Visual social content is becoming an integral part of the social media marketing puzzle for real estate agents, and Instagram is the place to be. Here’s how to get started.
Social media marketing has become an integral part of the current real estate agent’s toolkit, and as a savvy agent, you’ll undoubtedly have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, maybe even a Twitter account.
But in this content-overloaded world sellers and buyers are increasingly being drawn to visual content – so make sure you have a visual social media plan in place across both your personal and agency branding activities.
Visual social content is leading the way in social media engagement, and most platforms that were previously text-centric are shifting to revolve around pictures and video. Offering snackable content that users can quickly and effortlessly engage with, visual posts can evoke an emotional connection far quicker than text – perfect for grabbing that busy follower before they swipe on.
And in terms of the ease of attracting followers, Instagram is the leader of the pack!
The best part is that real estate lends itself perfectly to visual media, and perusing property imagery is a voyeuristic past time from which most of us derive pleasure. So an Instagram feed, which is cleverly curated, is the perfect vehicle for delivering engaging updates and drawing people in – so start attracting a local following with beautiful home photos, home sale infographics, inspiring quotes and tactical hashtags.
What’s so special about Instagram?
Launched in 2010, Instagram is the creation of computer programmer Kevin Systrom and software engineer Mike Krieger. Developed in San Francisco, the entrepreneurial duo wanted to create a photo-sharing app that allowed users to post polaroid-like photos.
Purchased in 2012 by Facebook, Instagram skyrocketed to 80 million users in just 12 months, broadening its reach to over 25 languages. This close connection between Facebook and Instagram is of huge benefit for businesses today, because your Instagram posts can be seamlessly shared to your Facebook page, simplifying your social sharing by covering two accounts at once.
Because of its visual form, Instagram is quite different to other social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. And it is in this visual space that businesses have discovered a highly engaged audience.
Still not convinced? Here are some seriously mind-blowing stats:
- Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users.
- To date, over 40 billion photos have been shared on Instagram.
- A staggering 95 million photos and videos are posted every day.
- Users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day.
- 75 per cent of Instagram users take action after seeing a post.
- Instagram has as much as 10 times greater engagement than other platforms. (Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll.com.)
With 48.8 per cent of businesses now using Instagram, a number that is predicted to jump to 70.7 per cent by 2017, Instagram is a platform that cannot be ignored by any real estate agent looking to increase their presence.
“Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users.”
Getting started with visual social media content
The purpose of visual social media content is to instantly attract the attention of your audience and create a connection. There’s no need to stage complex shots or create award-winning pictures, just keep it simple and centre your imagery around two or three key visual themes:
- Visuals – of the beautifully staged properties you sell, but opt for a magazine style shot using close ups and blurred backgrounds.
- Visuals – behind-the-scenes action, to give a sense of you, your personality and the activities involved in selling a home.
- Memes – that highlight your real estate know-how and the ways in which you can help your property clientele.
It is important to curate your feed so some pre-planning is essential. A beautiful account page will entice people to follow you. If you don’t have a design eye, engage the help from someone that does.
“The purpose of visual social media content is to instantly attract the attention of your audience and create a connection.”
What visual social content works in real estate
Your day-to-day life in real estate grants you access to a plethora of amazing image opportunities, providing you with a stack of visual social content at your fingertips.
How about giving people a sneak peek into houses for sale? After all, who doesn’t love a good nosey around someone else’s home! You could also share a beautiful artwork, a stunning pool, or an impressive garden feature that you have come across, or share real estate memes on things such as tips for styling a home for sale. Whenever you are visiting a property, keep an eye out for anything that would make a great picture for sharing. Get creative and think what will connect with a prospective vendor, after all this is a lead generation strategy to help you find your next seller.
Other great things to share include:
- Candid behind-the-scenes photos that inject some personality into your feed, such as a property photographer, videographer or home stylist in action at one of your homes.
- Snippets of testimonials from happy past clients of yours.
- Inspirational quotes around managing the emotions of a home sale, or creating an awesome home life – playing on the idea that home is where the heart is!
- Local area imagery or footage of the neighbourhood, the different seasons such as spring coming into bloom, local businesses or a snapshot of village life across the local suburbs you serve.
- Videos and time-lapse using the Hyperlapse app, a great way to share your unique personality and showcases you in action – be it at open homes, auctions or community events.
- Tips and tricks that solve a real estate problem, such as insider snaps on what buyers are really looking for in the area and how to best present your home to appeal to those buyers.
- How-to ideas – such as simple ways to declutter for an open house, or using indoor plants to brighten a home.
- 30 second video tutorials that share your knowledge, focus on one key step in the sales process at a time, keep to the point and deliver a valuable insight.
- Short checklists that promote action, whether a ‘Top 3 things to do’ list for first time vendors, or the best features a buyer should look for when viewing a house.
How do I make my visual social media content stand out?
Just like any social media feed, being genuine and presenting a consistent brand message is key. Here are a few tips to making your feed appealing:
- Use a filter. Filters are all the rage, but always use the same filter for every post to add a familiar tone and consistency to your feed. The general consensus is that a slight blue filter is most attractive to the human eye.
- Shoot square. Instagram posts are square so set your camera to take square photos so you don’t need to worry about part of images needing to be cropped before posting.
- Use high quality images. Don’t scrimp on the quality of your pics. These images are reflecting you and your brand, so use images that are in focus, bright and visually appealing.
Image source: Ned Potter on flickr
- Be original. Why are you different from other agents? What makes you interesting? Don’t be afraid to be unique, and always aim to tell a story.
- Be brief. People scan through their social media feeds at an astonishing pace. Post something that is brief, relevant and immediately engaging.
- Use words. Yes images are great, but they are even better when accompanied with snappy text! Overlay a Call to Action, or add captions or quotes to get the most out of your post. Apps such as Canva can make graphic design and creating social media posts a breeze.
- Don’t forget the hashtags. Posts with one or more hashtags gain 12.6 per cent more engagement.
- Use the photo story feature. Similar to Snapchat, Instagram has recently added a new feature called photo story where you can draw and add text directly onto the picture.
So, as you’ve no doubt realised, reading this article, there’s a fair amount of thought and preparation required to curate a beautiful and branded Instagram feed. Therefore, if you’d like help devising a social media strategy for Instagram, alongside support curating and posting visual content, we have visual designers and copy experts on hand to assist. Just click the Get Started button above to get in touch.