Are you on Houzz?
If you’ve ever felt like a wallflower on Facebook, maybe you’re just on the wrong social network. Maybe you should go where 14 million homeowners (and people who want to buy homes) hang out: Houzz.
“Houzzers” can connect with prospective vendors, create profiles and save their favorite images and projects into ideabooks of their own.
Started four years ago by Alon Cohen and Adi Tatarko, Houzz has quickly become the go-to resource for anyone who is dreaming of remodeling — or buying their dream home.
The site makes money via advertising and a Pro+ platform that enables professionals to geotarget “Houzzers” in specific areas on a pay per city basis.
For consumers, and professionals who choose not to advertise, Houzz is free.
Show Off — In a Good Way
Houzz offers a huge opportunity for real estate professionals to show off their work — and make connections with design-savvy (or at the very least, aspirational) consumers.
Now that Houzz has opened up its professional service categories to real estate agents, there are many ways you can use it to build your business.
But the most important thing you can do is to start now.
That’s because there are so few real estate professionals on Houzz, so you’re more likely to grab eyeballs the sooner you hop on the platform.
For example, there are thousands of agents in the San Francisco area — yet only 26 seem to have profiles on Houzz. What’s more, less than half have fully populated profiles, an opportunity for you to uniquely position yourself.
So you might ask yourself, what the heck do I do on Houzz?
Create an Affinity
Simply put, your mission on Houzz is to create an affinity between current and prospective homeowners by creating an attractive profile unique to your business. You populate your profile with your own ideabooks and reviews from your customers and your interactions with the Houzz community (some four million strong).
Start with a short and compelling description of you and your business. Link it to your web site and other social profiles, like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to get a Houzz badge so you can direct your website visitors to Houzz (just as you have chicklets for Facebook and Twitter at the top of your site).
Create ideabooks about different spaces (small areas, outdoor kitchens, stairwells, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) that help people understand the type of homes you sell, and the projects you handle. You can easily embed these ideabooks into your site, using Houzz’s widgets.
Let’s say you specialize in mid-century homes. Create an ideabook that contains stunning pictures of all of your midcentury listings (past and present).
The objective? Show people who love midcentury homes that you’re the expert, so that if they need an agent, you’re the agent they call. All of a sudden, you’re building a visual personality for your business that Houzzers can browse and appreciate.
You can also show projects. If you’re like the Marties, you might specialize in flipping homes. Why not create a project that shows your work? And when it’s backed up by a nice review, it’s very compelling.
You should also participate in discussions on Houzz so you can add value to fellow Houzzers. Your expertise in remodeling will come in handy, as well as your ability to refer contractors and explain the ROI of remodeling projects. Follow other professionals you’re interested in; chances are, they’ll follow you back.
Every discussion you participate in will appear on your profile, enhancing your involvement in the Houzz community. You can even run polls on Houzz to promote engagement.
Build your network within Houzz by reviewing other professionals you’ve worked with, like general contractors, architects and interior designers. Since your reviews show up in their profiles, it’s another way to draw Houzzers to your profile.
It’s also possible to use Houzz to help your clients when they’re in the middle of a transaction. If your client is interested in a house that needs some TLC, you can use Houzz’ massive library of projects to illuminate a similar remodeling project to a contractor. For your clients, Houzz can be a sanity check.
Houzz publishes 10-20 original pieces of home-centered, professionally produced editorial content a day. It’s a great source of content for Facebook and Twitter posts.
There’s another side benefit to Houzz — Google indexes Houzz profiles, so it’s yet another opportunity increase your search results.
All in all, Houzz represents one of the easiest ways to build a strong touch point with design-savvy consumers. What are you waiting for?