Thanks to a huge jump in traffic, Pinterest has vaulted to the social network du jour. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a visual sharing site. Users “pin” images they find on the web – or on Pinterest – to themed virtual bulletin boards. The images are linked to the originating site in case users want more info (you can see right away the benefits to getting pinned…). As with all social networks, users can share content on other social networks and follow/be followed.
Early adopters were primarily female creating boards about fashion, home design and so on. The topics have broadened somewhat but more importantly, Pinterest has turned into a powerhouse of referral traffic for retailers.
What’s really interesting about Pinterest, though, is the visual aspect. It’s not the first visual sharing site. Tumblr and Delicious are similar, for example. And visual emphasis has been making its way into operating systems and apps like Flipboard that puts content in a magazine format. But Pinterest really got it right with its simple layout – big images and few words – solidifying what everyone has always known – a picture is worth a thousand words.
Emphasis on the visual is actually ideal for something like real estate. What better way to represent a space than with lots of photos or videos? Unfortunately, the current crop of visual sharing sites aren’t hot beds for CRE activity or don’t have the gravitas to suit the profession. But you could say the same about Facebook. No one is deliberately going there to find commercial space but there’s something to be said for having a presence in the midst of millions of users.
But if you’re interested, consider creating a board with your newest listings, one for recent transactions, another with interesting market data or news. You can link to your boards from your website or blog. And here’s a great post on how to work with Pinterest – 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest.
If you don’t want to get on board, so to speak, there are still some things you can learn from Pinterest’s popularity. First is to keep things visual. Sometimes only words will do to describe something, but CRE sites tend to be full of the blah, blah, business-speak that’s meant to intimidate and no one reads. Try explaining landlord representation in a 15-30 second video (you lose most of your audience after 30 seconds – and no one wants to hear you drone on anyway…). Use a flow chart to show how property management works. Try an infographic for market data. The best thing about visual elements? They can be shared. You can ‘t really Tweet your 4 dense paragraphs on Advisory Services.
Second takeway is the page layout – the “sticky board” design with constantly changing notes. There are several blog templates that use tiling for posts, displaying a large photo with a blurb or caption. Blog posts don’t have to be long missives and you can use page re-direct features to send your visitors to the page you want them to go – a property website, sourced news article or market report. No blog? Use standard HTML to duplicate the format.