Now that you have learned all the basics of Instagram, it’s time to go a bit more in depth.
Just like with Facebook and Twitter, Instagram offers some more advanced methods that real estate agents can use to grow their following and create leads and earn income from their interactions on the platform.
Today we’re going to talk about the two main topics for using Instagram for real estate in a more advanced way.
1) Getting the Most Out of Paid Advertising
Facebook is one of the best online marketing avenues for most real estate agents, and Twitter is quickly growing in popularity, but up until recently advertising on Instagram was not an option.
The great news is that this has changed!
Instagram now offers the ability to create ads just like you can on the other social media networks. The great thing is that since Instagram is owned by Facebook, the ads you create for your Instagram account will be done through your Facebook Ads account.
The first step to advertising on Instagram is to get your Facebook account set up to support it.
You will want to go to your business page, and click on the settings tab at the top right.
Next you will click on the “Instagram Ads” button in the left menu.
Now click on “Add an Account”
If you already have an Instagram account, make sure to check the “Add an existing account” bubble and then enter your Instagram username and password below.
If you do not currently have an Instagram account, you can check the “Create a new account” bubble and Facebook will help you to create an Instagram account right there on that screen.
Once you have entered your account information, or entered the information needed to set up a new account you can click the “Confirm” button and you will see that your account has been connected.
Now that you have connected your Instagram account to your Facebook page you are ready to create your first ad. Currently you must use Power Editor to create Instagram ads. Below I will walk you through each of the steps needed to create your first ad on Instagram.
Step 1: Open the Power Editor
If you have not used Power Editor in the past it can be found by opening your Facebook Ads Manager, and then clicking on the “Power Editor” tab at the top of the screen.
Step 2: Start a new campaign
Step 3: Choose an objective that supports Instagram ads
- Clicks to Website
- Mobile App Instals
- Video Views
Note: Currently these are the only three objectives supported for Instagram ads.
Step 4: Choose to use an existing ad set or choose to create a new one
If you want to you can create an ad set by clicking on the checkbox next to the “Choose an Ad Set” in the above photo. You will then want to enter a name for the ad set.
You can also create an ad set later by clicking “create” after you have named your campaign (see photo above). Then you can click “Create Ad Set” in the top right corner of the ad campaign screen (see photo below). To open this screen click on the ad campaign you just created.
Step 5: Enter a name for the ad set and click create
Once you have entered a name for your ad set you can go ahead and click on the “Create” button.
Now it is time to setup your ad set. Just like with a Facebook ad, this is where you will enter your budget, schedule, audience, and ad placement information.
Step 6: Create Your Ad
Once you have your ad campaign and ad set created, it is time to create your ad. After completing the budgeting, targeting, and audience settings for the ad set you can click on the “Create Ad” link in the top right corner of the screen (see picture above).
Another way to create an ad is to choose the ad tab on the left side of the screen, and then click the “Create Ad” button above it.
After you have clicked “Create Ad” make sure to select the campaign and ad set that you just created, and then give your ad a name.
Now that you have named your ad, there is just one more step before you get to design your ad. Make sure to select your Instagram account in the “Instagram Account” dropdown box.
Once you have done that you will be able to design your ad just like you do for a Facebook ad. After you are done designing your ad, click on the green “Upload Changes” button at the top of the page to upload the ads you just created from Power Editor into Ads Manager. Your ad will then be submitted fro approval, and begin running once approved.
2) Growing Your Followers Organically
Ok so everything you just read about advertising on Instagram is a great way to drive more traffic and get in front more potential clients, but is it required?
Up until recently it hasn’t even been an option, and there are plenty of real estate agents who have grown huge followings on Instagram without spending a penny on paid ads.
So what can you do to replicate their success and grow your following without spending any money on paid advertising?
First and foremost
You need to be posting interesting photos! And you need to be doing so on a regular basis. One of the best ways to make sure that you do this is to create an Instagram posting schedule and stick to it!
How many times a day should you post?
It is recommended that you try posting 2-3 times a day to begin, but you may want to post more or less than this. There are many successful brands that post 4 – 5 times per day, and there are equally as many that only post 1 – 2 times and achieve the success that they are looking for. This is something that you will have to test out for yourself, but start out with 2 – 3 times per day and adjust from there.
Encourage Engagement With Your Posts
Did you know that people are far more likely to engage with your posts if you ask them to do so?
Well most people never ask their followers to do anything with their posts.
I am not suggesting that in every post you ask your followers to go to a website, or call you for more information on a home your featured. What I am suggesting is that you use a simple CTA such as, “double tap if you ____”.
For example: “double tap if you ______”
- like this house
- want a kitchen like this
- agree (this can be used for image quotes)
- want a garage like this
- and so much more…
Another way to do is is to ask you followers to tag someone in the comments.
For example, you could ask your followers to “tag someone you know who would love a kitchen like this”.
This is best used for images that are “dream home” type images, and not just for an image of the kitchen in your current listing (unless it could be considered a “dream home”).
Another great way to gain more followers and encourage more interaction on your posts is to use post shoutouts.
What is a post shoutout?
It is when you mention a user (with their username so that it links to their profile) in the caption of your photo.
This can be used a number of ways. For example:
- Post an image at closing with a buyer of yours and tag them and the title company in the image
- Post an image during the home inspection and give a shoutout to the inspector
- Post an image in a home you are showing and tag the listing agent (use this sparingly as you don’t want to constantly promote other your competition)
- And other similar ways…
Note: Anyone you tag must be on Instagram for this to work.
Last but certainly not least, one of the best ways to get noticed on Instagram is through the use of hashtags.
You can post as many hashtags to a photo as you want to. I would recommend that you post the image and a caption that includes 0 hashtags, and then comment on your post with the hashtags you want to include. This was it keeps the caption cleaner and less cluttered, but still allows the power of hashtags to be used on your photos.
So what hashtags should you use?
Thats up to you. You will have to do some research to see what hashtags your target audience is using. Try to only use the most relevant hashtags in your posts, after all there is no point in wasting time inserting a bunch of hashtags that are not relevant to your image or your brand.
What about a “brand hashtag”?
This is a great addition to the list of hashtags that you use, but should not be the only hashtag that you use.
You may asking yourself what I man by a “brand hashtag”. What I mean is that you could come up with a hashtag that incorporates your name, or your team name, and use it on all posts. For example, I could use the hashtag #therealestateplatform or #jeffprewittrealestate on each of my posts so that people that come across one of my posts could also easily link to all my other posts without having to make it to my profile.
Paid ads are not the only way to grow your followings on Instagram, but they are a great resource that is available to you now. In addition to paid ads it is extremely important that you use some of the organic growth methods listed above, as well as any others that you find work for you.
The most important thing on Instagram is to post quality content, and to interact with other users. if you do your following will grow over time. And while the number of followers you have is not the most important metric, the more you have the better the chance that some of them may convert to leads, and then to income for your business.
Just remember that you can go overboard and spend way too much time on your Instagram strategy.
Keep it simple.
Make a plan and stick to it.
Try using some ads, as well as organic growth methods, and don’t expect to see dramatic results over night. Growing your following and connecting with others on Instagram – and all social networks for that matter – is a long term strategy.