A Pinboard for Dreams

Homes.com’s contest on Pinterest elicited more real estate page views and an outpouring of dreams about owning a home.The experience of Homes.com on the new social media site Pinterest underscores the value of visual communications to showcase your product and kindle dreams in the minds of your customers.

A white paper issued by Homes.com says Pinterest sparked a huge increase in page views and a spike in sales. The real estate listing firm attributes the growth to users "who buy things they see on the site."

Gillian Luce, marketing manager at Homes.com who authored the white paper, tells Ragan.com that venues for visual communication can work wonders for the right kinds of products. Brands that do best, she concluded, appeal to women and have design values — from boutiques to restaurants to magazines.

But visualization isn't an end in itself. It is a hook for engagement.

Homes.com staged an online contest, asking viewers to pin their dream houses on its Pinterest site. "We would look at those pins and pose questions to develop the conversation." If someone mentioned a deck, Homes.com asked about what kinds of parties they would hold.

The key is not just to show off your own wares, but to link what you sell to what your users imagine. Some shared pictures of pets; others posted their favorite desserts — not direct connection to real estate, but enormous clues to the dreams of homeowners.

“The secret to success on Pinterest isn't about showing off your products or services directly," Luce explains. "It's about finding creative ways to showcase how those products and services fit into the lifestyle of your target audience.

"It's really highlighting a way their products can be used to create memories."