When you think about real estate marketing, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps MLS listings, word-of-mouth exchanges, or networking at industry events?
These are great options that have helped realtors launch and grow successful businesses in the past, but there’s a fast-growing opportunity you can use to market your business. I’m talking about social media marketing, specifically on Instagram.
Instagram is a powerful platform for promoting listings and growing a following as a real estate agent. You can connect directly with your audience, run ads, and even get creative with the content you post to generate leads.
But with so many ways to use the platform, marketing on Instagram can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming. Just as you get comfortable with one trend, there’s a new one to learn about.
To help you create a successful real estate social media marketing strategy on Instagram, we’ve got 23 tips to get you started.
1. Set up a business profile.
If you haven’t done so already, change your personal Instagram account to a business account. The main benefit is instant access to analytics. You can see information like
- post interactions per week (this includes profile visits and website clicks);
- page discoveries per week (this includes your posts’ reach and impressions);
- the number of posts published per week;
- performance of each post (this is in terms of total views); and
- the demographics of your audience.
A business account also makes it easier for potential customers to get in touch with you. Add your email address and phone number to your profile so that visitors to your page don’t have to leave Instagram to find your contact information. The easier it is to contact you, the better your chances of gaining new leads.
2. Find influencers in your niche.
Influencer marketing is on the rise, especially on Instagram. By partnering with influencers in your niche, you’re able to get your services in front of a larger segment of your target audience than you would have on your own. For example, perhaps you sold a home to an influencer. If so, ask them to tell followers about the experience, and include a link back to your account.
Influencers can have anywhere from a few thousand to a few million followers. Keep in mind that it’s not about how many followers they have but about how engaged their followers are — are followers leaving comments, sharing and liking posts? — and how closely matched the followers are to your ideal customers.
If you’re a new agent or you’re working independently, influencer marketing has the potential to increase awareness of you and your service.
[Source] Consider partnering with influencers as a networking opportunity and to learn from them.
3. Learn from influencers in your niche.
Once you find influencers, be aware of how they use Instagram. Ideally, they cater to the same audience as you, so look at
- the hashtags they use;
- the calls to action they include with each post;
- the types of captions they write. For example, do they pose questions to their followers, and if they do, what kind of engagement do they get?
- the kind of content they share. Do they include funny real estate memes? If so, how do their followers respond?
Bottom line: Find out what influencers do, and figure out a way to do it better.
4. Use lots of relevant hashtags.
Hashtags are how your audience finds you on Instagram and categorizes your content. The tags are essentially keywords that Instagram users can search for or follow. Instagram lets you use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, but you don’t have to use that many. You can use as few as 10—12 hashtags as long as they’re relevant to your post.
If you specialize in selling condos in Manhattan, focus on hashtags like #manhattancondos, #manhattancondominiums, or #manhattancondoforsale to get pertinent traffic. Use a hashtag-generator tool like Seekmetrics to help you find appropriate hashtags.
Use hashtags with two or three words, since they’re more targeted, and more likely to drive relevant traffic to your page. Also, do some research to find out what other realtors in your niche use and how popular those hashtags are.
5. Manage the hashtags you use.
When you plan the captions for your posts, don’t use popular hashtags that are associated with millions of posts. Remember, hashtags are meant to make it easier for people to find you. Using lots of popular hashtags with tens of millions of mentions makes it harder for your audience to find you. Your content gets buried very quickly and will likely go unseen.
Instead, use hashtags with fewer mentions — like 10,000–50,000 — to improve the chances of your content being found. For example, instead of using a hashtag like #nevada, which has over 4 millions posts, use #nevadarealestate, which has just over 3,500.
6. Use automation for publishing.
In order to keep your followers excited about you and your services, you have to post regularly. When followers can rely on consistent content, they’re more likely to keep coming back to see what’s new. This is key to growing a following and building trust. To develop consistency, post at least once or twice a day.
Coming up with new content daily is time-consuming, so use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to manage your social media marketing. Dedicate a few hours once a week to plan, create, and schedule posts. That way, your page always has fresh content — new listings, upcoming events, and industry news, for example — without you spending hours posting every day.
7. Use automation to incorporate advertising.
From deciding on the goals for each ad campaign you run to planning the copy, creating ads is another time-consuming task. You have to run ads to make sure your properties get exposure, but if you’re selling multiple properties, advertising can quickly take you away from other important tasks, such as prepping for open houses, following up with customers, or processing paperwork.
