On the Grid: Lead Generation Through Instagram

Branding yourself and generating clientele are two important aspects of being successful REALTORS®, and social media is one avenue that allows you to do both. But are you using these platforms to their full potential? We gathered tips, tricks and insights from Chicago REALTORS® Lauren Mitrick Wood, COMPASS, and Sydney Sewell, Coldwell Banker Realty, who have mastered using their Instagram profiles to meet potential new clients, turning those leads into transactions and creating lifelong relationships.

Get Your Page Started

First things first: it’s important to determine if you want your page to be solely focused on your real estate business, or if you want to combine your personal and business pages together as one. There’s no right or wrong way to go. Sydney Sewell uses her profile, @syd_thebroker, solely for business. As a millennial on the cusp on being Gen Z, social media has always been in her life. Although she does post pictures of herself, she makes sure the content on her page focuses on her real estate practices and building her brand. Lauren Mitrick Wood, however, combines both personal and business on @olive.well. “People want to see the person behind the brand,” she said. She recognizes that a large part of being a REALTOR® is the personal aspect of the job. She not only shares business information, but she also posts about her family, her pets, her shoe collection and more. If you want to combine both profiles into one, it’s important to make sure to think before you post. This page will be a representation of your business as much as it represents who you are, so you should always be cognizant of the content on your grid and stories.

Be Deliberate About Your Content

Next, it’s important to decide what you want your page to look like. Sewell did plenty of research before deciding the look she was going for in her feed. She explored the psychology of colors and what draws people in, settling on blues and yellows, vibrant tones that welcome people in. Your vibe of your Instagram should be clear from the start, but not overly filtered, Mitrick Wood said. Someone visiting your page should be able to tell you’re a REALTOR® within one or two scrolls on your grid. “Don’t be a secret agent,” she said. The most important aspect of getting your page started is planning and scheduling content. “Have a day planned to come up with your content for a week, two weeks or a month,” Sewell said. Mitrick Wood suggests one to two posts per week, and two to three Instagram story posts per day to continuously roll out content and create engagement. To plan your content, try creating content “buckets,” or categories of content. All of your content should fall into one of these buckets, and if it doesn’t, it has no place on your profile. Of course, one bucket should be real estate and business focused, but the others can be family, food, pets, clothing, restaurants or anything else that interests you. This is also a great way to solidify yourself as a neighborhood expert by showcasing restaurants, shops or stores that you enjoy. Remember that social media creation is not one size fits all. It is important to do what works for you, and what feels right. “A lot of it is testing, seeing what works and what feels good for you,” Mitrick Wood said. If something doesn’t seem authentic to you, your brand or your business, don’t do it. There are options and opportunities for everyone. Sewell approaches her content from a different angle. She considers questions her family or friends may have in regards to the market and real estate industry, and incorporates those into her grid. She frequently posts timely market statistics and new listings, highlights homeowner grants and programs and showcases what sets her apart from other REALTORS®. She also makes sure to utilize all the free tools Instagram provides. “I’m really heavy into hashtags,” she said. “I researched hashtags that people use when looking for homes or REALTORS®.” She believes this is one of the biggest things that drives clients to her page. She also encourages engagement through stories.

Keep It Up!

Once you have your page up and running and your content scheduled and planned, it’s time to ensure that you convert followers and engagements into clients. Sewell uses Instagram’s built-in insights to review her posts’ views, clicks and impressions on her page. “If they’re sharing, that means more people are going into my page, more people are clicking and more people are liking,” she said. She uses these insights as a guide for what her followers want to see more and less of to continue to grow her profile. She credits many of her Instagram leads to the use of hashtags. “I’ve noticed that all the clients I’ve gained [directly from Instagram] are from out of state,” she said. Based on insights, she believes this might be because of hashtags like #chicagoproperties, #chicagoapartmentsearch and #chicagorealestate, which she believes many people considering a move to Chicago tend to look at. Interesting enough, many of her clients are also in her age range, which she attributes to the fact that millennials and Gen Z’ers are more prone to use the internet and social media to begin their housing search. Sewell says that about half of her business comes through Instagram, specifically through direct messages (DMs) from potential clients who reach out. She aims to respond within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a DM to engage these individuals as quickly as possible. From there, she sets up a time to talk with them and works to turn their social media engagement into a business relationship and transaction. Mitrick Wood encourages REALTORS® to grow through collaboration on their Instagram page. If you’re posting about a restaurant or store, make sure to tag them on your page. You never know if they might share your post and expose your business to even more people. “The connections convert if you stay consistent,” she said. Additionally, “find your cheerleaders to post or write about you, especially if they have more followers.” Similar to asking for testimonials, Mitrick Wood will ask clients to post about their homebuying experiences on their Instagram profile and tag her to broaden her business reach even farther. She also encourages her fellow REALTORS® to use Instagram as a way to keep up with previous clients. “You’re not in the business just to make money. Clients become friends, and Instagram allows you to interact in another way,” she said. If she is going to follow up with a previous client via phone, she may check their Instagram for any life updates that she can bring up in conversations. This keeps things personal and allows you to use Instagram as a vehicle for your business in more ways than one. The bottom line is be intentional with your page, have a plan and make it your own. Use Instagram as a platform to show off your business, create your brand, make connections and grow your business to new heights. We’d love to see how you’re doing it, too! Be sure to tag us @chicagorealtors.