PLANOLY Small Business School: Realtors and Real Estate Agencies - How to Grow Your Business on Instagram

    February 05 2020  |  Inspiration , Downloadables , Best Practices , PLANOLY , Marketing

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    The real estate industry remains a growing force on Instagram. With the right strategy, there's an opportunity to reach new clients and grow your business.Why Instagram? Instagram is a powerful platform to establish yourself or your business as a top choice in your city. You can directly connect with potential buyers, run targeted ads, and creatively generate leads.Real estate, by its very nature, requires a lot of photo sharing – which are the most accessible on Instagram. Opulent beachfront properties and charming neighborhood abodes add warmth and distinction to any Instagram feed. But as any realtor will attest, that doesn't necessarily translate to new business. The intention behind that content is what drives engagement and, ultimately, your business.

    Questions to Ask Yourself

    Before strategizing on visuals for your posts, let's start by first fielding these questions:Do you have a clear branding strategy?How do you add value to your followers' and potential client's experience with your content?Are you providing expert-level content and industry information?Does your content make me relatable and trustworthy?Are you using all the tools at your disposal?Does your content match the results of your market research?Are you targeting your core demo?Now that you're strategizing content that speaks to your business goals and audience connectivity, the next point of emphasis is to cement the foundational touchpoints of your branding.

    Real Estate Instagram Marketing - First Steps

    Secure & Optimize Your Account

    What you'll want to do first is to create an Instagram Business Account. If you already have a personal Instagram, keep it. It's important to have both your personal account and another account strictly for your business.Your profile name should be straightforward. Aim for a combination of your given name or business name along with a searchable keyword like "realtor" or "real estate." For example @PLANOLYRealEstate or @PLANOLYTheRealtor.Outfit your new account with a professional photo of yourself or your staff. Crop this image just above your shoulders and complement that with a clean backdrop. Then, with your bio, be very specific about who you are and what kind of problems you can solve.For instance, if you're a realtor in Southern California who specializes in selling beachfront properties, make sure that's known in your Instagram profile's bio. Or, if you work in the Baltimore area and your focus is finding affordable homes for single mothers, your bio should speak to those admirable efforts. Specificity is key to both engaging your audience and generating organic leads on Instagram.

    Audience Market Research

    Market research is critically important in real estate. Finding out who your audience is, what they're looking for, and how your goals align with theirs will lead you to business success.High touch marketing is how you build human interconnectivity. Start your research with a few basic questions:What can your potential customer afford?Are you marketing in that price range?How old is your customer?Are you engaging first-time buyers and sellers?Where does your audience live?The average Instagram user is approximately34 years old. Many of the potential clients you're hoping to attract on Instagram will be millennials. That said, you'll likely be marketing to lots of first-time homebuyers.Begin by researching what those potential clients earn annually, what the living wage is in their city, and where the housing market currently stands (appraisals, taxes, inflation, etc.). Knowing what you're up against before you're up against it ensures you're worthy of that communication.

    Who's Doing it Right and Why

    Much of this work will drill down on potential leads. You'll develop a greater understanding of who you're speaking to and, subsequently, how to talk to them. The Rehab Life, a restoration business founded by Liz Spillman and JP Strate, gets to the core of social media engagement with striking before and after images that evoke emotion and action. Taking stripped-down properties and turning them into beautiful homes built to the specifications of their owners, The Rehab Life isn't exactly a real estate firm. However, they've carved out an entry point to the industry with thoughtful visual content. Who doesn't love before and after storytelling? Houses, an Instagram account with one of the most substantial followings in the industry, appeals to a much grander sensibility. Instead of exclusively approaching emotion by way of transformation, Houses achieves success by fostering excitement through inspiration.Offering an inside look at some of the world's most luxurious properties, Houses represents an aesthetic ideal seen through homeownership opulence. This aspirational content may not generate organic leads from the majority of Instagram users. Yet it does resonate with the dreamers, it's extremely sharable content, and it builds social credibility for the small percentage of users who can afford the properties Houses showcase.

