Social media is a powerful tool, allowing everyone from fitness coaches and travel bloggers, to animal rescues and record labels to tell their stories, engage with audiences, and market products and services.  One of the most popular social sites real estate agents can use to connect with potential buyer, seller and rental clients and network is Instagram.

Why should you market on Instagram? For starters, almost all of your clients use social media. More than 90 percent of adults follow a brand on social media.  As an agent, you have a camera on your smartphone and have plenty of opportunities to snap photos. Although there are opportunities to promote content and sponsor posts, marketing on Instagram is free.

Where do you start? Below are five Instagram best practices for real estate agents to get you started.

Post Compelling Content

If you are marketing your brand and services, and actively looking for real estate clients, you should post content on Instagram regularly. Although “recency” in your posts is a factor in viewership, simply adding content to Instagram regularly does not mean that all of your followers will see the content. Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram has created an algorithm that prioritizes posts based on what you interact with the most. Because Instagram wants their viewers to stay on their app as long as possible, they push what they deem to be the most relevant posts to the top. The more people engage with your content, the more other people will see your content.

If you don’t know where to start, check out what other successful agents are doing with marketing their listings and services. Your competition’s posts can offer lots of examples and ideas. Although you should never directly copy, you can find plenty of inspiration to create your own unique posts.  Homes for sale and high-demand neighborhoods offer endless opportunities for marketing. You can even offer to share listings of your colleagues in an effort to market to potential buyers, also.  Establish yourself as an expert and resource to sellers on topics such as home staging, home pricing, and marketing and photography. Your posts should offer value to potential buyers and sellers.

Invite Comments and Visitors

Focus on relationships and engagement in your marketing and create natural conversations with prospective clients. Instagram in 2020 is trying to “depressurize” Instagram, and making posts more about creating connections and conversations than simply generating “likes”. Posting content and stories that asks questions, invites conversation and engagement gives you the opportunity to interact with others.  You may also post content that encourages people viewing your content to tag a friend that they’d like to share the post with. When people comment on your posts, respond to them. This creates a conversation and builds trust. When people are ready to buy, sell, or rent, they will be more likely to reach out to you if they know about your services.   Inviting your audience to tag their friends is a great way to generate referrals of new buyers and sellers.

Engage in Conversations

Starting your post with open-ended question like, “What are you looking for in your next home?” is a great way to get the dialogue started.  Along with starting conversations in your own content, you can join in the conversations in your competition’s posts, getting more visibility to your own profile. When engaging with others, be genuine. Share thoughtful comments, and interact positively.  An easy way to start conversations with other agents is to compliment them. “Congratulations on that sale” or “Beautiful new listing!”  Copying and pasting a sales pitch as a comment is not a good practice.

Use Hashtags

Another way to increase your engagement on Instagram is by using real estate hashtags. Hashtags have been around since 2010, when Instagram launched. Ten years later, they are still relevant, allowing users to organize and promote content. Your hashtags can indicate your product or service, like #apartmentsforrent or #realestateagent. If you are promoting locally, use regional hashtags like #NYCapartmentsforrent or #Dallasrealestateagent. Instagram allows for 30 hashtags per post. One study found that posts with 11 or more hashtags get the most engagement. 

Prioritize Experiences

If you look at GoPro’s Instagram page, you will see photos of breathtaking experiences and encounters.  As a real estate agent, you can share experiences of communities. Examples of positive experiences you could share are farmers’ markets, art festivals, concerts, and family activities.  You can simultaneously show off the appeal of the area and the fact that you know your clients and the area better than anyone else. Through photos and videos, you can show potential buyers why areas are desirable, and why you are the best agent to represent them.

Get Started Today

As you post content, use available analytics to understand what’s working for your real estate marketing, and what isn’t. There are many ways to succeed on Instagram, and with consistency and genuine effort, you will learn how to interact positively with potential and existing clients and build your business.