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Feb. 18, 2013

How Property Managers Can Utilize Pinterest

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor

New York—As a property manager, are you getting the most out of Pinterest? This popular social media site is a great way to promote an apartment community. Pinterest is a way for people to group or organize pictures, called pins, on different ‘pinboards.’ In a recent webinar put on by AppFolio and Grace Hill called “Pinterest for Property Managers,” Charity Zierten, a consultant for Socially Engaged Marketing LLC, provided tips and tricks to integrate Pinterest into a winning social media strategy.

The key aspects for a successful professional Pinterest account include being professional, being relevant, and focusing on great products, fun communities and inspiring ideas.

According to Zierten, it’s important to integrate Pinterest with a property website, including adding a “Pin It” button so that people can pin directly from the site. She also suggested that property employees, such as leasing agents and people on the maintenance team, take pictures of the property using their smartphones, and pinning those pictures directly to community boards.

And, while Zierten definitely recommends pinning original images to Pinterest boards, she also suggested repinning applicable images from other people’s boards. “It’s the polite thing to do, especially if they’re residents,” Zierten said.

Additionally, Zierten suggested incorporating Pinterest accounts with Facebook accounts. “This is how you’re going to generate leads,” she said. One way to generate leads through Facebook is to announce Pinterest contests on Facebook feeds.

Beyond being a way to increase a social media profile of a community, Zierten said that Pinterest is useful because it could increase a property’s presence online. “Google loves Pinterest!” Zierten said.

It is crucial to optimize pins for online search and to get the most repins.

One method is to have a call to action in the pin’s description, such as “lease today” or “visit our website.” According to Zierten, a call to action can increase engagement by 80 percent. The descriptions should also be around 200 characters. “That length gets more repins than anything else,” Zierten said.

Other ways to optimize engagement include entertaining your followers; using text within the actual image (there are outside websites that allow people to “write” on pictures), which could help brand the images; and using tall images so that it takes up more space on the pinboard.

The pin descriptions should also include a link, keywords and hashtags to make them searchable. For the hashtags, try to come up with something unqiue about the community. “What would inspire someone to share that hashtag?” Zierten asked.

Zierten said the best times to pin are between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST. “This is when everyone is bored at work,” she said.

So, what should actually be pinned on a property management pinboard?

Zierten had several suggestions. Pinterest could be a way to introduce your management team to the residents, with pictures of all the staff members. Property management boards could also feature pictures of on-site events (though Zierten cautions that the residents should sign release forms first allowing you to use their pictures).

Other ways property managers can use Pinterest include: neighborhood and city information, such as local restaurants and attractions; sweepstakes and promotions around the community; beauty and fashion tips; shopping and savings ideas; dining and dinner recipes; video testimonials and property tours; packing and moving tips; tips to go green in the community; and, if it’s a pet-friendly community, pictures of different pets.

Of course, the most important thing to remember when creating a Pinterest board for your community is to remember whom you’re trying to reach.

“Get your residents involved, and make it about your residents,” Zierten said.

Check out MHN on Pinterest!

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