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.
One of the biggest downfalls for agents who are trying to use Instagram to promote events that they have coming up is simply a lack of planning. You would think you could just post one time on your account, and every person who follows you would see it, right? Wrong.
If you want to use Instagram to promote one of your upcoming events, taking the promotion of the event as seriously as planning the actual event is critical. So, what are the three critical elements to ensure you can get some traction from your efforts?
Step 1: Create a 2-week+ launch strategy
When promoting an event on Instagram, simply posting once or twice a day or two before your event will not do. Part of this has to do with the algorithm (not all of your content gets shown to everyone following you) and part of it is simply giving people enough time to commit to joining you.
How can we do both? Create a two-week launch strategy that includes social content (reels, videos, stories, etc.) as well as emails. Your two-week launch needs to have a structured “Launch” day that you can reverse engineer to decide on the days leading up to it to post and send emails out. Remember that you should include POST event content in your plan.
A sample 2-week launch could be as follows:
**NOTE** This is a sample launch for a 12 days of giving campaign, usually during the December holiday season. On all days when emails go out, you would also actively post content on your Instagram.
Step 2: Use authentic imagery and do not over animate
The second part of effective event promotion on Instagram is using real imagery of you at the location or photos/videos from past events. Many agents are tempted to use animation or “graphics” from resources like Canva, but the more animated you get, the less likely it is to be effective.
Example: When making a Reel, the cover photo can be you at the location. (If it is a margarita and real estate event, then maybe it is you walking through the restaurant holding a margarita and talking about the upcoming festivities/why someone should want to come.)
Here is an example of an over-animated/graphic post. NOTE: The Reel itself has the potential to be great, but the cover photo and most of the video itself are each far too animated.
What to do instead: This group could have taken a video walking on base or side-by-side with soldiers on base. This makes the content attainable and relatable to the user. Do not include any of the “animated” graphics from Canva.
Step 3: Include interviews and real-time posting in the locations
One of the most influential parts of a successful event launch on your Instagram is establishing credibility with your users. You can do this by including other individuals in your postings: tag businesses, tag individuals, or organizations.
If you are doing a giveaway for a product or promoting an event with sponsors, take the time to interview the sponsors and do so in their location. Leading up to the date of the event, you will use this content on your account and gather it from multiple sources to properly match up posts with the days your emails go out.
Step 4: Choose your sponsors and location wisely
When choosing your sponsors for your event, pay attention to those who have a social presence and create a sponsorship agreement that creates the expectation of their participation.
What to include in your agreement:
Your email database size, as well as your analytics from your Instagram account. These numbers would include your engagement rate, reach and impressions, and your account name for them to reference.
Reminder: Your goal with this is to choose companies who can help you gain traction for your event. This is why doing the due diligence and getting their buy-in prior to launching your two-plus week plan is key.
See below for a sample sponsorship inquiry letter (you will need to include your branding)
Bonus Step: Boost your promotions (but do so with a plan!)
Most real estate agents simply want to pay for ads with the hope that it will do all the leg work for them. The reality is that boosting your content should only be done once the organic presence and the plan are in play.
Rushing event promotion will cause you anguish, time and money.
When choosing to boost content, choose wisely. It takes, on average, six days for a campaign to be executed fully on Instagram. Therefore, if you are going to boost content, choose the pieces of content at the front half of the two-week launch and have a few of those pieces running with some money behind them simultaneously.
The part of event promotion you need to put extra emphasis behind is the use of real-life content and the right sponsors who will work with you, not against you. Getting traction for events is rewarding when there is strategy, effective execution and collaboration in play.
Michelle Berman Mikel is a nationally sought-after Instagram Content Development coach, speaker, Owner of Berman Media PD and Creator of the Instagram Power Method Program. You can connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.