About Karen

Pinterest for Realtors

My Realtor-client Gerry Fiks, of Real Estate Services NC, and I attended the Tech Tools for Realtors conference at the Raleigh Realtors Association yesterday.  I was disappointed, to say the least, that Pinterest got almost NO attention.  The speakers focused on smart phone apps and Facebook.

I expect I’ll be working with Gerry more in Evernote and DropBox, both great ways to share information and files without sneaker net.  However, both of those applications require protection.  You can’t share with “everyone.”  I came home and pinned my notes.  Now, I can share what I learned about technology in real estate marketing with Gerry, as we decide what apps he will start using. He can add additional pins to services he learned about in the classes that were scheduled into the same time slot.

Pinboard showing Tech Tools for Realtors.

Tech Tools for Realtors. Geeky Girls lower left.

Both he and I will also be able to share the list of tools with other Realtors.  He can use the list to collaborate, so that both sides of a transaction are using the same tools.  I can use the list to educate my own clients, and show Realtors who come to me for ideas about using Pinterest in their Real Estate Marketing how to highlight their expertise.

If you know about more tools that belong on this board, let me know in the comments below, or @mention the account:  @Gerry Fiks (You have to be following the board for Pinterest to show you the name).

Pinterest for a Local Newspaper

When people ask what I do, I say “Pinterest marketing.” The other evening, I met someone who was adamant that Pinterest had no place in local news marketing; that readers went to the newspaper’s event listing via Google and that Pinterest was only useful a source of craft ideas.

I didn’t argue. I don’t push string.

The business of a local newspaper is to drive traffic to its advertisers. Newspapers use stories as reader-bait. Some local newspapers are famous for stuffing their articles with the names of townspeople; others use the slogan “relentlessly local.”

Readers visit the newspaper website for information about what’s going on in town this weekend. This particular newspaper website maintains a top-ranked listing in the Google SERP because of the backlinks accumulated over time and the huge number of stories they have run featuring on the keywords of city and town.

Local news by Michael Avory (avorym)) on 500px.com--how local newspapers can use Pinterest to drive traffic
Local news: Man keeps up with the local news on a Roman street wall by Michael Avory

Pinterest won’t contain the most timely information, but on the other hand, it’s GREAT for sharing information that has a long shelf life. Local feature stories, in particular, have enormous shelf life, much longer than stories in the state and national papers. Grandma will still be interested in the twin’s softball activities long after the dust has settled on the latest international security threat.

Pillar articles about local points of interest (in my town, this is the railroad museum) never outdate and instead, accumulate traffic and visitors over time.

Newspapers can EASILY use Pinterest to expand their internet reach, driving traffic directly to the newspaper home page and from there, to advertiser’s links.

The newspaper website may own the top SERP position for events listings. Who owns the top listing for RR Museum? What if people don’t know to search your town for that story? What if people who collected railroad images would visit your town if only they knew you had a RR museum?

I watched a coffee shop crumble many years ago, back when allowing indoor smoking was up to the business owner. Every time someone complained about the atmosphere, the owner would survey the patrons to learn that most of them wanted him to continue to allow smoking. By the time the state law changed to ban smoking in commercial spaces, it was too late. All the non smokers had gone to the new coffee shop on another corner. They didn’t come back.

It’s good that a local newspapers’ readers know to search in Google for the local events listing. However, that paper is missing out on traffic from people who are searching in Pinterest for stuff that the town offers, but isn’t provided in a way that these searchers can find.

Don’t assume the way you use Pinterest is the way everyone uses Pinterest.

Hydraulics on Pinterest

Example board for Hydraulics on Pinterest

This is an example of the types of content found on Pinterest for the keyword “Hydraulics.”  Created for a demo for a demo for Central Hydraulic, a supplier of hydraulic equipment and repair parts.

Pinterest Boards about Hydraulics

Heavy Equipment

Girls and tools

Hydraulics

Construction Equipment

Instruction

Fishing Vessels

Verde Classics (excellent CsTA in the description)

Diesel Generators Nepal This is a board on a business account, linked to a site about diesel generators in Nepal.  1100 follows at this writing.  Not bad for a pretty obscure topic.  (See user accounts at the bottom of this list.)

