Most real estate agents make these three common Instagram mistakes - let's turn that around.
A lot of small business owners find Instagram frustrating, especially when their work isn't particularly visual in nature. It's hard to succeed on a photo-focused platform when everyday looks the same. But there's one industry that has no shortage of picture taking opportunities and that's real estate.
Real estate agents have a real competitive opportunity when it comes to Instagram. No two workday look the same and no two homes are identical. Sounds like they have it easy, right? Then why are so many real estate agents struggling to optimize this critical social media platform? What are they doing wrong? And what can they change?
They're using Instagram like Pinterest.
Pinterest and Instagram have much in common. They're creative, photo based platforms that aim to inspire followers. But Pinterest is designed as a visual bookmarking site with a social component to it. Pins are crafted to entice the users to click on the image to reach an associated website or blog post.
Instagram's main component is social in nature. It is designed to share a user's daily experiences in a social manner through the use of images with supportive text. Imagine a picture of a beautiful living room. On Pinterest, this could be associated with a blog post on how to choose paint colors or how to make homemade cushions.
The same picture on Instagram has little impact. A more effective approach would be to share several close up photos of the room's architectural details, details that tell the story of the agent discovering the home's history.
They're not telling a story.
Speaking of stories, a common misstep for Instagram users is to rely too heavily on images alone. Of course, there is no Instagram without photos but it's what you say about them that makes all the difference. Every social media post should tell a story and build a community and Instagram is no exception.
Far too often Instagram captions simply say what you can see in the picture, like "Look at this beautiful blue living room!". A far more evocative description brings in senses other than just sight. Imagine "Look at this beautiful blue living room! This would be the perfect place to curl up with a great book with a CD of ocean sounds playing in the background. What do you like to read while you're seaside?" I know which caption would convince me to check out a house.
They're using pre-planned content.
There's a reason why you can't schedule Instagram posts like you can other social media networks. Instagram is designed for users to be sharing their daily experiences as they happen. While there are programs designed to get around the rules, the most successful Instagram users know their posts are best created in real time. But that doesn't mean you can't have an Instagram strategy.
Recycling a real estate listing photo into an Instagram post lacks the compelling character that is the network's hallmark. A far more effective approach would be for a real estate agent to share the story of their day around a particular home's neighbourhood. What kind of latte art are the baristas creating at the local cafe? How high is the pile of autumn leaves raked by the neighbours? The pictures may be far less polished but they are fresh and they are real.
Get in touch with your creative side!
Social media work isn't always easy, but it should always be a lot of fun. One of the best things about Instagram is that it encourages people to get in touch with their creative side and I think there is amazing potential for real estate agents to lead the charge and encourage other small business owners to do same.
If Instagram still boggles your mind, let us know! We're here to help!
Vanessa Chiasson is the founder and senior digital strategist of Sculpt Social.