Remember the days when you had to pay per line or character to most effectively market your listings and business? In the heyday of print advertising, we real estate agents learned how to succinctly create ads that just gave the bare bone basics due to cost. But the problem is: we have brought those habits to Instagram, where you likely stick out like an aggravating sore thumb.

  • Don't skip tags on Instagram unless you want to kill your lead generation.
  • Canva and Ripl are great apps to jazz up your Instagram pics.
  • If you're not commenting or liking other people's posts, you're killing your Instagram success.

Originally shared at Inman Connect on the Road Chicago as 3 Deal-Killers to Growing Your Business on Instagram


Remember the days when you had to pay per line or character to most effectively market your listings and business? In the heyday of print advertising, we real estate agents learned how to succinctly create ads that just gave the bare-bone basics, due to cost.

But the problem is: we have brought those habits to Instagram, where you likely stick out like an aggravating sore thumb.

To grow your network on Instagram, think like an agent but post like a friend

In other words, please put on your consumer hat: If the double-tap-worthy posts are funny, sad, thought-provoking, humbling or eye-candy, then you will not win being terse, dry and salesy. As a consumer, if you would skip over your own post, then Houston, we have a problem!

Here are three ways to grow your reach on Instagram by thinking like an agent but posting like a friend.

1. Get personal

When you post about a listing or an upcoming open house, seminar, etc., it cannot be business as usual. As you post, remember the acronym HUTT (humor, unique, thought-provoking or tear-jerking) to ensure the content of your post connects with the human side of the Instagram audience.

If it does not capture at least one part of HUTT, then please do your business a favor and go back to the drawing board.

Screenshot 2016-05-25 14.31.11Friends don’t let friends not make the most of a widely celebrated holiday. Sarah Johnston (@adventuresinrealestateyyc) made what could have been a very impersonal open house event on this year’s Valentine’s Day a fun way for singles to celebrate it along with perusing one of her listings.

By the way, if you want to make your images for Instagram snazzy like Johnston, Ripl and Canva are great apps to get out of the doldrums of images that might need some pizazz. It’s not about cluttering your photos — it’s about making them double-tap worthy.

Check out Ryan Griffioen’s post; it could have been a stodgy bathroom shot. Instead, he wrote an amusing caption that captures the pain-point of navigating a bathroom sink as a dad with teenage daughters. That connects while also marketing to potential buyers — double bang.

2. Tag, you’re it

Have you ever wished a magical arrow could point certain people on Instagram, like potential clients, to you? That’s what tags do for you.

But are you dead-set against getting swept away by hashtag mania? Hashtag mania is what I call it when people add the number sign to any and all random phrase such as #IHave3ShowingsTodayAnd1Closing, which has no organic searchable value.

Tags are meant to make the search process easier, which hashtag mania has perverted. As a result, hashtag mania might make you want to disconnect yourself from using hashtags ever. Out with the old, in with the new, right? Wrong!

I know that pop culture has diluted the power of tags by making it cliche — but that’s still the best and easiest way to search on Instagram for now. Skip tags only if you don’t want to grow your relationships — and ultimately business — on Instagram.

Check out my girl Nikki Singh (AKA Toronto’s Real Estate in Stilettos) below. She tags like crazy, and she has clients like crazy.

Screenshot 2016-05-25 14.31.43

Tagging tip

Be sure to use:

  1. The areas you are targeting or farming (#Chicago, #LincolnPark, #GroveParkSubdivision)
  2. Relevant business, organization and people usernames (#KBHomes/@KBHomes, @JohnWeiland, #YourRealtyFirm/@YourRealtyFirm, #realtor, #homebuying)
  3. And your actual geolocation (just turn on your phone’s location settings, and select where you are)

By using all three types of tags, you will cover your bases so that if people are searching for any one of these categories, you will be on their radar. Ultimately, remember to put your consumer hat on and think about what people will likely search — then use that.

3. Don’t steal the mic

Remember Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift at a music awards ceremony a few years back and stealing the mic? A jerky, anti-social move — who does that? Unfortunately, when we put on our real estate hat on Instagram, many times we do.

You have two choices:

  1. Steal the mic by making an irrelevant comment on someone else’s post to ask people to follow you and possibly lose business by irritating prospects
  2. Stay relevant, be social, make friends (instead of being annoyingly salesy or anti-social) — and win business

Screenshot 2016-05-25 14.42.10

Check out what Fredrik Eklund of “Million Dollar Listing New York” did in the image above. Did he (or possibly his social media assistant) jump on Sarah Johnston’s post, try to steal the mic and say to “watch his show” because a new episode airs at this time, buy his book, visit his listing or follow his page?

No, he did not become a mic-stealer. He just liked it, which is a critical part of growing your Instagram following. Simply letting your desired audience know you are also seeing and enjoying what they are posting builds relationships.

Are you investing time just liking and commenting on other people’s posts? If not, then that’s a deal-killer.

In review, just say no to:

  1. Posting without connecting
  2. Skipping relevant tags (hash and user)
  3. Stealing the mic

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, business doctoral student, trainer and coach. Follow her on Google+ and Facebook.

Email Lee Davenport.

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