As a director of communications for a real estate brokerage, a lot of my "clients" (our real estate brokers) ask me for social media advice.
The hot topic right now is Instagram.
Everyone knows that Kylie Jenner is making a killing endorsing beauty products there, and brands are quickly ditching their Snapchat accounts for the newest Instagram Stories updates.
Still, there remains a lot of mystery around how to use Instagram for business.
If you are just getting started on Instagram or thinking about how to retool your Instagram strategy, here are the first three things you need to do.
Post frequently and on a consistent basis
If you have a business to run and can't hire a full-time social media manager, the best thing to do is create a simple schedule to keep your account fresh and sharing cadence consistent.
Decide what kind of content you want to share on Instagram and pick different days to share that content.
I tell people to start simple/slow and build from there.
If you're a real estate broker and you share a beautiful home for sale every Monday and a snapshot of something fun in your community every Thursday, like the glass of rosé you had at brunch or the view from your rooftop deck, your followers will know exactly what to expect when they follow your account.
It's easy to get lost in the social media algorithms if you go days without posting (read: forgotten by those who followed you).
I think four times a week, on the light end, is good for Instagram but recommend posting daily.
Paramount to an arbitrary schedule though, is to decide what you're going to offer and stick to it in order to build trust with your community.
Share a variety of content
Once you set that schedule, you can narrow down the types of content that you’re sharing.
If you're a real estate broker, pick a day of the week to share listing content.
On the day(s) you share listing content, you can source from your VHT photography, listing videos, promote open houses, or even share photos that your team’s agents have taken when out and about.
For lifestyle posts, this is where you can give your followers a snapshot of what your life are like beyond real estate – agents at team outings, at networking events, with clients, philanthropy.
Tacoma Jones is a good example of an agent who does this well. Her feed isn't all about what she is selling, it's pictures of dinner with her kids, gift ideas for the holidays, and other lifestyle tips people might like if they are getting to know her brand via social media.
My favorite tool right now for creating social content is Canva.
The basic package is $12.95, and you can create social post graphics, social media headers, photo collages, infographics – you name it.
Don't get lost chasing leads...yet
As you are beginning to build your community on Instagram, don’t worry too much about driving leads from Instagram.
Think of it as getting to know a new client -- you don't give them the hard sell the first time you meet for coffee or a cocktail.
You tell them about yourself first.
Treat Instagram the same way.
Instagram is great for brand awareness, establishing your expertise, and maybe a little light prospecting – but it's very much “top of the marketing funnel.”
Once you begin to build your community, you can look for ways to drive traffic to the next step in your sales/marketing funnel be it a landing page, blog posts or your website.
People are so visually motivated these days, o Instagram is a great place to hone your brand aesthetic. Like on all social media channels, you can give followers a snapshot of what they can expect when they work with you or frequent your business.
In future posts, I'll talk about other fun things like hash tags, tracking and ways to build your Instagram following.
Thoughts on new and traditional media, current events, life in Chicago and the occasional small Chihuahua photo.