In real estate, buyers and sellers hope that the perfect home is out there—ideally, it’s within an arm’s reach. In 2020, 76 percent of home buyers initially viewed the homes they purchased online, using a mobile device. Surprised?
You shouldn’t be. Pew Research says 7 in 10 Americans consider using Facebook as a part of their daily routine. Knowing this, it’s no wonder real estate agents cited social media as the best source for high-quality leads, followed by multiple listing service (MLS) websites.
Now the question is no longer “should” you use social media for your real estate listings. Instead, it’s, “How do you use social media to portray your experience and personality in one shot?”
For most real estate agents, the secret to a professional social media presence is using extraordinary photography.
Done right, it gets high-value clients to envision working with you by bringing their thumbs to a screeching halt. From there, your job is to move the conversation into the real world.
In this post, you’ll learn how to use features of Facebook and Instagram to captivate serious buyers and sellers.
It’s a good idea to save this page now, so you can refer back to it as you learn the ropes of social media.
Why are Facebook and Instagram the best platforms for real estate agents?
Facebook and Instagram are two of the most widely-used social media platforms. There’s a good reason for this: Here, content creation is user-friendly, versatile, and appeals to multiple generations of buyers and sellers.
Research shows that people on both platforms, young and old, are more likely to interact with visual content like photos and videos.
More importantly, people remember information better when it’s paired with relevant images. That means people will remember the way a stunning house listing made them feel—days after the first impression.
Facebook and Instagram both use multiple computer learning models, or algorithms, to personalize what people see on their news feeds. In other words, these social media platforms distribute your content based on how viewers interact with it—or, don’t.
Social media success doesn’t always come easy, but using professional real estate photography can help you conquer algorithms and delight homebuyers. For social media to be a worthwhile investment, you must know who your ideal client is, and what they’re looking for as a buyer or seller. The visual component simply gives your hard work the credibility it deserves.
3 Features for Success With Real Estate Photos on Facebook
Facebook is an enormous network—only second in the country to YouTube—with a user base of mostly adults between 30 and over 65 according to Pew Research. It’s the most popular social network for older folks, and its steady growth means it’s not going away any time soon.
As a real estate agent, you need to create a Facebook Business Page. This is separate from the personal profile you might use to share family pictures, vacation photos, and information unrelated to your work.
What People Like to See on Facebook
People like Facebook for its informative approach to community development. There is more room for text, links, and smaller images. You should use Facebook to influence existing communities where your potential buyers and sellers are already active.
According to the social media pros at Buffer, Facebook users want to see content that is immediately relevant to them, so it makes sense that the current algorithm for posts looks like this for most people:
- Family and friends
- Subscribed pages and groups
- Suggested pages and groups
- Paid advertising
When using Facebook to promote property listings and other content, keep these features in mind:
- Facebook Reactions: Post Extraordinary Photos to Influence Emotions
- Facebook Groups: Connect With Local Enthusiasts
- Share Links, Multimedia: Create Your Business Page Experience
Scrolling through Facebook updates can be an emotional roller coaster. People enjoy aimlessly scrolling because the ups and downs of emotional reactions are seriously entertaining. Facebook users can react to posts and comments with a full slate of emotions — Like, Love, Care, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.
The more emotional reactions you get, the more favorably your content is sorted by the algorithm. Few things evoke emotion like stand-out photography!
Aim to flaunt the “stunning curb appeal” of your listings by opting for professional real estate photos that stand out with color, perspective, and a dynamic composition. The concept of Facebook emotions seems silly, but it drives decision-making in the real world. It only takes one ‘Wow’ or ‘Love’ reaction to influence the high-quality leads of serious buyers.
Other ways to get more emotional reactions with real estate photos:
- Write your brand story: Share advice, industry tips, and lessons learned as a real estate agent.
- Use photos from previous listings, or re-share posts from years past to celebrate new milestones, memorable properties, and advice for best practices
2. Facebook Groups: Connect With Local Enthusiasts
When you manage a Facebook Business Page, all of your home listings and regular updates about work should be posted there.
You can take your Page a step further by using it to join Groups of people with shared interests, locations, and careers—to name a few. The example shared here is from “Fairfax County Realtor Forum,” a public Group with 5.4k members interested in what real estate agents have to say about the housing market there.
Regular Facebook users can join these groups too. You should use your Business Page—not your personal profile—to join or start professional groups. This way, people interested in working with you have an appropriate place to contact you.
In using social media, a little good judgement goes a long way.
