The Real Estate Agents’ Guide to Instagram Marketing

With 500 million daily users, an average of 95 million posts, and 4.2 billion likes per day, Instagram has grown to become one of the most popular social media platforms across many industries—and real estate is no exception.

But standing out on the platform is more than just posting pretty pictures. Instagram for real estate is about connecting with buyers by showing them content—organic and promotional—that matches the type of property they aspire to own. Using Instagram to do this helps you get the attention of buyers and turns them into prospective customers by showing them you understand what they want.

It’s a lot to juggle, but it’s doable. Here’s how to get started.

Using a personal Instagram account for real estate

To attract more prospects start by using your own personal Instagram account. Just update your profile description to include that you’re a real estate agent along with your personal interests and hobbies. Then start posting your property listings along with your other posts of family and friends.
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The benefit of posting available real estate properties on your personal account is it gives audiences a peek into who you are as a person and not just as a business person. This is your chance to showcase your personality and give people a reason to get excited to work with you. When mixed in with all of your other posts about friends and family, the content looks less like a sales pitch and more like helpful information. This builds your audiences’ trust and encourages them to engage because they don’t feel as though they’re being sold to.

The best way to nurture trust and gain confidence in your abilities is to think about the quality of your posts. Don’t just post at random; this is about the story you’re telling prospects. Here are some examples of what you can do to showcase your properties without selling and show how authentic and valuable your content is:

Instagram stories

The Instagram Stories feature lets you post pictures that disappear after a day. They’re meant to be quick snippets of an event that don’t distract from the theme of your feed. Use this feature to position yourself as an expert in the neighborhoods you work in. For example, create stories for the different attractions, businesses, and amenities in the neighborhood and tag them in your posts.
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People want to know what conveniences are close by to sweeten the deal. Show what you know about the area so that prospects choose you.

create a theme on your page

Make it clear which niche you specialize in by only posting related pictures in your feed. For example, if you specialize in scenic California properties, post pictures of the coastal landscape and stucco home exteriors to build awareness of your niche.

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That way when someone comes to your page for the first time they can quickly identify what they can expect from you and whether this fits their needs.

Incorporate videos

From the very beginning, videos have been a strong feature on Instagram. When the feature first launched five years ago, there were over 5 million videos uploaded within the first 24 hours. This number has grown to 4X over the years with audiences spending 80% more time watching video. So the next time you have an open house, do a quick video walk-through and post it because people will watch it.
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Or ask past clients to post a video of their experience working with you and then share it on your page. This form of user-generated content builds social proof because leads don’t have to base their decision on what you said but on what satisfied customers have to say.

The great thing about using video in your personal account is that you can be as creative as you want to be. You can post behind-the-scenes videos, customer interviews, and so much more to reach and convert your audience.

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Choose the right hashtags

Hashtags are words or short phrases that identify the content you post. For example, if you post a picture of a condo and use a hashtag like #condointhecity, then you make it easier for people to search and find you. It’s tempting to use hashtags with millions of posts but stay away from them. They’re popular, but this means that your content will get lost in a sea of other similar content.

Instead choose hashtags with between 50,000 to 100,000 posts so that your posts get seen by people. Use a tool like SocialAlert to track the impressions, reach, users, and posts that correspond to the hashtags you choose.
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It only takes a few steps to create your own Instagram account. Choose a username, write a profile description, and add a picture of yourself and you’re ready to start posting. Use your personal account to begin building trust and interest from your audience. As you get to know their needs better, post more of the type of content they’re looking for and will appreciate.

Using a business Instagram account for real estate

The power of Instagram is more than visuals—it’s also about targeted ads. You can target Instagram users based on a wide range of categories, such as income, location, and more, to get them to see your listing ads. This targeting is powerful because it places your ad right in front of the most ideal buyers for your property.
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[Source] This listing ad targets buyers looking for family homes.

To create targeted ads, you need an Instagram business account.

If you’re trying to decide if a business account is right for you, you should fall into one of these two categories:

  • You’re an independent agent.
  • You’re a broker working with independent agents.

