WHY INSTAGRAM IS BOOSTING HOME SALES NOW MORE THAN EVER

As a homebuilder or real estate developer, would you ever send out marketing postcards without a lush color image of your new model home? Or pay for a full-page print ad with no pictures of the chef’s kitchen, infinity pool, or outdoor fireplace? (No, we didn’t think so!)

It’s any successful real estate marketer’s mantra: “It’s the photos, silly.”

Which is exactly why, perhaps more than any other, Instagram is the social media platform built for you. Created in 2010 for the express purpose of photo (and now video) sharing, Instagram is a highly engaging (and addicting) visual medium—just ask its more than 300 million active monthly users.

It’s easy to link your Instagram marketing strategy with your other social media platforms. Your business profile can be connected to your Facebook account, and displays your contact information (very useful for interested homebuyers). Posts can be shared not only on Facebook but Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr with an easy tap of the toggle.

And Instagram’s sleek simplicity makes it perfect for viewing on mobile devices. A study by Google and the National Association of Realtors reported that approximately one-fifth of real estate–related searches happen on mobile devices, and Google real estate–related searches on mobile devices grew 120 percent year-over-year from 2011 to 2012. 120 percent!

With numbers like that in 2012, it’s worth devoting time and a budget in 2017 to create a great Instagram social media marketing strategy for your real estate company being that mobile phones have taken over our lives. If your photos and graphics are compelling, you’ve mapped your location, and employed a winning mix of specific and general hashtags. Instagram is a powerful marketing tool in reaching and attracting your target clients.

But in order to connect with thousands of potential clients in your market, and build your homebuilding or real estate development company’s online presence, it’s essential to keep your Instagram profile and marketing practices up to date. As a social media-marketing platform, Instagram is relatively young, but its exciting new tools and features will keep your residential or commercial properties at the forefront of your target audience’s attention.

You’re probably familiar with Facebook’s lead generation and advertising features. (And if not, click here.) Well, since Facebook purchased Instagram about five years ago, Instagram has slowly introduced Facebook-style campaigns to drive awareness, increase customers, and share your story among a highly engaged audience. The advertising tools will be familiar to you: you can set up, run, and track campaigns much the same way you do with Facebook ads.

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The digital marketing landscape changes practically every week. Earlier this year, Facebook extended a version of its Lead Ads to Instagram. They’re also testing new types of posts and formats, and are rolling out their Instagram Stories feature to more locations.

Continue reading for the latest information on these two new Instagram marketing updates. Your Instagram real estate social media strategy will translate into home sales when you create more brand awareness and drive the right traffic to your residential or commercial properties.

INSTAGRAM LEAD ADS: CAPTURE HOMEBUYER INFORMATION WITH A CLICK

Real estate marketers who think Instagram “isn’t for them” are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to reach a growing mobile audience. Now Lead Ads, ads that collect customers’ information with a pre-filled form, are available for placement on Instagram.

There are some limitations to Instagram’s version of Lead Ads. They’re only available to be shown on the mobile app, and not on desktop. This may change in the future, just like it did on Facebook, but it’s not really a concern: LinkedIn reported in 2015 that 47 percent of adult users access Instagram from a smartphone, and 53 percent use a tablet—desktop use is effectively nil.

To start attracting homebuyers on Instagram, you will need to set up a Lead Ad campaign in Power Editor, or you can talk to one of Simply180’s in-house Instagram marketing specialists.

LIVE STORIES: THE LATEST IN VIRTUAL HOME TOURS

One of the best features to promote your homebuilding company and new communities on Instagram is called Stories. You’ve probably noticed it at the top of your Home screen. Instead of carefully curated photos, Stories are temporary videos or photos that are strung together to form a slideshow gallery that, well, tells a story. Similar to Snapchat, those photos disappear.

Here are the four main features that make “Stories” different from your regular Instagram posts:

  • You can write and draw directly on the photo/video Story itself
  • Stories appear at the top of your followers’ Instagram feed
  • Stories only stay for 24 hours, and are then removed
  • Includes a built-in call-to-action in the form of a “send message” feature, making it easy to interact with the Story’s creator

Like Snapchat, but without video, you say? Well, in January Instagram matched Snapchat and rolled out “Live Stories,” allowing users across the globe to broadcast live video from their mobile devices. Similar to Facebook’s Live streaming? Perhaps, but Instagram makes mobile viewing just so easy for its followers!

The beauty of Instagram Live Stories for real estate marketers is that it’s quick, easy, informal, and fun. With Live Stories, your sales reps or broker partners can broadcast from your model home in a live stream, and provide a real-time home tour to homebuyers by showing them the Viking fridge, lake front views up close and personal, or the fine details that make you - you. (No more spending thousands on a video crew!) Live Stories offers a great social media-broadcasting tool for potential homebuyers that are looking to relocate to your area.  You can even take potential buyers on a tour of the neighborhood or show them the fantastic coffee shop or clubhouse just around the corner. The stories you tell should give your audience a peek into not only what your company can do for them, but also what it’s like to work with your team. Have fun with it!

As of early 2017, Instagram is now a one-stop service for your residential or commercial real estate social media marketing. The potential is endless. Need a little help getting started? Let Simply180’s social media marketing team share with you what works! We’re happy to help. Feel free to reach out to us with your social media questions.

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