NATNews Blog > January 2017 > ​Three new Instagram features and what they mean for real estate

    ​Three new Instagram features and what they mean for real estate

    1/24/2017 9:56:52 AM
    By Patty McNease, Director of Marketing, Homes.com
     
    In real estate, agents focus on stories. Whether it’s the seller’s memories in their old home or the buyer’s hopeful dreams in their new one, agents use these emotions to connect with their clients. While Instagram was once thought to be a social network that was only for pictures of fancy food and artful lattes, 85 percent of top brands now have profiles, and 60 percent of the 400 million active users log in each day, making it the second most-engaged social network — second only to Facebook.
     
    When Instagram released major updates back in August, users were introduced to Stories, a photo-sharing opportunity similar to Snapchat. Stories allows users to create a string of pictures and videos viewable to their followers for 24 hours. With the popularity of Stories increasing, Instagram has created additional features to make the platform even more unique.
     
    1. Include links to other pages
    In the real estate world, arguably, the most important update is the addition of website links to a picture or video in the Stories feed. When it’s launched, this feature will only be available for verified accounts, meaning those owned by popular public figures, brands, or celebrities. However, it’s important to know about so you’ll be ready when it’s rolled out to all users. By giving viewers access to a URL, posters are able to direct their followers to a specific landing page. Plus, your images won’t be cluttered, since the link will only appear if users click “see more” at the bottom of the screen.
     
    For real estate agents, once it’s released to all users, this feature will have some great advantages. Agents who share short videos of new properties will be able to link viewers directly to the listing’s landing page. Or, for those creating DIY or property-buying videos, users can direct links to full videos on YouTube or recordings on their blog page. Another opportunity is to introduce Instagram viewers to your other social pages, like Facebook or Twitter. There are so many marketing possibilities, but the main goal should be to eventually drive any traffic you stir up on social media back to a landing page where you can capture lead information.
     
    2. Mention other users
    The ability to create new connections is a great advantage of Instagram. Because the platform revolves around images, the connections are often more personal. By allowing users to mention others through Stories, story-creators can direct pictures or videos at specific people. Tagging someone in a story is immediately available to all users, so agents can start trying it out right away.
     
    There are a number of ways to use this new feature, and all of it revolves around interaction. One great way to incorporate this is by using it to showcase happy clients. If an agent is showing properties with a client, they can take pictures or videos with them and share it on their storyline for all of their followers to see. It also makes clients feel appreciated, because they know you’re excited to be out with them. Another way to use this feature is for Q&A sessions. If a client asks a great questions that would be perfect for all of your other clients to know, create a short response (or series of short responses) and mention the client in the caption. Again, this is a great way to interact and can help those mentioned feel special and important.
     
    3. Have fun with Boomerang
    Boomerang is a stand-alone app that works specifically with Instagram. It creates mini, one-second videos that loop back and forth, so the videos have to be of something short. While Boomerang mode isn’t one of the top features that will put agents on the map, it’s a fun way to interact with Instagram followers. Plus, it can also show off happy clients. One way to use this feature is to show clients celebrating after closing on a house — clinking champagne glasses, dropping keys into a client’s hands, clients opening their front door, etc. As with the mentions, this feature is immediately available to all Instagram users.
     
    While Instagram is a great way to promote your brand and your listings, it can be challenging for a busy real estate professional to maintain, along with other social sites. Need help managing your social presence? Homes.com’s Social team is here to help. Homes.com Social is a comprehensive social media suite, designed specifically for real estate professionals who are looking to better connect and engage with their audience. Give your real estate brand a social media strategy that is sure to boost your business.
     
    For more information, visit connect.homes.com.
     
    Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.