Instagram for Real Estate
- Pros and Cons
- Getting Started
- Top Real Estate Instagram Accounts
- Post Ideas and Templates
- Instagram Hashtags
- Resources and Training
- Outsource Your Instagram
- Alternatives to Instagram
First, there was MySpace.
Facebook destroyed MySpace.
Then there was Instagram.
Facebook didn’t want to get “MySpaced” and bought the 18-month-old social media platform for $1B.
It was a wise move, as Instagram has become a major social media platform. Most of your buyers and sellers are probably using today.
Just like businesses eventually moved to Facebook and YouTube, so are they wisely moving to Instagram.
If you are a millennial (or your target audience is) and have a passion for great photos, graphics, video, and personality, Instagram might be worthy of your consideration as a lead generation tool for your real estate business.
Pros and Cons of Instagram
Here’s what to weigh before deciding on Instagram as your lead generation strategy of choice.
- Works Seamlessly with Facebook. If you are already using the world’s #1 social media site for lead generation, Instagram (owned by Facebook) is an easy jump. You can easily crosspost content between the two sites, and the Facebook AdsManager is the same you would use to create an Instagram ad.
- 2nd Largest Social Network. Instagram has over 1 billion users and is currently the favorite social media platform of the generation entering homebuying age.
- Higher Engagement. Instagram has an estimated 10x more engagement than Facebook as a social media platform.
- Mobile. Instagram was designed for the phone experience, and can be run and managed comfortably while on the go – very important for Realtors! It also has location tagging which is great for building your hyperlocal brand.
- Extroverts Welcome! Instagram is a great way to hog the spotlight and be yourself while building your business, too!
- Highly Visual Brand Building. Instagram posts are focused on pictures and video, not text. Fortunately for real estate professionals, there is a surfeit of visually compelling content in our industry that should be very shareable if done right, all while making you top of mind!
- Pairs Nicely with the Luxury Niche. Instagram is a visual medium that appeals to the inner voyeur in us all. Luxury listings and brokerages slake that appetite for affluent and beautiful homes.
- Quality Photos Expected. Instagram is populated with 612×612 squares. That means already you need a rudimentary skill with editing photos to ensure you don’t have cropped images (unless you took the photo in the Instagram app itself). And your content needs to be visually stimulating or you will get skipped (by humans and the algorithm). Instagram has some native photo editing tools, but they won’t make up for a boring picture of the curb view of your new listing. Spice it up!
- Can’t Link Out. Unlike Facebook or Pinterest, you cannot post links in your organic Instagram pictures and videos. Your website in your bio is one of the only places you can divert people to your hub. Sending people to a landing page is difficult.
- Business Accounts Punished. Like on Facebook, business accounts get less organic reach. That is in part to preserve the social experience as well as force businesses to pony up ad revenue. You can keep your account personal, but lose some of the business features if you do.
- Fewer Real Estate Tools. A few real estate tools work with Instagram like the platform Ylopo, but most still focus on Facebook and Google lead generation synchronization and integrations.
Getting Started with Instagram
Below is a how-to video getting into the weeds of actually setting up your account from Santrel Media, a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia. Their channel includes a lot of industry-agnostic digital marketing tips and is worth checking out.
If you already have a personal Instagram profile, you can switch that one easily into a business profile (though you may or may not want to).
Next you’ll want to optimize your account.
- Update your bio
- Upload an optimized profile picture (320×320)
- Add your website
- Add contact information
- Add call to actions
- Add your business category
- Follow relevant Instagram accounts
Now you’re ready to post photos or videos and get in front of your target audience!
Example Realtor Bios for Instagram
Instagram KPIs to Target
Instagram has great analytics to track your audience. Below is a Hootsuite video explaining how to get the most of your Instagram analytics.
You should be setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely). Therefore, what are the specific and measurable results you should be looking for, or key performance indicators?
Follower count on Instagram is a poor KPI. In fact, there are numerous ways to juice your follower count quite easily on Instagram (especially if you are willing to pay).
Instead, you should try to grow your Instagram following naturally and authentically.
Instead, the engagement rate is probably your best indicator of whether you are posting meaningful content. That is the number of interactions on a post divided by your total follower count.
Instagram’s average engagement rate is about 3% (which is much higher than other platforms like Twitter or Facebook).
Real Estate Instagram Templates and Post Ideas
Instagram Tips for Realtors
- Avoid hard selling. Instagram is the place to connect with your audience and be personal and authentic. Becoming too salesy will turn everyone off in a heartbeat. Instead, post about your real estate activities and successes to keep up awareness without being pushy or annoying.
- Respond to comments. Engagement and authenticity is the name of the game, and keeping your audience engaged is the best way to grow your brand. You should spend as much time commenting and replying as you do creating your own content.
- Collaborate with other Instagrammers. Especially local celebrities or influencers, seek out folks you can swap audiences with and cross-promote your brands.
- Post 1-3 times per day. As with most other lead generation strategies, consistency is key. Don’t let your Instagram go dormant, occasionally springing to life and then sleeping again for months. Post at least once daily.
- Share your followers’ content. Or mention them. This is about getting personal and connecting with your audience.
- Consider using Instagram Stories
- Consider using Instagram Live!
