If you are looking to build your personal brand without breaking the bank and win the trust of prospective clients in your local real estate market, the first social media platform you should start building your presence on is Instagram.
Instagram marketing for real estate is very effective, but what makes it stand out from other social media platforms is the fact that marketing is fun here.
The reason is that the platform makes editing and sharing visual content – images and videos – extremely easy. And when it comes to promoting homes and neighborhoods, you already know that there is no dearth of visual content for you to share with the world. This helps you connect with your local community for pennies on the dollar.
Unlike most other social media platform such as Facebook, reaching your prospects organically (without spending money on ads) is easier on Instagram. However if you have the budget, I would strongly recommend that you start investing in Instagram ads right away!
In this comprehensive guide, I am going to explain how to market and advertise your real estate business on Instagram in 2020 and beyond.
6 reasons why your real estate business needs to be on Instagram
I am going to explain six major reasons why you should not miss out on this platform’s powerful reach, particularly if you are a real estate agent, broker, real estate investor or developer:
- Apart from inspirational quotes, personal moments and pets, people also like to share landscape, homes and sceneries on Instagram, according to many studies. In fact, these are among the top 10 types of visual content that gets shared on the platform. That’s good news for realtors because homes, sceneries and landscape are exactly the type of content that they want to promote professionally, right? This is half the battle won!
- SEO is a long-term game. To beat Zillow or Realtor.com for keywords such as ‘homes for sale’, you have to publish new content on a regular basis and follow local SEO guidelines. But Instagram can help you reach your prospects organically even if you have no technical knowledge. All you need to do is come up with keywords and use hashtags.
- Real estate is a local business and Instagram is the perfect place for marketing a local business. Studies show that Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all platforms including Facebook. On top of that, 80% of Instagram users follow businesses. So it’s likely that you’ll receive a great deal more interaction on your Instagram photos and Stories than you see on other platforms.
- Are you selling homes or other types of properties that are priced on the higher side of the market? Well, Instagram is the best place to promote them because its users tend to be comparatively more affluent and have greater spending power.
- Despite having a business page, you can promote your business as a personal brand on Instagram. This strategy suits most real estate professionals because their success largely depends on their personal network in the community. Compared to Facebook, Instagram gives businesses more control on marketing and organic reach. Instagram lets you see who is engaging with your page. You can send a direct message to your most engaged users to strike up a conversation.
- One of the best features of Instagram is Stories. If you like to be on camera, you would love this feature. It’s like having your own TV channel where you can share real estate market trends, open houses or neighborhood tours and community amenities with your followers in real time.
Building the perfect Instagram profile for your real estate business
While no technical steps are involved in promoting your business on Instagram, you still need to follow certain good practices in order to optimize your profile and get found by your prospects on this platform. Here are a few recommendations on how to optimize your real estate Instagram profile:
Tip#1: Use Instagram for Bussiness
Never use a personal profile if you want to promote your business on Instagram.
Instagram business profile allows you to unlock many features that are not available to personal profile. You can run ads and more importantly, get access to user engagement analytics.
With a professional account, you’ll be able to access business features and Instagram Insights. These tools can help you understand who is engaging with your business on Instagram.
It means that you can see:
- How many engagements (likes, shares and comments) your specific posts are getting
- Who are engaging with your posts (demographics of your audience)
You can use these insights to make your marketing efforts more effective and reach the right audience.
You can control most business features and access insights from your Facebook page or Facebook Business Manager.
The best thing about having a business profile on Instagram is that you can retarget people who are engaging with your content with creative ads through Instagram as well as Facebook. It means that you can show Facebook ads to people who are sharing, liking and clicking on your Instagram content. In my opinion, it is definitely one of the best features that Instagram offers.
When you promote listings on Facebook, you have to run ads under the Special Ads Category which limits your control on retargeting and other methods of promotional ads such as ‘Lookalike Audiences’. If you are careful and play safe, this may not be the case when you are promoting your content on Instagram (not yet).
Tip#2: Create the perfect Instagram profile
The next step is to build an attention-grabbing Instagram profile which encourages people to follow you.
Here are the three most important components of a powerful Instagram profile:
- You have got 150 characters to sum up the value your real estate brand provides to your clients – home sellers, buyers or investors, so make sure these lines convey your brand’s unique voice and personality.
- Add relevant hashtags
- Use Emojis
- Instead of writing a paragraph, consider using line breaks to explain key points about your brand.
- Use a clear call-to-action (CTA). What is the first thing you would want people to do after they land on your Instagram page?
While it goes without saying that you should use your brand name here, but it doesn’t hurt to add a keyword or two such as ‘Homes for sale in your city’ to make it more search friendly.
