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A Wakeup Call for Famous Agents Asleep On Instagram

By Phil Butler | October 4, 2021

A couple of years ago I spotlighted a dime’s worth of top agencies/agents using Instagram. Today, I thought it would be interesting to see how those past stars have either progressed or flopped in their social media marketing efforts. This will be fun for some, and a wakeup call for a few agents who had a shot at social media marketing success, but just blew it.  

Sometimes we want to just ask the obvious quesiton, "why bother?"

Instagram Winners

Over the past couple of years we’ve reported on the best practices for using social media for real estate dozens of times. The spotlight post I’m focusing on today is just a mile marker to see where some notable agents are in terms of adopting new strategies to expand their brands, and providing crisp and meaningful content for their following. As you can see below, most are just paying lip service and creating an Instagram placeholder. Real engagement is almost non-existent for most of the profiles with the biggest followings. The saddest marketing story in the world is about “almost” being a winner. But, before we wade into some big time real estate people engage in 2021, let's take a look at emerging Instagram marketing talent.

Atlanta agent Glennda Baker has 60,000 followers on Instagram today. In two years, she’ll have half a million, mark my words. I bet some of you will be able to tell me why by the end of this report. 

The Agency

This Beverly Hills luxury real estate firm, had 192,000 followers on Instagram back in 2019. Today, they have upped their game considerably by attracting another 173,000 fans. What’s interesting with them, is the fact they’ve done so without really changing their style. The social media team is layering listings and using other new features. It would be interesting to see them share some “Reels” and other tendy Insta-fun.

Chad Carrol

South Florida’s most successful broker is still rolling out the Instagram love, even though his feed is not the raging marketing machine it could be. Half a million plus followers is kind of a plateau point, I’ll admit. But, harping on success, success, success can only go so far. The share below from Capri makes me wonder if Chad is about to write one of those success books soon. Sorry, had to be said. 

Douglas Elliman

America’s poster child brokerage has doubled Instagram fans in the last couple of years. And their social media operators are on the job posting frequently and selectively. I would, however, expect a lot more from companies with massive resources at their disposal. No Reels, no real innovation or out of the box thinking? Come on guys, adding fans is not what it’s all about. And put some people in these professional shots. After all, humans do live in even the most expensive houses.

Fredrik Eklund

The star of Million Dollar Listing on Bravo keeps on chugging along adding hundreds of thousands to his throng of Instagram fans. This goes to show what star power can do for branding purposes. But Eklund, like so many celebrities, seems to rely on his pretty face and popularity to get it done. Selfies and shares of me, me, me, endless me are getting boring in social media. Maybe Lady Gaga can get by with it, or Sly Stalone, but businesses? Me on a yacht, my vacation, my this, my that, look how successful I am… Well, maybe there’s another success book in the making here? I will give Fredrik this, he has the most beautiful kids I ever saw. 

Shawn Elliott

Like Eklund, this TV star gets a lot of mileage out of his face and his fame. However, he has doubled his Instagram following with a nice touch, I might add. Elliot frequently celebrity bombs his followers with selfies including stars like Ron Perlman, Jon Voight, and Sly Stallone. Still, he would be in the loser category here if posting frequency and innovation were the only criteria. Come on Shawn, either add more famous pals, or create a Reel to be proud of once in a while. 

The Losers List

Dusty Baker’s Instagram has basically gone nowhere since I last posted on the subject. He’s added about 4,000 followers, but posting family pics or pictures of self every couple of weeks is not exactly Instagram marketing dominance. Ditto for actress turned agent Cindy Ambuehl, who seems to have turned her feed into a casual afterthought. 

Matthew Sweat, in his defense, seems as if he never was on Instagram with a focus on selling homes. He’s a great photographer, and this still shows. But now I wonder how I chose this profile for Instagram marketing in the first place. Take a look below. This is a fantastic Instagram share, but can anyone tell me what is wrong with it? It has the potential for massive engagement. It has near perfect text, and a built in call to action. What’s wrong is that Sweat did not promote this with everything he had. 200 something likes could have been 1,000 new followers. This Instagram profile should have half a million followers.

Another real loser in the Instagram marketing for real estate games is Toll Brothers. The home builders are just corporate, and that’s all. And corporations don’t even belong on social networks without either permission from us, or stunning content paid for by the millions they rake in.

Rounding out the bottom of this loser list, Luis Iglesias lost a lot of followers these past two years. It’s seems like the agency just quit this Instagram profile. There are two things you can do to really show how little your care about engaging people. You can be a corporation, which is kind of what some of our “winners” are doing as well. And, you can abandon a profile with thousands of people watching, without even saying a goodbye. Cmoe on Iglesias, at least delete the old account! 

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
  • 3 comments on “A Wakeup Call for Famous Agents Asleep On Instagram”

      1. You are so welcome. There are so few in the industry out there who understand social media. You put forth useful and straightforward content that is refreshing, in a world of set it and let it marketing. Thank you, for being real.

        Phil Butler

      2. Hi Glennda, we just say what is. Your engagement is in a different league in my opinion. The world is tired of cookie cutters and corporate stoicness. Useful information from genuine people is what differentiates. Thank you, for helping a lot of people do a better job.

        Phil Butler

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