Just when you thought you had tackled Facebook’s new timeline and Twitter’s new interface, along comes a new social media platform to pin down: Pinterest. The fastest-growing website of all time, Pinterest operates as a giant scrolling pinboard of categorized pictures where you can “pin” images you upload, find on other Pinterest boards, or appear on websites with “Pin It” buttons. Visitors to the site can “like” and comment on pictures as well.
Pinterest has made headlines as a result of its incredible explosion, reaching 10 million unique visitors faster than any of its predecessors. It also has a popular mobile app and integrates with other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, which amplifies Pinterest’s reach.
The site is primarily driven by users re-pinning images from other places. Pictures retain their original source, leading many businesses to explore marketing opportunities. Given the use of pictures to market real estate, especially in the new-home sector, this site might seem like a perfect fit, but home builders should be mindful of their larger marketing strategy before jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon.
Although the site continues to grow, its business and referral value remains uncertain. Many users treat it as an “aspirational” site by pinning pictures of items they want, even if the items are financially out of reach. Additionally, a recent report found that almost 98 percent of Pinterest fans are women, indicating a limited marketing demographic. Although many pictures on Pinterest are images of houses, it’s difficult to determine if any Pinterest referrals actually create business leads for real estate companies, like home builders.
So what should home builders do with Pinterest?
Rather than try to keep up with each new social media platform, builders should focus on creating quality content that can easily be repurposed and leveraged through a variety of channels. You should create engaging visual content that can be incorporated into your website, blog, email newsletters, and printed materials. That same content often can be distributed through social media platforms — such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest — to expand your awareness and reach. These social media platforms do not need to become unwieldy and overwhelming if you focus on quality content. Let that content drive your activity and share it as much as possible.
Although social media sites, like Pinterest, are popular and have business development potential, your limited resources should be prioritized. If you are already active on other social media sites, consider adding some of the same visual content to Pinterest as well, but remember that the content is what’s important.
However, if you’re considering your first foray into social media, there are more valuable platforms than Pinterest, such as Facebook. To fully utilize the power of popular social media platforms, home builders must focus on continuing to create engaging and creative content.
Andrew Ryan and Mark Hickman are partners with Commonwealth Partnerships, a Virginia-based marketing and business development firm that specializes in assisting companies working within the real estate industry, including home builders. They also are co-authors of the Virginia Real Estate Blog (virginiareblog.com). Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.