Sometimes when you jump on the latest social media craze you land with a thud (remember Friendster?). Other times, it can be a boon to business. The latter was the case for Charlie Allen Restorations, in Cambridge, Mass., when it posted more than 30 project photos on the design idea site

“We began posting images and quickly saw many of them added to user ‘ideabooks’ — personal pages where Houzz members save favorite images from the site,” Julie Palmer, CAR’s director of operations, explains.

“We began getting questions from users asking for product details and renovation tips. It became obvious that providing a detailed project description with terms that reference the architectural style of the home and its design features improves chances that an image will come up during member searches. We’ve also begun attracting followers who see all of our updates.”

It’s free to post on Houzz once you register. CAR’s PR consultant, Chris Kelly, posts three or four images a week. “This has kept our followers engaged and will hopefully attract new users,” Palmer says, adding that when a user adds one of CAR’s photos to an ideabook, it shows up on CAR’s home page newsfeed with a link to the user’s — a potential new client — page.

Getting Noticed

The photos that CAR posts run the gamut from bedrooms and kitchens to playrooms and foyers, with bathroom photos being the most popular. “In particular, a photo of a bathroom we built in a 19th century Greek Revival home has really taken off,” Palmer says. “The image — briefly featured on a front-page Houzz article — has been added to 2,363 members’ ideabooks.”

So far, the company, which specializes in period home renovations, has only gotten one solid lead from using Houzz, but it anticipates more, Kelly says.

“The difference between Houzz and Facebook is that most of our Facebook ‘friends’ are people who already know us, but they may not be looking to renovate anytime soon,” he says. “With Houzz, we’ve very quickly been noticed by thousands of members, and many of them are on the site because they are planning to start a remodeling project and are looking for inspiration.” —Mark A. Newman, senior editor, REMODELING.

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