Fortunately, a tool like Boost is available to help you automate your advertising. Here’s how it works: When you post a new listing on MLS, Boost takes data, like listing information, images, and your contact details, and creates an ad that appears in your audience’s Instagram feed. The process happens automatically, but you have the option to make adjustments to ads as needed.
8. Build partnerships in your niche.
One way to position yourself as an expert within your specialty is to partner with industry experts. For example, follow home stagers, interior designers, photographers, brokers, and other experts, and comment, share, and like their posts. That way, as you grow your customer base, you’ll have more resources on hand, allowing you to market your properties better.
Customers aren’t looking for someone who will just help them buy or sell a home. They want someone who can offer feedback and suggestions that help them make better decisions. Having resources at your fingertips helps position you as their trusted adviser.
9. Add your Instagram feed to your website.
Give website visitors a chance to get to know more about you, beyond what appears on your website. Your website is designed to sell, while Instagram can be used to build awareness. For example, use it to give a behind-the-scenes look at you and your business. Connect selling and brand awareness activities by adding your Instagram feed to your website. Add the feed to your home page so that it’s one of the first things visitors see.
Do this as a way to make it easier for website visitors to find you on Instagram. For the most part, the content on your website is static — aside from new listings you post, perhaps — whereas your Instagram feed changes daily. By inviting website visitors to follow you on Instagram, you have more opportunities to nurture the relationship with leads and build trust.
10. Plan your strategy.
Effective real estate social media marketing is more than posting pretty pictures. Attractive images are a great way to get noticed, but what helps you keep followers requires that you plan what you post. Start by thinking about what you want your page to accomplish and what actions you expect followers and visitors to take. For example, think about these:
- Your goals for your account. Decide whether you want to grow your followers, generate leads, connect with influencers, or something else.
- The types of content you want to post. Include images of your listings, but also include event images or industry news.
- How often you’ll post. Think about how many posts you’ll publish in a day or a week, and create enough content to support that goal.
[Source] An example of an in-depth social media strategy.
Then, think about what you want followers and page visitors to do. Will you ask questions in your post, direct them to a link in your bio, or ask them to complete some other action?
11. Educate more than you sell.
Featuring real estate on Instagram is a great opportunity to educate your followers. Use the analytics available in your business account to see what types of educational posts perform the best. Post information about mortgage rates, home staging, and purchase contracts.
Based on which posts perform well, run a series, or do interviews with leaders in your niche to build the trust followers have in you and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
12. Use video.
Including video in your social media marketing strategy is a powerful way to connect with your visitors and followers. Instagram allows you to post 15-second videos to your Stories and 60-second videos to your feed. For example, use these features to post videos of houses for sale, and include a voice-over to provide details about the houses.
Instagram TV (IGTV) is a new feature on Instagram that lets you post longer videos — up to an hour long — to share with your followers. Use these videos to do a full walk-through of the house or the surrounding neighborhood. With longer videos, you can take your time talking about the features and amenities that your audience is most interested in.
13. Include a weekly feature.
It’s hard to keep coming up with fresh new content, so take the pressure off by launching a weekly feature. That way, there’s at least one day a week where you don’t have to post brand-new content.
Examples of features include
- customer spotlight, where you post an image of a customer standing in front of their new home;
- a roundup of influencers you admire;
- a home-improvement tip; and
- home-renovation highlights.
Experiment with a few options, and based on the engagement that posts receive, focus on one type. Make sure it’s something that will provide followers with a lot of value and will reinforce their trust in you.
14. Get personal.
Your posts don’t have to focus only on the properties you’ve listed. Show followers the person behind the business by posting about topics like
- a recent experience you had with a customer;
- events you’ve attended; and
- a behind-the-scenes look at a home renovation.
This strategy helps followers get to know you better and contributes to lead generation. Your audience is going to research real estate agents before they choose one to work with, so show them why they should work with you. You can then work on converting those leads into customers.
15. Use Linktree in your bio.
Instagram allows you to have one link within your profile bio. Many users use this to link back to their homepage. But to give your social media marketing efforts a boost, add the Linktree link to your Instagram profile.
Linktree is an app that gives you more opportunities to link to content on your website. So rather than just linking to your homepage, Linktree lets you include multiple destinations within the main link.
For your real estate social media marketing, include links to
- listings on your website;
- your email list;
- industry news and updates on your site; and
- an events page on your site for open houses and other opportunities for potential customers to meet you.
