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digital_photoThe importance of visual content is increasing every day. The purpose of posting beautiful photos is to connect with people, not necessarily to show that you are the best real estate agent.

This is a key to success, according to Katie Lance, CEO and owner of Katie Lance Consulting,  who shared tips and advice on using photo-driven social media sites in’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents Webinar, “Instagram and Pinterest in Real Estate, How to Leverage Photo-Driven Social Platforms for Your Business.”

Last week, we touched on Lance’s thoughts about Pinterest, and this week, we look at her recommendations for using Instagram to grow your business, build new referrals and expand your network significantly.

Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day. This is according to a 2012 study by ROI Research, which found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. In fact, 44 percent of respondents says they were more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.

“If you think about how you connect with people, we connect visually. I remember things many times more often because I saw a photo—it’s really powerful stuff,” Lance says. “Instagram is one of my favorite sites and it’s really amazing how fast it’s growing.” She’s not exaggerating – 55 million photos are uploaded every day, resulting in 86.4 million comments and 691.2 million users have liked various photos in their Instagram feeds.

In trying to convert non-Instagram users into one of the 150 million active users, Lance stresses the importance of utilizing all social media choices to one’s advantage. Plus, one of the nice things is that when you post a photo to Instagram, you can push it to your other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

“If your strategy includes marketing to Generation Y or Millennials, Instagram is kind of a big deal and a great network to think about,” she says. “I’ve gotten to know people better and gotten new business through Instagram.”

For those already on Instagram, there are some tools and helpful sites that not everyone knows about and Lance says it’s important to learn about these in order to get the most out of their account. A web interface that provides free statistics about who’s clicking and what photos are performing best in your account. It also gives you an opportunity to create albums and organize your photos. Offers visual stats for things such as how many ’likes’ you have, a follower count and your most recent follows and unfollows.

Ink361: Let’s you create products, such as prints of your Instagram photos, albums and phone cases. One of Lance’s favorites, this site allows you to print your Instagram photos, create books, content cards and magnets. During the holidays, Lance created little gifts for clients by using this site and suggests using this as an opportunity to better connect with clients.

Postagram: With this site, you can take your Instagram photos and turn them into postcards, which you can then send to clients or potential clients.