Real estate agents aren’t known to be shy. From catchy bus stop benches to flashy photo billboards—real estate marketing is all about capturing the community’s attention.
That’s why creating social media influence is the next logical move.
“I think social media has been untapped,” says Santa Monica-based Realtor Andrew Jevin. “You’re going out cold-calling people and knocking on doors—why aren’t you on Instagram?”
He’s got a point. With 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a great platform for agents who want to stand out from the crowd and become true real estate influencers.
But while most Realtors already know they need a Facebook presence, Instagram can be a little trickier to nail down.
In case you hadn’t already heard, millennials make up the largest group of first-time home buyers at 66%, followed by Generation X at 26%.
You probably won’t be shocked to hear that millennials love Instagram—but did you know that 58% of millennials and 46% of Gen Xers found their home on a mobile device?
To quote the latest Homebuyer Insights Report: Americans see home buying and technology as inseparable.
Today, that’s truer than ever.
It may sound crazy, but a report from Live Person revealed that 65% of millennials and Gen Zers interact more on social media than in real life. Seeing photos of each other’s homes stirs up feelings of FOMO (that’s “fear of missing out” for any of us born before 1980) which, according to a 2017 NAR report, actually persuades them to make a first-time home purchase.
So does having a rockin’ Instagram presence guarantee more buyers and listings?
Well, if you’re looking for guarantees, you’re probably in the wrong business. But here’s what Instagram definitely does do:
Love it or hate it, Instagram is worthy of your time. Here are seven stellar ways you can use this awesomely visual social platform to generate more (and better!) leads for your real estate business.
(And hey, if Twitter is more your thing, we got you. Check out this quick list of Twitter dos and don’ts to generate more leads from the tweetosphere.)
Before you do anything, remember that people who visit your profile not only look at your listings but at who you are.
Here are some ways to entice them into following you over the competition.
Source: Sarah Johnston via Instagram
Once you’ve built your profile, it’s time to ask yourself the million-dollar question:
What makes an Instagram post great?
The answer is going to depend on your market, your competitive differentiators and your unique style and personality as a Realtor.
But there are a few fundamental factors to keep in mind:
Source: Monica Diaz via Instagram
Captions are probably the most undervalued real estate on Instagram. Done right, they can help you position your brand above the competition and create a lasting connection with your followers.
Here are a few simple rules to help optimize your captions:
How does this content add value to your audience?
How does your unique voice add value to your content?
How does this content add value for your brand?
If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, Zillow’s captions are a pretty great place to start.
Source: Zillow via Instagram
Instagram hashtags are what help people discover your posts and listings.
And according to research by Agorapulse, Instagram posts with hashtags increase likes by 70%—and of course, more likes equals more visibility for your brand and creates a powerful compound effect that can skyrocket your follower count in a matter of days.
Right now the limit is 30 hashtags, but be careful not to overdo it. SocialFresh suggests 7 hashtags for optimal engagement, while more than 9 can be seen as spammy. Think about which hashtags really deserve to be there and drop the rest.
Here’re a few hashtag examples to try out:
Source: Peter and Paige via Instagram
You don’t want to do all the work of building an awesome profile and attracting tons of new followers, only to lose them later.
According to 2017 research from Medium, “Instagram users retain followers through projected consistency and social engagement both on the app and in real life.”
The best ways to keep and grow your followers is to:
Wyzowl’s 2017 State of Video Marketing Survey revealed that for “97% of marketers, video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service”—and 76% say it helped them increase sales, too.
There are a million different ways you can use video when posting to your Instagram account. From showcasing properties to revealing details about the neighborhood, advertising local events or even showing off your curbside snow-shoveling skills—there’s no wrong or right way to rock your video content.
Just try to keep these simple tips in mind:
Source: Jane Hadley via Instagram
Using Instagram as a Realtor means you’ll have to do more than simply broadcast your latest listings.
You need to foster genuine interactions with your audience.
Source: Alisha Pagan via Instagram
And these days, that means standing for something.
According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study, 64% of consumers are belief-driven buyers. That means they will choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on where it stands on the political or social issues they care about.
As Bernice Ross, CEO of BrokerageUP! says, “Referrals cost you nothing—all you have to do is to stay connected with the people you know and make sure that you’re top of mind when they or someone they know decide to transact.”
Whether your goal is to build awareness or grow your organic lead count, Instagram is a great way to stay connected with your audience and your passion for the business. Use it wisely and authentically, and the leads will literally follow.