Tips for Using Instagram to Grow Your Real Estate Business
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
Do you use Instagram to attract and nurture new prospects for your real estate business?
If not, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business.
Don't underestimate the power of this visual social network. It's not just for beautiful images and inspirational quotes. Instagram is one of the most effective marketing tools you can use to generate leads, sell real estate, and establish your brand.
With over a billion users worldwide, Instagram is more popular than Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined. That puts Instagram shoulder to shoulder with social media giants Facebook and YouTube. Because so many people use Instagram, it's guaranteed that at least some of your target clients are among the count.
And if you think that Instagram is only for teenagers, think again: 70% of Instagram users here in the US have a college education. Also, a huge chunk of Instagram users are in prime real estate buying age— 33% of users are between the ages of 30 to 49.
All of these statistics point to one conclusion: If you want to attract real estate leads, you can't afford to overlook Instagram.
But how do you use Instagram as a real estate agent?
In this guide, we'll go over the basic tips that will help you launch your Instagram marketing strategy. Let's get started.
Before you can become successful on Instagram, you need to have a goal. What would you like to do on this visual program? Get specific with your answer.
Not sure and need some help? Here are several worthy Instagram goals that you may choose from:
Start off with one main goal and then incorporate others if you’d like to accomplish more than one task on Instagram.
After you have a goal in mind, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and set up a business account on Instagram. If you already have an account, you can transfer it into a business account. However, it may be a good idea to create your own business account from scratch. This allows you to have ultimate control over your branding from the beginning. By doing so, you will be more selective over the images you add to your page, only showing those which promote your chosen goal.
Plus, you can always have more than one Instagram account. There’s no need to mix business with personal.
You may be wondering why you should even bother with setting up a business account on Instagram. Isn’t a personal account just as good?
Not really. Here’s why you need a business account on Instagram:
When setting up your business account, be sure to choose a keyword-rich username. It makes sense to try to fit “real estate” or “realtor” in your username. This gives you a subtle opportunity to highlight your branding.
When drafting your bio, you have 150 characters (including spaces and periods). Make it work. Needless to say, brevity is your best friend.
Focus on descriptive nouns (such as “powerseller” or “local expert”) and strong verbs (such as “negotiate” or “win”) that can help you convey your brand.
Stretch the space and add personality by using emojis. Emojis are acceptable on Instagram because it’s already a visual medium.
Remember that you don't need a lot of space to convey a sense of who you are. Plus, to share more of your personality, be sure to add photos or videos of you being you in your image feed.
Once you’ve set up your Instagram account, it’s time to turn your account into a lead generating machine. Here’s how:
Now for the star of the show: your Instagram content. Because Instagram is completely visual, you need to upload images that attract your target audience and make them want to see more. Every image you pick should illicit a response, whether its’ lust, fear of missing out, camaraderie, or trust.
Remember to use images that you’ve taken yourself for complete authenticity. Don’t use stock images or MLS— that dilutes the beauty of Instagram.
It’s also important that you populate your account with images before you start following fellow Instagram users. When they click on your profile, they should have a good idea of who you are and what you represent as a real estate agent.
What type of instagram content should you produce for your page? It depends on your goals, but you may pick and choose from the following ideas:
Hashtags are all-important on Instagram. A hashtag, which is a keyword preceded by a pound sign (i.e. #keyword), is how you'll get found on Instagram. For this reason, remember to use hashtags that people are searching for. Research the hashtag and see how many other posts share that same hashtag. That gives you a powerful clue of which hashtags to include in your posts, for example #bostonrealestate, which currently has over 50,000 posts. A good strategy is to target a keyword with the location name followed by real estate, i.e. #cambridgerealestate.
Another strategy is to use hashtags that may be less popular but more likely to attract your target client. For example, your client may be searching for a real estate niche that you specialize in (such as #newenglandcharm or #bostoncondos).
You can add up to 10 hashtags without coming across as obnoxious, but the official limit is 30.
To gain success on Instagram, you must post frequently. But just how frequently?
Most brands post between 1 to 2 times a day. But if you want to post more often than that, go ahead. On Instagram, there seems to be no penalty for posting several times a day. If you prefer to document more of your day-to-day real estate experiences, or if you have a lot of properties to showcase, go ahead.
More important than how often you post, be concerned with when you post. Post consistency is key. Find out which posts seem to resonate the most with your target client and create more of those. This is crucial because Instagram's feed algorithm shows your followers the posts that they are most likely to engage with (based on their previous behavior). This is yet another reason why having a business account is a good idea. You can see your most popular posts at a glance.
To make life easier, consider planning and scheduling your Instagram posts ahead of time. Yay for scheduling tools!
And this is yet another reason to set up a business account. Before you can use scheduling tools on Instagram, you need a business account.
Next, choose a scheduling tool. There are plenty of great choices available, including:
To schedule posts, start uploading your posts (images or videos) to your tool of choice. Then, write a caption (along with hashtags) and set a time to post. Depending on the type of post (such as video or multiple image posts), you may need to publish the post directly yourself instead of relying on the tool to automatically publish it. Your tool will likely send you a reminder when it's time to make that post so you won't forget.
To get even more benefit from Instagram, consider advertising. Advertising allows you to reach out to prospective clients who may not find you otherwise.
If you're already familiar with Facebook advertisement, you won't have any problems setting up an ad campaign on Instagram. They work very similarly.
The basic process of setting up an Instagram ad campaign works like this:
You’ll first set a budget. Instagram works with a variety of budgets, and how much it will ultimately costs depends on who you're targeting, who you're bidding against, and the quality of your ads.
You'll choose an audience to target with your ads. For a real estate purpose, consider limiting to a specific location (such as city or state). You can also target other demographics, such as life events like searching for a new job.
You can then choose the type of ad. You have four options:
To learn more about Instagram advertising, check out this post on using Facebook for real estate marketing. You can use the same tips to set up your Instagram campaign.
Building your real estate empire on Instagram takes time and patience. However, by using the above strategy, you’ll be able to both attract new real estate leads and also nurture them.
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