Are you using Instagram to attract highly qualified real estate leads? If you aren’t, you should be.
With consistency, Instagram can help realtors and investors to create a reliable stream of new leads and 10x their influence. An effective Instagram strategy can be a powerful way to increase engagement and create warm conversations with interested buyers and sellers, while growing brand awareness within your market.
But it doesn’t come easy. Instagram can be a tough egg to crack. The results may only become clear after months of consistently working hard on building your following and growing your influence. But Instagram is too powerful of a tool for real estate professionals to ignore.
Why Instagram is so Effective For Real Estate Agents, Flippers & Investors
Instagram may be the most potent social network for real estate agents. The platform lends itself exceptionally well to the home selling and buying process, allowing you to get your brand and the homes that you sell in front of your audience reliably.
There are a few specific reasons why Instagram has become such an important tool for real estate agents around the world, including:
Your Audience is Already Using It
You can’t connect buyers with homes that they will love if you can’t reliably get those listings in front of your audience. Luckily, Instagram gives you the perfect platform for doing just that. A big reason why Instagram has turned into such a huge lead generation tool for real estate agents is that the platform is displaying homes to buyers in a specific location, and the fact that Instagram’s user base tends to skew toward the prime home-buying ages.
Here are a few stats to show you just how large and impactful Instagram has become as a platform:
- Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users.
- 500 million people use Instagram every day.
- 38% of users login multiple times per day.
- 35% of adults that are online use Instagram.
Instagram’s user base is loyal, with a large percentage of their users falling into the age ranges where people typically buy their first home. 34% of Instagram’s users are millennials. The average home buyer is 32 years old, making a large portion of Instagram’s users good prospects for buying a home. Even better — Instagram’s user base tends to earn more than users of other platforms. According to Pew Research, 42% of Instagram users earn more than $75,000 per year.
A Visual Medium
Instagram is a visual medium first and foremost. Pictures and images are the centerpieces of the platform. This makes Instagram an excellent choice for real estate agents, who rely heavily on images of homes to attract new clients and close sales.
Visual content can be very effective. 32% of marketers say that visual images are their most important form of content for their business. 80% of marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing.
Providing your following with a consistent stream of professional photos of homes that are on the market, pictures that show client successes, and images that help them get to know you and your business on a deeper level, you can grow your influence on the platform while attracting your ideal clients.
Easy Sharing of Properties & Referrals
Instagram is all about sharing, which certainly plays into your hands as a real estate agent. By making your Instagram account a central hub for your activity, you make it easy to get available homes in front of clients and receive more referrals from your network.
When you post photos of homes in a specific location, your followers can then share those photos with interested friends and family that are considering buying in the area. They can also refer friends and family to you directly at the start of their home search. This is great because real estate agents rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing to make connections with new clients. Instagram can help you to grow your brand awareness in the markets that matter most and keep your brand top-of-mind.
Referring a friend to a home or agent on Instagram can be as simple as tagging a friend in a photo thread. It’s easier for people to make referrals on a platform like this, rather than asking that they pick up the phone and make a call. In the end, this leads to more referrals.
Instagram Produces Engagement
Instagram simply produces more engagement than Facebook and other social media platforms. A study by Forrester found that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10x higher than on Facebook, 54x times higher than on Pinterest, and 84x higher than on Twitter. In an industry where so much hinges on your ability to create opportunities through conversations with prospects, choosing to promote yourself on a platform where your followers will readily engage with you is critical.
On average, Instagram users spent more time on the site than users of other social media platforms:
Avoid Competition on Zillow, RedFin, and Trulia
The market for real estate agents has been upended by the popularity of real estate platforms like Zillow, RedFin, and Trulia. Their dominance has forced many real estate agents and firms to embrace those platforms, rather than risk losing out on lots of business. This often means losing control over how you generate clients and no one wants to be reliant on another brand for their own well-being.
However, agents that are able to build a stable presence on social networks like Instagram are able to remove themselves from the competition on those platforms. Your clients will be able to find you, learn about your business, and develop a positive relationship with you outside of those ecosystems. Building a social media presence simply gives agents more control over their business.