Some Facebook Groups are specifically made for networking, and others have strict rules against soliciting or self-advertising. You can still build a positive reputation and gain followers by joining conversations that aren’t directly about buying and selling homes. This is a great way to ensure your page following keeps expanding.
Learning more about your community can also give you good insight on what people are looking for in a home. You can learn to anticipate who’s moving in, who’s moving out, and the problems folks encounter along the way.
One common problem for sellers doesn’t appear until their items are long gone from the property. It’s harder to generate interest in homes that aren’t staged with furniture. It’s easy to see why a buyer would hesitate to pass on an online listing where the function and feel of a space just aren’t there.
You can use virtual staging to show buyers how the rooms in a property will effectively end their search. A couple of Florida-bound retirees will be looking for a completely different layout from a young professional who needs a home office.
At HomeJab, our team can take the lead on virtual staging, or real estate agents can choose some particular pieces or styles of furniture and decor from an online catalog.
More tips for interacting with Groups:
- Use photo posts as conversation starters: Asking open-ended questions gets your followers sharing their ideas with you, and chatting with one another.
- Start a new group where one doesn’t exist yet, if you see the need and the opportunity.
- Tag the people, businesses, and locations where relevant and appropriate: This can help grow your network of followers. Your clients get the satisfaction of sharing official updates for things like buying or selling a home, while you get an instant referral for like-minded friends, family members, and acquaintances that are seeking a good realty experience.
Stunning aerial views of this unique property are worth a double-take. The real estate agent here includes multiple photos, and links to different resources with information that Facebook users will appreciate.
Another great way to expand your Facebook Business Page audience is to spend as much time sharing useful information and posts from other relevant accounts as you spend creating your own content.
Link sharing is one BIG advantage Facebook has over Instagram. When you share links on Facebook, it is formatted with the information, pictures, and headlines you want to share.
Sharing links directly to your Page gives people a reason to keep following you. It diversifies the type of content people see from you, making your Page more useful to your followers, and more favorable for the algorithm.
That’s why HomeJab introduced Property Pages to help real estate agents drive traffic to one convenient branded profile. Sharing this link on your Page gives your followers a way to share home listing information with their network—without the hassle, distractions, and tediously retracing steps.
One of the best perks of having a Business Page on Facebook is the Insights tools, where you can get a clear picture of your social media performance. At the same time, you can keep an eye on the Facebook Business Pages of competitors to quickly compare your data with theirs. And it’s not a bad idea to occasionally share the news updates and personable posts from your competitors. Doing this can actually boost your reach—the number of people who engage with your content.
Plus, watching and learning from other successful Pages—especially ones that are successful in your niche—is a great way to inspire and re-shape what you do. It’s an easy way to assess your audience’s interest without completely straying from your social media strategy.
More on sharing likable links:
- Multimedia content is key – A healthy mix of text posts, images, and interactive content is best for a better algorithm. That means sharing a blend of links to your home listings, albums of home walkthroughs, and video content will keep you cycling in more feeds.
- Experiment with the built-in features like Facebook Marketplace and Targeted Ads when your strategy allows.
- Video Engages Audiences: When you upload videos of home listings directly to Facebook, your engagement can skyrocket. Videos should be between 3-5 minutes for a favorable algorithm treatment.
Remember that Facebook is all about effectively sharing information worth revisiting later. Managing a Facebook business page should enable your clients to keep you in the loop, and contact you as seamlessly as possible.
3 Features for Success With Real Estate Photos on Instagram
The Instagram user base is largely made up of younger adults aged 18-29, and older adults are significantly less active on this platform in general. It’s considered more of a niche platform, but don’t underestimate the value of it—millions of people are on Instagram at any given moment.
What People Like to See on Instagram
Importantly, the Instagram algorithm does not favor timeliness, so creating relationships is as important as creating content. The Instagram algorithm is determined by these factors:
- Interest – General topics, themes, and lifestyle trends that users follow.
- Recency – How often a user is on Instagram, relative to the accounts they follow.
- Relationship: This is measured by the number of comments, tags, and shares between accounts. Less frequent users will simply get a brief “greatest hits” feed with just a few posts that are relative to the factors above.
Use Instagram to share your all-time favorite photos, and aim to foster an intimate audience connection. On this platform, you can share photography with minimal distractions.
The interface is best suited for mobile devices, where graphics take up the majority of the screen.
Here are some features to keep in mind when posting real estate listings to Instagram:
- Explore Feed: Color Welcomes Viewers to Your Listings
- Carousels: More Images, More Fun
- Link in Bio: Inspire With Your Call-to-Action
1. Explore Feed: Color Welcomes Viewers to Your Listings
Each user on Instagram has an Explore feed. Find yours by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home feed. This feature looks like a digital quilt of posts from other accounts you may be interested in following.
