“Our customers are there. Our own employees are on social. We need to be there too.”
We're showing [senior management] we're being successful and trying to fix problems on social, and it's working.
According to Andrea Meck, Senior Marketing Manager and SocialMedia.org member, that's the decision that got the ball rolling on social media at Toll Brothers. And in 2007, after earning full buy-in from their CMO, Andrea and Toll Brothers VP of Marketing, Michael Klouda, started a company blog and Facebook page.
Now six years old, the blog consistently ranks among Toll Brothers' top ten visited sites each month out of the 300 or so company sites out there.
“We're pretty thrilled about the success,” says Andrea.
Their most popular blog, Toll Talks, relies on collaboration with their partner networks.
Kohler, Progress Lighting, and SocialMedia.org members like Shaw Industries and Whirlpool, all have a stake in the content Toll Brothers shares on Toll Talks. So they're also big contributors with posts that showcase a total home experience, from lighting to the kitchen sink.
Andrea says they work together on quarterly plans to determine the trends and news each brand can contribute expertise to with content. She also gathers content from Toll Brothers' own internal experts like interior designers, architectural departments, and land planning team.
Andrea's social media team writes many of the stories themselves.
Company culture dictates a lot of our social media strategy.
As a part of the Marketing Department, Andrea serves as the social media team lead and works with a marketing manager, a social media specialist, and an assistant social media specialist. She and her team of four serve as an internal agency to the organization — and 96 percent of the time, they do it without any outside agency help.
But before she built up her team of four, Andrea had to earn a budget for headcount. In fact, before joining SocialMedia.org in 2014, they didn't have a social media budget at all.
“We're really breaking down those barriers that were there a couple of years ago.”
Even in social media, people want to be connected to real people in real life.
Andrea says as a corporate conservative company, it took a while for Toll Brothers senior management to see that social media mattered and made a difference to their customers.
“We're showing them we're being successful and trying to fix problems on social, and it's working,” Andrea says. “Social media is changing so quickly and our company culture is changing a bit too.”
“Company culture dictates a lot of our social media strategy.”
As things change, Andrea's team has turned their focus toward connecting with customers on a more personal level.
One of her team's big initiatives, Toll Lifestyle TV, does more than share a walkthrough or promotional tour of a new home. The series focuses on the people who live in them and the communities they're built in.
“Even in social media, people want to be connected to real people in real life,” Andrea explains.
The series lives almost exclusively on social and has won Andrea's team awards like the Nationals Silver Award from the National Association of Home Builders.
In 2016, they're looking to build up more of that excitement around buying a home with user-generated content.
Andrea says their #TollLife campaign shares community-submitted photos from events like toy drives and tennis tournaments, or little moments like a woman walking her dog in a Toll Brothers neighborhood.
“Resharing their content and their excitement helps our excitement too. In the future, we're looking for more ways like this to encourage excitement about building a home,” Andrea says.
“Buying a home is one of the few big purchases in someone's life, so we're trying to get excited for those people and help them feel special in any way we can.”
Andrea's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014. Follow her on Twitter and ask her about her favorite figure skaters.