There are many fans of what some call “real estate porn” — luxury homes with a one-of-a-kind design, extravagant features, sweeping landscapes and hefty price tags. Instagram is the perfect platform for this kind of content, and you’ll find many real estate agents and enthusiasts alike building impressive followings based on these envy-inducing photos and the imagined lifestyle around them.
Bespoke Real Estate founding partner, managing member and head of corporate listings Zachary Vichinsky says it’s easy for real estate agents to crowd follower’s feeds with fantastical pictures that garner plenty of likes, but it takes careful strategy and restraint to build the kind of Instagram presence that turns likes into sales.
Zachary and his brother Cody founded Bespoke in 2014 and immediately began using Instagram to build a following of more than 630,000 users across three accounts — @bespoke.realestate, @bespoke.marketing and @bespoke.magazine.
“We saw the wave coming — the technology wave and the content wave starting to take shape,” Zachary told Inman in a phone interview.
The Vichinskys gathered the professional photographs and videos for each listing and optimized them for Instagram — often focusing on video content — which tends to bring the most engagement. From there, the brothers and their marketing team began carefully planning and scheduling each post for maximum impact.
“If you’re just posting sexy photos of real estate, you’re just a dime a dozen,” Zachary said. “There are 50,000 people who are doing that.”
The Bespoke team has also taken a liking to using Instagram Stories, a feature that enables users to share photos, videos and livestreams that disappear after 24 hours, to give inside looks at listings as well as the brokerage’s day-to-day operations.
“Either it’s [a home] already on the market, or I’m going to a listing appointment, or I’m walking through a friend’s house that’s contemplating [selling], or I’m staying at a hotel, it’s really about exposing elements of that project or that property through a lens that’s much more organic and translatable than a static photo,” he said.
Bespoke Marketing’s Instagram video garnered 5,385 views
Zachary said the power of Instagram is that it allows buyers to easily do their due diligence by getting a good first look at a listing and ask questions before making a major commitment.
“It’s a visual world,” he said. “I wouldn’t say billionaires or hundreds of millionaires are constantly floating around on Instagram trying to find properties, but it’s like anything — if you’re interested in buying a car, or if you like a pair of shoes or like to go look for a hotel, Instagram provides you with a platform to have tremendous amount of research and diligence done for you.”
Zachary and his team have learned to filter through their comments section and separate the lookie-loos from the serious inquirers.
“Those videos garner questions like: Where are you? What is that? Could you tell me more? Is that for sale?” he said. “Those are generic, but prudent questions that are real from a real buyer.”
“[Instagram is] just another tool to stimulate conversation that could potentially go nowhere or could progress into starting a dialogue about that particular property or something like it.”
From there, the Vichinskys and their team are able to take the conversation offline and begin building toward a sale. Zachary estimates Instagram was part of 10 percent of their business sales over the past year, and with nearly $1 billion in listings in 2017, that 10 percent translates into a little over $90,000,000.
#73BriarPatchRoadEastHampton is an exceptional contemporary residence offering spectacular views of the abutting 17 acre nature conservancy.⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ The exterior of the home offers a large terrace with an infinity-edge swimming pool, separate hot tub, rotunda screened-in dining pavilion with a double sided fireplace, and pool house with a changing room, bathroom and outdoor shower.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ Listed by Bespoke’s Corporate Listing Team led by @Bespoke.Zachary & @Bespoke.Cody and co-exclusive agent @HamptonsEvan | $12.995M⠀
Zachary says the key to winning on Instagram is being authentic and creating value for buyers and sellers alike by delivering factual, actionable information.
“If you’re trying to build your brand and create results … it’s through authenticity and it’s through providing value to the people that follow you, whether that’s through market opportunities, giving them information or giving them something that’s credible where they can relate to you on a personal level,” he said.
“Authenticity and creating value is the fundamental cornerstone of what I feel is how the platform should really be leveraged. It’s about delivering value to your clients.”