With the basic Linktree plan, you can see which links get the most clicks and then add and remove links as needed.
16. Promote individual posts.
Another option for advertising your real estate listings on Instagram is to promote individual posts. When you have a business account, Instagram gives you the option to reach more people by promoting posts.
For example, when you connect Facebook to your Instagram account and click on “Promote,” you’ll be asked to confirm where you want the post to appear — your timeline or a business page — and then you’re ready.
Let’s say you have a listing in a neighborhood that isn’t as popular as others. Use the promotion feature to get the property in front of a larger segment of your target audience to improve the chances of finding a buyer.
17. Get creative with your profile bio.
Your profile bio is your chance to get followers and visitors excited about you and the services you offer. Instead of a few sentences describing who you are, think of what keywords best describe you, and list those instead.
Also, incorporate hashtags to help your target audience find you when they search, and include emojis to make your page appear more inviting.
Finding the right mix of these strategies will make your profile description more engaging. The quirkier your bio is, the more likely visitors will stick around to find out more about what you have to offer.
18. Follow leaders in your industry.
This approach is twofold because following industry leaders — either established real estate agents or associations such as the National Association of Realtors — gives you inspiration based on their posts.
Follow them, but also leave thoughtful comments on their posts, and “like” their pictures. This is another way to grow your network and get exposure to other people in the industry. Perhaps when an opportunity comes up, you’ll be one of the first realtors the industry leader thinks of. Or you can proactively ask if you can be of assistance when one of these leaders posts an update you have experience with.
19. Use professional images.
While this isn’t a requirement, professional photos help your page stand out. If your budget allows, this is worth the investment. This isn’t just professional images of your properties; this strategy includes images of you, too.
Show yourself with customers, at your desk at work, or at an event. Professional images give your feed a more appealing look and feel. Even though Instagram offers filters to make DIY photography inviting, filters can’t change the fact that the image doesn’t show well or doesn’t do a property justice.
Also, professional images of your listings improve the chances of selling these properties because the photos conjure up feelings of the fear of mission out (FOMO) among followers who can see themselves in the homes.
20. Link to other social media accounts.
What’s great about Instagram is that it lets you link to other social media profiles and share your posts across all of them. For example, link Facebook or Twitter so that every time you post to Instagram, you have the option to also post to other social networks at the same time.
[Source] Update linked accounts from Instagram’s settings menu.
Instead of logging into your accounts separately to upload and post content, you save time and are able to target audience members who might not be on Instagram but are on Facebook or Twitter. That way, they don’t miss out on the content you’re sharing, and you increase your reach at the same time.
21. Use IG Stories to post updates.
Instagram Stories are 15-second clips that disappear after 24 hours. Stories allow you to post updates that might not be relevant to your page but are still important to share with followers. For example, use Stories to run a fun poll, launch a special promotion, or show a customer getting the keys to their new home or standing next to a sold sign.
22. Give real-time updates using IG Live.
If you’re hosting an open house in a particular neighborhood, share this update using IG Live. Use this feature to
- invite people in or near the area to stop by and meet you;
- encourage visits to the new property so you can give them a tour; and
- engage with your followers in a new way.
What’s great about this feature is that Instagram notifies specific people that you’re live, so followers know to open the app to learn more about what you’re sharing. Only followers who will find this information relevant will be notified that you’re live.
23. Figure out the best times to post.
To get the best results from your real estate social media marketing experience, figure out the best times to post content. Part of this is knowing and understanding which demographic you cater to; the other part is based on research.
If you cater to empty nesters, they may be more responsive to content shared at specific times. If you cater to first-time home buyers, consider posting first thing in the morning. Or post later in the evening, when they’re home from work and can spend more time engaging with posts.
Studies show that the best days to post are Mondays and Thursdays, but experiment with post times to discover what gets the best engagement from your followers. The idea is to post when followers are most active and likely to see your content.
Remember that you don’t have to adopt all of these tips immediately. Based on your immediate goals, create a strategy that incorporates four or five of them.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, your campaign should focus on finding and partnering with influencers, planning the type of content you post, and promoting your posts. As your goals and priorities shift, adjust which tips you use.
There are, however, some tips that we strongly suggest you use all the time, such as switching to a business profile and researching hashtags. That will make it easier for you to manage your social media marketing campaigns and reach your goals.