By Kara Macdonald
June 12, 2018
It’s tough to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape. Between movements to abandon social media altogether, ever-changing permissions and features on existing platforms, and the seemingly endless parade of brand new platforms, it’s difficult to know what’s worth your time. Add to that the question of which platforms actually get conversions, and you may be suffering from social media paralysis. But one platform is the current darling of real estate companies everywhere — Instagram — and its Stories feature might just be what you’re looking for to raise your social media profile.
What are Instagram Stories?
Starting in 2016, Instagram introduced Stories, a concept lifted almost entirely from Snapchat’s feature of the same name. Stories are a different concept from most of the content on social media — meant to be quick and easy to explore and, most of all, temporary.
You can use fun filters, draw, go live on your Stories, even go live with other users. You can make stop motion videos, go hands-free — the possibilities are endless. Add emojis, photo stickers, comments, location, hashtags, picture-in-picture, polls and more. The whole idea is to be spontaneous, fun, and interactive — and to give your fans and followers a glimpse at your personality beyond the carefully constructed content you normally share.
What’s the difference between Stories and my regular feed?
One of the biggest differences between Stories and the rest of your Instagram feed is that they only appear for 24 hours after they are uploaded. The content you put in your Story doesn’t hang around and become part of your feed or your grid. It’s designed to be temporary.
That can be a good thing, because the idea is to give your followers some insight into who you are and what you’re up to. That’s a different purpose than the more careful construction of your newsfeed. It gives you the chance to share your day — whether you’re getting ready for an appointment, staging a listing, or just sharing a funny moment at the end of the day.
And because Instagram Stories are Discoverable, people who don’t currently follow you can find you through your Story. It gives you a chance to reach out beyond your current fans and followers and raise your profile. And just like with your newsfeed, when you tag other users in your Instagram Stories, you create opportunities for connection.
In addition, because you can see who viewed your Story and who voted on polls, you can determine who your biggest and most faithful followers are. That may mean you reach out to them a little more, give them a little more love in the feed, or otherwise strengthen your connection. For those who aren’t paying as much attention, you have the opportunity to create ways to reach out, maybe by tagging them or DMing them to create a personal connection.
For your current fans, one advantage of Stories is that they’ll get your Story icon at the top of their feed, so you can constantly stay top of mind, no matter what time you post and no matter what time they’re checking IG. That’s especially helpful as you create and nurture relationships with clients and colleagues.
How can I use Stories to promote my real estate business?
There are many ways to promote your real estate business using Instagram Stories. Try any (or all) of the following:
Create a Story for your new listing.
Walk your followers through your new listing, with heart-eye emojis and fun comments for all of the best features. End with a cute video of you describing the listing, then send followers to your newsfeed for more information.
Create a Story as you go through your day.
Give people a taste of “A Day in the Life” of your real estate business. Show them your early morning meeting, your listing appointment, your meeting with a photographer — anything that goes into the way you run your business. People will love the “behind the scenes” view, and you’ll remind them of how much work goes into what you do — and how good you are.
Create a Story featuring all of the people in your office.
Use the filters to create fun, silly, and glam photos of you, your broker, your administrative staff, and more. Be sure to include what all of those people do to make your clients’ transactions run smoothly. Make it both promotional and a big Thank You note for your colleagues.
Create a poll in Stories instead of a question in captions.
Instead of asking whether people like the red or blue front door in the captions of a Newsfeed post, create a poll in your Story for more feedback and interaction with your followers. The next day, publish the results of your poll so everyone knows the result.
Don’t be intimidated by Instagram Stories — and don’t ignore them. They can be a valuable way to reach out and touch your followers more authentically and creatively than ever before. Want more great insight and advice on optimizing your social media outreach? I’d love to hear from you and find out what topics you’d love for me to cover. I’m here for you!
About the Author: Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She has over twenty years of experience in processing, closing and marketing in the real estate and title insurance industry. She can be reached by email at email@example.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.