Stefanie Hahn is the vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
How Is Pinterest Panning Out?
A look at Pinterest, the current stats, and how agents and brands are using this new social networking site as a marketing tool.
August 1, 2012
So before we begin, know that this article will not tell you to run out and sign up for a Pinterest account or risk being on the losing end of this picturesque marketing tool. This article will give you an unbiased look at Pinterest, how the current statistics are panning out, and how agents and brands are using this tool in their real estate business.
As with any social media tool that you are using to showcase your business, I believe the key is to provide valuable, sharable content and interact with others to form relationships that will put you in the best position to generate leads.
If you are just joining the party, Pinterest is an online social pin board where you can save photos, videos, posts—anything with a URL and an image file. Users create image boards and then “pin” pictures from their own site or any site on the Internet to those boards. The end result is a lovely photo journal that will give you all sorts of insight into the pinners psyche while also creating links back to the original Web site of the image content.
Like it or not, Pinterest is popular because we like to look at photos. Critics will tell you that Pinterest is a flash in the pan— here today, gone tomorrow. In my humble opinion, any marketing you do on a consistent basis that provides links to your Web site to increase traffic, interactions, and relationships with other people is a good thing.
A few stats to start:
• Pinterest is the third largest social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter.
• Users spend more time on Pinterest than their other social sites.
• 68 percent of users are women (source: Modea).
You can pin within Pinterest by clicking Add+ and then “Add a Pin” or “Upload a Pin.” (The “Create a Board” option is available here, too.) You can add by providing a URL or by uploading an image. Select the board where you want your pin to appear and click “Pin It” to publish. Users can then repin your pin to their boards or click the heart icon to “like” your pin. You want more repins and likes, as it will give your pin more exposure. Additionally, you can pin outside of the Pinterest site by grabbing the “Pin It” button code for your browser. Once you install the browser button, you’ll will be able to pin on the fly as you as you move around the Internet.
Creating boards can be accomplished by clicking on Add+ and then “Create a Board.” A new window will pop up asking you to name your board, pick a category, and select pinners – then, click on “Create Board.” There is no “real estate” category, so be imaginative with your board names and categorize them appropriately. I personally love that there is no real estate category for you catalogue all of your real estate photos. I’m hoping this will force you to be ingenious and think of new ways to use Pinterest for social networking and marketing.
The Importance of Links
When pinning, make sure you always include a link back to your Web site or other Web sites when appropriate. Without a link, your real estate pin loses much of its potential. If you are pinning from your Web site, this should happen automatically; otherwise, include a link in your text description. Where should the link go? Ideally, to your real estate Web site, but possibly to your YouTube channel or blog. You can write your own board names, so make sure to use one that fits what you are trying to accomplish.
Interestingly enough, in June 2012, Pinterest produced more Web site referral traffic than Google, Twitter, Bing, and StumbleUpon. You want referral traffic. You want any traffic that drives real people to your site.
How Brands and Agents are Using Pinterest
Brands like Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC and Better Homes and Gardens are using Pinterest to connect with consumers by sharing boards ranging from “Dream Man Caves” and “Cool Closets” to “Homebuyer Tips” and “Going Green.”
Savvy pinning agents are using Pinterest, too, to connect with their consumers. One of the first agents I saw really using Pinterest and incorporating real estate was Christophe Choo of Christophe Choo Real Estate Group in Los Angeles. Choo is a prolific pinner, attracting more than 900 followers with 77 boards and almost 1,300 pins. He shows off luxury real estate and Beverly Hills on his boards, with some cute dog photos thrown in for good measure.
Another one of my favorite agent pinners is Shantee Haynes of Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, D.C. She has more than 600 followers with 18 boards with 231 pins covering everything from food and coffee to neighborhoods and interiors all over her market.
For incoming buyers, what these agents are pinning is ideal for research. For sellers, I think Pinterest marketing distinguishes them from the pack.
Is Pinning the Answer?
The big hairy question is, “Does pinning equal more leads”? Ask yourself this: Does more traffic to your Web site equal more leads? It should. Does having more leads equal more income at the end of the day? It should.
So I should get on Pinterest right now??? Maybe.
You have to be realistic about your dedication and time commitment. Does Pinterest fit into your marketing strategy? Do you have the time to manage it and work the interactions? Does it look like a type of marketing that you could totally get into and really rock? It’s your call.
In my humble opinion, any marketing that you do on a consistent basis that provides links to your Web site to increase traffic, interactions, and relationships with potential clients is a good thing.