Reaching Homeowners “Nextdoor”

ACCORDING TO ITS WEBSITE, the Nextdoor app is, “where communities come together to greet newcomers, exchange recommendations, and read the latest local news. Where neighbors support local businesses and get updates from public agencies. Where neighbors borrow tools and sell couches. It’s how to get the most out of everything nearby.”

It is also where some savvy Notification Centers are spreading the safe digging message in a new and unique way.

OKIE811, Susan Bohl

I recently bought an investment property in Denton, TX for my daughter to live in and realized she knew nothing about the neighborhood or the neighbors. So, I signed her up on the Nextdoor app where she could see posts from neighbors, find out what is happening around her, and find services in her new area.

It got me thinking that we should be using Nextdoor at OKIE811 to educate new homeowners on our services. We began using the Nextdoor Business platform in April 2020 with the intent of reaching more homeowners and Oklahoma residents to remind them about contacting us before digging. We ran multiple campaigns during Safe Digging Month with targeted messaging to new homeowners and people new to the neighborhood.

Much like other Social Media services, the more funds you allocate, the wider the area the message gets distributed. The main drawback for an organization like OKIE811, where we provide our services statewide, is you can only go up to 30 miles from the address of the business. To reach customers across multiple market areas, you must use the “Brand Advertising on Nextdoor,” a different service with a different fee structure. We are considering this service for 2022.

Even with a 30-mile limitation, we have received 100,000-plus views and 20-plus actions from each of our posts. With an allocated $200 per post, we feel we got a pretty good bang for our buck!

Texas811, Christi Mclain

   

With more than 29 million residents in Texas, you can imagine how difficult it can be to communicate to each person. One of the most challenging aspects of raising awareness around 811 with homeowners and DIYers is a person may see an ad or post on social media, but may not actually dig until months later. How do we make these posts and ads stick?

Nextdoor Advertising gives us the ability to run ads people can relate to – ads that make an impact on their lives.

Texas811 began using the Nextdoor Advertising platform in August 2020 to help raise awareness of 811 with homeowners and DIYers. Similar to paid ads on other social media platforms, first you create an ad, set the bid amount and daily budget and then run the ad for a specific timeframe. On the dashboard, we have access to real time reports that show us our spend, our impressions, and our click through rate (CTR). The industry average CTR on Nextdoor is 0.45% – 0.55%. In 2021, Texas811 has seen a CTR of 0.95% – 1.27%.

We try to keep our ads minimal and attention grabbing to get readers to visit our website where they can learn about 811 more in depth. Google Analytics track our website traffic, and we receive a report monthly that tracks homeowner ticket volume to gauge how effective our ads are in raising awareness.

During National Safe Digging Month, we saw a 17% increase in Homeowner ticket volumes over April 2020. We also reported 12,006 visits to the webpages used in our ads.

Georgia 811, Fiona Bowen

As the Georgia 811 Communications Department looked for opportunities to reach the homeowner audience with the safe digging message in 2021, we became very interested in Nextdoor. We moved forward with the subscription-based agency option in February. As an agency, we would have the opportunity to be viewed as a “neighbor” in an individual’s personal feed and thus have our message received in an organic, easily consumable environment.

Covering the entire state of Georgia was cost prohibitive, so our Communications Team looked at the areas where home building would be on the rise this year. We wanted to not only target general homeowners, but also those living and working in high construction areas. We selected six counties that surround Metro Atlanta whose scope included 613,000 reachable homes.

Nextdoor provided us with recommendations on how to create an effective introductory post to garner maximum interaction with neighbors, as neighbors can respond and comment on agency posts. We were very pleased with our results as our initial post had over 77 thousand impressions and nearly 500 interactions with comments or likes. As we continue to post, our strategy is to provide informative and conversational posts every two to three weeks as we experiment with topics that yield high impression and interaction rates.

As others in the damage prevention industry look to create Nextdoor agency accounts, here are some helpful tips:

• We created a special media email account to handle the comment notifications, so we could reply in a timely manner. We recommend you monitor your comments closely the first few days after a post is made as homeowners are looking for your response.

• In responding to comments, staff members should have a complete understanding of damage prevention requirements in your state as homeowners ask a wide range of questions.

• We recommend responding in a calm, factual, light-hearted, and non-judgmental way. While the comments may cover a wide array of topics, we have seen a lot of positive interactions when questions are answered with facts and an empathetic point of view.

• Many well-informed homeowners who work in the damage prevention industry answer other homeowner questions. It is a good idea to read and stay on top of these comments so you can correct information that may not be 100% accurate.

We have enjoyed our Nextdoor contract over the past few months and hope others in the industry will also find the platform advantageous in reaching specific audiences.

A communications group has been established amongst One Call centers using Nextdoor. If you are interested in participating, contact Fiona Bowen at FBowen@georgia811.com. To learn more about Nextdoor app, visit about.nextdoor.com.

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