A lot of businesses use Pinterest alongside other, more popular platforms to maintain social media presence. It does serve to bring more traffic to their sites, increase subscription rates, and improve sales. So why don’t real estate investors do the same?
Well, this has to do with the main reason pinners (yes, that’s what the Pinterest audience is called) use the platform in the first place: they go there to find inspiration. The topics on Pinterest revolve around beauty products, fashion, cooking, DIY projects, holidays, design, travel, art, architecture, and home décor. It is a great opportunity for e-commerce, especially for those creators that try to sell their crafts. Consequently, a lot of real estate professionals assume that Pinterest is simply not a place for someone who buys and sells “real” houses.
The assumption is pretty much true: you aren’t going to sell a house on Pinterest, we all know that. However, you can definitely make a lot of connections that will be useful for your business. Join us as we examine the ways any real estate investor can use Pinterest to find opportunities.
There are more than 100, 000 Pinterest users in the US (slides 174 through 178), and many of them are interested in topics related to real estate. It’s a place where people go to check out ideas on interior design, home renovation tips, home buying/selling tips so you can capitalize on a “conversation” that’s already going on. As you delve deeper into what Pinterest is all about, you’ll find out that even topics that are not directly related to real estate (for example, makrame decorations for walls or color palettes for living rooms) can get pinners to check out your other, business-related content.
Two pieces of statistics on Pinterest demographic are very important for real estate investors: more than 77% of its US users are female and almost half of its US users have a household income of over $100,000. What does this mean for REIs out there? Well, let’s start from the obvious – in an upper-middle class audience there aren’t a lot of motivated sellers. So, Pinterest can be of more help in selling a house (for house flippers and wholesalers) than it is for finding new buying leads.
Although in the past Pinterest users were predominantly female, there are signs that the gender distribution of pinners is changing, with men signing up more than before. Also, keep in mind the global users as well – don’t be surprised if a woman from an obscure European country shares your board on front lawn landscaping even though you can’t cash in directly on this user’s engagement.
Before we continue talking about boards, pinners, and engagement, let’s check out the essential Pinterest terms so that you can keep up with the upcoming tips.
Pin – a post on Pinterest. Same like a post on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter.
Pinner – an active Pinterest user, i.e the one who published a pin.
RePin – when users pin already shared content by another pinner on their board. Similar to share on Facebook or retweet on Twitter.
Board – a way for users to organize their pins. Each pinner can have many boards on their profile. For example, they may have a board with pins on interior design, a board with pins on wall decorations, and a board with pins on Florida houses on sale.
Group Boards – a board shared by a number of pinners. It’s how Pinterest users collaborate with one another. Similar to Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
Rich Pin – a pin with a wealth of information attached to it. For example, metadata or a recipe.
Promoted Pin – a paid pin that’s shown to other pinners. The equivalent of a Facebook Ad.
Pincodes – a QR code linked to the Pinterest account
If you haven’t been exposed to this social network before, note that Pinterest is mostly a visual platform. Your pins are shown alongside hundreds of other pins, so the use of color schemes, images, videos, logos, and other visual elements serve to make your content stand out. It’s a graphic designer’s paradise, although re-purposing Instagram videos for Pinterest is also one of the latest trends.
Fortunately, in real estate, you can convey your message through images of properties and short text. Use this to your advantage, but make sure your pins are adjusted to the format that is suitable on Pinterest (like vertical pins). The content is supported by typical social media features like adding hashtags to improve reach or using carousel pins to increase engagement. You can use infographics and you can publish listings (more on this below). There are in-house guidelines that can help you publish successful pins.
Aside from that, Pinterest is a search engine, i.e. a lot of traffic is based on search by keywords, and the text used to describe the visual pins will benefit your overall SEO efforts. So, the presence of your REI business on Pinterest can complement a wider multichannel marketing campaign.
But how does this work in practice?
Let’s start with the goals a real estate entrepreneur might wish to achieve via Pinterest:
These are all legitimate objectives for an REI marketing campaign, however, as you’ll soon discover, not all of them can be achieved through Pinterest.
Some of us are used to regarding social media platforms as if they all come under the same umbrella. However, each network has its rules, and Pinterest is no exception. So don’t copy techniques that are successful on other types of social media and expect them to yield the same results.
For example, it’s logical for new pinners to try to invite more people to their open houses through pins. Or to try and get more people to call on fresh listings published on a pin. Unfortunately, Pinterest doesn’t work like that.
