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Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the social channels that the majority of real estate professionals are using to promote their brand, but what about Pinterest? This photo-centric social network is growing rapidly and Katie Lance, CEO and owner of Katie Lance Consulting, highlights just how valuable it can be for real estate professionals during Homes.com’s webinar “Instagram and Pinterest in Real Estate, How to Leverage Photo-Driven Social Platforms for Your Business.

“One of my big predictions for 2014 is that photos will be even more important. There’s been a surge of photos and videos on all social media sites, but Instagram and Pinterest are both growing by leaps and bounds,” Katie says. “A big piece of your strategy has to be about visual content. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.”

According to a 2012 study by ROI, research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. In fact, 44 percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other type of media.

Seventy percent of all clicks on Pinterest happen in the first 48 hours of something being posted, which means that Pinterest users are actively engaging with the content they are exposed to. Lance explains that people are spending more time on Pinterest than on any other platform, which is why all real estate pros should post consistently and have a strong content strategy. “One of the number-one search terms on Pinterest is the word ‘home’” says Lance. “People are searching for their dream home and dreaming about beautiful bathrooms, kitchens, front doors and backyards, and this is a great way to do that.”

Real estate professionals can use Pinterest for more than just sharing content. Lance recommends creating a private Pinterest board to help your clients dream. More importantly, their “pins” will help you gauge what clients are looking for in a home and to uncover what potential clients are passionate about.

“This is the ultimate scrapbook. It gives you an opportunity to create content in an organized way,” Lance says. “Be authentic. Don’t be afraid to show what you are passionate about. If just starting, create some simple boards.” Share content that genuinely interests, but be sure that it’s not strictly related to real estate. This will show that you’re a fellow member of the community, not just a real estate professional, helping you gain potential followers that aren’t currently looking to buy or sell a home.

Katie provides an example of creating a page of all things blue or food recipes, if you’re wondering how this will help your real estate business, Lance says it’s more important to share beyond your business and show things you are passionate about to better connect with clients and prospects. You should also explore the boards of those you are connected with to find topics you can talk to them about.

“As an agent, you can get incredible intel by seeing what people are active with. This is a really great snapshot of what they are passionate about,” she says. “Maybe they are planning a wedding for their daughter and are creating a board for that. Think about not just what you will post but how to gain knowledge on your clients and engage them.” Create boards around local interests to shed a little light on what it’s like to live in a specific community, as this will help home buyers envision their life in that town or neighborhood. Katie also recommends that whenever blogging about any real estate topic, always include at least one “pinnable” image and link to your Pinterest page.

Most agents won’t need a separate board for their business, but Lance recommends it for brokers because they can take advantage of the detailed analytics that Pinterest provides. These analytics will provide brokers with insight into what’s popular and what people are looking for most in a home, allowing them to make more sound business decisions.

When trying to optimize your use of Pinterest, Katie says that there are a few things that everyone must do. The first being that you get creative with photos; always share pictures that will entice someone to click on your post to find out more. Next, you must always interact with other users by liking, sharing pins and pinning from original sources. The final thing to remember is that Pinterest is a great resource for recruiting new clients; if they are sharing a lot of content related to real estate, try searching their other social channels to see if they have mentioned anything about searching for a new home.

Lance believes that the best photos to pin are the ones you create, but there is one big Pinterest no-no that many people tend to forget, which is to never re-pin without giving proper credit. If there is something that you really want to share, always make sure that you get permission first and don’t try to pass it off as your own.

Here a few tools that Katie says can help make your content more attractive to other users:

Pinstamatic.com: create virtual post-it notes that can be posted to Pinterest without the need for editing tools, through the use of maps, notes and quotes.

Viraltag.com: great tool for brokers to help effectively marketing your visual content.

Tailwind.com (formerly Pinreach) will allow agents to see what others are doing on the site and offers great analytics, for you and your competitors.

Shareasimage.com is another tool to enhance your photos with quotes, images and other things to make them more visually stimulating.

Check out Katie’s full webinar to receive more advice on how to utilize Pinterest and Instagram. Don’t forget to tune into Homes.com’s next Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, which will feature New York Times bestselling author and social media expert, Gary Vaynerchuck, co-founder of VaynerMedia in “How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social Media World,” on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. ET. Register here for free today!