Visual Storytelling: Tips for Mastering the Art of Instagram

Posted on Aug 12 2016 - 1:02pm by Nick Caruso


Creating and implementing a consistent social media strategy is vital for REALTORS® looking to cultivate online leads while maintaining current relationships. Social media has re-shaped the way business is conducted, both nationally and globally, across all industries. For real estate agents wanting to reach every type of buyer possible, social media is a resource you can’t go without, or else money will be left on the table and marketshare will surely decrease.

For agents merely tolerating social media or for newbies wanting to dip their toe into the pool, Facebook is probably still the number one place to start. But if you want to target a younger, savvy audience, one with an itchy trigger finger, Instagram should be your new best friend. Instagram can help you connect with the millennials and first-time buyers that your business may be lacking. Though trite, the ol’ saying still rings true: “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” With Instagram’s photo and video sharing capabilities, you can easily share the unique amenities your listings have to offer, while also display snapshots of your own life to help buyers and sellers get to know you, building trust.

Keep in mind that out of its 500 million users, 70 percent check Instagram at least once a day , with half of those checking multiple times per day. Get in front of these prospective leads with these tips:

Sure, we cringe when people use hashtags in spoken dialogue (#worst, right?), but don’t let the informal culture of hashtags turn you off from their intended purpose: to organize, draw attention and promote. Using hashtags on your Instagram posts will help your target audience find you, and may even double your click-through rates, according to research from Buddy Media. Use hashtags on every Instagram post, if possible, such as #luxury, #kitchenremodel, #losangeles (insert your market here), #realestate, and #openhouse to help pinpoint your message and connect your post with other similar posts and the users browsing that topic. If you don’t use hashtags on Instagram, you might as well not use it at all (but spoiler alert: you should!).

Get in the grid
Instagram gridUsing your phone’s grid feature will help you take much more attractive photos. Go into your smartphone’s camera settings and turn on the Grid feature. This splits your camera view into nine blocks (aka, into thirds). You can now abide by photography’s Rule of Thirds by aligning the subject of your photo with the four guidelines and their intersection points. These intersecting points are the areas where the eye is naturally drawn to. The grid will help you get the perfect off-center shot of that waterfall feature tucked away in your new listing’s backyard. You may not be a professional photographer, but you can still post heaps of quality photos that will really wow your followers.

Related: Story Time: Move Over Snapchat, Instagram Wants In

Edit before filtering
Ideally, you want to be aware of natural light when taking photos of homes. With the right natural lighting, a photo will need very little editing and filtering, hence, the #nofilter hashtag (go ahead and brag a little!) Also, be aware of how different artificial lights affect a photo. Some may give off a yellow-y glow.

If you want to improve a photo without drastically changing it, click “Edit” and adjust things like contrast, warmth, brightness and saturation first. Once your colors are popping just the way you want, click on “Filter” and fiddle around with different looks. Always opt for natural light first, if possible; otherwise, Instagram’s sharp editing and filtering features can help you polish your masterpiece.

Be consistent with how often you post…
As with other social media platforms, consistency is key. According to studies by Union Metrics, most major brands post an average of 1.5 times a day to Instagram. To start, try posting once a day. Once your routine is set, try expanding to twice a day. Reports also indicate that some popular brands that post as much as 10 times per day did not notice a sizable loss in engagement as long as quality was still present.

…and also with what you post
Whether you’re a part of a large real estate franchise or a small boutique firm, consider what your own personal brand is. Are you known for luxury listings? Certain neighborhoods? Working with first-time buyers? Move-up buyers? Your Instagram feed should represent both who you are and how you operate. Prospective buyers and sellers should be able to get to know you (albeit, virtually) via social media. Instagram photos are a huge component to that.

Sharing is caring
Instagram should be one element of a larger social media plan. A cog in the wheel. Using Instagram’s Share feature, you can post your beautifully edited and filtered photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr. You can also email them or quickly copy a link. Connect your social worlds by posting photos on your other pages. This will widen your reach by helping your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc., find your page on Instagram, which in turn will fuel engagement across the board. In the end, it’s all about engagement.

Instagram is a unique and wildly addictive social media platform that allows agents to promote themselves in a creative way. With a little bit of time invested, agents can make new connections and start turning leads into dollar signs.

2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Adonis Clarkson August 30, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

    While the title sounds very inviting, I was hoping to find more insights and actual visual cues. Maybe do a follow-up? This is not poorly written. I’ll be on the lookout, Nick.

  2. June Vincente March 22, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Your post opens the door to the world of Instagram… Just what I am looking for. Since this is all new to me I will be reading all more carefully and will be seeking tutorials on how and where to begin. Thank you.

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