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Real estate sales and marketing platform Curaytor announced Wednesday, via Instagram that customers are now able to integrate the popular picture-based social medium into their marketing plans. The announcement was also released on the company’s podcast, #WaterCooler.
The new service from Curaytor will include full oversight of its customers’ paid Instagram ads, stories and general post strategy.
While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have long allowed third-party scheduling of posts and stories, Instagram resisted fully opening its backdoor to other services until last year. However, it’s taken some time for those third-party companies to build out the capabilities and their user experiences, as well as the right strategy for doing so.
“Well, it’s so tempting to jump at first when things look exciting and new. Instagram stories got to the point where it became an inarguable growth pattern,” said Chris Smith, CEO of Curaytor. “I look for those real world signals first and foremost.”
The Facebook-owned social media platform has given rise to the concept of “influencer,” a term used to describe Instagram accounts with enough followers to provide advertising clout for other brands. In essence, Instagram has become another form of radio or television.
Smith also noted the growth of Instagram accounts from other influencers in the real estate space, but in this context, he is referring the industry’s big names, not popular online personalities hawking hair care products or energy drinks.
“Look at the Keller Williams Instagram, the stuff Compass is doing, look at what Mike Ferry’s Instagram account is doing,” he said. “Then look at what the average agent is doing. They’re not posting anything, treating it like just a place to post pictures of their food and family.”
Smith also noted the growth of an account called Roomporn, which has 1.2 million followers.
“Real estate works on Instagram,” he said.
HootSuite, a social media marketing software, reported on its blog this month that Instagram reaches 1 billion users per month. However, 88 percent of its users are outside of the United States. This means Instagram may be more valuable to agents who target foreign buyers.
Smith admits that Instagram might not be the ideal vehicle for all agents and that Facebook is still a very powerful lead source.
“A lot of it is your KPIs, part of it is their budget, and part of it is their demo,” Smith told Inman. “We’re basically recommending that 10 percent to 20 percent of your overall budget should go to Instagram. But if you want traffic and leads in the traditional sense, Facebook is still the way to go.”
The company will help agents leverage Instagram for branding, customer conversations and engagement.
User demographics for Instagram are largely balanced between men and women, and in the U.S., 60 percent of Instagram users have a household income of more than $100,000.
Smith said that agents have many business milestones to use as listing content for the platform, such as coming soon, new listings, open houses, solds, price reductions and, of course, pictures of homes.
“What’s really cool about real estate, of course, is that you’re going to have a ton of pictures,” Smith said. “So how many great posts and stories can one listing create?”
Smith’s company will be helping agents translate their home data and visuals into Instagram content, formatting for which has become increasingly diverse and dynamic.
“Where does video fit it? Where does IGTV fit in?”
To promote the new feature on Curaytor, Smith said the company will execute 100 percent of its marketing for the remainder of March from only its Instagram account.
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