As people begin to move away from the Facebook monolith and explore other social media options, it’s a great time to try and expand your social media efforts with the next big thing: Instagram. Instagram can offer your business direct boosts by sharing photos of new listings, interview bits and homeowner advice — all on the same platform. Here’s how to use it right.
A Different View
Though Instagram has two essential functions (photos and short videos), the applications for such a platform are limited only by your imagination. Inman.com agrees that showcasing new listings is the most obvious application for the platform, but we can get creative.
The video function can allow you to take a video of the property, and share it with followers. Sure, you can follow the path of a particularly nice entryway, or give them a walkthrough of a master bath that your followers will love. But people want to see other people. Use the platform to showcase all the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes reality TV so dang popular.
Get those first reactions. Show a beautiful view of the community, or get to a community event and show your followers that they’re just as wonderful as the properties you work with. Heck, interview your past clients and get their positive reactions. The more different ways you can get your audience hooked, the better.
You can also use certain Instagram apps to vary up your timeline like Hyperlapse, which lets you make your footage speed up, montage-style. Get creative! As long as you’re not overdoing the effects, it’s hard to lose.
Behind-The-Scenes of Social Media
This is not going to be an explanation of why Instagram’s user interface is better/more open than Facebook’s UI, or why Twitter’s search algorithm fails to take hashtags into proper account. Frankly, while it’s important to have a basic knowledge of how different social media platforms reach their target audience, if you have a general understanding of the platforms themselves, you’ll be doing fine in no time.
Facebook has to deal with everything that can possibly comprise an individual user’s timeline (the main page). Users see updates from friends and any/all relevant shared content, from text posts to videos to links. Facebook’s advertising and sharing algorithms are so important because they determine what is relevant on a person’s timeline, and therefore, what is seen more often. So many people use Facebook that companies looking to advertise have to assign and pay for a litany of services that depend on their target audience’s metadata.
Instagram, by contrast, has a much simpler method of reaching your followers. Because the content for all posters is the same — either a photo or short 15-second video — there’s an equal playing field. Your Instagram post will likely occupy a primary spot on your followers’ timeline far longer than a Facebook post would.
Twitter and Instagram are similar in that hashtags are almost necessary for you to get a bigger audience. You’ll want to put hashtags for location — i.e. #LosAngeles #SantaMonica — as well as other categories like housing style or community type. Because this is social media and not a company form letter, free to throw in one funny hashtag in there. Just don’t go overboard: overusing hashtags is a sign of desperation and unprofessionalism. Your content should speak for itself.
Building Your Social Media Empire
Instagram should not be your end-all-be-all destination for all your social media needs. If it is, you’ll be cramming way too much information in your photo description, and your followers will leave for something simpler. However, the platform can be expanded into a valuable branch if used correctly.
Instagram can automatically post your content to Twitter and Facebook: use this function every time you post. It’s a great way of streamlining your content creation while reaching multiple types of users.
Not many know this, but Instagram now lets Web users craft their own profiles online, complete with badges for promotion, and further contact information. This is useful in part because the mobile Instagram app doesn’t allow you to put links in photo descriptions, but does in your profile description. Use the profiles to connect your followers to wherever you want to send them.
Facebook and Twitter already have their markets on lockdown, but Instagram is quickly becoming a necessary part of any business’ social media. If you use it right, it could end up being your most valuable branch.