September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
This post was largely taken from Katie Lance’s previous work on Inman.
Last updated: Sep. 6, 2022.
After the past two years, we can safely say that Facebook and Instagram have secured their long-term spot as social media royalty.
In a previous presentation at Inman Connect Las Vegas (2019), I said that before we can talk about Facebook and Instagram, it’s first important to think about being intentional with your social media plan.
Agents and brokers who are successfully using Facebook and Instagram are doing so effectively because they are focusing on relationships first. They understand that social media will never replace a handshake or a phone call, and they also understand the importance of putting out valuable timeless content in their voice (with their opinion), which will attract the clients they want to work with.
Once you have created a system for your content — including when to create it, how often, what medium (blog posts, video, live video, podcasting) — then the next step is distribution, which is where these free tools from Facebook and Instagram come into play.
Let’s start first with Facebook because there are some fantastic free and many times under-utilized tools available with Facebook business pages:
- Post scheduling: On a Facebook business page or group you can schedule posts ahead of time. This allows agents and brokers to publish consistently, and it saves time. Agents and brokers who are creating evergreen video or podcast content might consider scheduling that same piece of content multiple times over the course of a few weeks or months.
- Link to specific posts: Each post on Facebook has its own unique link — you can access this by clicking on the time and/or date for that post. The post will then open in a new window, and you can then copy and paste that link to share anywhere. We find it helpful in our weekly email newsletter to share a link or two directly back to a specific post or two from our Facebook page. This helps to drive traffic to that post and increase engagement.
- Invite people who like your post to like your page: Once a few people (or a few dozen people) have liked a post on your Facebook page, you can click on the list of people who liked your post and from there invite them to like your page.
- Pin posts to the top of your page: On a weekly or monthly basis I recommend pinning a new post to the top of your Facebook page. This post might be a new video, a new piece of content or event a new listing.
- Facebook Live: Facebook Live is still one of the best ways to increase engagement and increase awareness to your business. Consider going live on your Facebook page weekly or at least monthly. You can also use a free tool like BeLive.tv to schedule your Facebook Live up to a week in advance.
- Facebook captions: If you are uploading video to your Facebook page I strongly encourage you to add captions. Most of us never turn the sound on for videos on Facebook — so captions are key. Facebook has a great free option for this or, for a few dollars more, you can use a tool like rev.com.
What about Facebook groups? It’s becoming more important to think about having a Facebook group. Facebook group posts are getting more and more traction in the newsfeed, and a group is a great way to build a community.
Here are a few of my favorite free Facebook group tools:
- Scheduling: Just like a Facebook business page, you can schedule posts in advance, which can help with consistency and keeping your group engaged. Make sure though — as with any scheduled post — that you take the time to respond to comments and engage with your community.
- Facebook Live: Going live inside your Facebook group is a great way to build a strong community. I go live in our #GetSocialSmart Facebook group each week with a Monday #CoffeeWithKatie, and it’s a great way to build value with our members.
- Insights: There are new group insights available that will show you who your most engaged members of the group are. This can be helpful to recognize those members.
- Post formatting: You can now format group posts with things like bold, italicize and bullet points. This is extremely helpful in posting engaging content.
- Linking to posts: Just like pages, you can find the link to any specific post in a Facebook group by clicking on the time and/or date stamp. We have a weekly newsletter to our members, and we will in the email link to a few of those posts in the group. Our members like this because they know if they miss something, they will get the link in their weekly newsletter.
- Announcements: Unlike Facebook pages where you can only pin one post, in a group, you can pin up to 10 posts. This is a great feature where you can post the rules to your group, helpful resources, videos, Facebook Live replay, upcoming events and more.
More Facebook tools
In addition to Facebook pages and groups — many agents and brokers are connected to their past clients personally on Facebook. Using Facebook’s free tool — Facebook Lists is still a great way to segment your friend lists.
Many agents will put their clients into a list (these lists are private — your eyes only) to keep themselves organized and stay intentional. Relationships are built with small interactions over the course of time and using lists is a great way to build relationships without spending a lot of time on Facebook.
Don’t miss these 10 hidden Facebook features agents often miss.
In addition to Facebook, Instagram offers tons of free and awesome tools to help you engage with others, drive traffic to your site and generate business. It’s important to note though that on Instagram — it’s not about getting thousands of followers — it’s about getting the right followers.
5 key free Instagram features
- Instagram Feed
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Live
- Instagram TV (IGTV)
- Instagram Reels
In the Instagram news feed, agents and brokers can post pictures and/or videos up to one minute in length (and up to 15 minutes for IGTV).
6 tools to help you gain traction
There are six free tools that can help increase traction with your posts:
- Saving your posts: Did you know Instagram rewards users that have a high level of people saving their posts? So the next time you post to Instagram, a new call to action might be “Save this post for when you are ready to move” or “Save this post with the upcoming community dates.”
- Sharing your posts: When you post to the Instagram feed, under your post there is a paper airplane icon. When you click that, you can share that post to your Instagram Stories. This is a great way to get more traction on your post.
- Hashtags: Using 15-30 specific hashtags on each post helps your post get more reach. You need to make sure your account is public to use hashtags. There are three great hashtag resources we recommend: hashtagify.me, hashtags.org. all-hashtags.com
- Geo-location: When posting, add your geolocation. To keep yourself safe, never post your location if you are working in an area alone like an open house. However, if you are promoting a new listing on Instagram, you may share the specific city in the location area of Instagram. Alternatively, you may choose to tag the location of your local office.
- Tagging. You can tag other Instagram accounts on your post. It’s important to be intentional in tagging — don’t tag randomly and spam. However, if you have a post that highlights someone else or another business — tag that person, and that helps with your engagement.
Got a new listing that you want to share on your social media? Here are a few ways to better promote your listings on Instagram:
- Batch-create your content: When it comes to putting out content, it is way easier and more efficient to batch-create your content. Next time you’re at a listing, create a ton of content all in one sitting. Think: Facebook Live, a couple of IG stories, maybe even an Instagram Live. Grab some video content that you could use later for a Reel.
- Create a carousel post: For Instagram specifically, use carousel posts. In those multi-photo posts, you’re allowed up to 10 photos in a carousel. Specifically, when it comes to listings, carousels can be a great way to get your listing in front of more people because they tend to show up multiple times in your followers’ feeds. Use photos of different parts of the home — from front door to garage — in your carousel to really showcase your listing.
- Share your behind-the-scenes on IG Stories: As I mentioned in my first tip, when you are at that listing, you’re going to be recording a lot of content. So, share a few clips of yourself behind the scenes — working with a stager, walking through the house, getting things ready, etc. Have fun with it!
- Utilize IG Live: A lot of clients still really love virtual open houses because that means fewer people traipsing through their home. IG Live is a great way to do that. When you go live on Instagram, you are automatically going to get more exposure, not just for that Instagram Live, but for all of your content.
Watch the video below for more tips on promoting your listing on Instagram!
How about Instagram Stories? Instagram Stories are photos and/or 15-second videos that are stitched together to create a story that disappears in 24 hours. Stories are a great way to show the behind-the-scenes of your business and day-to-day.
Here are a few ways to get more views on your IG stories.
- Watch other people’s Stories: Try to make it a point to watch five to 10 other people’s stories, and make sure you’re not just watching the same users’ stories. The more you interact, the better.
- Go dark on Instagram Stories for 24 hours: When you come back, your story views will go through the roof. Plus, it’s always good idea to take a day off social media.
- Use Instagram stickers: Instagram loves when you use its features. Use the poll feature, use the emoji sticker feature, tag people when it’s appropriate, and use location tags and GIFs. These tools can help make your stories playful, fun and interactive. Get creative with your stories.
- Use Super Zoom and Boomerang: Instead of a regular video consider spicing it up and using one of the fun free tools in Instagram Stories — Super Zoom and/or Boomerang.
For more of my tips on making the most of Instagram Stories, watch this video:
In addition to thinking about content on Instagram, it’s equally important to spend time intentionally engaging with your clients on Instagram. Instagram does not offer lists like Facebook, but you might consider setting up post notifications on your top five past clients or prospects so you can be intentional in engaging with their content.
When it comes to Instagram reels, a lot of people get very intimidated. Here’s the thing with Instagram reels: There’s a lot you can do with it. But here, I’ll share a few simple tips that you can put into practice right away.
- Watch other people’s Reels: If you have no idea what kinds of content to create with Reels, a good place to start is watching what other people are doing. You’ll get a sense of what you do and don’t like, what the trends are and the many different ways you can get creative with Reels.
- Save audio that you like: As you swipe through other people’s Reels, I want you to listen. When you’re looking at your Reels, scrolling across the bottom, you’ll see the audio file. When you click on that audio file, it’s gonna take you to a separate screen, and at the very top, you’ll see a button that says “save audio.” So, if you find audio files that resonate with you, save them. Sometimes, the video will give you inspiration for the content.
- It’s time to create: From there, you can create right within Reels or record video ahead of time and upload it to Reels. You’re allowed up to 30 seconds of video. If you saved some audio, now you can pair that with a video that you have on your phone. Find out how to get creative with the creation process in this video:
More tools for Instagram
Additional free tools for Facebook and Instagram:
- LinkTr.ee: In Instagram you are allowed only one live link — LinkTr.ee allows you to list multiple links (link to your listings, solds, newsletter sign-up, FB page, YouTube channel, etc.)
- Videorama app: This is a fantastic app to create and edit great videos for Facebook and Instagram.
- WordSwag and Canva: These are two of my favorite tools for creating fun and unique graphics because they’re easy to use and easy to be consistent with your branding with both of these apps.
- Later.com: This website and app is a great tool to schedule posts for Facebook and/or Instagram.
- Unfold: Looking for more unique ideas for Instagram? Unfold is a beautiful app that enables you to tell stories with text, filters, images and layouts. It could be particularly great for luxury listings that you might be promoting over on Instagram Stories.
There are so many great free tools available on both Facebook and Instagram — the key is thinking beyond the listing photo, look at your life as content and lean into who you are.
At the end of the day, people do business with people they know, like, trust and relate to.
To view my complete presentation at Inman Connect in Vegas you can view my slides and resources here. Or check out the video from ICLV below.
Katie Lance is the author of #GetSocialSmart and founder and CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, a social media strategy firm and founder of the #GetSocialSmart Academy. She’s been recognized by Inman News as one of the 100 most influential people in real estate and is a featured keynote speaker at many industry events. Katie is also is the author of the best-selling book, #GetSocialSmart.