• Start with pictures and a short write-up, and then experiment with very short video clips.
  • Post one or two times a day to Instagram -- more isn’t always better.
  • Interaction is key -- make sure you set aside time to interact anytime you post to Instagram.

Thanks to consistent, authentic Instagram posts and one key video, Sarah Johnston has built her Instagram following to over 6,000 in just 10 months. And she’s having her best sales year in spite of a major down market in Calgary. In our latest episode, Johnston shares her story, the types of content she posts, the best times to post, how to use hashtags on Instagram and much more.

In this clip, Johnston shares how a one-off video generated over 500 likes, 150 comments, thousands of new followers and a direct referral from an agent she’d never met.

Real Estate Uncensored: Sales and Marketing Training Podcast
Hosts Greg McDaniel and Matt Johnson with guest Sarah Johnston

We start with the basics of Instagram, including what types of content are most popular, why you should stick with very short videos even though Instagram raised its limit to 60 seconds and how to find your Facebook friends on Instagram.

Johnston shared the top three ways Instagram has changed her business:

  1. Generated national referrals from agents she’s never met
  2. Built deeper relationships with current and past clients
  3. Changed her mental outlook on down markets

“You need to interact with others in order for them to interact with you, especially when you’re first starting out.” – Sarah Johnston

Watch the full episode:

Johnston explained her strategy behind hashtags, which she breaks into two groups: hashtags she uses often and funny hashtags. Johnston uses local hashtags to put her posts in front of people looking for real estate, finding the hashtags people are already using and then adding them to her posts.

Focusing on local events and commenting on them using hashtags is a great way to attract more followers. Tagging yourself in specific locations around your city also helps put your posts in front of new potential followers.

On Instagram, interaction is key. Johnston explained that anytime she posts on Instagram, typically once a day, she sets aside the next 15 minutes to interact with people she follows and people using the hashtags she follows.

Basically, she’s starting conversations with people, who will then check out her profile. Johnston is also careful not to fake “like” all people’s recent posts when she starts following them; she prefers a more authentic approach of liking just a few posts.

Then Johnston shared her strategy for mixing personal and business content, why you shouldn’t pay for likes on Instagram, how to link your Instagram account to your Facebook Business page and why she only boosts non-business posts on Facebook.

Gary Vaynerchuk said, “One piece of content can change your life,” and Johnston is a great example. One short video clip caused her Instagram account to take off and get tons of comments and shares from agents around North America.

So start sharing pictures and short video clips, interact with people based on local hashtags — and be yourself. You never know when one of your posts will go viral and attract hundreds or thousands of new followers!

Sarah Johnston is a 10-year veteran Realtor with Maxwell Canyon Creek in Calgary, Alberta. Johnston is a certified negotiation expert, condominium specialist, country residential and buyers representative. To send referrals to Johnston in Calgary, email her at sarah@sarahjohnston.ca or DM her on Instagram, adventuresinrealestateyyc.

Click here to subscribe to Real Estate Uncensored on iTunes. 

Matt Johnson is the CEO of Pursuing Results, a podcast production and PR firm, as well as co-host of real estate podcasts and video series such as Real Estate Uncensored and Elite Real Estate Systems Hangout.

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