Wednesday, January 11, 2012
While there was a lot of hype surrounding social media sites like Google+ and Tumblr in 2011, one of the surprise break-out hits of the year, according to Mashable.com, was a site called “Pinterest.”
This by-invitation-only social networking site based in Palo Alto, Texas, was one of the top 10 most visited sites in 2011, says social media strategist Constance Aguilar in her post on Mashable.com. A December 2011 report by Experian Hitwise reported the site’s total number of visits for the week ending Dec. 17, 2011 at 11 million…almost 40 times the amount in the comparable period six months before.
The premise of Pinterest is simple…and seems to be a natural for the real estate social media marketing. Much like a virtual cork board, Pinterest allows users to post photos and links grouped by category—referred to as “boards” or “pins”—and then invite others to view, follow, comment on, and “repin” their collections. Boards currently on the site cover a wide array of subjects, from “funny” to “fireplaces.” According to Pinterest, members use the site for planning weddings, decorating their homes, mapping out a trip, categorizing recipes, artistic inspiration and countless other ideas.
Businesses of all varieties are starting to creatively utilize Pinterest for marketing purposes. The healthy living grocery chain Whole Foods, for example, created a “Sweet Tooth” board, showcasing its many desserts (while promoting its charitable arm in the background). One real estate brand has a wealth of boards on Pinterest, from recipes to decorating tips. Even NBC’s “Today” show uses the site, creating boards highlighting the various personalities and headlines featured on the program.
The Pinterest possibilities for real estate professionals are abundant. Consider a “back yards” board highlighting great landscaping in your community, including a few homes that you’re currently listing. How about a “my first home” board featuring great photos of your happy clients in the various stages of sealing the deal and moving into their very first home? Show your campy side and post a collection of interesting and amusing “for sale” signs. Or use Pinterest to promote your organization with a “teammates” board. The potential is only as limited as your ability to think creatively.
In her Mashable article, Aguilar offers five tips for businesses to capitalize on Pinterest.
Here’s how her ideas can be translated directly to real estate:
1. Host a contest. According to Aguilar, brands and companies can connect and build buzz among their audiences by hosting various types of contests on Pinterest. Try hosting a “hot property” contest and engage your sellers by having them create boards of their homes for sale. Or consider a “quick fix” contest that invites clients to create boards of how they updated or redecorated their new home. This will engage your clients, past and present, and provide a great way to showcase your social media savvy to prospects.
2. Showcase a new listing. Pinterest allows you to organize the most compelling photos and facts about a new listing in one, very visually appealing, very cool place. This will bring your listing presentations to a whole new level.
3. Showcase your personality. As with all social media marketing, the golden rule on Pinterest is NOT to use it to only hawk listings. Create a board that shows you and your team helping out in the community. Or a “wish list” board that takes a humorous and/or insightful look at what matters most to you in life. Engaging followers with a personal touch is one of the most valuable benefits of social media.
4. Display various sectors of the company. Use Pinterest to highlight the various divisions of your company. For example, do you offer home staging services? How about your mortgage division? Or property management? Pinterest allows you to display photos of key personnel in various departments, marketing flyers, press clippings, etc., all in one place.
5. Creative communication. At the heart of every social media campaign is the desire to foster better communication. Use Pinterest to display photos of sellers and buyers in front of their homes and write a caption that says something unique about your clients and/or their property…not just how many bedrooms and baths the home has. Ask for feedback, too, and start conversations utilizing the comment fields. Interaction is your ultimate goal.
To start using Pinterest, visit pinterest.com and request an invitation. In the meantime, peruse the look and feel of the various creative boards already on the site. Then let your creative marketing mind go to work.