From Selfies to Electrician Recommendations: Buying a Home Changes How You Use Social Media

By: Dave Sladack

February 12, 2016


Anyone know a good electrician? What’s the best way to fix a leaky faucet? I’m retiling my foyer – do I really need to rent a tile saw? Anecdotally, we’ve all seen it happen. Your friend buys his or her first house and their Facebook feed immediately goes from selfies at bars and memes to pictures of their new home and bragging about home improvement accomplishments, failures, and questions.

Whether buying a home, getting married, or having a new baby, life milestones dramatically alter the way people use social media. Our BRUNNER Home Enrichment practice wanted to go beyond anecdotes and to see if these changes are real or if we’re just really happy to see our friends sharing something other than pictures of themselves, their food, and their dog. 

Through the Home Innovation Research Labs, we polled 1,000 current U.S. homeowners on this topic to find out how their use of social media changed after buying a home.

Here’s what we found:

So our eyes aren’t deceiving us. After buying a home, social media activity around home improvement does indeed increase for all U.S. homeowners, especially the 18 to 44-year-olds, a group which includes an emerging millennial generation of homeowners – many of whom are purchasing their first home.

The 18 to 44-year-old homeowners are particularly interested in finding home improvement ideas and vetting products, services and contractors via ratings and reviews. It makes sense as this is typically an active home improvement consumer – looking to remodel areas of their new home as their buying power grows and trigger points in their life like a new baby stimulates immediate need for getting better educated on the possibilities.

Another compelling finding is the role social media plays for current homeowners who are planning to build a new home.  

On average, 8-out-of-10 homeowners planning to build a new home use social media to inform and educate themselves on home improvement possibilities. Our sense is that this is not only for finding ideas for their new home, but also for identifying ways to improve their current living space for resale.

Obviously, this becomes a huge opportunity for the home appliance, power tools, yard maintenance, and paint brands to tap into a brand new audience. It’s a continual feed of new customers and a time when the race to connect with them and build that brand loyalty starts in earnest (anyone who has received that coupon book after changing their address can attest to this). Of course, social media is not direct mail. And treating it as such will actually do more harm than good.

Once someone buys a home for the first time, they’re overwhelmed. With everything. From the maintenance costs to the new tools, appliances, and furniture they have to buy, to the growing wish list of things they want to change, there’s a lot to think about. They’re looking for help. For solutions. They’re looking for a lot more than coupons and banner ads. For brands in what we at BRUNNER call the Home Enrichment category, social media is your opportunity to solve these problems, not to simply garner impressions. Lowe’s, in particular, does a great job connecting with the first-time buyer – many of whom are emerging millennials. Lowe’s has invested in their social media properties with content that invites the new homeowner in with home improvement tips and design ideas. For example, Lowe’s has hosted a series of 6-second Vine videos demonstrating easy tips for home improvement.

The homeowner is not only using social media extensively, they’re using it specifically to search for answers. Brands that are able to connect with these homeowners and go beyond giving them a coupon and actually provide these answers have the opportunity to earn a lot more than simple conversions – they can gain a long-term customer relationship. 

Some other notable results:

  • More females (54%) than males (45%) tend to find ratings & reviews regarding home improvement products and services more important after buying a home
  • After buying a home, the use of social media to follow home improvement experts varies by region:

o   South: 46%; Midwest: 42%; West: 40%; Northeast: 34%

 

 

Source: 2015 Home Innovation Research Labs, Brunner-sponsored Study, 11/28/2015




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