Pins have a long tail (meaning Pinterest posts need some time to get picked up), so if your open house event is next week, don’t waste a pin on promoting it. For some pins, the growth of popularity period is measured in years. So, before you start developing your Pinterest content strategy, drop everything you know about popular social networks that exploit the underlying fear of missing out to drive traffic. The “blink and you’ll miss it” (and even if you did see it, you’ll soon forget it) attitude doesn’t hold a place on Pinterest.
Pinners use the network to get some “real” inspiration, so you’ll have to offer evergreen content if you want your pins to gain traction. The project might be in preparation for years, that’s precisely why users pin the post – to have it for future reference. We are talking about pins that need to remain relevant years after they’ve been posted.
Your content strategy has to reflect this to perform well with pinners.
Every pinner, be they a real estate investor or not, can adjust to the unwritten rules of Pinterest. If you keep your message consistent you can do it, too. One general advice would be to publish pins about your real estate market, and not about a specific house you are flipping. Or you can pin post about kitchens, but not about “the” kitchen in “this” house.
Obviously, your Pinterest content strategy includes a number of other elements such as the types of posts, branding, and the best time to publish pins. Let’s check these out.
The golden rule on social media content for REIs – not to push only promotional content – applies to Pinterest as well. And if you don’t have enough content ideas, you can always find inspiration here.
Pinterest is a go-to source for home makeovers, design, and DIY projects. If you want your pins to be of value you can offer advice on renovation, moving, and decorating. You can visually document DIY projects, you can share ideas on activities, or you can suggest places to visit in your real estate market. And if you want to push your professional interests, you can use infographics on housing trends or share info on financing the purchase of a house (loan terms, etc).
Some real estate agents draw traffic through their personal interests like a hobby, craft, or design. Again, this doesn’t mean that you’ll sell a house through your Pinterest board, but pinners are used to browsing the network when they make other purchasing decisions, so this may rub off on the hunt for their dream home, too.
Almost all of the traffic on Pinterest is visual. Each pinner is bombarded with many pins and they all compete for the pinner’s attention. Apart from the effort to make your pins stand out visually (which is a job for a graphic designer), it’s also prudent to add some kind of watermark or a logo to your pins. This will serve to indicate to pinners what the original source of the pin they loved is. Hopefully, they’ll come back for more or at least check out your other boards.
The output of prominent real estate pinners is between 3-5 pins a day. That is between 1095 and 1825 pins in a year, and if it sounds like a lot to you, blame it on your colleagues who’ve set these high standards. Of course, you don’t have to follow them if you can’t produce (or repurpose) content at that same rate. Pinterest audiences are more active in the late hours of the day, so most pinners schedule publishing new pins for the evenings.
Being active on other pinners’ boards is a must. It’s practically the same philosophy that’s behind participating in Facebook or LinkedIn groups. Collaborating with other pinners (including real estate colleagues or any other boards related to your real estate market) is mutually beneficial – it serves to increase both yours and your collaborator’s exposure.
I am yet to hear about a real estate investor who uses paid promotion to push their pins on Pinterest. However, you should be aware that this option exists (all sorts of Promoted Pins) and they are used on a daily basis in small business e-commerce.
Most of the lessons on digital marketing apply to your Pinterest content as well. Even if you don’t use Pinterest ads to target pinners who browse content that is similar to yours, you can monitor engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly. We are not talking simply about the number of repins you get, but also about the opportunity to try new things, like a new style of photos or infographics, and see how they perform. Make the most of it, because while you can’t do A/B testing in a direct mail campaign, on Pinterest, you can see what works at no additional cost.
If you do make an effort to develop a decent Pinterest presence, don’t miss the opportunity to promote it everywhere you can – meaning your website, other social networks, your email newsletter, the email signature, even on clothes like t-shirts.
Real estate entrepreneurs are gradually showing more and more interest in Pinterest. If nothing else, you can at least check out what your competitors (or realtors) are doing and see if that is something that would work for you too. There are a number of success stories out there, and you can certainly take a page of their book if Pinterest is the next platform you wish to add to your REI marketing plan.
Keep in mind that Pinterest is a great testing ground for the visual elements of your marketing campaigns because you have access to an audience that is exposed to many other options and their repins will indicate what works and what doesn’t. It’s free and it enables you to connect with people who are passionate about homes (yes, homes, not houses). So why miss out on such an opportunity?
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