What’s the best way to look for new lead-generation strategies? Discovering what others are doing that’s working well. In this recurring column on Inman, agents and brokers share what they’re doing to change up their lead-gen strategies.
While everyone knows that social media is an available business tool, not many real estate professionals are maximizing the platform to its ultimate potential.
I began playing around with Instagram a few years ago, and it has made a significantly positive impact on my business and professional portfolio ever since. It has become a particularly useful resource in terms of generating new business leads.
I started a vlog called “#moneymondayswithmelissa,” a miniseries of 60-seconds-or-less videos where I address everyday questions and issues in the real estate industry. I post the videos each week to IGTV and my Instagram page. To maximize visibility, I share them to my YouTube channel as well. In the series, I answer frequently asked questions that buyers pose during the buying process. For example, some of the more common questions include:
- How much do I need as a down payment?
- What’s the norm for closing costs?
- What does CO mean?
My best piece of advice when posting videos to social media is to keep things short and sweet. We all know that people’s attention spans are short these days, particularly when it comes to online content. With my videos, I aim to keep everything under two minutes to keep my audience’s attention and to maintain consistency week by week.
Posting videos regularly has really helped me generate new followers. These new followers will typically watch my videos and posts for a few days or weeks before eventually reaching out via direct message or phone. It’s a really powerful testament to the effect that Instagram can have and how one digital platform can lead to so many other methods of communication and interpersonal connection. I’ve even generated listings from Instagram!
When these buyers contact me, they are typically looking for one sole agent to represent them. I have found it to be very important that I take the time to explain the process to them, establishing what they should expect from me as well as what I expect from them.
Then, because we’ve created an online relationship first, it becomes easier for me to keep tabs on what’s happening in their lives, and I can more readily reach out to say “congratulations” or to send a small gift, depending on what’s going on in their world.
Below are two real examples of how my use of Instagram has helped drive by business:
- One of my relatives has a friend who came across my Instagram page. They watched some of my videos, then reached out to my relative to ask for permission before contacting me. Once we connected, I eventually sold them a house on Long Island. After the closing, they posted a “This is our first home” photo on Instagram, tagging me in the post and thanking me for my help in the process.
- I have another client who found me on Instagram and followed my videos for a while. This led to me selling her a house out on Long Island. She also mentioned me in her “first-time homebuyer” post, which led to several other people contacting me about buying a house. I have closed an additional four transactions because of that one person’s post.
I think it’s incredibly important for agents to be where their clients are. Instagram provides an easy way to accomplish this because, as shown by celebrities, bloggers and influencers, people are generally comfortable with following people they don’t necessarily know.
If you want to consider using Instagram for your business, it’s important to be genuine, yet strategic. Make sure you are communicating your unique value and skills as an agent, while also enticing your audience to want to learn more about you and your business — with no obligations.
I always, always emphasize to people that they are more than welcome to reach out to me if they are ever seeking additional industry information. I’m happy to provide it, regardless of whether it leads to a concrete new piece of business.
It’s also important for you to make it very clear how people can contact you. I use my Instagram stories as a way to chat more casually and freely with my audience, allowing them to get to know me on a more personal level.
It seems like this is what the next generation of buyers are really looking for – someone who is highly visible, digitally engaged and dependable enough to guide them through the homebuying process step by step. So, I make it my ultimate goal to demonstrate and reflect this on my page.
All topics for my vlog come from questions that buyers have asked me or real-life situations that take place during a transaction. Although buyers might not always watch the entire video, I have found that everywhere I go, I’m now known as “Money Mondays,” and I love it.
I’ve become the go-to person for real estate for a demographic that doesn’t rely on or even really use Facebook, and it’s entirely transformed both my business and my personal brand.