Have you been hearing all the buzz about Instagram lately? Why are businesses investing so heavily? Wondering how you can leverage this platform to reach more people and generate real estate Instagram leads? Well grab a cup of coffee or something a little stronger and read up on EVERYTHING real estate agents need to know about Instagram in 2018!
Why Should You Use Instagram?
Here are 6 reasons WHY Instagram is so popular right now for all businesses, especially real estate.
- More (Loyal) Leads – People like doing business with other people whose style they can relate with. Through Instagram’s format, potential clients instantly get a sense of your style and who you are as a real estate agent. This can generate loyalty much quicker than other social media platforms.
- Social Proof – As social media and the internet plays a greater role in people’s buying decisions, social proof across multiple spectrums becomes so important. Social proof is things like reviews, having a lot of followers, being ranked on the first page of Google, etc… The more places your customers can look you up and find that you have a track record of success, the easier your job of closing a client becomes.
- Instagram has 15x the engagement rate of Facebook and 20x that of Twitter. Facebook and Twitter water down the reach of business’s posts so that they will pay for advertisements. Instagram is similar but to a far less extent meaning your posts will make it on many more of your potential clients feeds without paying for ads.
- As you gain real estate Instagram followers, it becomes even easier to gain more. I remember gaining my first 1000 followers. It took around an entire year (albeit, I wasn’t consistent or planned). My next 1000 took about 3 months, then 1 month. Now I am gaining around 100 followers per day.
- It’s fun and feels good to create content that large amounts of people appreciate and share with each other. As real estate agents, we come across interesting things daily. Am I right?
- Making money – Although I’m not at this point yet, I’ve networked with many top influencers on Instagram who share that businesses reach out to them weekly. They send products to review and keep. They also pay influencers for shout-outs and ads. This is why Instagram ads for real estate agents can still be worthwhile as part of your overall Instagram strategy.
So before you get started with scaling your real estate Instagram game to the top, we should probably cover some best practices.
Business Profile vs. Personal Profile
First of all, create a business profile. This allows you the ability to add a link to your bio. Engagement and social proof are great but you need to remember to create a Call-To-Action that will also direct potential clients where you want them to go. This link could be to a lead generation landing page or your home search website.
Profile Feed Theme
Next, it’s important that you choose a theme when you start posting images and videos to your page. A couple of themes I see often and look great on Instagram are:
- Same Filter and Tint
- White Border
- Black Border
- Color Coordinated Theme
Having a theme is important regardless of your style because it shows people that you are organized and gives them an idea of what to expect if they were to follow you.
Consistent Posting Schedule
It’s also very important to follow a consistent posting schedule. I recommend 1-3 posts per day. That may seem like a lot but if you plan your content a week at a time and schedule your posts it becomes much more manageable. Facebook Creator Studio makes automated posting EASY, and it’s free!
Lastly, research your hashtags and use them strategically. The majority of real estate agents, myself included, work a local market. Research which hashtags are popular in your area and create a list that you can pull from as you create posts.
That said, don’t just choose the ones that have the most posts. You’ll likely never get enough likes on your content in the beginning to reach top posts for hashtags with a ton of posts.
A general rule of thumb is I like to stick to hashtags that have posts equal to 100x the amount of followers I have. I’ll pull a few that have less and a few that have more but if you target hashtags that don’t have a ton of posts, you’ll stay at the top longer and get more views by non-followers.
30 is the maximum amount of hashtags that Instagram will allow you to use on a single post. This includes the description on the post and the comments combined. I recommend only using 1-3 hashtags in the actual post and as many relevant hashtags up to 30 on the first comment.
For quicker hashtag entry I add a custom keyboard shortcut with about 35 relevant hashtags for most situations. Then I just delete a few that are less relevant for that post so that I can stay under the limit.
Having a powerful bio is extremely important to gaining massive real estate Instagram followers. This will be the make or break to determine if someone is going to follow you. If you get someone this far, you’ve obviously done something right on the content to get noticed. Be sure your bio doesn’t disappoint.
Be sure to include your full name in your bio, if your profile doesn’t show it. Use emoji’s and a hashtag or two to lighten things up a bit. Use line breaks to make it easier for people to see what you do and who you are at a glance. And finally, offer something of value to entice someone to click your link in your bio or connect with you further.
Outside of gaining followers to just increase your reach, there is a significant benefit to gaining 10,000 followers. Instagram gives influencers that have over 10,000 followers the ability to add links to their Instagram Stories. If you’ve ever seen a story and it says “swipe up for details” or something similar, this is what I’m talking about. This is a huge benefit for content creators like real estate agents with a blog. Or imagine being able to post up a photo on Instagram stories of a new listing and say swipe up for details and having it take them to your listing with all the details. Instagram users with less than 10,000 followers can only direct people to click the link in their bio.
