We must remember that social media is social. There is a huge focus in the real estate marketing and social media marketing industries on creating engaging content. While this is very important, this has the unintentional side effect of social accounts becoming unidirectional broadcasters. Social media benefits are most apparent when it is used to create or cultivate a community. Don't forget to connect with your real estate audience!
In our last article, we recommended curating your Instagram feed as if you were putting together a magazine. People love reading magazines, the content in it is aesthetically pleasing at and interesting to read. The difference between a magazine and your Instagram is that readers are not able to talk to the magazine.
Here are general rules to follow to actively engage with users on Instagram:
Engage with Your Followers
When you create engaging content, be sure to keep your followers in mind. What will home buyers, home sellers, and the casual Instagrammer respond to? Engaging content that is specific to your followers is not guaranteed to result in your audience liking or commenting on your photos. A more effective strategy is to take time to be personal with your audience. In any sales position, especially in real estate, consumers aren't sold on a product. Consumers are sold on how much they like and trust you.
Another reason to engage with followers is because Instagram users are quicker to unfollow than Facebook users are to unfriend. Apps have been created to make unfollowing Instagram accounts easier for users.
If somebody takes the time out of their day to like or comment on your photo, then return the favor! You can go through your list of followers and randomly look through their feeds to show your appreciation. Remember to be genuine and authentic with your comments. "Great photo!" is more effective than a "thumbs up" emoji. Additionally, "I have been to this restaurant many times growing up. Have you tried the crawfish?" Is more effective than "Great photo!". Make it seem as if you looked at the photo in an attempt to make a real connection.
Engage with People You Follow
It is okay if people do not follow you back. It is also okay if you do not follow people back. If you are following people, be sure to go through your home feed and look at photos. Interact with the photos that you like.
The other reason it is important to scroll through your feed is to know what other people are posting. This will give you insights to what is trending, and what people are responding to. Which photo types are getting the most likes and comments? Which photos are you skipping past?
Engage with Your Competitor's Followers
One terrific way to find potential real estate followers is by looking at accounts engaging with your competitor's Instagram accounts. If they are already engaging with real estate content on one account, then they are more likely to engage with real estate content on another site.
To be clear, we are not saying you should steal clients or leads from other agents...we are saying you should talk to their clients like you would at any social gathering. Say hi, talk about what is in their photos, recommend places for them to go based on their feeds. Make them feel as if you are a social butterfly looking to make friends. The quickest way to make people feel uncomfortable at a neighborhood gathering is by trying to sell them something after introducing yourself...so try to be tactful with your online personality!
Engage with People with Geolocations
Engaging people through geolocations can be a fantasticway to find people that you are not already connected with. They are also more likely to be outside of your immediate sphere of influence. To find people in your area, go to the "Explore" tab and type in the name of your city. This also works with nearby businesses and neighborhoods.
Again, be authentic and genuine with your interactions. These are new people you haven't met yet. You can just scroll through the feeds and interact with posts that catch your eye! Pro-tip: Instagram users are more likely to respond to questions than compliments.
Engage with people in the hashtags.
Like geolocations, you can search hashtags to find new users to engage with. You can do this by either tapping on a hashtag in a photo you like OR through the "Explore" tab.
To find people in hashtags, you will want to look through the most trending hashtags. There are many ways to find them. You can see what popular Instagrammers are using. Some will hide their hashtags in the first comment on a photo, instead of including them in the initial post. You can also see what other users are hashtagging as you scroll through your feed.
Same rules apply, be authentic and genuine.
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