Is Instagram Worth Your Time?
The answer is a very clear "maybe." In marketing, everything should begin with consideration of your target market. If 95% of your target market barely knows how to use their smartphone, let alone Facebook, then maybe Instagram isn't the place for you. However, if you're in a major city and your target market is around the 30-50 age range, it may be worth considering. Let's check out the Pros and Cons of Instagram for real estate professionals.
Demographics are pretty good!
A demographics report of Instagram users from the Pew Research Center shows that 25% of online adults between 30 and 49 years old use Instagram. When you also add the 11% of people between 50 and 64 that are also on the platform, you've got 36% usership in the 30 and 64 age demographic.
With Instagram, you have the ability to upload video up to 15 seconds which may not seem like a lot, but think of it this way: You can showcase three great features of a home for five seconds each. Plus, these videos play on a loop so if a viewer missed something, they simply have to wait a few seconds for it to appear again. These videos autoplay which makes them very engaging right off the bat.
Unlike Facebook, where there are so many posts every minute that your following can't possibly see all of your posts, Instagram shows every one of your posts to every one of your followers (as long as they log in to the app).
Lack of advertising
Unlike Facebook and its accurate, in-depth marketing platform, Instagram doesn't allow the average business professional to run ads. Only huge brands like GoPro and Ben & Jerry's have access to Instagram ads, but luckily the organic discovery on Instagram is constantly improving. If users interact with real estate or housing images, Instagram will show them similar images in their Discover tab from accounts that they don't follow. That image could be from you!
The other issue with lack of advertising is that it makes building an audience very difficult. Instagram has a tool that makes it really easy to follow your Facebook friends' Instagram accounts, but you can't really invite friends to follow you. Instagram follower growth may be extremely slow.
In conclusion, the utility of Instagram for marketing real estate professionals depends a lot on your demographics. Agents that generally work with people in their 30s will probably get better traction today than agents with an older average client, but as people in their late 20s move into their early 30s, Instagram may become vital to a large number of agents and their marketing. Why not get a start on it early? By the time agents start realizing they need to learn and create building a following on Instagram, you'll be miles ahead with an engaged following. By the way, try searching for "#LArealestate" or "#SFrealestate" to find some example for real estate agents doing a great job on Instagram if you're looking for some ideas when getting started.
Here's a little video from Instagram about how business can benefit from using the image-based platform: