Instagram Stories for Real Estate: Is it really a good use of your time and energy?
As you may know, Instagram launched Stories (Instagram’s answer to Snapchat) in 2016 and people are already experimenting with how to use it to grow their businesses.
Companies like J. Crew and Taco Bell are using Stories to deliver new content to their followers.
But you’re not selling tacos or sweaters… So should you use it?
Well, that depends. If you’re not already using Instagram… Probably not.
If you have no experience with Instagram — and no followers — jumping into Stories may not be the best place to start.
If that’s you, and you want to get started with Instagram from scratch.
If you’re already using and loving Instagram, then… YES. Using Stories to share content and bond with your followers may be just the thing you need to take your Instagram channel to the next level.
Here are 5 ways you can start using Stories today to engage your followers in a whole new way and grow your real estate business:
1. Share Your Personality and Show a Day In Your Life
One of the most powerful ways that agents can use Instagram Stories is to give your audience a candid peek inside “a day in the life.”
You might call it micro-vlogging.
It’s not as labor-intensive or complicated as launching a full-blown vlog on YouTube, but the idea is basically the same.
Instagram Stories gives you the ability to share interesting snippets of your daily life.
Your Story of the day could be a photo or short video about a home you just closed.
It might be a video of you delivering a “thank you” gift to a client.
You might give your followers an update about the market from your car while you’re waiting to meet a client.
You could share a funny moment that happened while grabbing coffee.
Try sharing a video of you at the park with your kids and talk about how you love the way real estate lets you set your own hours.
Be real and raw and transparent.
Share your life.
WHY DO THIS:
Okay, so what’s the point? Why go to all the trouble of sharing your daily Story?
It’s true that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. If you show up on their Instagram Story feed every day with interesting little tidbits, your followers will begin to feel that they really know you.
They’ve walked with you through your daily life and they will feel more comfortable contacting you when they need your services. They’ll be more inclined to referr you if someone they know needs your services.
Take a moment to explore both of those Instagram feeds and take some notes. Pay particular attention to one big, important thing:
See how both of them strike a balance between making it clear that they are real estate professionals AND sharing their unique personalities? That’s the balance you want to hit.
We were fortunate enough to see Mike Meier and Fredrik Eklund give speeches at INMAN 2017 about exactly this topic.
They pointed out that you want to create an experience where you’re offering real estate advice and services, but you must also be honest about who you are as an agent… And as a real person.
People can get MLS data anywhere. There are literally hundreds of other agents they could use in your area.
But there’s only one YOU. Make sure you share the real you in your marketing. Instagram and Stories are perfect tools for doing exactly that.
“Being myself and who I really am, being authentic to who I am, is so important. I made the mistake of not doing that in the beginning of my career, thinking that people couldn’t take the 100 percent truth of who I am. But I know now that the only thing you have is you, and if you can sell yourself, you can sell anything.” – Fredrik Eklund
2. Share Helpful Real Estate Tips with Your Audience
Sharing your personality is crucial to bonding with your audience, but you also want to offer your audience helpful, practical real estate tips and tricks.
For example: Let’s say you’re looking over a listing and notice something that often gets overlooked during inspections.
Don’t you think that might be interesting information if someone is thinking about buying a home? Share that tip in your Story:
“So check this out. This is something almost no one even thinks about when they’re going through a home inspection [INSERT ISSUE]… If you can catch this early, you can negotiate getting it resolved on the sellers dime before you close, which can save you thousands of dollars and a nasty surprise after you move in.”
Giving honest, transparent advice like this also shows that you know your stuff and that you will be looking out for your client’s best interest.
Other great Story content might include showing video and photos of a specific neighborhood. Which brings us to the next advantage of using Stories.
3. Drive Traffic To Your Website with Instagram Stories
Just like you do with your website, you can use Instagram Stories to feature and promote specific neighborhoods.
The strategy here is to show photos and videos of homes in a certain neighborhood, and point people back to the MLS listings on your website.
If you can get people to consume your content in multiple places and become more familiar with you, your chances go up of them contacting you when they need your services.
If your website uses effective lead capture techniques, you have a good shot at turning your Instagram audience into a real lead through your site.
Just remember that you’ll have to verbally tell your viewers your web address in a video, add it in a text overlay, or you’ll have to point your viewers to the website link listed in your profile description. Instagram does not allow you to place links directly into post descriptions.
4. Raise Awareness for Your Open Houses
You can use Stories to post photos and videos of your open house for that day.
You can share a virtual tour with your audience and highlight the most attractive features of that particular home.
The benefits of this are two-fold: You may increase attendance to your individual open houses, sure. But showing properties to your virtual audience, makes it more likely that they will contact you to show them homes in person.
They’re already comfortable with you. You’ve already shown them a bunch of homes on Instagram.
So they know exactly what to expect from you when they call or email you.
UNCERTAINTY is one of the biggest things that holds a potential lead back from contacting you. Is this agent going to try and high-pressure me into something I don’t want? If I decide to not buy, are they going to badger me forever?
Remove uncertainty by showcasing who you are and how you show homes. This will make people less hesitant to reach out to you.
Sharing your open houses on Instagram Story is a great way to ease your prospects’ uncertainty and increase open house attendance.
Advanced Strategy: You can also use Instagram and Stories to promote a Facebook Live Stream for an open house. Fact: There are WAY more people on Facebook then there are on Instagram. So try using Instagram posts and Stories like this:
“Showing a crazy nice house right now (or from 1pm – 4pm, or whatever) on Facebook Live. Use the link in my description to check it out!”
Doing it this way allows you to reach both your Facebook and Instagram followers with the same content.
5. Gain New Followers
We started out by saying that Stories is a good next step for those already using Instagram.
And the name of the game in Instagram is to always be adding new followers who are good potential real estate leads.
And here’s the thing: People only follow those on Instagram who post interesting content.
Stories allows you to tell richer, more complete stories than a single post does.
If you want to add followers, then you need to create richer, more interesting content.
And that’s exactly what Stories allows you to do.
To go to the next level with Instagram in your real estate business, go beyond posting pictures of houses (which is what every agent on Instagram is doing) and…
Start telling your unique agent Story.
Start Using Instagram Stories for Real Estate: What Are You Waiting For?
The best way to start using Stories is to… START.
Experiment and have fun.
At your next open house, or just the next time something interesting pops into your head, share it on Stories and start bonding with your followers in a whole new way.
Need the step-by-step of how to start posting to Instagram Stories? Check out their official help center here:
Owner & Operator,
The Elite Group
Largest Home Inspection Company in North America
Best Selling Author “Secrets Of Top Producing Real Estate Agents: And How To Duplicate Their Success.”