Pinterest became a new addiction for millions of Internet users almost overnight. A few of them figured out how to market on Pinterest merging “super fun pinning activity” with business or product marketing. Sounds like a “dream” marketing platform but what is the reality, especially in the field of the real estate marketing?
Pinterest is relatively new (launched in March 2010) social media site where you can share ideas and inspirations via visual “boards” that contain photos and videos. Pinterest continues to grow at astronomical rate and now has 25 million users that share photos, re-pin each other’s posts, follow boards that interest them and have their own followers. Pinterest is highly visual with only short commentaries accompanying each ‘pin’, so it makes it one of the best social media platforms for real estate, where the picture is worth a thousand words. In the short period this company became an important part of social media marketing for real estate and its impact can’t be ignored.
First step to start marketing through social media using Pinterest will be to register as a business and create a business profile at business.pinterest.com (it is quick and free). You can start ‘pinning’ right away but it would be beneficial to learn first how Pinterest works and how to use these powerful social media tools for your advantage.
Start you real estate business presence on Pinterest with well-thought profile. Pick Pinterest profile image and upload it (160 x 165 pixels files works the best, according to Pinterest guidelines) – your logo, personal photo, or signature image will do the trick. You would also need to verify your website to get access to Analytics so you can see Pinterest statistics for all your pins (likes, re-pins, etc). It is a powerful social media management tool as it helps you to understand what your audience responds to.
Every day millions of people use Pinterest to find inspiration, connect with people who share their passions and interests, and to buy products. As a test, try searching for ‘homes for sale in your neighborhood’ on Pinterest. A few boards will come up but not very many (the more narrow your search is, less search results it will return). Click on some of the profiles to see what your competition is doing, how companies use social media and what interesting boards they have. Besides the obvious choice for a board of ‘homes for sale’ you would need to come up with some original interesting ideas to keep your followers interested and attract new ones, as obviously people are not buying homes every day. Pinterest call the network of people, content and interests the ‘interest graph’ and it is a powerful way for businesses to find new clients. You would need to find ways to stand out in a crowd and the easier it is for people to find and see your content, more people you would reach and more re-pins you will get, widening your social sphere.
As you probably guessed, ‘pin’ is an image or video that users add to their Pinterest boards from websites or stored images by utilizing ‘Pin It’ button or ‘+’ button from your account. Any pin can be re-pinned and all pins link back to their original sources. Make sure that you use high-quality images as that is vital to your successful social media marketing. You can create content-rich and visually-pleasing boards by pinning your own images and re-pinning other people’s photos, ensuring un-biased approach and inspiring reciprocal pins that will lead to more followers. Make sure that your own images are linked to your website or blog and hire a professional photographer to take high-quality still photos of your listings. Keep in mind that Pinterest images are vertical (you have width restrictions), so if you pin a vertically-oriented image you’ll have a bigger photo than if you pin a horizontal image. Take advantage of that to create more visual impact from your real estate social media marketing.
The whole idea of Pinterest is a very visual and quick exchange of the interesting information. A bunch of boring snapshots will not be able to excite anyone there. Unless you are advertising amazing and unusual homes, you may need either to find funny, real estate related pictures or another “Grumpy” cat snapshots to attract followers.
Great Pinterest strategy of using social media for real estate marketing starts with your website. Make sure that you have high quality images that are at least 600 pixels wide – they will look the best on Pinterest (not all images can be pinned – they have to be at least 200 by 100 pixels). Add ‘Pin It button to your website’ – it makes it very easy for people to pin your images and encourages them to do it. Use rich pins that automatically add prices, availability and comments. All you have to do is add meta tags to your website and sign up for it at business.pinterest.com. Otherwise, who has time to save the image, browse to it, upload, and write the description – too many clicks! Take advantage of social media tools that Pinterest provides and this will improve your website traffic and ranking as well by utilizing social media SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
If people like your content and pins, it will be re-pined more and become more discoverable. We have already discussed encouraging more pins from your website by adding ‘Pin It’ button to every image but you can also promote your Pinterest account on your printed materials: flyers, farming postcards, and newsletters. There is a snowball effect of popular images on Pinterest – when it becomes popular, it goes ‘viral’ and thousands of people will re-pin or re-tweet it. You may even create a special board where you would give permission to others to pin images (for example, contest for the cutest pet photo in costume or community service board for lost pets). This creates additional interest and attracts more visitors to your boards as well as your website, if you are using Pinterest for real estate marketing with creativity.
Boards are the core of your Pinterest presence and you should have fun choosing the topics so they show off your creative side. More boards you have appealing to different interests, more people you will attract. Have boards dedicated to the best backyards, landscaping ideas, swimming pools, dream kitchens, luxury bathroom spaces, living rooms, best home office organization, home décor, minimalistic design, contemporary spaces, county living, recipes, pets, etc.
You should also invest time in some educational boards, as do companies who successfully use social media for business. These boards could include home renovation tips, staging ideas, best use of small spaces, painting palettes, green home ideas, and interior design. To attract people who may be moving into the area, create boards that highlight local parks and attractions, most romantic getaways, local inns and bed and breakfast destinations, art and culture, best local cuisine, winter recreation, historical landmarks. These are the boards that you create and then can curate, per Pinterest guidelines, encouraging community involvement and comments.
Descriptions on Pinterest are crucial so that your pins could be found by others searching for specific content. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Minnesota found out that four words: ‘use, look, want and need’ set pins apart for companies using social media for business. You can put a word ‘this’ after all these verbs, encapsulating the intent that motivates users’ actions. Many researches concentrated on Pinterest commercial potential and this may explain why marketing through social media on Pinterest is more likely to bring success to your business. Pinterest reached 10 million users mark faster than any other social media site and what is more important, higher proportion of its users visit e-commerce sites. As Pinterest visual component dictates its focus on products and consumer sales, research also indicates that Pinterest users spend more on these e-commerce sites than visitors from Twitter or Facebook. For you as a real estate agent it means that you are dealing with people who a ready and willing to buy are not shy about doing their research online prior to buying. So if you are a professional who is thinking about new real estate advertising ideas, you should probably pay more attention and spend more time building your presence on Pinterest, versus other social media networks (see this real estate marketing tips article).
It easy to pin like a pro with these Real Estate Marketing Tips:
- Pin at least several times a week (or once a day) so your followers get fresh content from you in their feeds;
- Try pacing your pins throughout the day to get noticed instead of pinning them all at once;
- Pin not only your stuff but add re-pins from others to tell a better story;
- Utilize secret boards which you can build to perfection before making public;
- Add thoughtful description to your pins which are not too short and not too long and it will make your pins more understandable and searchable;
- Make sure your pins link back to the right place on your website for better user experience and more referral traffic;
- Besides adding ‘Pin It’ button to all the images on your website you’d like visitors to share, try adding it to the images on your email newsletter, as well as the invitation to ‘Follow’ you on Pinterest;
The great way to get people pinning your stuff is to be an active pinner yourself, commenting on others’ pins, liking them while visiting boards related to your business. The best social media marketing training is daily practice and watching what are the best professionals are doing. The latest social media marketing software or expensive lengthy seminars will not improve your skills unless you use your knowledge on a consistent basis. People who talk positively about you, re-pin your posts are your best friends and ambassadors. Try noticing them and reward their efforts somehow – this will bring you more business and visibility.