You can increase brand awareness and make genuine connections when you use Instagram to generate and nurture leads, writes Michelle Berman-Mickel. Here’s how to put its power to work for your real estate business.

“I post consistently but have never gotten any business off Instagram.”

“Do people actually get qualified leads off Instagram?” 

“The only content people ever like is my dog pictures!”

These are all common statements made by Realtors that offer insight into how they view Instagram and why so many have yet to double down on making it work for them. In fact, only 52 percent of agents are even using the platform. This has left quite a bit of market share for those who are.

So why are so many of that 52 percent still not converting or generating any business from the platform?

The answer comes down to two main things:

  1. Not seeing the platform as a viable lead source.
  2. Not actively prospecting on it the way they would with their calls, their ads or with the same effort they put into farming or pop-bys.

The bottom line is that Instagram can be a powerful tool for sales when used effectively as a sales funnel. There are three main ways to look at Instagram that will have you doubling down and opening your mind to the possibilities.

Understanding the math

Let’s talk math. The average Realtor spends about 15 hours a week making calls, translating to about three hours per day and roughly 60 calls daily. The idea behind this is that it is a numbers game.

You talk to 60, and maybe 30 answer. Of the 30 who answer, half of them hang up on you, and of the 15 who don’t, maybe you book appointments or follow-up calls with five of them. It is a sales funnel, with a bigger number at the top, and a much smaller number at the bottom.

Instagram’s math looks similar (in the form of sending DMs, leaving comments, etc.) but can be completed in less time. There is, however, a laundry list of extra benefits to doing Instagram prospecting.

  • You get to build the relationship with the people you message/engage with, without having to be on the phone yet.
  • You can send all the messages for the day in one sitting and time block responding for later in the day (always respond within 24 hours at the outside).
  • You get through all the small talk, and through the estimated six to eight touchpoints you need faster.
  • By the time you are on the phone with the person, they are at the bottom of your funnel. This means they are qualified to speak to you, more likely to convert and less likely to shop you around.

Some relationships are lucrative but are slow plays

Relationships are everything. Being able to stay in contact, and top of mind, with those relationships that can create lucrative long-term deals for you is an additional benefit to the platform.

Maybe you meet someone at an event, an open house or your kid’s soccer game, but they aren’t ready to convert. That is OK.

Ditch the business cards, find them on Instagram and stay connected. Add these people who you know will likely turn into something to your close friends or favorites list and consistently engage with their content. 

Instagram can also provide you with both subliminal and tangible leads. Meaning, it can offer you the opportunity to get on someone’s podcast, which creates visibility, which then gets you out to the masses. That then creates a funnel of its own. Maybe you land a spot in your local magazine or get asked to sponsor an event. 

Slow plays like these are their own funnels for you. Trust that these count as “wins.”

You must move the meeting to convert in your DMs

When working in your DMs, many agents get hung up or stop and think, “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t like small talk.”

Building relationships with your clients is all about getting to know them, listening to them, and asking them questions, also known as small talk.

When you are in your DMs, the key is not to overcomplicate it. When you have had several touch points, and intuitively it seems like the right time to ask them about business, do it.

The problem lies when people “go for the kill” too quickly, and it creates a bad taste in the mouth of the person on the other side. When you are trying to move the meeting or “ask,” the best thing you can do is find a connection in the ask. Meaning, say something like,

“Hey [Name], I know you and I have been chatting back and forth a bunch, and I know how much we love honey lavender lattes, so I would love to take you to [X] coffee shop next Wednesday at 9 a.m. to chat business. Does that work for you?”

That will come across and be a lot more effective than just saying, “Well, for all your real estate needs, you can call me and tell all your friends!”

Finally, Instagram should be used as part of your overall sales funnel strategy and integrated with your other marketing channels, such as email marketing or social media advertising. By using Instagram effectively as a sales funnel, you can increase brand awareness, dominate your hyperlocal market, generate leads, and ultimately close more deals. 

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.

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