You’re a realtor or developer. You work on a beautiful new development — let’s say, for the sake of this exercise, that it’s an apartment building. You want to make sure the word gets out, so you’re checking all the boxes on your marketing checklist, including setting up an Instagram account. But after you get started, you realize — nobody wants to follow your apartment building’s Instagram account.
This happens all the time. Good intentions (marketing for a new development) get muddled with the wrong goals (followers on Instagram) which leads to discouragement about the channel in general.
But let’s unpack what’s actually happening here, and how you can still use Instagram in a really productive way to promote your new project.
When someone follows an Instagram account, they’re essentially saying, “Yes, I want to hear from this person or business or other entity on an ongoing basis.” Friends, family, acquaintances, celebrities, athletes, brands, local businesses...these all qualify as potentially interesting accounts to follow, as they’re all people or organizations that we may be interested in keeping up with. On the other hand, something like an apartment building is static. There’s no change. Nobody wants to or needs to follow an apartment building. If you dug really deep and had a gigantic budget, you could probably drum up some interesting content, but there’s very little chance it would be ROI-positive, because the investment would be so heavy. But just because people don’t want to follow your apartment building doesn’t mean you can’t use Instagram.
On social media, “organic” management is activity on social in which you’re just posting to your business’s page, while “paid” refers to paying for ads so your message can get more reach (like Boosting a post, or launching an ad campaign.)
Organic reach — the percentage of your followers who see your posts — is way down on Instagram, and down even more on Facebook. You may feel like you earned the audiences you built in those places (and you did!) but increasing competition (more people and businesses occupying everyone’s social feeds) and a greater volume for ads (less space for organic posts) means that you’re getting squeezed out. So if nobody wants to follow an apartment building, AND organic reach is way down anyway - what is there to be done? Well, there are a couple things.
An Instagram profile may look simple, but there are actually a bunch of components:
-A profile picture
-An account category
-Grid of posts (all the photos and videos that you've shared)
Consider: for each of these, what’s the optimal use of space? (i.e. Are you linking to the right website? Writing a succinct and descriptive bio? Does your profile picture look good?) The people who arrive on your apartment building’s Instagram profile aren’t interested in seeing generic, perfunctory filler like “Happy July 4th!” posts. They want to see information about the property, like pricing, floor plans, what the neighborhood is like, and so on.
So rather than looking at your Instagram account as a channel in which to share ongoing content, configure it like a website, and set it up in its entirety up front — filling out the profile information, posting 9 or so images/videos, adding Stories highlights — almost like you’re launching a website that you know people are going to visit.
Like a website, this presence will be many potential buyers’ first contact with your property. With that in mind, wouldn’t you want them to see all the important basics and visuals that help paint a picture of what the property is actually like? It doesn’t matter if they follow the account or not! You’re giving them information where they’re already spending time — Instagram — and providing communication channels for them to follow up with you if they’re interested (DM, or phone, or the link in your bio.) That’s it. Your Instagram profile should be configured like a mini website.
Since, as we established, organic social is basically dead, the main source of traffic to your Instagram profile will be from ads. Whether you create them yourself or you work with someone like us to make them for you, the people who see your ads may not click through to the website that the ad is pointing to — instead, they may just tap to see your Instagram profile. That’s where your careful setup of your Instagram presence really pays off. They get to see way more information than you can fit in a simple ad, and then, perhaps, they’ll be ready to click through to your website or give you a call. They don’t follow you, and that’s OK.