We typically think of social media as involving a third-party platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., owned and operated by someone else and offering specific tools to encourage conversation, sharing and engagement.
But it doesn’t always have to be that way, as we learned Wednesday (March 18, 2015) from Anna Aharony of Houzz.com, whose presentation at our Social Media Breakfast Madison event was titled, Building Social Media One Room at a Time.
Houzz.com is a website – not technically a social media platform – but it was built with social in mind and is home to a vibrant worldwide online community of 25 million monthly users. It is proof positive that a website can indeed be the hub of an active online community.
At Houzz, people have one focus: sharing home building, design and remodeling ideas, leading ultimately to buying and selling of products and services. Among the 25 million monthly users are 500,000 active professionals anxious to showcase themselves and ultimately make a sale.
“It’s very easy to find a professional on Houzz; and it’s very easy to be found on Houzz,” Anna said.
Anna walked us through the process:
Using the menu bar across the top, you as a homeowner launching a remodeling project can start by choosing an area to remodel – “bath” for example – then select a style such as “rustic.”
You now have 8,855 design photos to peruse. When you find the one that inspires you, you will see a link to the professional who created the space, and you can click through to their profile to learn about them and contact them.
Interested in working only with local professionals? You can start your search by location. For example, Houzz lists 290 home builders within a 50-mile radius of Madison, and you can peruse their profiles and photos.
Many of the rules that apply to successful general social media use also apply to social websites such as Houzz, and Anna highlighted a few of them:
USE GREAT VISUALS. Houzz has more than 5.9 million photos, all uploaded by industry professionals, and most of them are very high quality. Professionals know that quality images capture attention and lead to sales. “We are a very visual platform,” Anna said. “People look through photos for inspiration.”
BE OPEN, HONEST AND THOROUGH IN YOUR PROFILE. Like Facebook and Twitter, Houzz users – both homeowners and industry professionals – create profiles. Anna said it is very important for professionals to make a strong impression on the profile because potential customers will make decisions based on what they see there.
USE KEYWORDS. Keywords help people find you, which is particularly important to the professionals. Adding keywords to photos is also very important.
BE SOCIAL. Houzz is all about connecting industry professionals with clients, and communication is the key to making that connection. There are many opportunities for commenting and connecting on Houzz.com. Houzz even encourages professionals to ask their clients to write reviews on the site. “Reviews are the Number One decision-making criteria for customers,” Anna said. Houzz also provides social media badges to help professionals link to Houzz from their own websites. Houzz even has a tool with which professionals can create a website as part of the Houzz platform.
Of course, while Houzz itself is a very social website, it makes extensive use of traditional social media platforms. Houzz has more than 1 million “likes” on its Facebook page, where people love to comment on the showcase photos that are posted regularly.
If you would like to have Anna send you a summary, more information about Houzz or help you set up a free professional profile consultation, you can email her at email@example.com.
Written by Bill Hurley, (@billhurleymedia / billhurleymedia.com / beachmaniac.com) Editor, writer, social media strategist, website developer, digital publisher. BillHurleyMail@gmail.com, Bill@smbmad.org.