Pinterest Accounts with Heavy (pun intended) Hydraulic Content

Related Fluid Power

Liebherr Group

Power Equipment Direct

Platypus Marine

Ronstan (including Anderson Winches board)

Custom Dredge Works If this were my board, I’d dress up the presentation a little bit and adjust the board cover pins to show a more cohesive presentation across the account. However, “hydraulics” is a “slow field” in terms of graphic design sophistication. You only have to outrun your fellow hikers, not the bear…

R + L Carriers

This is a GREAT account for the heavy equipment trades!!!!! Their account description:  We’re a global freight transportation provider that loves what we do. We’re about shipping, small business and all things trucking. Join us!

Rock and Dirt

Another great account.  Excellent management of images on the board cover pins to make every board look attractive, and to give a cohesive look to the entire account.

Pinterest Users

Jithu Varghese:  His account links to a site selling Diesel Generators in India and Nepal.  The range of other images he’s pinning may be personal interest, and/or may be pin-bait to attract viewers to his account, where they would then see (and possibly be interested in) his diesel generators.  Just like you might see something on an end cap in the hardware store on your way to buy what you came in for…

 

Outrun the Bear

Two hikers on a trail came around the bend to find a great big mama bear with a cub up the trail. Mama Bear sees them and starts moving toward them. One hiker sits down, yanks off his boots, and puts on his running shoes.

European brown bear and cub by Peter Cairns (Northshots)) on 500px.com
European brown bear and cub by Peter Cairns

The other hiker says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun the bear!”

The first hiker says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear…”

If you’re in a trade with a lot of sophistication about graphic design and photography (weddings), yes, you have to outrun the bear and your Pinterest account will need to be stunning.

If you’re in a trade that hasn’t adopted high-end graphic design and formal product portraits (most heavy industry, agriculture, most services except dentistry and spa/appearance), home improvement, business advising), you simply need a bigger and marginally better footprint than everyone else.

WSJ Real Estate Section

Section D of the Friday Wall Street Journal has great real estate coverage, with lots of articles about how agents stage and sell VERY high end homes.

However, the WSJ is an expensive paper, and if you’re not reading it for business and stock market information, it can be a lot of money and content just to get the real estate news.

(The Friday paper also has a GREAT crossword puzzle, with lots of fun and tricky clues, and movie and TV reviews that align with my taste.)

Here’s how I manage what would otherwise be an overwhelming influx of paper and information: buy a 3 month subscription, which is about $100.00. Then, I put my subscription on vacation hold Saturday through Thursday every week. The new account management website makes this pretty easy to do.

If the paper on arrives on Fridays, a $100 subscription will last two years. I read about high-end real estate around the world over the weekend and don’t feel bad about not keeping up with the rest of the paper.

Vertical Pins: How Embarrassing

Everyone says, “make tall pins.”  I say it in class.  I show examples of tall pins when I teach.

I wrote a post about creating “before and after” pins that stack vertically because they are more visible than side-by-side images (which look better in a blog post).

I repinned rugs for exposure.

I got traffic.

I wasn’t happy with how my “Rag Rugs, Hand Made in America” board looked, but it was my work and it was colorful.

And one day, I realized that I could rotate most of my rugs 90 degrees and make tall pins.

OMG.  I am embarrassed.

Red Rag Rug pins, showing the difference between horizontal and vertical image alignment.

Red Rag Rug pins, showing the difference between horizontal and vertical image alignment.

The longer the rug, the worse it looked before the rotation, and the better it looked after. Seascape was so bad before I removed all of its horizontal pins across my account before I thought to write this post.

The round rugs will take a slightly different approach. I haven’t finished processing and uploading them.

Here’s another example of the difference between vertical pins and horizontal pins of the same images:

Gold rug pins, showing the difference between vertical and horizontal image alignment, and cropping a round rug to fill the space.

Gold rug pins, showing the difference between vertical and horizontal image alignment, and cropping a round rug to fill the space.

In this set, I have zoomed in on Red and Gold Spiral and cropped it to a rectangular shape so it fills more of the image space. Will probably do this will all of the spirals; not sure about the triskeles (triple spirals).

I will be deleting the horizontal pins over the next few days.  By the time you read this, the boards will all look different and only the screen shots will document my lesson learned.

What happens with an @ mention in a pin?

I wasn’t quite sure what happened when I @mentioned another pinner in a pin caption, so I tested it today. When I typed the “@” symbol, followed by my other account name, Pinterest started displaying a list of possible pinners. I selected the one I wanted, and Pinterest inserted the full User Name into the pin’s description.

Pin with @ mention

Pin with @ mention to my other account.


