Pinterest is the latest and greatest innovation in social networking. Even better, Pinterest has proven to be incredibly useful in growing businesses, redirecting web traffic, and acting as a medium for businesses to ingratiate themselves with clients.
First of all, what is Pinterest? Pinterest describes themselves as being a “tool for collecting and organizing things you love.” Users can, from a central dashboard, manage and review content that they find interesting. When something resonates with them, they can simply pin it to their board. Over time, users gather an array of different content, such as recipes, unique videos, helpful tips, interesting photos, and more.
With over 10,000,000 unique visitors each month, Pinterest is quickly making a name for itself. Users that visit Pinterest spend an average of 77 minutes on it! That is double the amount of time users spend on Facebook. More importantly, however, is that Pinterest is the tool for referral traffic. In fact, it produces more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. Also, over a quarter of all Pinterest users make $100,000 per year, or higher.
But what does all this mean for you, the Real Estate agent? Essentially, you can leverage the popularity of Pinterest to build rapport with your clients. To get started, simply create a Pinterest page for your business. Once you have done that, complete the "About" section, and be sure to include a link back to your website. Then, connect to any applicable Facebook and Twitter accounts. From there, make sure to rename your boards; use keyword rich names for the sake of search engine optimization.
When you start pinning content, do not make the mistake of posting business-only pins. You want to ingratiate yourself with your client base, and humanizing yourself and your agency, is the only way to go about this. This means you should feel free to pin content that is entirely irrelevant to real estate, on a regular basis! Be careful to pin rather than repin, as a general rule. Repinning is less meaningful than if you actually created the content yourself, but repinning can be done at times.
Now when you do pin content that is business-related, you have to be careful. It is tempting to post your newest listing, giving all the details upfront. This is a mistake. Instead, post a striking photo of a visually-interesting area or areas that will resonate with your client base. Ditch all the professional jargon, and simply pin the picture with a question - i.e. "What is your favorite part of this beautiful kitchen?" Followers will then be more inclined to engage with the content, and repin the post. Take the following two photos of a listing, as an example. The first photo is much more aesthetically pleasing, and will promote more user engagement. The second photo, while it is a nice home, gives the cold feeling of being another Real Estate listing.
When you pin something, make sure you write rich keyword descriptions to accompy it. Make the description between 200-300 words long. You want to give the reader enough information to be interested, but not enough to where you give it all away. Also, do not forget to include hashtags, so your content is searchable.
Pinning content from your own sites is the most effective thing to do, for your business. The best thing is to pin blogs that you are writing (which may or may not be about Real Estate). Blog about recipes, vacation, travel, family, etc. Once you are ready to pin this content, make sure to include a link back to your Real Estate website. When including this link, it is paramount you do not shorten the URL. Studies have shown Pinterest users are not comfortable with clicking on a shortened URL the way Twitter users are. A shortened URL on Pinterest can make the user feel that it is spam, and it becomes more likely to be skipped.
The best news for you as a Real Estate agent is that over 25% of all traffic to Pinterest boards centers around design, home decor, and travel! This means there are a bevy of Pinterest users out there who are always on the lookout for new content in these areas. The chart below details some of the other popular areas of Pinterest. Use this information to decipher what is best to pin and repin, for your business.
As a general rule, it is always best to pin content that is inkeeping with what is trending. To get an idea of what is trending, check out Repinly. Whether your content is original or repinned, it needs to be in line with what the masses what. There is very little allowance for things outside of these parameters.
As far as how much to post, that is a tricky subject. For bigger and more established businesses, it is recommended that they post 15-20 pins per day, to see growth in their followings. For a more up-and-coming business, 15-20 per week is acceptable. However, be very sure that you are not clogging people's feeds by posting all your content in too short of a time span. Check out Pingraphy to schedule your pins. It is free with a trial, but eventually costs $12.00 per month. It may be a worthwhile investment if you find you are pinning a lot of content.
When you get into posting your listings on Pinterest, be sure you are posting professional quality photos. Many Real Estate photos get reshared on Pinterest even by people who have no interest in buying. They are simply enamored with the beauty of a particular property (The property below is a great example of the use of professional photography!). These are helpful conduits, however, because they are spreading your content to others who may be in the market. Professional photos are an absolute necessity, and pay for themselves in no time. Also, it is crucial that your images be watermarked. Some Real Estate agencies share their photos on Pinterest, but do not watermark them! This makes their hard work meaningless, because people can not contact them if they are interested.
Once your Pinterest is established, start spreading the word. You can easily add the "Pin It" button to your social media sites, as well as add a "Follow" widget. This will allow people to quickly connect with your Pinterest, even from another website.
What gets largely ignored by most businesses is that there are peak times in which you should post. During the day, optimal times are 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. EST, due to a high volume of visitor traffic. At night, the best time is 8:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. EST.
To track what people are repinning from you, you need to verify your account. Click here to verify, so you can get started with analytics. From there, simply type the following address into your URL (changing the "Your Website" portion to your website, of course): https://pinterest.com/source/YourWebsite.com.
A prime example of a Real Estate agent who is leveraging Pinterest perfectly is Jim Striegel. He has pins of homes for sale, staging tips, and DIY ideas, while also having family and recipe pins to humanize himself. His Pinterest is neatly presented, and easy to navigate. To see Jim Striegel's Pinterest, click here.
Another great example is Debe Maxwell. Debe's Pinterest is content rich, and user-friendly. She prominently displays the Real Estate-oriented content at the top of the page, and has pins below that humanize her, such as style and technology pins. her Pinterest is professional and fun. To see Debe's Pinterest, click here.
Now you are well on your way to being a Pinterest expert!