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4 Things You Need to Do for Success on Instagram

By Al Twitty | July 15, 2019

You’ve probably already seen how beneficial Instagram can be for realtors. After all, a visually-oriented social media platform with over one billion active users per month sounds like the perfect place for real estate marketing.

The big problem, however, is that simply being present on Instagram isn’t enough. Each social media platform has a different set of rules, different modes of community engagement and different functionalities. Instagram is no exception. So if you aren’t tailoring your marketing strategy to match, you’re most likely underperforming without knowing why.

Luckily, these rules for the road are relatively easy to learn. Once you grasp them and start practicing them daily, you’ll almost instantly start to see a difference in your performance stats.

Speaking of performance stats, the only way you’ll be able to see exactly how you’re performing on Instagram in cold, hard numbers is if you have a business account, so if you haven’t yet converted (or you’re not sure if you have one), you should absolutely work on that.

Here are three key things you need to do on Instagram in order to grow your real estate business.

1. Post More Videos

There are many reasons you should be posting more videos on social media, but here’s the top reason you simply can’t ignore: Video posts receive 38% more engagement than image posts.

When your audience is scrolling through a feed of endless images, videos tend to stop them in their tracks. They’ll take an extra second or two to see what the video is about, and that’s your opportunity to grab their attention.

On Instagram, you have multiple opportunities for posting, depending on the length and nature of the video. Videos posted to the newsfeed, which can be up to 60 seconds long, are extremely important, because these will be seen by the majority of your audience. The feed may be where your followers are most likely to see your posts, but don’t forget that when people are deciding whether or not to follow you, they’re likely to browse through your profile as well, and this is where your videos’ shelf life is extended.

For best results, use short, snappy boosted videos to capture attention quickly and give a quick introduction of your brand to potential clients. Social video creation app Yala is perfect for this. It allows you to create high-quality, branded videos (like the one below) with their library of unique, original video clips. Best of all, you can make them in minutes and you don’t even have to turn on a camera to do it.

YouTube player

You can also use Instagram Stories, where the 24-hour expiry and 15-second video limit is perfect for sharing daily happenings like your open house in session. Or you can share longer 10-minute videos on IGTV, like a walkthrough of your new listing or a testimonial from a happy client.

To make sure you get the maximum value out of your videos, you should always cross-post (sharing your IGTV video on your feed, your feed post on your Stories, etc.) and repurpose longer videos by splitting them into smaller clips and posting them elsewhere.

2. Keep Followers Engaged

Like most social media platforms, Instagram wants to keep the user’s attention within the app as much as possible. The more you can help them do that, the more the algorithm will promote your account and content to your potential audience to get you more followers and engagement.

What does that mean for your real estate business? Firstly, it means that your content should always encourage likes and comments. Instead of driving traffic to a blog post or a property listing page on your website, post the details directly into your Instagram caption. It has a 2,200 character limit, so you can go wild. Also be sure to include a question related to your caption that encourages anyone reading to leave a comment.

Similarly, when you post Stories, use features like polls, quizzes, questions, and group chat to keep the conversation going. To find these, simply go to Instagram Stories, select an image or video, then scroll up to see the options.

3. Follow and Engage with Others

Just as much as you want followers to engage with you and your content, you’ll need to do the same for them. Being an active part of the Instagram community also increases your favorability with the algorithm gods.

Wondering which accounts are the best to follow? Here’s a list to start with:

  • Local businesses in your geographical region, so they can get familiar with you and your brand
  • Followers of local businesses, who also live in the area and can recommend you to others
  • Real estate agents, blogs, etc. that are very active (they’ll give you some great ideas)
  • The competition, so you can know what they’re up to

You should also look into following hashtags that are highly relevant to your location and online community. More on that further down.

Once you follow these accounts and hashtags, continuously engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts and Stories regularly. This is not the place to be spammy and engage in pushy sales tactics. All you are doing is building relationships with people who will later become a community of trusting advocates.

The idea here is that when you follow an account and interact with them, they will, in turn, visit your page, follow you back and engage with your content. At this point, you’ll have an opportunity to further the relationship and build a stronger connection with your audience.

4. Use Hashtags Liberally

Hashtags are the lifeblood of content discovery on Instagram. Using relevant hashtags enables your content to be found by potential followers and clients who may not have found you otherwise.

The maximum number of hashtags allowed per post is 30, and your goal should be to max that number out as much as possible. You should also be using them in your Instagram Stories. Don’t worry about it looking messy or tacky. For feed posts, you can always post the hashtags in your first comment, rather than your caption. In Stories, you can hide them behind text.

It may seem hard at first, but the trick is to first do some hashtag research, make a master list that you keep on your phone, and simply copy the relevant ones when it’s time to post.

Along with using the general high-volume hashtags, like #realestate #firsthome #curbappeal, which will bring you a few extra likes per post, you’ll want to use some low-volume hashtags (with under 250,000 posts) related to relevant online groups and communities, your location, related brands, events, and even a few of your own. The latter are hashtags you should be following as well, so you can truly integrate yourself into these communities.

You Can’t Set It and Forget It

While you can, and should, create a checklist of things to do and make this a part of your regular routine, it’s not something that will run on its own. To truly succeed on Instagram requires an investment in time and effort on your part, but rest assured that it will bring you the results you crave.

However, instead of treating it as a daily chore, you should embrace Instagram for what it really is - a massive community of people waiting to connect and engage with others just like you.

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