If you’re working as an agent through an agency, they probably already have their own business profile on Instagram. If this is the case, ask if you can post ads through their business account.

When you’re ready to make the switch from a personal account to a business account, there are three steps to take to update your Instagram account—this only works on mobile, not desktop:

1. Switch account

In settings, click on “Switch to business account” under the account section. Click on the prompt asking you to connect your Facebook account and select which account you’d like to link to—that is if you have more than one company page.
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2. Data sync

Confirm what data to pull from your Facebook page and display on your Instagram page. This can be your contact information, hours of operation, etc. This makes it easy for interested buyers and sellers to reach out to you for more information.

3. Confirmation

Instagram sends you confirmation once the connection and update are complete:
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This is what your updated Instagram profile looks like after the update:

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Creating ads and boosting posts

Instagram ads are set up the same way Facebook ads are:

  • Access Facebook Ads Manager and click on “create campaign.”
  • Add an objective like “send people to website” so that prospects can see more detailed listings on your realtor page.
  • Select the audience, budget, and schedule for your ad.
  • Add in your ad’s content and select whether it will appear only on Instagram or on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Select the images for your ads. You can use the same ones from your Instagram feed and select how they appear. You can choose a single image, a carousel of images, or a video.

Just as with posts on Facebook, you can also boost posts on Instagram. Time these boosts to run at the same time on Facebook to maximize your reach.

Measure engagement

Notice that at the top right of the screen there’s now a graph icon for you to access data and analytics.
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By switching from a personal page to a business account, you get access to data to see who’s browsing your page, what visitors are clicking on, and more. This helps you understand your audience better so that you can offer up more relevant content.

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A business account gives you more insights than merely seeing who your followers are. The detailed analysis helps you tailor your content and offer even more value to your audience.

Saving time with IG through Boost

In order to stay top of mind with your audience on Instagram, you have to post at minimum once a day. This is time-consuming and, even with scheduling apps like Hootsuite, you still have to take the time to create content and then schedule it. Add manually creating ads to this and you’ll soon find yourself short on time to do anything other than maintain your social media accounts.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to promote your listings on Instagram and still have time left over—HomeSpotter’s Boost app.

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Every time a new listing hits the market, Boost automatically creates a new ad that will appear on Instagram (and Facebook) and attract new prospects and educate current customers.

Boost automatically pulls in property images, pricing information, listing details, and your contact information to create ads.

Just like when you create an ad manually, you can tell Boost what to optimize the ad for. For example, you can choose leads, promotion, or something else.

Here’s how it works:

Every time a new ad is created, you have eight hours to log into your Boost dashboard to edit or cancel the ad before it runs live.
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Use some of the images from your Instagram feed to create cohesion between your Instagram feed and the ad. Once live, Boost will provide real-time data on ad clicks, engagement, and views.
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New ads run for seven days by default, but you can buy bigger plans for ads to run longer. Match Instagram and Facebook ads to run at the same time. Running Facebook ads for two weeks keeps it top of mind before users stop noticing it, so choose Boost’s two-week package so that your Instagram ads match this.
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Running Instagram and Facebook ads at the same time, instead of just focusing on one platform, ensures that ads get in front of more of the target audience.

When prospects click on your ad, they’re taken to a custom landing page created by Boost. You don’t have to create your own.
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With Boost you save a lot of time creating ads that get noticed and encourage prospects to contact you. To learn more about how Boost can help your next ad campaign, head over to our Boost homepage.

Get creative with your feed and ads

Instagram is a powerful platform to connect and engage with buyers and sellers. With stunning visual, targeted content, you’re more likely to build a large following, get prospects excited, and win more sales.

Once you’ve figured out your audience and the types of ads and images that resonate with them, get creative with the types of images you post. Try different types of images, and even videos, to see what gets the most engagement and run with it.

The more you experiment, the more engaging your Instagram feed will be. People will want to come back to see what’s new and continue supporting your business.

About Aaron Kardell

Founder and CEO of HomeSpotter

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