Kick off Your Instagram Content Game and Grow Your Real Estate Brand Presence
Instagram recently rolled out a new feature that works like Youtube channels. IGTV is an app that allows people to create videos from their phones and upload these directly to Instagram. The great thing is that these videos appear at the top of your profile so anyone following you sees it.
Instagram has defiitely grown from being an offshoot of Facebook to become a major social media giant on its own. A reason for this growth is that it fosters community building. A platform where brands can share experiences with their followers, sparking a large growth in Instagram influencers.
It’s a platform to reach the majority of millennials, who comprise about 50 percent of the total US workforce. A study conducted by Pew Research Center showed that almost a third of Americans who make more than $75K a year use Instagram. But these people aren’t looking for the same old rigid marketing. With Instagram, you can bring out the cool side of your real estate brand, leverage user-generated content to attract new leads.
Getting started as a real estate agent on Instagram
Create a business profile
Even if you’re a one-man shop, Instagram gives you the tools to compete with big players. But you’ll only be able to take advantage of these tools with a business profile. Instagram’s business profile incorporate analytics and other targeting tools to help you understand your customers and streamline posts for better engagement.
With a business profile, you’ll also be able to add more information about your business including phone number, email address and your company’s physical address. Get started here.
Create a bio that makes a good impression
A visitor forms an impression when they get to your profile. Your bio will form a major part of this opinion. Even though it’s not going to be more than 150 words, it should convey how you want people to see you. In very succinct sentences, your bio should touch on what you do, why you do it and what makes you unique.
You won’t be able to add more than one link via Instagram. So you want to maximize the opportunity to add a link in your bio. You might be able to generate leads directly by linking to something your audience finds valuable. This could either be a link to valuable stuff on your website or a campaign-specific landing page.
Instagram content marketing best practices for real estate agents
1. Be imaginative with photo captions.
Be creative with your captions as they can generate more engagement for your post.
You can add as much as a 2,200 character caption with your photo but experts recommend using only 138 to 150 characters.
2. Optimize your pictures for more engagement. To compete effectively with other brands on Instagram, you need to have great photos. If you’re looking for a great tool to create engaging images and ads for Instagram, then you should try Canva. How about selfies and listing photos? You can try Afterlight by Adobe. Afterlight works for Windows, iOS, and Android, offering the following features.
- 77 different adjustable frames.
- 15 different cropping and transformation tools.
- 15 unique photo adjustment tools. You can adjust exposure, color, sharpness and even tweak selected portions of your photo.
- 59 filters including guest filters uploaded by Instagram users.
- 66 textures including a range of natural light effects.
The app comes at a price of only $2.99 which is a steal for these features that can quickly turn your pictures from drab to splendid.
3. Create an Instagram content marketing plan for your real estate brand. Most major brands on Instagram post on average 1.5 times daily, according to a Union Metrics study.
So essentially, on average, you should try to post at least every day on Instagram. Meaning you need to have an Instagram content marketing plan for your real estate brand.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook, Instagram does not support scheduling, which means you have to put up posts manually. Tools like Buffer can help you set up reminders for when to post.
A strategy for posting real estate content on Instagram would outline:
- The best times to post on Instagram for maximum engagement. While half of Instagram users check into the app daily, Hubspot recommends posting videos between 8-9pm any day of the week. And photos between 8-9am. 3-4 pm also works on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Your marketing goals and how you hope to use Instagram to achieve them. Are you trying to create brand awareness, build up following, connect with past clients or get new leads? Outlining your goals would help you determine what types of content you need to post and what KPIs to look for in assessing your effort.
- Engaging content. Great content on Instagram will impress your followers and increase your brand’s likability. So don’t be afraid to showcase personality in your posts.
4. Use reviews and successful sales to great effect. A salesforce research reported that millennials rely on word of mouth marketing more than any other demographic. 40% of Millenials read online reviews before engaging with a brand. What does this mean for you as a marketer? User-generated content has more value. Stories and images from people who have worked with your brand have convincing power. You should feature these on your Instagram page.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of hashtags. Posts with over 11 hashtags tend to get more engagement on Instagram, according to research from Track Maven. Over 70% of photos on Instagram do not get seen. You don’t want to get lost in the shuffle. So ensure people can find your content by adding specific hashtags (including local and branded ones).
6. Use a good profile photo. When selecting profile photos as a real estate agent, you want to select a clear, fun headshot of you. It’s not important to have a stolid, professional-looking photo here. You can be as creative as you want. However, know that your profile photo will represent your brand. As such it should be unique and recognizable by your followers.
7. Make your promotions fun. Instagrammers love videos and sensational images. They are easily turned off by sales pitches. You want to be interesting and capture attention. You can do this with a short story, short video or sensational images. As always, a picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth ten thousand more.
8. Create some locally oriented posts. Instagram is a great way to build your local online presence. You can accomplish this through geo-targeted content – content that is relevant to your local market. For example, aerial views of mountain scenery in your neighborhood or great pictures of your neighborhood. Something like this:
9. Respond to comments. When you receive comments on your posts, try to respond to as many of these as you can. Responding to your followers’ comments show them that you value their opinion. View comments as a way to converse with your audience rather than displaying a professional front. This kind of personality display is a winner.
Why you need to develop an Instagram content promotion strategy for real estate
- Create brand awareness. By uploading brand-related content on Instagram, you build brand awareness over time. This would pay great dividends down the line. According to Sproutsocial, 7 out of 10 Hashtags on Instagram Are Branded.
- Instagram presents higher engagement rates than other social media networks. Of the 700 million monthly Instagram users, 59% visit the site at least once daily, according to a Pew Research study. The average engagement rate per post on Instagram is 2.81%, compared to 0.25% on Facebook.