    Refine Your Branding Approach

    Now that you have the basics down and understand your audience, crafting content becomes much more approachable.Much of what confirms your legitimacy as a realtor online is trust. You are the bridge between your clients and the most significant financial purchase of their life. You must be both trustworthy and an expert in your field.To that end, sharing your learnings, industry critiques, and experiences will be paramount to your Instagram triumphs. If you have 20 years of experience with first-time homebuyers, audibly shout that expertise on Instagram. If you know the ins and outs of home inspections, homeowners associations, or anything niche about the home buying experience, lend that knowledge to your followers – create organic connectivity with your audience.Another powerful tool for real estate marketing is User Generated Content (UGC) by way of testimonials. Show success stories from past clients. Share the happiness and joy you've helped fulfill through successful home sales.Moreover, create content calendars to guide your strategy. Make categories for yourself and check them off as you plan your content. PLANOLY provides a seamless approach to visual storytelling that will save you time, allow you to study your engagement metrics, and see precisely who's checking out your content.

    Who's Doing it Right and Why

    The star of Million Dollar Listing New York, Ryan Serhant, has used his Stories and IGTV not to sell properties necessarily but further market himself as a brand. Given his expansive platform on BravoTV, Serhant needs less to push properties on Instagram and more to further ascend his star. He's branded himself as the realtor of the stars and uses IGTV to offer insightful market research and his unparalleled experience.The Corcoran Group leverages its Stories Highlights by revealing uniqueness among its New York City listings. Smartly categorizing lush city views, massive spa-like bathrooms, and property exteriors from brownstone stoops to glowing city blocks, each allows The Corcoran Group to capture inspiration to guide viewers into their quest to find the home of their dreams.

    Use Your Tools

    While visual storytelling on your grid is a more straightforward and practical approach to building trust and promising leads, utilizing all the tools Instagram provides will yield even greater benefits.Instagram Stories and IGTV are tools you'll want to leverage to provide video tours of property listings. Be as specific as possible. Showcase all the bedrooms, common areas, bathrooms, and exterior views of your property.Use Stories to guide your viewers with thoughtful commentary and specific details of your listing. Their interest is often dependent upon your excitement to share. The polling and quizzes features will allow followers to engage with you and help you crowdsource market research to narrow in on their needs. Ask your viewers to guess the price of the listing to add some fun to your feed while also inciting engagement.You'll also want to use PLANOLY's Hashtag Manager. Hashtags serve as a critical connector on Instagram. They reach outside of your echo-chamber and allow users that don't follow you to discover your content. Think about hashtags like #NewListing, #JustListed, #ForSale, and other industry-specific indicators that lean into market specificity.Targeted ads are a bit of an elevated strategic approach to identifying your audience, but one you should consider after taking full advantage of any free tools at your disposal. Instagram operates within Facebook's advertising system, meaning you can pinpoint ideal leads by targeting age, location, gender, demographics, and select behaviors. You can also access Detailed Targeting through Facebook for your Instagram Business Account.

    Reaffirming Your Position

    Although real estate marketing on Instagram may feel easily approachable given the ease of merely posting a beautiful photo, that's not near enough to break through to your audience or engage a new one. You'll need to focus on a holistic strategy with many of the key touchpoints mentioned above.There's a huge responsibility that comes with selling a home. You're a trusted advisor who plays a critical role in a life step no one ever forgets. You bear the significant burden of being prepared to take on that task, that family, and their finances. Your marketing preparation is just one part of what deems you worthy of that experience.To get started and apply your learnings, download our free Instagram Strategy worksheet for the Real Estate industry. Use this worksheet to determine your goals, establish a content strategy, and track your Instagram's impact on your business.

    Download the free PLANOLY Instagram Worksheet for Realtors and Agencies

    The PLANOLY mobile app and web platform simplifies social media marketing by allowing you to visually plan, schedule, and analyze your Instagram and Pinterest content.