2 Texas HBAs Find Social Success

Filed in Membership by on September 6, 2018 0 Comments

magnet drags facebook likesTwo Texas HBAs – one big, one small – are enjoying outsized success with the skillful use of social media – and have lessons for other HBA leaders looking to boost the value of membership.

In Dallas, EO Phil Crone used Facebook to take advantage of the “court of public opinion” to vote out a city council on the wrong side of a property rights case a member was fighting. In Temple, EO Kacie Beevers combined organic social media posts with inexpensive“boosts” to successfully draw crowds to the HBA home show and parade.

Here’s how they did it.

Expanding the Clout

Dallas BA member Alan Hoffman was about to pour the foundation for a couple’s new home when the city of McKinney, using its status as a home rule jurisdiction, pulled the plug by threatening a lawsuit if the couple didn’t dedicate three acres of their property to the city in exchange for a building permit. And the home owners’ property wasn’t even in the McKinney city limits.

Hoffman, Crone and the HBA leadership had a pretty good idea that the couple would win in court. But the husband and wife, both in their 70s, were not interested in the time and expense of a protracted lawsuit.

Instead, Hoffman called the local TV stations, and Crone linked to the resulting videotaped stories on the HBA’s Facebook page. With an election on the horizon, McKinney voters would know just what sort of city council they were dealing with.

The couple’s dreams were being jeopardized by a government they couldn’t vote for, Crone’s post said. “Please find McKinney City Council runoff election candidates on Facebook and ask them where they stand on the issue.”

“I can talk about what’s going on, and a builder can too, but nothing beats having the home owners tell the story in their own words. That shows how housing issues impact everyone, not just builders and developers,” Crone said about the media campaign.

Expanding the Crowds

Kacie Beevers, EO of the Temple Area BA, has three Facebook pages: One for the Parade of Homes, one for the Home and Garden Show and one for the BA itself. “I use social media for everything around here,” she said.

The scheduling tool is her friend. Before the parade, Beevers wrote up 18 posts about the 18 participating builders to run over the weeks leading up to the parade, linking to the builders’ own Facebook pages and paying $5 for each post to boost it to her target audience.

“It took me about an hour and a half,” she said. “That gets you a few more likes and shares and that gets you on more people’s feeds, so people see [parade promotions] on a regular basis.”

Beevers used the same posts on her Instagram account, which she also could set up in advance. “I scheduled for those eight weeks and didn’t have to think about it again. It was easy.”

For the Home and Garden Show, Beevers promoted sponsors and made sure potential attendees knew about the planned Kids Zone, a way to spur more young parents to attend. She also encouraged Facebook page visitors to use the show’s hashtag and post their own photos from the event for a chance to win prizes.

While she still runs the occasional newspaper ad for big HBA events, Beevers is sold on the power of social media. “I see a return on my investment dollars and they are significantly less than an ad in a magazine or a newspaper,” she said. “This is not only the way the world is going, it’s the way we are going at TABA as well.

“Social media is our friend. You’ll have more action and engagement.” But, Beevers cautions, “If you can’t say it or grab their attention in those first 140 characters, people will stop listening. Make then click on the “more.”

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