Here, it’s the sunny blue skies or hazy purple at twilight that will lure curious homebuyers to your posts. The professional photographers at HomeJab can take care of the color grading for you with a virtual dusk treatment that highlights the property, and maintains its real-life features.
HomeJab has digital photo processing down to a science, so you’ll receive a package of photos ready for posting. Consistently using professional photography in your real estate listings means you don’t need to worry about getting the filter right.
More ideas for showing up in the Explore feed:
- Follow and interact with accounts like yours, and the clients you want to attract. Pay attention to the hashtags folks in your niche are using, and cycle through them with your own posts. The Instagram algorithm favors posts that use hashtags relevant to the text in the post
- Celebrate Social Media Holidays: It’s the best place to make vibrant, thematic posts celebrating social media holidays like #NationalHomeownersDay
2. Carousels: More Images, More Fun
When you post multiple images—up to 10 at once—you can encourage users to thumb through them with the carousel feature.
Seeing a home online is always going to be different than seeing it in person, but convincing people to take that step is vital! You can get creative with the strategy behind using a carousel to inspire action.
One of the most difficult things to do on Instagram is to entice people to interact with you beyond the platform. Imagine seeing the first few images of a stunning virtual tour or an upcoming open house—swiping through a carousel of photos that show just the outside of a beautiful home could be what convinces someone to seek a full walkthrough.
Here are more ways to play up the interactive elements of Carousels:
- When you make Carousel posts, re-share them in the app with Stories. This is another great way to link your followers directly from their home feed to your profile.
- If you have a wide-angle photograph that doesn’t quite fit into one Instagram slide alone, split it up into multiple images for one carousel post. The easiest way to do this is by going into your photos and saving the original image to your phone 3 or 4 times. Make a Carousel to progressively show the wide angle photo. Oddly satisfying—right?
- Add minimal graphics that give details about the listing. The ‘Just Listed’ digital sticker here subtly adds to the impact of the photo. Canva is a free and simple graphic design tool.
3. Link in Bio: Inspire With Your Call-to-Action
If you don’t see the level of engagement that you want from Instagram, consider rewording your messages to ask for it. It can be tough to convince people to navigate away from Instagram because there aren’t many ways to share direct links. That’s why having a consistently updated and relevant link in your Instagram profile—your *link in bio*— message is so important.
If you’re ever worried about the ephemeral nature of social media, you’re not alone. But that investment of time and resources doesn’t have to be wasted just because a home listing goes off the market. From there, it becomes useful for your branding and portfolio as a real estate agent.
That’s why it’s important to—as often as possible—plan and create ‘evergreen’ content in bulk. This kind of content is always going to be relevant to your audience’s needs, and it’s always going to be worth sharing as a part of your brand story.
Good evergreen social media content can include photos from your successful sales, like the example used here. This is an effective way to throw in a personal anecdote, a quote, or experience that represents your philosophy on the industry.
Here are more ways to make the most of your bio link:
- You can make the bio link more dynamic with other free services like Linktree. This is an effective way to link relevant new listings, news and market data, links to your contact information, and your other social media profiles.
- Or, skip the separate link service, and routinely update the link in your bio with a limited-time feature. Of course, this means planning out the details behind posting and removing a link when it’s time, but it’s one way of pressing the urgency of clicking the link to a limited-time offer, like an event page for an open house.
These are just a few of the features on Instagram that naturally attract high-value homebuyers and sellers seeking representation. You can use Instagram to help others envision what a dream home looks like.
Remember: Time + Consistency = Success
How long will it take to be successful with Facebook and Instagram? Your success depends on the quality of posts on your platform, and how closely you tailor a strategy to use it.
Use professional real estate photos consistently to build your following from the ground up, whether you’re revamping an old business profile or starting from zero followers. You will always benefit from learning the ropes of real estate and communication in the online market.
Choose a social media platform, and explore all of the built-in features to make your profile stronger. Over time, you’ll enjoy the free or low-cost marketing opportunities social media brings.
Contact HomeJab for Picture-Perfect Real Estate Listings
At HomeJab, we know that one snapshot can completely change the first impression you make on clients. Social media is a free or low-cost tool you can use to exponentially grow your marketing audience. Hardly anything compares to the reach and convenience of a strong social media presence.
Our team will set you up for success in representing buyers and sellers by raising the bar for professionalism in real estate. Contact HomeJab to learn more about what captivates serious homebuyers who are searching for that picture-perfect home.