How to Increase Your Followers
First off, if you haven’t read my post on the $1.80 strategy, then go check it out as it goes into detail about the concept of what to do but using Facebook. The idea is the same but the platform is a bit different.
The main idea behind the strategy I use to gain over 100 followers a day is one of engaging with your ideal customer and knowing a percentage will engage back. More specifically, I search for a hashtag that I know is popular in my area. Let’s go with #satx (a local hashtag that I know most people using it will be from san antonio TX) This hashtag has over 900k posts so there are posts uploaded every minute. You can utilize multiple hashtags for this strategy.
What I will do is click on one of the top posts, like it and follow the person. Occasionally, I’ll leave a comment or even more seldom, I’ll send a direct message. I’ll continue that process for about 20 minutes, scrolling down, liking and commenting on around 50 new people’s posts. I repeat this 8-10 times per day until I’ve liked and commented on between 400-500 people posts.
If this seems time-consuming, it is. It takes around 2-3 hours per day to do this successfully. However, there is an alternative. You can outsource the work to a virtual assistant on a site like upwork.com. There are many contractors on there that are willing to do data entry / virtual assistant type work for around $4/hour.
If you wish to outsource this work, it should cost you around $15/day You’ll also need to be comfortable sending your private Instagram account information to a worker in another country. This is the best way to consistently generate REAL real estate Instagram followers.
There are two additional things to note. Keep your likes and follows to under 500 per day. Any more than this and you run the risk that Instagram thinks you are spamming the system and could potentially block or ban your account.
Also, Instagram only allows you to follow 7500 accounts at a time. This means that you’ll need to remove accounts that you’ve followed that have not chosen to follow or engage with you back (this is around 80% of the accounts you follow). There are apps you can download that let you track people that you’ve followed but haven’t followed you back. I use Followers Track for Instagram!
Think of Instagram Stories as your place to put your daily experiences. Use it for sneak peeks and behind the scenes so-to-speak. This is different from your main feed in the fact that you’ll only be putting the best of the best on your main feed.
It’s as if your main feed is your portfolio of work that’s curated and themed as we spoke of above. Your stories feed can be less “pretty” and more fun or themed.
Since your stories feed goes away after a day you don’t need to worry about how your stories appear after time. You’ll want to keep up your primary feed posts for the long haul so you’ll need to put more thought and time into creating great ones!
What Not To Do
To this point, we’ve talked about how to increase your real estate Instagram followers. Now let’s talk a little about what not to do.
- Don’t Pay For Followers – There are many companies out there that will sell you, followers. 100’s, 1000’s and even 100,000’s. Don’t buy them! It may seem like the easy way at first but these are fake accounts and 0 of them will engage with your posts. Instagram will penalize your account for this because it will appear like no one likes your posts so they will then limit the real accounts it shows your future posts to.
- Follow / Unfollow at Random – Be super specific who your target demographic is and go after them. Similar to the point above, if you target random accounts to follow and they don’t relate to your content, even if they follow you back, they will likely not engage with your posts which will in-turn hurt your engagement level.
- Don’t Make Your Profile Private – People need to see your posts to decide whether or not they want to follow you. If you have a private profile, people can’t see your posts until you’ve approved their follow request. This will drastically decrease your follow rate.
- Do Not Leave Comments Unresponded To – The more likes and comments you get the better your engagement is and the more people Instagram will show your future posts to. If you receive comments, respond to them to help add engagement. Plus, if followers see you are active in commenting back to all your comments, they will be more likely to leave a comment.
- Do Not Misuse Hashtags – Don’t add irrelevant hashtags to posts. You’re better off adding more smaller hashtags that are relevant to your post than to add irrelevant larger hashtags just because you think you’ll get more exposure that way. It’s actually quite the opposite.
- Don’t Post at the Wrong Time – The amount of exposure your post receives is directly related to how fast your post starts receiving likes. The first few hours after you create a post will affect how many people Instagram chooses to show your post to. Get a lot of likes and comments quickly and your post gets shown to more people. The best time to post on Instagram for each day of the week is 2 pm.
- Don’t Post Images with the Wrong Scaling – Your main real estate Instagram feed should have photos scaled to a 4:5 vertical format. Your Instagram Stories should be cropped to 9:16 vertical. This will allow your photos to take up the most screen real estate when someone is scrolling their feed which will make your posts stand out even more. Especially, since most people still use 1:1 square images.
- Don’t Be Overly Promotional – This goes for both the posts on your feed and what you are commenting on others. Don’t go right out of the gate and talk about your services in a comment. Also, don’t promote your real estate services on every post you make. If you come off sounding or looking sales, you will not get people to engage with you.
In conclusion, Instagram is a platform where people go to SEE value. So much of your exposure and engagement comes from creating content that stands out. Investing a little extra effort goes a long way with Instagram. Whether that be stepping up your camera game and shooting on a DSLR. Or buying some better photo editing apps for your phone, the extra detail is what helps your posts stand out.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite real estate Instagram accounts: