Here are five tips that you can use right now to increase your following, gain exposure to your personal brand and get more business from your Instagram account.

Since I started using Instagram two and half years ago, I’ve been completely obsessed with it. I’ve watched just about every YouTube video there is about Instagram as it relates to real estate, and I’ve realized two things:

  1. There aren’t very many big accounts, other than your reality show real estate agents.
  2. Most agents are not doing what they need to do to grow their following and increase their exposure.

Social media is a great way to get exposure to your personal brand. Since I’ve grown my following for my company account to over 13,000 followers, I have been recognized at networking events and landed listings because the seller had followed our account on social media.

I’ve also noticed that most agents’ Instagram accounts fall into two categories: those who post the right content but don’t use the right techniques to grow their following, and those who use the right techniques to grow their following but don’t post the right content.

Here are five tips that you can use right now to increase your following, gain exposure to your personal brand and get more business from your Instagram account.

1. Be more purposeful with hashtags, and use the stair-step effect

Using the right hashtags can help your listings gain exposure and your follower count grow. Use a mix of local and national hashtags.

Use software tools like Sprout Social or Command to identify the top-performing hashtags relevant to the types of posts you share most on your Instagram feed.

The stair-step effect is when you try to match five hashtags that have the top average likes to whatever your average like per post is. For example, if you have an average of 50 likes per post, you’ll try to choose hashtags with 50 top average likes.

And then you’ll use five more that have 25 percent more than those and five more that have 25 percent more and so on until you have 25 to 30 hashtags that you’ll have varying chances of ranking in.

The idea here is that if you rank in the first five hashtags, you’re much more likely to rank in the second five and so on. See the example below.

2. Add value to your posts

We spend a lot of time making 1-minute videos that give tips about real estate, such as “Why you should choose a reputable local lender instead of a loan mill when buying a home.”

We have a Linktree account that allows us to post more than one link on our profile page so that we are constantly telling the people who see our posts “See more on this subject in the link in profile.”

One of our primary goals with Instagram is to get more website traffic.

3. Tag businesses and people as much as possible

We try to post two to three times a day. That can be difficult when you’re not carrying a large supply of listing inventory.

So to add filler content, I get photos of popular local restaurants and entertainment districts. We tag the business in our posts, and we often get these businesses (or whoever manages their social media) to follow us.

4. Edit all of your photos

I carry around a great camera and a GoPro 7. Even the best shots need to be edited.

We use Adobe Premiere, but you can also use Instagram’s filters to filter the photo. Photos that are edited perform much better than those that are not.

5. Plan ahead with a social media calendar

I meet with my assistant every two weeks. I’m constantly grabbing photos on my GoPro, my Sony Aiii and my phone. She edits the photos, and when we meet, we plan all of the “filler” content, also known as evergreen (content that isn’t a new listing or listing status change like “under contract” or “just sold”).

We spend about an hour every two weeks doing this, and because we’re diligent about it, we are constantly growing our following.

The hardest part about this prep work is the hashtag research, but I can tell you it’s totally worth the effort. We get a lot of exposure from people who are following hashtags, and that’s the “low-hanging fruit” very few agents are grabbing.

Ryan Rodenbeck is the broker-owner of Spyglass Realty and Investments in Austin. Connect with him on Instagram.

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