their FB page is highly active and engaged. Like any social media, the basic rules apply. Connect with others, engage, and put yourself out there and you will do well. AK has built a fantastic model for investing in the platform, and seeing that investment reap results. Take note. After all, that is what most remodelers are craving with social media.. Results.
Thanks to d5R for introducing us to HomeTalk last year.
Hamtil Construction LLC
DB-RemdPA1047 126 days ago
We discovered Hometalk a few months back and have been active on it ever since: posting project photos, answering questions, engaging users. It does seem to be more of a do-it-yourself crowd than other sites, say Houzz, but it is a great community of very positive people. It has also been great in getting our name in front of people.
Hometalk's Facebook page is extremely popular, with nearly 500,000 likes. Whenever they share one of our Hometalk posts on their Facebook page, it goes viral very quickly, leading to many more likes/fans/engaged users on our own Facebook page. - Pine Street Carpenters & The Kitchen Studio at Pine Street (West Chester, PA)
OtherNC17111 126 days ago
I have visited this site and think there is some interesting dialog that goes on between contractors and DIYers.
The question I have about HomeTalk is how they make money?
There is no fee to join and no advertising. Just curious how they pay their bills.