- Mobile optimization. Millenials spend an average of 14.5 hours per week on their phones. This clearly means that mobile optimization has become very important for your business. Instagram is mobile friendly, with a lot of folks accessing their accounts through the mobile app.
- It’s growing popularity. Instagram’s popularity is growing really fast and a lot of companies are getting on its bandwagon. According to research by the center for marketing research study, only 20% of fortune 500 businesses were on Instagram as of 2014. In 2018, 63% of fortune 500 companies have active accounts on Instagram, proving the growth and profitability of the platform.
How to gain new followers with Instagram contests
A great way to turn your followers into brand ambassadors is to run an Instagram contest. Successful Instagram contests capitalize on user-generated content (UGC). For example, wine brands like Valdo post contests once a while that encourage users to send in photos and recipes with their wines. These would form content material for future social media posts.
91% of posts that have achieved 1,000+ comments on Instagram are contests, according to Tailwind. You can get people to take action and engage more with your brand if you create a contest with a catchy prize. For example, Valdo’s recent contest was incentivized with a trip for two to Italy, valued at $7,500.
For real estate, you should create contests that are focused on your target market. It could be a photo sharing contest of spring cleaning photos, best sights to see in your community or a ‘likes and comments’ contest where users like a photo and add a comment. You might also encourage tagging a friend. Although, tagging a friend inaccurately (on a photo they aren’t in) is against Instagram’s promotion rules.
You can run a ‘follow and like’ contest, where you ask users to double tap your photo and follow your brand. A major benefit of this is that it presents an easy entry condition for most users and you can quickly grow your brand’s following.
You can run a captions contest. Captions contest encourage users to add their captions to a photo you have uploaded. Then you analyze the submissions and pick the best one based on your own judgment. There are many other types of contests you can run on Instagram, depending on your creativity.
A determining factor to how well your contest performs is the prize. Tailwind’s research showed that prizes worth $1,000 or more generally achieve 5.8 engagements per 100 followers while prizes worth less than $99 only received 1.7 engagements per 100.
Here are five Instagram contest prize ideas for real estate:
- A holiday item from a local business. (during the holidays)
- Tickets to a local sporting event or concert.
- Gift cards to local restaurants or stores (in partnership with the local business).
- A gift card (to Target or Amazon)
- Services e.g An interior design service, free legal consultation, home appraisal… (in partnership with local service providers).
Running Instagram Ads for your real estate brand
Instagram ads are integrated into the Facebook ads platform, making up to 28.2% of Facebook’s mobile ad revenue. Currently, Instagram has over 800 million users which is still fast growing. In less than six months, they have seen their advertising clients grow from 1 million to over 2 million. It’s obvious that businesses are seeing and tapping into the potential of Instagram ads.
And rightly so, because across more than 400 campaigns measured by Nielsen’s Brand Effect study, ad recall (the potential for an ad to be remembered two days later) from Instagram’s sponsored posts were 2.8x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising.
This is due to the fact that Instagram’s ads are majorly non-intrusive. You can upload photos, videos and carousel images that fit perfectly into an audience’s timeline, selling them without the salesy approach.
How do you create an ad on Instagram?
Instagram ads are created and managed from Facebook Ad Manager. Creating an ad on Instagram is similar to creating a Facebook Ad. One of the perks of the deep integration with Facebook is that you can run and track your Facebook ads along with your Instagram ads, targeting the same demographics and interests.
To create a new real estate ad campaign on Instagram:
1. Log in to Facebook ads manager and select an objective. When you click on the create ads button, you’ll be asked to select an objective from a list of options.
2. Select your audience. Here you define targeting criteria. As a real estate agent, you should add ZIP codes you serve, local keywords and the persona of your ideal buyer. You can also upload a list of look-alike audience or leverage any of Facebook’s other targeting options.
3. Select Ad Placement. When selecting ads placement for Instagram ads, make sure to select ‘all devices’ and then Instagram only, under platforms.
4. Choose a Budget. Then select your budget on the Facebook ads platform. Just as with Facebook ads, your budget will vary depending on your target area, your keywords competition and the length of days you want your ads to appear.
How to use Instagram stories to stay top-of-mind with clients
Instagram stories, though seemingly a casual tool for checking up what friends are up to, can be a great way to consistently bring your business in front of past and future clients. Instagram stories allow you to upload your photos and videos and put them in front of your followers for 24 hours. Unlike regular posts, they come with no likes or public comments. So, there is a wide space to experiment. Stories show personality better than posts because they allow you to upload snapshots of your life and business.
For real estate marketers, this can be a great way to connect with past clients and keep yourself relevant in their minds. With stories, you can also get new people interested in your business without trying too hard.
To get started on Instagram Stories, click on the + sign at the top of your feed.
You can either use your camera to record a video, take a selfie or upload recent photos from your smartphone. Customize by browsing the range of filters available on Instagram, adding text or drawings to your photo. And if you want to keep your story content on your feed, there is an upload button that allows you to do that easily.
TIP: Ensure to add a location and a hashtag to your stories. Stats by SimplyMeasured indicate that posts with a location get 79% more engagement. You can add hashtags and location by tapping on the stickers button and selecting your choice of location or typing in your hashtag.
So what kind of content can you post on Instagram stories? Here are some ideas
- Details about exciting events or happenings in your neighborhood.
- Behind the scenes pictures or videos that detail your daily experience as a real estate agent.
- Great photos of one of your new listings.
- Entertaining photos or gifs that aren’t out of context. Here is how to add gifs to Instagram stories.
- Beautiful sights or pictures from your neighborhood.
- Personal pictures or short crops of family or company fun.
Being social and personable is the key to building brand awareness through Instagram. But as with anything that gets built, you can’t expect overnight results.