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Nuts & Bolts - Case Study : Building Social Media ROI Through Influencers

November 2012 By Heather Fletcher
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Elusive though it may seem, Tricia Tangradi has found the ROI of social media. After she implemented a social media marketing program, the director of marketing and support for HouseMaster, a Bound Brook, N.J.-based home inspection franchise system, saw revenue increase 15 percent above last year's numbers. Plus, franchisees active in social media realized a 36 percent year-over-year (YOY) revenue increase from "mobilizing" HouseMaster's biggest fans.

"No marketing collateral or website in the world will ever be surpassed by the impact of authentic personal testimonials," Tangradi says.

To achieve those results, Tangradi employed a three-step process coordinated by tools from Satmetrix, a cloud-based customer experience software provider based in San Mateo, Calif.

In August 2011, HouseMaster started a pilot program with 17 of its franchisees. HouseMaster inspectors collected email addresses from the real estate agents, homebuyers and homeowners they served. Those customers received an emailed survey.

"The responses that came in were overwhelmingly positive," Tangradi says, "with key words that spoke to all of the things that we believe our brand represents: 'professionalism,' 'education' [and] 'trusted advisor.'"

In December, once Tangradi knew the survey content proved HouseMaster was providing the level of customer experience she expected, the entire HouseMaster system joined in on the surveys. "Every time a HouseMaster system home inspection form is uploaded to a secure website for viewing by a real estate professional, homebuyer or seller, an automatic survey goes out," she says. Then in January 2012, HouseMaster started its corporate Facebook page and encouraged franchisees to do the same, on an individual level.

In the March 2012 survey email, Tangradi began the next phase of the HouseMaster social marketing plan: Customers who rated the HouseMaster experience a nine or 10 out of 10—or "promoters"—saw links for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. "They auto-populate their personal sites," Tangradi says.

That rating feeds into a Net Promoter Score (NPS), which Satmetrix says equals the number of "promoters" minus the "detractors" (those who rated HouseMaster from zero to six out of 10).

Since August, HouseMaster has emailed more than 50,000 survey invitations that resulted in more than 17,000 responses. Of those responses, Tangradi says 10 percent of customers spread the word about HouseMaster on social media, and "our NPS score is 85 percent right now."

In May, Tangradi started a "Facebook call to action" effort that took customers from individual franchise pages to the corporate one. The first incentive was for Mom—HouseMaster mailed out 500 tree seedlings to customers who became official fans. In June, the trade was "The Pocket e-Guide to Home Inspection." Next, HouseMaster gave away a card game, then a $25 coupon for its services.

In between calls to action, Tangradi says: "We try to make our posts valuable. We try to make our content rich and meaningful. And we want to stay in touch with the consumer."

Built on this firm foundation, Tangradi says results from the social media program continue to impress her. About 180 customers liked HouseMaster in May; as of September, that number is more than 2,000.

Who knows how many consumers will like HouseMaster's next call to action, which will be hosted on Facebook and promoted on Twitter and LinkedIn. "We're also running a campaign in 2013, beginning in January, which is, 'What is your dream home improvement project? Post your photo of what needs to be improved in your house.'"

Tangradi predicts it will only build upon HouseMaster's social media ROI.


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