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Most real estate agents use Facebook or their website to get leads, but what about other social channels?

Despite the fact that real estate is a business that relies heavily on photos, videos, and visual impressions, most agents aren’t using Instagram to promote themselves or their business. But, we think it’s time to reconsider your perception of Instagram and break out of that Facebook-only rut.

Here’s why:

Real Estate Social Stats

According to our survey of over 500 agents back in 2015, 85% of agents said they use social media to market themselves or their business. Of all our survey respondents, 95% said they were most comfortable with Facebook, while only 18% said they were comfortable using Instagram. But, since launching our survey results back in 2015, Instagram has doubled its user numbers (now at over 800 million people worldwide) and the thirst from agents to use the platform has grown also.

The visual and photo-focused nature of the platform makes it the ideal choice for showcasing photos (and videos) of property listings, well before your prospective buyers contact your office to pencil in a live viewing.

What’s more is, as people are increasingly using the internet on the go, Instagram has become a viable platform for advertising. And, if you’re still thinking within the blue box of Facebook, keep in mind, the advertising capabilities span across platforms. Because Facebook owns Instagram, you can use the selfie-centric channel for lead generation, and targeting.

You can even set up campaigns directly from Facebook itself. That means there are no excuses to avoid experimenting with the possibilities. Beyond these statistics, this is where things start to get interesting.

With Instagram rolling out new features on a regular basis, there are some surprising features that are sure to make promoting your real estate business through Instagram all the more appealing.

Let’s take a look at some Instagram features you may not be familiar with:

1. Instagram Stories Editing

Instagram Stories: A feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.

Instagram Stories were developed as Facebook’s answer to Snapchat. And a year after the social media juggernaut introduced their own version of the app, it has surpassed Snapchat.

What we like about Stories, aside from sharing fun outtakes with friends, is the fact that it’s a great way to advertise real estate listings. Stories are inherently short and sweet, making them great at capturing viewers’ attention. And, the ephemeral nature (content disappears after 24 hours) of this feature generates a sense of urgency—something that can help any real estate agency drum up more interest and book some viewings on the spot.

So, with that in mind, Instagram has released a slew of new editing features for Stories, including a new alignment tool that helps you center your design elements. This means that those of you without a background in cinematography can find a way to make professional-grade content without going back to school.

The Stories editor also tells you if any of those elements will be cropped out of the video. Meaning, you’ll never miss any key details like the size of the shower or the whether there’s a dishwasher in the kitchen.

Additionally, users will have the option of selecting colours for text and brushes (great for branding), and the editor will be able to detect and recommend colours that go well with the look of the space featured in your Story.

While the small stuff like selecting a font or a colour may sound rather trivial, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Adding your company logo to stories that promote your brand can make you look a lot more professional with minimal effort.

2. Instagram Stories Polls

In addition to the hashtags and the location stickers, one of the newest Instagram features is polling stickers. This is a real-time tool designed to help you get a pulse on what your leads are looking for.

The stickers work like this; first, you’ll enter a question you’d like to ask your audience.

From there, users can choose between two (or more) answers. Polling 101, right? What’s so cool about that? Whether yes or no, or multiple choice, story viewers simply tap on the choice, and you, dear real estate marketer, can review votes in real time.

We like the stories poll, as it brings engagement into real time—allowing you to have conversations with your target audience.

Additionally, asking customers whether they like “this one or that one,” or “would you buy this, yes or no?” presents a unique opportunity to do some market research, no paid focus group required.

3. Instagram Post Archiving

Keep things clean! Post archiving was introduced earlier in the year, and most people weren’t aware of it. Instagram still isn’t completely done with the roll out process as of this writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize what’s already in play.

If you’ve been showing properties for a long time, chances are your Instagram feels a little cluttered with old posts from houses bought long, long ago. This feature helps keep your feed in tiptop shape, allowing you to hide old posts in a private folder that won’t see the light of day to followers and other casual feed browsers.

Should you want to throw up an old post for old times’ sake, no problem. Go into that folder, and re-share. And just like that, it’ll magically reappear where it was—whether that’s 2010 or just a few months past.

This Instagram feature allows you to clean up your feed without having to delete posts permanently—offering a reversible deletion process. Minimalism without the pain, so to speak.

3 Instagram Features You Probably Didn’t Know About

Long story short, Instagram isn’t just for documenting friends, spying on the Kardashians and photos of food—it can be an incredibly useful tool for real estate marketing. Between the market research capabilities found through the polling tool, the cleanup potential of the archive tool, or the Stories editing feature, there’s a lot you can add to your current real estate marketing mix beyond adding more Facebook posts to the content calendar.

Because real estate ultimately boils down to so many visual elements, Instagram offers a visually pleasing, mobile-optimized way to share what you’ve got with your target market. Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, if you’re not mining Instagram for leads (recall that there are 800+ million monthly active users, and counting), you’re missing out on a big piece of the social media pie.

With new Instagram features coming out all the time, it’s no wonder that Instagram has surpassed Snapchat as the leading ephemeral content platform.

What are your favourite Instagram features for finding social media marketing success? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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