When I checked the email associated with the other account, I found this message:

@mention email content

What a recipient sees with an @mention from a pin.

Now you know, too. If you repin pins that have @mentions of other pinners, delete the @+name and spare them one more email.

How to Backup Pinterest Business Boards

If you have important business content on your Pinterest boards, create a backup file of your pins for your own reference and peace-of-mind. Making a backup copy of your business boards protects you from someone hacking into your business account and deleting content.

Another reason to print your boards is so you can cross-check board content against an inventory list. Verify that you have pinned everything you want people to know about.

The current best / easiest way to save your pins is to create a PDF of each board.

First, install a “Print to PDF” driver for your printer, if you don’t have one installed already. (Search on “free PDF converter” and follow the instructions.)

Display the board. Make sure all your pins have loaded and are visible in the browser window. (Scroll down to make sure you don’t see a “loading pins” message.) Schedule backups in the middle of the day, when fewer people are pinning and the Pinterest servers are not as busy as they are before and after work hours.

Next, Select Print from your browser window, and under Print options, select Print to PDF.

Print to PDF Option in printer window.

Print to PDF Option in printer window.

 

Select OK and wait. You will see a pop-up window asking for the name of this file. Name the file with the board name. Add the account name if you have more than one Pinterest account. Some people include the date in the file name and some people let the file metadata provide the date.

File name printer window

File name printer window

Because I am backing up two Pinterest accounts to the same directory, I add account name prefixes so I can sort the backup files easily. I could also save the files into different directories.

If you need to crosscheck against an inventory list, printing the board file can make it easier. Some PDF programs allow you to write in the PDF itself.

Humor Stash board backup

Humor Stash board backup, in PDF format

Repeat with your next board.

If your boards have commercial value to your business, you will want to repeat this process at some regular interval, perhaps monthly. Recreating a board from memory is way less fun than creating and loading it the first time around.

(Real world update: Pinterest is not sending ALL of my board content to the print file–only the first page and the last row of pins. I have a request in to several other services, but the output is incomplete on all of them. Pinterest says it is working on a print upgrade.)

How to Make Cover Pins for Your Pinterest Boards

Board “cover pins” are the pins you select to be the largest image on a board in your Pinterest account’s Board View. Setting board covers can help to identify the content of a board.

If you don’t set a board cover image deliberately, the first image you pinned will be displayed as the largest image under “Boards view.” Sometimes, this works, but more often,

Board title + the first image pinned = random = confusion

“Confusion” is not a good state for a Pinterest business account’s visitor. As the owner of a business account, you want to help a visitor understand what each of your boards is about.

Look at how the cover pins on the labelled boards below help explain what the board is about, compared to the boards that don’t have a branded label:

Cover pins from Small for Big

Cover pins from Small for Big

I help my clients create specific board cover pins, with text that provides more information than the board name can provide by itself.

You don’t have to create covers for all your boards. Title the boards that are most important for your business, as well as those on the top two rows of boards, which is your best Pinterest real estate.

Here are three ways to create cover pins for your Pinterest boards:

Use a Photoeditor to Make a Board Cover Pin

  • Use your favorite photo editing program or application.
  • Select your own photo for the background.
  • Add a frame.
  • Fill the inside of the frame with a contrasting color.
  • Add text that describes the contents of the board. Make the text large enough to be clearly visible when visitors view the image on the “board view” display.
  • If your account and/or website have a clear graphic style, make the colors and fonts match your business’ graphics. My art site is brightly colored and I can use different colors for each board and still “fit.” I am use the same font for all of the board labels; the same font I use on the website header and my price tags and other collateral.
Rug Board Cover Pin, created in Photoshop Elements

Rug Board Cover Pin, created in PS/E

  • If you don’t have a strong color sense of your own, select colors from the background image using the eyedropper for the frame and font. This will make a more cohesive board label than selecting random colors.  Both the purple and the green in the frame above were eye-droppered from the image in the background.
  • Save the completed image with text as a jpg.
  • Load it to the correct board using the Upload image feature. After you load this image as a pin, edit the pin to point the URL to a useful page on your website.
  • Set the board cover. Add a few more pins to push the cover image off the front row pins and hide it a bit lower in your collection.

Use PicMonkey online photoediting to create a cover pin if you don’t have Photoshop Elements.

Make a Board Cover Pin with Quozio

If you don’t have a useful image of your own, create a cover pin using Quozio. I don’t own the copyright to the images I pin on my teaching boards, so I can’t modify the images for my own purposes.

