A picture is worth a thousand words. And let's face it, no one has time to read a thousand words right now.
In an industry like real estate, where branding and design are crucial to our overall success, having a real estate Instagram account is a no-brainer.
Here's why every real estate broker should be using Instagram
Enhance Your Personal Branding
Instagram is one of the most visually appealing social media platforms and a perfect place to showcase your expertise through photography, video, and graphics.
While there is also room for you to share your listings, digital property flyers and other advertorial content, Instagram is one of the best social networks to use to define your brand.
Your social media presence should give people an idea of what it will be like to work with you.
You should share photos that you take yourself on your real estate Instagram -- not just stock photos and your ads.
Make sure your images and graphics are professional, in focus and if they include font, easy to read. For your real estate Instagram account, even when you are taking your audience behind the scenes and giving glimpses into your personal life, content should be of the highest quality.
This will show clients that when they work with you, they'll always get the very best.
Stay in Touch with Your Sphere
With over a billion monthly users, the odds are good that your target audience is on Instagram.
That includes a lot of the people that you already know and have done business with.
Encourage your friends, family and clients to follow you on Instagram (and we'll talk later about more about ways to promote your page), but also be sure you are following all of your contacts.
You want to be where your clientele is, and if they are spending time on Instagram, chances are they'll be connecting with other real estate brokers.
I once worked with an agent who told me that she lost a client to another broker who had a better digital marketing and social media plan in place.
Even though she had a great relationship with her client offline, he noticed another broker using social media and digital marketing to promote her listings and he wanted to have that same extra effort dedicated to selling his house.
No matter how good your relationships are offline, if your clients are online, you need to be there too or you will lose business.
Reach New Audiences
Social networks, including Instagram, are great for online word of mouth for two reasons. First, it's one more point of contact for people to see and hopefully remember you before they know they need you.
If you post about a restaurant you love and a friend of a friend sees it because they happen to be following about you, they'll think about you when they go to that restaurant or see an ad for the restaurant.
You're now top of mind before they realize they need a real estate broker. When they are ready to sell their home, they'll think about you. When they are talking to someone that is thinking about moving, your name is now more likely to come up in that conversation, generating even more new business.
In addition to social networks helping facilitate more referrals for you, it's easier for people to connect with you when they want to refer you.
When I see a post from someone looking for real estate broker recommendations, or contemplating a move to a specific neighborhood, it's easier for me to tag my broker in a comment on Instagram to refer them than it is for me to pull up my contact list, and text or email my broker an introduction.
Make it easier for your clients to recommend you to their circle of friends by being where they are, and being responsive, too.
Engage Your Community
Instagram is not free advertising.
That goes for any social network, but all too often I see brokers use Instagram to push their listings, share digital versions of their listing flyers, and even post pictures of their print ads on their real estate Instagram accounts.
You can do a little of that (sparingly...we will talk about the 80/20 rule later). But think about what your clients and potential clients are interested.
On social media, you need to treat people the way they want to be treated.
When you're meeting with a prospective client for the first time, do you spend most of the meeting talking about yourself, or do you briefly introduce yourself and your qualifications, and then focus on their needs? Your first "online meeting" should be the same.
Your social media marketing should revolve around meeting the needs of your clients -- providing them with content that is informational, educational and entertaining. If you can do all three, you are well on your way to engaging your audience online.
As a marketing tool, social media was practically made for real estate agents.
If you are, by nature, a social person, then social media is a great place for you to make more of the same connections that you would if you had all of your friends (and all of their friends) in a room.
The key to winning leads -- qualified, valuable leads -- is to remember that there are actual humans on the other end of the computer. Would you walk into a room and announce that you're a real estate broker? Or would you take the time to introduce yourself and get to know someone?
As long as you act less like an advertiser and more like an expert in the real estate field in your community, people will engage with you and eventually, want to work with you.
Your real estate Instagram account is a long game, but one that will pay off.