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Of all the main social media platforms, Instagram is the one which rose to the top as the most useful tool for real estate agents. Don’t get me wrong, Twitter and Facebook can be excellent outlets for agents too but, in these days, for those looking to grow, the former is a bit of a shouting factory and the latter is rapidly tightening into a strict pay-to-grow format.

Yes, in the modern world of social media, Instagram reigns supreme. It’s always been an excellent tool for real estate agents, probably because houses can be so visually inspiring. Selling real estate is selling dreams, and Instagram users love to follow their dreams.

With that in mind, and with no further delay, here are the 15 tips you need to know in order to grow your real estate Instagram followers from a bunch of well-wishing friends to a global, targeted audience.

Creating Content

The fundamental point of Instagram is to share visual content, and so, the starting point in growing your account is in producing the right kind of content. You have to see yourself as a producer who curates the output which your target audience wants to see and engage with.

Don’t be daunted by the pressure of producing “high-quality” photos, videos, texts, and graphics. Your posts should best reflect your personality and the nature of your business. Posts with a face get a lot more engagement than those without. Content can be captured on-the-go with a smartphone and will give your audience a little window into the day-to-day activities of your business.

Viral Content

You might have heard of viral content. It’s what every social media manager is hoping to create. Virals are posts which spread beyond the eyes of your followers to get high levels of engagement across the entire Instagram platform. Of course, this kind of exposure is amazing for quickly amassing huge numbers of new followers and should be the goal behind anything you post.

Other people’s viral content can also be used to grow your following. You can re-post content from other accounts as long as you apply the correct etiquette of crediting the photo owner. Content that has proven to get high engagement could get you on the “explore page” for high-traffic hashtags, which will result in a flood of new visitors and a whole lot of potential new followers.

Sharing & Collaborating

While the quality of content is very important, it’s only as good as the number of people that see it. Sharing is the key to launching your real estate Instagram account into the stratosphere. It’s wise to share your content with a network of partners who have a similar targetted audience to yours. In return, you promote their content. These kinds of mutually beneficial relationships are hugely overlooked by many marketers and are a great way for everyone to expand their accounts with the right kind of followers.

Branding Strategy

Everything that you post on Instagram has to be in line with your overall branding strategy. In order to really hone your image, you need to keep your message consistent throughout. Consistency builds trust, credibility, and familiarity. Familiarity breeds fondness. That means no posting that picture of your dog asleep on the sofa, no matter how cute he looks…

Posting Strategy

While the tone of your content has to remain consistent with your brand, so does the number of your posts. To remain relevant, it’s best to post a minimum of 5 times a week and to update your story 5-10 times per day. The three types of content – your own, viral, and shared – should be organized into a pattern to maintain the theme of consistency.

Hashtags

Hashtags are the best way to open up your account to those who are not already aware of you. While you can add 30 hashtags to an Instagram post, best practice states using around ten will get optimal results and avoid you looking like spam. Try to select the hashtags which are both relevant to your post and that get the most traffic.

Profile Bio

The text section on your profile page may be short but it is something that needs to be absolutely correct in order to successfully grow your account. It’s an opportunity to anchor the branding strategy you are using in one bite-size piece and can bring traffic to your account by adding a few cleverly selected hashtags. Business accounts can have a call-to-action button displayed in their bio, giving potential customers a direct line to your phone, email, or website.

Time To Post

When you choose to post your content is a very important factor in getting a good response. No matter how good your content is, it’s no good at all if your followers are asleep. As a general rule, the best times to post on Instagram are 9am to 1pm (PST) on weekdays and 11am to 3pm (PST) on weekends.

Engagement

Instagram’s algorithm loves interaction and really works in your favor if you constantly engage with others. This type of activity builds momentum and certainly works to increase your exposure overall. Interact with those who comment on your posts. Don’t feel shy about interacting. On the internet, the funnier you are the better. Follow other accounts which you are interested in and regularly engage with their content too. The less generic your message, the more likely you are to spark genuine interaction.

Direct Messaging

Sending direct messages to others on Instagram is a very powerful tool which allows you to market to an individual in a very focused way. Direct messaging is regarded as one of the most effective marketing techniques on Instagram today and should be utilized to create and develop good personal relationships with your followers and collaborators.

Tagging Accounts

You can tag another account in an Instagram post to help expand your reach to those who follow that account. This is especially useful for those who collaborate and share content with others.

Insights/Analytics

Insights is the name of the analytics tool on Instagram. It gives you a wealth of information to track your progress and growth, including the number of people your posts reached irrespective of whether they clicked on it or not. Insights is a valuable tool for any serious Instagram user and can be used to ensure you are executing your strategy correctly.

Traffic

With Insights, you can see where the traffic is coming from. It helps you see which hashtags are working best for your content and will help you figure out what you got right when your post went viral.

Influencers

Instagram Influencers are accounts which have a large following within a certain niche. They are normally very happy to promote your content in the form of a paid shout-out if it is aligned with their audience. Influencers can be a relatively cheap method of increasing your exposure quickly.

Paid Ads

Instagram promotions can be a cost-effective way of promoting your account and gaining new followers. It’s a great way for those who are new to the platform to gain attention while still working all the organic avenues. The key to this is in the analytics. It’s up to you to decide whether the number of new followers you get from this represents a good return on investment.

Working the Algorithm

Instagram has a finely tuned algorithm which can spot the difference between organic and automated interaction. The best way to get the most out of Instagram is to not try to cheat the system but to organically do all the things Instagram likes the most. Know the rules – play the game – get results.