(Part 2) Instagram Essentials for Realtors: Harnessing Social Media’s Connective Capabilities

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Thanks to its emphasis on beautiful images, there’s no social media platform that’s better suited for realtors. There’s more to using Instagram than just creating a pretty photo, however. This series of blog posts will help you understand how to make Instagram work for your business.

adamThe best way to grab customers is to go out and get them—that’s the purpose of advertising. Allowing customers to come to you with less effort—and more importantly, for less money—is never something to be ignored, however. The businesses that reel in the most prospects to their social media pages have a strategy for doing so.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.20.35 AMThe first major rule when employing Instagram—or any social media platform—is to push for viewers to share your content. This is easy when the content is phenomenal…but a little push in the right direction doesn’t hurt. Remind them on every post to “share.”

Using hashtags to tap into trending topics and gather a higher audience is the most important part of bringing viewers to your Instagram content. And yet so few realtors and other business professionals understand how to utilize hashtags properly.

We’ve set up a theoretical case study to demonstrate some of the most common mistakes made when hashing out hashtags (it’s easier to show than tell). Although you can feature as many as 30 hashtags with any given post (and it’s always better to employ as many as possible), we’ve limited ourselves to three in the photo below:

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#Miami #1234DanMarinoAve #KimKardashian

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.22.27 AMUsing “Miami” as a hashtag seems obvious; the home is in Miami, is it not? The problem is the hashtag is almost too obvious, and too general. Although your Instagram is aimed at people within the Miami area, tagging it “#Miami” means that you also need to compete with every other user who has also used that hashtag, whether it’s a Miami Heat fan cheering for their team in the playoffs, or a tourist lounging on the beach. The odds that anyone lands on your “#Miami,” particularly someone looking for a home, is slim. For example, we just searched the hashtag “#Miami” to see what would come up, and the first three results were a small child playing soccer and two images of scantily-clad women, respectively.

On the flip side of the coin, some people have the problem where they create their own hashtags, which are far too specific. Perhaps you’ve taken a photo of a property at 1234 Dan Marino Ave. No one will be searching Instagram for a specific property. Even #1600PennsylvaniaAve won’t get any hits. Therefore you need to find a happy middle between too big (#Miami) and too small (#1234DanMarinoAve). One smart option is to take the neighborhood and add “real estate” or similar terms after the hashtag…such as #CoralGablesHomes or #MiamiBeachRealEstate. These will attract a more targeted audience to your feed.

The third hashtag, #KimKardashian, is for realtors who understand social media a little too well. The aforementioned celebrity has a way of being a trending topic almost constantly, and some users attempt to take advantage by including her among their search terms, even if she has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Those in charge of metrics at Instagram, Twitter, and almost any search engine understand what you’re doing. And they don’t like it. They’ll punish you for it as well, by pushing your results to the end. Don’t try to cheat…it won’t end well.

The only foolproof way to create hashtags is to research them. Study what’s trending now in your area by using Google analytics and then get creative to spin those topics into hashtags, or recycle similar hashtags from Instagram that apply to your content.

RE/MAX Elite in Malibu show off their staff, the neighborhood's views and bites in one fell swoop.

RE/MAX Elite in Malibu show off their staff, the neighborhood’s views and bites in one fell swoop.

Is there a local food festival? Take a picture of kitchens at your properties and spin them into a “#FoodFestival sure makes us glad we have a good kitchen to try new recipes at!” If the aforementioned NBA team is in the playoffs, take a picture of the home’s basketball hoop and add the caption “Dreaming I’m on the #MiamiHeat every day.”

A well-managed hashtag campaign can be the difference between hundreds of viewers checking out your beautiful content, or a total lack of potential clients getting to see your beautiful images. Make sure that you’re in the first camp.