Social Media Tips
Social media is a powerful tool to market your real estate business – and now with 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is the best platform to showcase your listings and build strong relationships.
In Part 1, you learned how useful Instagram can be to build an audience and grow your business. Now, get ready to develop your skills further and take advantage of more advanced features like Instagram Stories, Instagram Live and Instagram TV to take your engagement to the next level.
Once Upon a Time – Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is a quick, engaging format where photos or video clips are strung together in a series that appears in the Stories section at the top of a user’s feed. However, the focus is on immediacy, since this content disappears within 24 hours of being posted. But don’t think it’s a waste of time to spend energy on content that won’t last forever. The deadline on this content actually creates a sense of urgency around your stories, and makes your followers eager to see your story before they miss it. Plus, the faster format – photos are shown for 5 seconds and videos can last up to 15 seconds – makes the whole experience less formal and gives you more authenticity because your posts are more likely to show the real you.
We’ve all seen how the changes to the Instagram algorithm can leave your posts buried in your followers’ feed. But since posting a Story puts your profile right up at the top of your feed, it’s a great way to get content to followers who might have missed one of your regular posts.
Time is On Your Side
Put the fleeting nature of Instagram Stories to best use with time-sensitive announcements or contests. Plus, you can use the impermanence of Stories as a way to test out ideas, text or images. Use the results you get – which you can see in the Insights section for business accounts – to improve all of your social media efforts. And Stories that get positive engagement can be reused as a regular post or saved to the Highlights section of your profile.
Pro Tip: Take a Poll
Using interactive features like poll stickers is a great way to encourage engagement. Customize a question with answers your viewers can click on in your Stories. Viewers are more likely to interact, since it’s so easy, and these clicks boosts your engagement numbers to help ensure your posts show up in your followers’ feeds.
Bring Your Brand to Life – Instagram Live
Once you’re comfortable with the immediate nature of Instagram Stories, you’re ready for Instagram Live, the Stories feature that lets you stream video to your followers and interact with them in real time. Instagram Live streams will increase your engagement numbers, and you can immediately respond to customer concerns, answer questions and host discussions with your followers. The more face-to-face time you can get with your customers, the more they’ll trust you. And an Instagram Live stream is the closest thing on social media to bonding in person.
What’s more, an Instagram Live stream will also make it easier for new followers to discover your profile. This is because the more viewers and engagement your live video gets, the more likely it is to be featured on the Explore page, which can expose your business to even more people. So be sure to promote your live stream beforehand to get as many of your followers to tune in as possible. That will let Instagram know that your content is high-quality and might be interesting to other users.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
An Instagram Live broadcast is perfectly suited to hosting an interview with another industry specialist. This positions you as an expert capable of bringing more value to your customers, and shows how well networked you are in the industry. But even better, it allows you to share efforts with a colleague and combine audiences to create even more engagement. Once your live video has begun and your guest has tuned in, tap the smiley-face icon to the right of the comment box to add the guest to your stream. Viewers will then see a split screen, with your screen at the top and your guest’s screen at the bottom.
Pro Tip: Run a Rehearsal
Don’t worry too much about mistakes, a minor mishap here or there can actually make you seem more relatable to viewers. Still, no one wants to feel embarrassed and a little preparation can boost your confidence. So run a test video at the same location and time of day you plan to film in order to check the lighting and background and to make sure that you have a good internet connection.
Be a TV Star – Instagram TV
Although Instagram started as a photo app, we’ve seen by now that videos have nearly taken over the platform. So this year, Instagram created a destination for watching longer content: Instagram TV (IGTV). Unlike Story videos, which are limited to 15 seconds, IGTV videos can be up to 10 minutes (or an hour for larger or verified accounts), and your IGTV videos remain viewable on your channel until you choose to delete them. What’s more, IGTV videos differ from YouTube videos in a big way: The programming is vertical, not horizontal. This lets your audience watch your content more naturally on their phones, without having to turn it around to see your video.
Like any new feature, Instagram wants to encourage you to actually use it. So when you post an IGTV video, you’ll be able to take advantage of some perks you may not otherwise have access to. First, you’ll be able to place links in your video descriptions to point potential customers to your website or other business platforms, which otherwise is only possible in your bio. Secondly, you can use the ‘swipe up’ feature from Instagram Stories to promote your IGTV video, something you can usually only access if you have 10,000 followers or more.
However, the biggest advantage of IGTV is that you’ve already got a built in audience. The automatic settings for IGTV will alert your followers whenever you publish new content. And when people start to follow your channel, they will automatically start following your regular Instagram feed and Stories too.
First in, First to Win
IGTV is still in its early days, so it isn’t being widely used yet. And few users mean that you have a good opportunity to get established and stay ahead of the pack. By getting on board now, you can stand out from the crowd as an ‘early adopter’, which will help you impress tech-savvy customers such as millennials.
Furthermore, since content is still limited, this is the perfect time to test different kinds of videos to see what works best for your audience. So think outside the box and don’t be afraid to try something new. Experiment with tutorials, behind-the-scenes office tours or event videos, and focus on content that is unique, fun and interesting to your audience.
Pro Tip: Don’t Lose Your Message
A savvy entrepreneur knows that good marketing always includes a call-to-action. But keep in mind that videos don’t always have high retention rates, so put your call-to-action or other important information early in your video to make sure that your audience sees it.
Remember, the more your customers get to know the real you through your photos and videos, the better relationships you’ll be able to build – and the better your results will be. So take advantage of Instagram’s dynamic platform, and put its advanced features to work to build your business!