Most real estate agents make the mistake of using their company’s logo as the profile pic. It’s a big no-no when it comes to promoting a real estate business on Instagram. It’s important that you personalize your Instagram page as much as possible. Instagram users prefer to follow and connect with people, not brands. And, make sure your photo is modern, stylish, and friendly.
Tip#3: Use Instagram CTA
Instagram has been introducing Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons that businesses can use for collecting leads. Currently, four types of Instagram CTA buttons are available – Call, Text, Email, or Directions.
I would strongly recommend that you avoid using ‘Email’ or ‘Directions’ action buttons. Instead, use ‘Call’ or ‘Text’. These action buttons work best for real estate professionals.
Tip#4: Stick to a theme: Colors, fonts & image filters
Pick any successful, verified Instagram account with thousands of followers and you would notice that it follows specific colors, fonts, photos, and camera filters.
In other words, they stick to a specific theme. Studies have shown that engagement increases when you follow a specific color and font theme as people start associating these colors and fonts with your brand. It leaves an impression in the minds of people every time they visit your Instagram page and see your content in their newsfeed. It makes your brand memorable.
Tip#5: Instagram is all about images
This is one of the most important things you have to keep in mind if you want to grow your Instagram account.
You should use high quality images only. It’s also important that you stick to the specific camera filters and color themes when posting images.
The images should ideally be square in size, but you can experiment with different aspect ratios.
Tip#6: Location tagging and hashtags are important
Whenever you post something on Instagram, particularly an image or video of a neighborhood amenity, make sure to tag a location. It is one of the best ways to optimize yours real estate posts for Instagram search. The same goes true for hashtags.
Tip#6: Don’t overdo it and stay disciplined with posting schedule
I have seen many real estate agents posting images of homes listed for sale several times a day. This will not only overwhelm your followers, but also reduce your organic reach.
Don’t post more than once or twice a day. In order to stay disciplined with your posting schedule, you can upload a week’s worth of content at once and then use a tool to remind you when it is time to post every day.
What to post on Instagram to get real estate leads?
Now that you are aware of the best practices to follow when building your Instagram profile, here are some recommendations on what types of posts work best for real estate professionals:
Needless to say, you should post beautiful images of homes (showing off the best interior and exterior features) listed by you or other agents in your market. In the description, give details of the property’s best features and other pertinent information such as MLS number, open house schedule, listing agent’s name and/or how interested buyers can contact you for that property.
You can also publish a logo or any other branding information beautifully designed on the image. You can do some basic photo editing right from your phone. You can assemble multiple photos into a single image using certain iPhone or Android apps. An important thing to keep in mind is that you should never clutter photographs with texts. Keep the listing information for the post description.
If you have several beautiful images of a home listed for sale, you can add these images to a single post and make it scrollable. These photos appear in sequence. This way you don’t have to post images of the same listing over and over again.
Visual guides to highlight amenities of your local community or neighborhood
One of the best ways to promote a home is to show off the features of the neighborhood through visual content such as images and videos.
Promote your community’s best restaurants, bars, thrift stores, shopping malls, parks, pools, sports or entertainment centers, best schools, beaches.
Tell stories through visual content
Interview chefs of the best restaurants, local business owners, movers, builders and developers and professionals who help people relocate to or out of your community.
Post their images and videos with nice details about them in the description.
This will help you build your network and get leads through referral. At the same time, this type of content will also help your prospective clients know more about the community.
Infographics about real estate market trends
The latest median listing price, the number of homes listed for sale, appreciation in home values, number of days on the market for homes in your area, any improvement in school rankings, a drop in the crime rate, and demographics are all good topics to create beautiful infographics for Instagram.
This type of content will establish you as a neighborhood expert in your community.
Local events and happenings
Any community or sports event make a good Instagram post. This will show you have your fingers on the pulse of your community and that you’re in tune with the moment.
Did you receive a great review from your clients on your Google My Business listing, Twitter or Facebook?
Instagram is the best place to highlight those testimonials. You can go a step further and post video testimonials to make them more authentic and trustworthy.
Posting images and videos of happy moments with your clients after a closing is also a great idea.
Promote your team members
If you are a broker who manages a team of real estate agents, you should definitely post images of team meetings, parties, open houses, dinners, outings.
This will bring out the human side of your brand. It’s a great brand building trick.
Show off your energy and commitment to work
When you are hard at work closing real estate deals, get someone from your team to catch you in action. You should regularly post behind-the-scene images of real estate deals, home staging, open houses etc.
Highlight challenges and how to overcome them
Let’s say for example you are a real estate investor and found the toilet clogged at one of your properties. A closer inspection revealed wipes down the toilet.
Many of your followers would be interested in knowing how you dealt with this problem.
Post short videos or images of these types of chal