For example, I created a pin in Quozio (see Use Quozio to Create Text Pins for instructions) to explain that the pins on the Cancer Care board were examples of what you could pin if you were pinning for a health care practitioner in a specific condition-related field.

Cover Pin for Cancer Care board, created in Quozio

Cover Pin for Cancer Care board, created in Quozio

I allowed the title pin to point back to Quozio. When I write the blog post explaining how readers could create similar boards of their own, I will edit the cover pin to point to that blog post.

The board description also points out that this is an example of possible Pinterest Marketing information for a health care provider, NOT a board about any type of medical care.

I scrolled through the images available at Quozio to find one that was appropriate for a board about cancer.  Not all of the images worked as well as this one.  Quozio doesn’t offer any good “sky” or “cloud” pins. I can’t use Quozio to make a title pin for a flight school.

Select a Pin That Contains Text

Select a pin from the board that clearly explains what the board is about. I did this on the board I use for Accountants and CPAs. I found a pin of a book that teaches accounting. The book cover clearly explains the content of the board. I simply selected this with “set board cover.”

Accounting Board Cover Pin

Accounting Board Cover Pin

When you look at the RedTux Board view, it’s easy to tell what’s on this board.

Labelled vs. unlabelled boards

Mix of labelled and unlabelled boards on the Red Tuxedo Pinterest account.

First Row, Left

From the upper left, you can see that the first two boards are clearly identified. Residential Real Estate needs a better cover, with less overlap at the margins. It’s not at all clear what the three boards on the right are about (pins from the businesses of people who have taken my class) and they all need attention.

Second Row, Left

First board is clear enough; second and third need help. Four on the left are either labelled or clear. The text for the Flying board seemed big enough when I made the pin but it’s harder to read than its neighbors. May increase the size next time.

Third Row, Left

The image for Golf is reasonably clear. “Transferring” is a board I use to move pins between accounts, and is labelled as such. The other boards all need cover pins but may be left as is for teaching purposes.

Repin for (Re)Exposure

After you’ve been in Pinterest for a while, you start to notice pins that have “been around.” For me, the first pin I noticed again and again in the pinflow was glass candlesticks made to look like sea glass with Elmer’s glue. (Epic Fail, BTW—bugs got in the glue).

Seaglass Candlestick Pin

Seaglass Candlestick Pin

A silver beaded dress does the rounds of the Art Deco boards, too.

Last weekend, I noticed a book cover pin come through my pin flow one too many times. I had already read the caption. The book didn’t appeal. I didn’t think that my pin-friends would be reading it, either. But the book kept showing up in the pin flow.

I investigated.

It turns out that the author was repinning the book. There’s only one pin of the book on the relevant board. The author deletes the old pin when the book is repined.

Repinning your own pins to keep them visible in the pin flow struck me as a useful Pinterest marketing practice.

Benefits of Repinning Older Pins

I noticed the book because I saw it so many times. The price banner in the upper left tells me the book is for sale (Kindle store).

How to Repin Your Own Pins More Effectively

In this case, the book description never changes. The image never changes. (That is, I haven’t noticed any other images linking to the same book. It might be that the author is pinning more than one image from the book and I simply haven’t noticed the others.) On one hand, this helps me notice the book; OTOH, once I recognize the pin I have already looked at, I am less likely to investigate a second time.

Recommendations for Repinning Old Pins

Refresh your business product boards by repinning your items. Regular repinning displays your pins to newer followers, in both the “following” flow and in the “categories” listings.

In Karen Tiede Art Rugs, I loaded all my rugs to the Rug board early in my membership, before I had any followers. Nobody noticed a glut of colorful rugs in the pin flow. New followers don’t see the pins on the established boards unless they happen to look at any of my boards in detail.

If you have a limited amount of inventory, don’t overload your boards with more than one pin of the same product (unless the images are different). When you repin an existing item, delete the old pin with the identical image from the bottom of the board.

If you pin more than one, different, image of the same product, point the pins at different website pages. Point one pin to the sales page for the item, one to the newsletter sign up page, one to your home page, and so forth.

If you’re really good at split testing and record keeping, you can keep track of which pins generate the best traffic. I am not and I can’t tell you how to do this. If I figure it out, I’ll write a new article.

Until Pinterest allows us to rearrange pins on boards, repinning is also the only way to adjust which products are next to each other on your boards.