It is no secret that Instagram is currently the social media golden child. There is a ton of opportunity for real estate brokers to work their sphere of influence, engage with their clients and colleagues, and of course, reach new audiences too.
If you're new to Instagram, then the world of hashtags might be a little bit overwhelming. One of the most common questions that I get from my clients and Instagram community is about how to properly use hash tags for real estate social media marketing and how they can make the most impact.
What are hashtags anyway?
Real estate hash tags are searchable words preceded by a "#" sign, often referred to as SEO keywords for Instagram. Hashtags help users can find this content when they are searching the platform for specific keywords or phrases.
When you search Google for a term or phrase, the most popular website pages on that topic will present on the first page of search results. On Instagram, when you search a word or phrase, the most popular posts or "Top Nine" posts on that topic will display on your screen. Hash tags tell the Instagram algorithms what your post is about so that more people will see it when they search for that topic.
How do I find real estate hashtags to use?
It might seem natural to use the most popular hash tags in your category, but that is not always the case. You want to find the hashtags at the intersection of what hashtags people are searching for and what hash tags will help you rank you in that Top Nine.
Start with a list of 30-40 keywords that pertain to your business. Some examples: #realestate, #womanownedbusiness, #realestateagent, #realestatebroker, #realty, #realestateteam. Then, click on the hashtag and check out how much engagement those top nine posts are getting. Can your posts compete for those nine spots? If so, you have found some great hashtags to use!
If not, then you need to narrow down your list and make those hash tags even more niche. As a general rule, if your account is new or under 1,000 followers, find hashtags that have been used about 5,000-20,000 times.
Here are a few categories to get you started:
#yourlocation: Real estate is a hyper-local business, so hashtagging your posts with your location is especially important if you plan to use social media to promote your listings and attract local leads. Research your state, county, city, town, and neighborhood. Instagram is a great place for potential buyers to go when they are researching a new community so these tags will help them find you.
#yourschooldistrict: A home's school district is very important, even for people who do not have children. Not only will parents looking for a new home be thinking about school districts, but it can have a major impact on future resale value too. Make sure this one is front and center!
#yourlocation+style: If you live in an area known for a specific type of home style, hashtag your location plus that style. For example #ChicagoTwoFlat or #MalibuBeachHouse. Again, this can help buyers find you when they know what exactly what they want.
#yourbrokerage or #yourteam: When people search for you on Instagram, you want to be easy to fund! It is also a good way to aggregate all of your content so that searchers have multiple ways to view your content. In general, it is good for branding to use a few branded hash tags. Just be judicious with them, especially if you work for a large, national brokerage and there are a lot of real estate agents using the tag as you'll be harder to find.
#realestate_______: Although it is good practice to use some hash tags that pertain to your industry, be sure you've done your research. Right now, there are over 31 million posts tagged "#realestate." So while this is a good place to start your research, it's unlikely that you'll ever rank in that top nine and be found by more people. Instead, look for hashtags like #realestatechicago (11,000+ posts), #realestateboss (5,000+ posts), or #realestatemom (30,000+ posts) where you have a much better chance at competing.
How many real estate hashtags should I use?
Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags between your caption and the first comment. There are some people who think it's spammy to use that many hashtags, but I'm not in that camp. I believe that as long as you are using hashtags that pertain to your niche or content, you'll be fine.
If you are going to use all 30 hash tags, I like to put them in the first comment and crunch them down to condense the comment. You want to get the benefits of adding hashtags to your post, but remember: hashtags are clickable so they are more or less "exit buttons" away from your content. Why would you want to put a "#localrealestate" hash tag front and center in your caption when people can click that and wind up on a page with dozens of other local agents' posts?
So use those hashtags liberally, but bury them in your post so that you aren't inadvertently generating business for your competitors!
More questions about hashtags? Sign up here for our newsletter or download your monthly content bundle which includes a curated library of stock photography and professional graphic designs, accompanying captions, a calendar that maps it all out for you, and a custom hash tag guide.