Best Practices for Generating Real Estate Leads on Instagram
Instagram provides huge benefits to companies and brands in all corners of the real estate industry. It’s an ideal platform for showing off homes and developing relationships with buyers and sellers. But that doesn’t mean that success on the platform comes easy. In fact, the opposite is true. Building a stable and profitable Instagram presence requires a lot of consistency, hard work, and an effective strategy.
In this section, we’ll cover some of the best practices that real estate agents and brands should follow to increase their following and turn their Instagram presence in a lead producing, awareness-growing machine for the business.
Know Who You’re Targeting
The whole point of investing in Instagram marketing is to grow your influence and generate leads for your business. Without a solid understanding of who you are targeting it will be hard for your prospective clients to understand whether or not you would be a good fit for them.
Ask yourself this. If you were a wealthy business executive who was looking to move to the Los Angeles area, which of these Instagram bios would have you taking a second look:
“I’m a real estate agent in Los Angeles, California.”
“I’m a premium real estate broker, specializing in connecting upper-class buyers with their dream homes in Los Angeles.”
The second bio would probably pique their interest. It’s more closely aligned with their specific position. The agent in this example is positioning themselves as the person that specializes in their exact situation. The first example bio might be that of a great agent, but they aren’t doing anything to help themselves stand out from the sea of real estate agents and are likely suffering for it.
Keep this in mind as you evaluate who you would like to target through Instagram. Remember — just because you specialize in one particular type of client or circumstance doesn’t mean that you can’t bring on other clients that fall outside of your wheelhouse. Many real estate agents find that they don’t notice any fall off in overall client activity even as they begin to specialize.
Set Your Goals
To determine whether or not your investment in Instagram has been a success, you have to define the goals and metrics that you use to determine what success looks like. Setting these goals will help you to refine your strategies and evaluate your progress as you grow your following. You can connect your goals to a number of followers, average engagements per post, or more revenue-centric metrics like ROI or leads generated.
Leverage audience targeting
Lets face it, you don’t have the time to go reachout to every person hashtagging #homeShopping. There are hundreds of thousands of posts even if your target market is only a few zip codes in Dallas. But just because you build a fantastic Instagram profile doesn’t mean your audience will just magically show up. That’s where a little sprinkle of Instagram automation comes in.
You can leverage Meteora Instagram real estate tools to target people posting photos from local neighborhoods, apartments, schools, malls, and then automatically send them a message to connect. Doing this drives your target audience towards your profile in hopes of converting them to a loyal follower.
You can also use tools like Hootsuite to schedule your posts so that you can set it and forget it.
Optimize Your Instagram Account
Optimizing your account is critical for ensuring that when a prospect wants to find a company like yours that they are able to do so. It also helps you to make it completely clear what it is that you do when a new prospect lands on your page.
First, understand that your business Instagram account is not your personal Instagram. You shouldn’t post personal updates there, outside of those that are somehow intertwined with your brand. Stay away from posting pictures with friends, your significant other, or anything that might detract from the overall branding of your page.
Make sure that you choose a name for your account that is either associated with your brand or includes relevant keywords that your audience will search for on the platform. Using our previous example — the premium L.A. real estate agent might want to consider choosing a name like “PremiumRealEstateLA” or something similar.
Here’s an example:
Notice how Jeff didn’t use his name or brand name for his account, instead going with “ArizonaRealty.” While your account name does provide you with an opportunity to get your brand in front of customers, sometimes it may be more important to use your account name to make what you do clear to your audience. Either can be effective, and the right choice depends on your specific situation.
You should also choose to open your account as a business account. This will give you access to Instagram Insights, which provides a lot of valuable data about your audience including where they visit your profile from, how often they visit your profile, and what kind of engagements your audience had with each piece of content that you share.
This will be helpful for evaluating how well your content is being received by your audience. It also allows you to determine when the best times and days are to share content, based on when your following typically engages with the content that you share.
