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Social media isn’t just about amusing cat videos. Consumers are turning to social media for ideas, insights, and solutions. Getting involved in the social media conversation means leveraging a platform on which to share your expertise as an industry leader and showcase your inventory. While Facebook and Twitter are social media staples, there are other major platforms available to reach your target audience. Instagram is one such platform – owned and operated by Facebook – on which to launch your presence. Over 90 percent of Instagram users are under the age of 35 and over the age of 18, making it an ideal platform to interact with first-time homebuyers and potential first-time home sellers.

Instagram enables users to share experiences and ideas mainly through pictures and video. Real estate professionals are uniquely positioned to deliver meaningful content to those seeking their first-time buy or first home sale.

Instagram Starter Guide

Post beautiful pictures of your listings. Your listings are your biggest asset to attract a following to your Instagram account. Avoid the temptation to take a picture directly with your phone. Save a professional quality picture that you own to your phone and select the photo from your gallery instead.

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Vary your content from post to post! Use different angles, show interiors and exteriors, close-ups, and other interesting ways to illustrate how the viewer could feel in the home, rather than listing a house’s vital statistics.

Try to avoid posting “SOLD!” photos. This tactic does not provide a meaningful experience for your viewer and will devalue the quality of your work. Try a more strategic approach to illustrate your ability to move inventory.

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Always post pictures that you have taken yourself, or were taken on your behalf by a professional. Never use or alter stock photography to represent a listing – even if you have licensed the use of the stock photo. Before you post pictures of a property, ask permission from the homeowner and check with your local real estate board for any limitations or laws regarding real estate marketing through social media.

Provide descriptions for your contentThe photos and videos attract interest, but it doesn’t have to stop there. A well-written, concise description may be the extra mile needed to earn an extra follower. If your listing has an interesting characteristic, showcase it in the description box before submitting the post. Here’s an example:

Stunning and elegant, we can’t get enough of this lovely home about to head to market. Built in 2008, this newer construction boasts a large living room and dining area, spacious fully fitted kitchen, office, 3 bedrooms, and 3 full baths.”

Hashtag your contentDon’t be afraid to pile on the hashtags (provided they are relevant to your target audience). Hashtags can be described as hyperlinked keywords, and they help index your content along with similar content sharing the same hashtag. For example, #cozycottage and #modernarchitecture may deliver vastly different styles.

Find which keywords work best for you and your inventory, but avoid writing hashtags inside the description sentence. Add them to the end of the description area in one large hashtag block instead. This will make reading the description easier while allowing the platform to properly curate your material. For example:

Stunning and elegant, we can’t get enough of this lovely home about to head to market. Built in 2008, this newer construction boasts a large living room and dining area, spacious fully-fitted kitchen, office, 3 bedrooms, and 3 full baths.

#homebuying #breathtakingbaths #dreamlife #realestate #madisonNJ #homesforsale #newlistings #mynexthome #homedecor #home #house #homesweethome”

When possible, include location data. People want to know where you took your photo. Adding location data will also strengthen your content’s visibility within a given area should a viewer decide to look at Instagram posts where they intend to buy their next home. There will be an option to provide this data before submitting the post.

Sponsored postsInstagram posts can be “boosted” through business.facebook.com. If you have a social media marketing budget, it might be a smart idea to spend dollars to extend the delivery reach of your content beyond your sphere. Based on parameters that you set, Instagram can deliver your content to your target audience within a specified area or based on specific interests. This may result in a boost in follows, likes, and – ultimately – new leads. The amount you spend is completely dependent on duration, location, scale, and budget.

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Be active. Follow industry thought-leaders and other real estate professionals. Engage in meaningful conversations. Follow users who follow your business page. Comment on their material. Content creation is a key component, but being able to interact with your social network is equally as important. Be mindful of people. Converting a lead into a sale should be a goal, but it shouldn’t drive your activity on Instagram.

I invite you to be empowered by the need to provide meaningful content. Your passion will inspire homeowners or homebuyers to connect with you.

Be disruptive. If something isn’t working, kill it, and if it is working, nurture it. Always try new things and never stop moving. There are many more tips out there from other industry professionals that can help you in your journey to make an impactful statement about your business through social media.

This post was originally published on ERA’s blog, Owning the Fence.

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