Interior designers are a visual bunch. At least they deal with stuff that is inherently visual, with the end product being an eminently visual thing.
Clients, too, are fundamentally concerned about the aesthetics of what they are buying.
So, anyway, it seems strange to me that many of us in the industry have a rather limited portfolio of images of ‘the stuff we do’. Maybe you have parts of your portfolio on your web site or Houzz or somewhere else.
Yet there is probably more we can do with imagery to generate some ‘buzz’ around our services (or products in our case).
Let me talk a LITTLE about pinterest for those of you who don’t already know. Basically pinterest is a way to ‘copy’ images from most websites and put them onto boards that YOU create for yourself within the pinterest website. You can keep those boards secret OR you can share with the wider world AND you can let other people add to your boards if you want to. You can put your own images there too.
Here are some examples of what we use pinterest for.
- http://www.pinterest.com/kothea/luxury-cashmere-throws/ – This shows some standard product photos of ours. If you click on an image it shows you a slightly larger image and gives you the opportunity to add comments or questions. Nothing too amazing there (other than the product of course 😉 ).
- http://www.pinterest.com/kothea/best-business-blog-4-interior-designers/ – This is a bit different. Here we have used some visually compelling images to draw your attention to the text below which describes some content on our blog which you might be interested in (or not).
- http://www.pinterest.com/kothea/purple-interior-design/ – Here we have some visual resources that we have gathered from elsewhere on the internet. We have themed images by colour. This might be of interest to an interior designer putting together a mood board. You could do a similar thing with other colours/textures/shapes/designs or whatever. I guess the marketing idea here is that we would provide this sort of resource so you keep coming back to it and that might help raise the awareness of our brand in our target market. I suspect the reality is that the resource (the colours) would need to be updated much more often than we have the time to so do.
- http://www.pinterest.com/carladeoliveira/wow-furnitureinteriorsarchitecture/ – So here is an alternative. Rather than colours we have “WOW architecture or Interiors” you can put your images here. You might do that to generate more interest in what you do; we let you do it because it saves us time whilst providing a useful and changing resource in a part of the internet that we (kind of) control and have our brand linked to.
So that’s how we have used it. As an interior designer, however, you might use it for these purposes:
- Use a secret board to keep track of your competition. IF your local competitors or industry competitors produce lots of images then pinterest is a great place for you to keep tracks of them.
- For market research: If you are researching a specific product you could gather images from diferent potential suppliers. You can also pin any old image that link to content elsewhere -for example pinning an image from this post will add a link back to this post if you find this content useful.
- Understand your customers. Probably better for those of you who target commercial customers.
- Client collaboration. You could create a secret board which you give your client access to – you can both post or comment on images that may or may not provide useful info to your project.
- As an alternative to Houzz to organize your visual content – you have more control of how to categorise your content whereas Houzz tends to want you to use their classifications. A downside of this compared to Houzz would be that you would get more people who are not interested in your services (yes EVEN more than on Houzz!).
So those are some ideas of what you might use pinterest for. Now here are some of the technical ways of making this happen. To make them work properly you will need to convert your pinterest account to a free business account. Then use the tools that you can access through the pinterest menu at the top left hand corner of the screen.
1) Pin It Button
You will see at the end of each of the posts on this blog there is a pinterest icon. You click it to save to your pinterest board
2) Follow Button
3) Widgets: Pins, Profiles & Boards
You can then use the pinterest website to get ‘widgets’ (bits of html code) that you can put on your site so that a nice image is displayed and that images links to either: a specific pin; a specific board; or to your profile. If. for example, any of those change (eg you add a new image to a board) then the image that you put on your wessite will be automatically updated. So it could, for example, display your 30 latest project images.
I’m very nervous about using third part site like Houzz or Pinterest to store content. Their whole raison d’etre is to get traffic on THEIR site not yours. So by incorporating their functionality on your web site your risk a potential client clicking away from your site and going onto pinterest. So be nervous about that.
On the other hand it would be a great way to share images with clients or for research or personal storage type applications for your business ie ones that are not involved in (pre-) sales & marketing.