Write a Compelling Bio
Your bio is going to be one of the first things that your prospects read when they land on your Instagram account. Your bio should be informative, engaging, and make it clear what they can expect from your account and brand.
Be specific about what it is that you do and who it is that you help. You want your prospects to read your bio and think “Wow! Exactly what I need.”
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples from real estate brokers and agents on Instagram:
This is a great bio. Ryan uses his bio to outline his industry achievements, building trust with his audience from the first moment that they step through the door. He also highlights that he was nominated for an Emmy after starring in “Million Dollar Listing New York,” which really drives home the type of clientele that he generally works with.
Let’s take a look at another:
This is another great example of an effective real estate broker bio. He shares some accomplishments (he participated in a different season of the same show mentioned above), then makes it clear what markets he works within. Then, he provides some simple contact information.
This is another example of a solid bio that uses a different approach. Hutch invites people to contact him for “info, advice, or a friendly hello,” before asking them to check out a column that his company published. Making prospects feel good about opening a conversation is important.
Share Success Stories
In real estate, success stories are your lifeblood. Sharing a picture whenever you connect a family to their dream home and navigate the process of buying a home is a powerful way to convince new home shoppers to enlist your services. Instagram provides the perfect platform for sharing these stories. Additionally, your clients will be happy to share these photos with their own followers, helping you to quickly get in front of many prospective clients with built-in social proof of successful outcomes. Never miss an opportunity to share a photo or video with a happy client who you’ve helped to find the perfect home.
Use Hashtags to Grow Your Reach
Hashtags are a great way to expand the reach of an individual post. Not only will your post be exposed to more people that search for the hashtag, but your own followers will be more likely to engage with it as well. A recent study by SimplyMeasured showed that posts that used hashtags saw 12% more engagement than posts that do not.
However, a quick analysis of posts from top brands shows that most companies like to keep their hashtag use fairly limited. Between 1-3 hashtags seems to be the sweet spot, and spamming hashtags can actually dissuade people from interacting with your posts.
It’s best to use a few hashtags, but keep them extremely relevant to the post. Using popular hashtags will help you to earn a wider audience and connect with users that search for what you have to offer.
Typically, realtors have a few different types of hashtags that they can use to help improve the visibility of their posts:
- City/Neighborhood hashtags. Help users that are searching for posts about a specific area to find your listing.
- Real estate related hashtags. Hashtags like #RealEstate, #NewListing, #JustSold, #ForSale, or even simply the name of your agency can be a great way to get your posts in front of interested parties.
Tag Images with Relevant Locations
Tagging your posts with relevant locations for your images can help users to find you when searching for images by location. In the example below, you can see that Chad Carroll has tagged the location as being Highland Beach, Florida — where that specific piece of property is located. For prospective clients that are looking for property in specific cities or neighborhoods, this can be a great way to sift through content.
Avoid Fake and Malicious Followers
We’ve all seen it — a big brand account with thousands of followers that gets only a handful of engagements on any new content that they post. When you dive into their following, you quickly realize that most of their following is bots.
This is a bad thing for any brand a number of reasons:
- People notice when your followers and engagement don’t add up and it reflects poorly on your company.
- Your posts will receive less engagement overall, which will cause Instagram’s algorithms to show your post to fewer people, creating a cycle of decreased results.
- A huge following of bots and fake accounts could potentially make your account and posts a target for spam.
While bots and fake accounts might temporarily boost your followers, it can be fairly easy to tell when a brand has boosted their following with fake accounts. The engagement with the posts never lines up. By removing fake followers from your fanbase and proactively working to reduce their presence on your social media accounts, you’ll keep your brand safe and improve your engagement analytics on each post.
Instagram is a Realtor’s Best Friend
Instagram is a powerful tool for realtors. A carefully crafted presence will allow you to grow your Instagram lead generation efforts, increase your influence, and increase the number of referrals that you receive from clients and followers. While you can’t expect success overnight, following some of the best practices discussed in this article can help you to drastically cut down on the time it takes you to create an engaged following that you can use to grow your influence within your market.