- Write compelling captions
Example Agents Succeeding with Instagram
Seth O’Byrne is a luxury agent in San Diego who moonlights as an HGTV star. His social media game is on point, his Instagram not excepted.
Paige has a successful and active Instagram following. She’s been invited to podcasts like Keeping it Real (below) to talk about her Instagram and marketing techniques and tactics.
Joyce Rey is a luxury agent who had done a few billion in transaction volume and has an equally modest Instagram follower count of just 81,000. Have you not heard of her? Well, maybe you should check out her Wikipedia page. Needless to say, she is a great one to follow for a few tips and tricks.
Ok, so Chad has some help being part of a Bravo TV show that would be tough for most agents to duplicate, but Instagram is still where the bulk of his social media activity and interaction seems to live.
Robert’s Instagram feed is just a giant stock gallery of beautiful vintage homes. This is an example of the kind of quality and interest you must bring to your photos to make them stand out and earn followers based on your visual appeal.
McKenzie Ryan has taken Instagram and gone all-in on becoming an influencer herself. In fact, the photo her is a sponsored photo with Jeep! Her content is all about her and her brand.
Loida has everything you would want in a real estate Instagram. There are houses, her, and happy clients. She is a budding entrepreneur who works with Bryan Casella.
Instagram Hashtags for Real Estate
- Brokerage Hashtag. Instagram has a very limited bio section, and complying with disclosure laws in your state can be difficult. Tagging your brokerage as a hashtag in all posts is one recommended best practice to be sure you are compliant.
Most Instagram gurus recommend 5-10 hashtags per post at most, though I see a lot of agents with a lot more tags than that. A lot of the hashtags look like throwing spaghetti against the wall.
Your photo captions are not searchable, but hashtags are. Including at least a few is the best way to get found when users look up topics in the search bar.
Consider using a branded hashtag specific to you, e.g. #TeamBC (Bryan Casella’s Team). Being a local influencer, focus on local hashtags that will catch the attention of your target buying or selling audience.
Don’t use irrelevant hashtags. Hashtag spamming can reportedly get your account “shadow-banned” where you are posting but no one is seeing your content. In fact, there is a list of “banned” hashtags that have been used to spam the Instagram ecosystem and could draw unwanted attention to your account. The list includes surprising hashtags like “#Beyonce” or “#TGIF”. Keep your hashtags germane to your content.
Resources and Training
Remember, here at Hooquest, I believe in spending as little money as possible. I don’t recommend purchasing coaching, training, or advertising until your business is already working. Especially with Instagram, there is enough free content to get started first and see if this lead generation strategy is right for you before you sink money into it.
The following are some podcast episodes featuring Realtors talking about their Instagram tips and tricks in our industry.
- Real Estate Marketing Dude: How to Break into a Market WITHOUT a Sphere of Influence – with Paige Schulte
- Keeping It Real Podcast: 7 Best Instagram Strategies For Real Estate Agents in 2020 • Social Bootcamp • Gogo Bethke
- Keeping It Real Podcast: How I Built 45k Instagram Followers And Attract ALL My Real Estate Clients Through Social Media • Gogo’s Bootcamp
- GSD Mode: Explode Your Instagram Presence & Generate Online Leads! : GSD Mode Interview w/ Alex Lombard
Coaches / Training
Gogo Bethke is a successful Instagram user with over 43,000 Instagram followers as of this writing.
She sells a training program that covers not only Instagram but social media as a whole and building your personal brand.
Tools and Software
Adobe Spark is the little brother to Photoshop. It allows you to create social graphics, web stories, and even videos. It has both a desktop and app versions called Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video.
FREE+. Buffer is an easy DIY way to schedule posts across all the major social media platforms. A starter account is free. Consider Buffer if you want to be more hands-on and curate content yourself, and just an easy way to synchronize it across several platforms.
FREE+/mo. Hootsuite is similar to Buffer as a DIY multi-channel scheduling system, but with more reporting features. It’s a little more complex but a powerful and customizable way to populate all your social media channels in a single place. Consider Hootsuite if you are a team or are a more sophisticated social media master.
$99+/mo. Sprout Social is a powerful dashboard with great analytics, including a smart-scheduler. It even includes a CRM feature for managing and engaging your social network. Consider Sprout Social if you have the budget for an all-in-one DIY platform that is both easy-to-use and comprehensive.
Last but hardly least is the omnipresent Canva, the quintessential social graphics editing tool. It also has a mobile app and is perfect for sprucing up your Instagram game.
“You only get one link; make it count”.
That is the motto of Linktree.
Indeed, you only get one link in Instagram. You can send people to your website. Or you can send them to a custom Linktree landing page.
Here you can put all the relevant links you think potential clients need to see, including your website, other social media sites, and even affiliate links.
“Done For You” Instagram
If you are an enterprise looking for a managed social media presence, there are social media management companies that can take this all off your plate.
That can be especially tricky with Instagram, a platform that rewards authenticity and engagement, but we’ve seen already several that succeed just with truly beautiful and stunning pictures. Below are a few industry-agnostic companies who can manage social media for you.
Instagram is still the “newbie” among the social media platforms, and yet already the second largest. It is a natural ecosystem to build a real estate business if you are a high I on the DISC profile, have a passion for life, your community, for beauty, and, possibly, being the center of attention