- To capture Instagram leads, your brand has to be searchable, and your content has to match the medium.
Here’s a statistic: Instagram has more than 500 million daily users, and is the third-largest platform in terms of usage. That’s a lot of lead opportunities for you…if captured and converted successfully.
The fact is, Instagram is a powerful tool, says Marki Lemons-Ryhal, a consultant and real estate speaker and teacher. Lemons-Ryhal dove into Instagram at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo recently, beginning with the following formula:
If the average home price in your region is $250,000, you have to add 2,880 contacts to your CRM for every $100,000 you’d like to make.
Through Instagram, you can achieve that goal quickly, Lemons-Ryhal says. The keys are to make yourself searchable, and to format your posts properly.
First thing’s first: Is your account business or personal? If you’re an agent and you have a business Facebook page, chances are, you’re also in the “business” category on Instagram—and that’s a good thing, according to Lemons-Ryhal. As a business, you have access to analytics and customizable lead pathways (e.g., “Email Me” or “Text Me”). You can find out what kind of page you have in your Settings.
On Instagram, keywords are king, Lemons-Ryhal says. Be strategic with your username, which is what’s reflected in searches. Are you communicating what you do?
For example, Lemons-Ryhal’s handle is @markilemons, but her username is “Real Estate Keynote Speaker.” Why? Every month, “real estate” is searched 3.4 million times, she says—and the folks who know her know her name and her profession. Engaging new people is the ticket.
“You are a brand, and you want to own your brand,” explained Lemons-Ryhal. “I want to be found by the buyers and sellers in my neighborhood who don’t know me. Talk to them the way that they search. It’s not about us; it’s about being found.”
For agents, consider incorporating your marketplace into your username—that’s how homebuyers look for you. According to Lemons-Ryhal, consumers key in a location in 67 percent of all real estate-related searches. If you’re in a large market, focus on the neighborhood you serve, not the city itself, she recommends.
Once you create a targeted username, evaluate the hashtags on your posts. On Instagram, you can include 30 hashtags, but according to Lemons-Ryhal, the magic number is nine—and, if you’re posting to your Story (more on that later), three is key. She advises keeping a list of real estate terms, so you can easily paste them into your posts.
“What are all the hashtags related to real estate, related to REALTOR® and related to the community that you live in? Also, think about special events that occur where you live, because you want to be included in that conversation [as well],” she said.
Now that you’re discoverable in Instagram searches, you have to help prospects reach you. Ordinarily, this would be achieved through a form—but, on Instagram, your bio is your capture tool, Lemons-Ryhal says.
In your bio, you can include one link. If you have more than one—and most agents do—consider getting a free Linktree, she says. Through Linktree, you can direct leads to a page that showcases your URLs, allowing them to click more of your links from a single source. Importantly, you can access click-through data in Linktree, and also integrate it with Mailchimp, so you can follow up and nurture those prospects.
“Everything I’m doing is taking [leads] into my CRM system and my email marketing,” Lemons-Ryhal said. “[These links] validate you as a resource to buyers and sellers.”
On Instagram, you can post in three ways: on your feed with photos and videos; through Instagram TV (IGTV) with videos; or your Story, also with photos and videos.
“Mark Zuckerberg has stated that this is the year of Stories,” Lemons-Ryhal shared. “Our phones are vertical, and vertical content covers more of the screen. If you’re not adding vertical content, you’re no longer relevant in a feed.”
If you opt to post a Story, which is viewable for a 24-hour window, archive it so you can reuse it, she recommends. IGTV is only for prerecorded vertical videos, which can last a minimum of 15 seconds and up to 10 minutes. Her pro tip? Download InShot, an app in which you can format horizontal ones vertically.
“A lot of us have horizontal videos, but we want it to preview [properly] in the Instagram feed, which is square,” explained Lemons-Ryhal. By squaring off the video, “I’ve had an 818 percent increase in my IGTV video views, because I’m doing it the way they want it done.”
With content formatted for Instagram and an optimized profile, you can begin connecting with customers easily and effectively—and it’s critical you do, because according to Lemons-Ryhal, anything less isn’t worth it.
“If we aren’t generating leads through social media and technology, then we are wasting our time,” she said. “I generate a lead at least every single day because of the device in the palm of my hand. Add one hour per day on social media to your calendar…The only way to build a sustainable business in real estate is to generate leads every single day.”
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. RISMedia is the residential real estate industry’s definitive source for news and information. Email Suzanne your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.