With 300 million active users on Instagram, Instagram is no longer just a trendy app but is in fact a massive social network that shows no signs of slowing down. Since real estate is such a visual business, Instagram and real estate are a perfect match.
Image credit: YashilG via pixabay.com
While setting up an account on Instagram is quite easy, it's no fun if you only have 50 followers, with half of them related to you and under 16. Like all other social media marketing, becoming popular and marketing on Instagram is not rocket science. Here are four simple steps that you can take to become an Instagram superstar for your neighborhood.
While social media marketing is not difficult, it is often time consuming. When you first start an Instagram account, or are trying to revitalize a less active account, you can save a lot of time by pre-planning what photos you will post.
Since when you sell real estate, you are selling a lifestyle, everything about your town is fair game to post about. Think of it as showing off your town - if your best friend from out of town comes to visit, what would you show them? You can post anything from cityscapes, parks and landscapes, to a beautiful sunset. You can also post pictures of historic landmarks, popular stores, restaurants and food, concerts and events, etc. Of course, beautiful architecture and homes would also work great for your account.
Even if you're not a photographer, the beauty of Instagram is that you can improve the quality of your pictures merely by using the numerous filters that Instagram provides. The only skill you need is to keep a steady hand, or lean your phone against something stable so the photo is not blurry. Try to shoot from a unique angle so that your photos will stand out.
Go around town one day with your phone and snap a bunch of photos. If you plan on posting daily, which you should in the beginning, try to have at least thirty or so decent photos before you start so you don’t have to worry about what to post for a month. After you have your photos ready, it's time to start posting.
Hashtags are very important for Instagram - this is how other people will find your account and your photos. You should add popular hashtags that are relevant to your photos in the photo's caption. For example, #landscape, #citylife, #sunset, #summer, #realestate, etc. In addition to these popular hashtags, you should also identify the popular hashtags for your town, for example: #nyc, #upperwestside, #centralpark. Later, you can start your own hashtag, for example #JennyNYCHomes
This is when the social aspect of Instagram comes in. The only way for you to grow your account at first is to like and follow other people. Your plan is to become popular in your neighborhood. (Note: This guide is about becoming an Instagram expert for your neighborhood. If your goal is to become internationally famous on Instagram, then that's a whole different discussion). For example, if you sell real estate in Philadelphia, it is not very relevant to gain followers in California or Texas.
When you study what hashtags are popular in your town, you will start to notice that there are popular accounts in your town, along with accounts of local businesses and bloggers.
Here is what you can do to earn at least 1000 real followers and engage your community:
Post a photo a day with appropriate hashtags. Consistency is KEY.
Visit profiles of other people or businesses from your town. Start going through their photos, "like" a bunch of them, comment, and follow them. If they like your photos, more than half the time they will follow you back. Just like other social media platforms, the purpose is for you to meet other residents in your town and grow your sphere.
There are many apps that allow you to see who you have followed, and who did not follow you back. After several weeks, start unfollowing people who do not follow you back, unless they have a beautiful account that you admire. This may sound very "high school"-ish, but it works. The app that I personally use is Follower+.
If you already have your photos prepared, you can easily do your posting, follow and like the photos of 50 accounts a day, while spending less than 15 minutes doing so. After you have 1000 followers, your account will start growing organically. Keep following interesting accounts if you enjoy it, but you will also start to get many followers that do not care if you follow back.
After you have around 300 followers, which may take a month, you can start marketing your services.
Just like other marketing methods, follow the 80/20 rule. I.e. Keep posting your neighborhood photos 80% of the time, although you can always mix in home decor and architecture photos. The other 20% of the time you can post about your listings, photos of your "farm" neighborhood, photos of houses that you are showing, and photos of you working with your clients and testimonials. Use your imagination!
About the author: Kathy Ng has over 10 years experience in real estate as an agent and as an investor. She enjoys blogging about real estate and her neighborhood in the beautiful Hudson Valley on Real Estate Hudson Valley. Follow her on Instagram and find out how beautiful the Hudson Valley is, just North of NYC - @goodhomeshv