Instagram is easily one of the best tools apartment marketers have at their disposal. While some people see Instagram as the vanity social network where users post selfies and their newest clothes, smart marketers realize its branding power.
The challenge is figuring out how to best utilize Instagram to build awareness for your community, connect with tenants and bring potential renters into your funnel. In order to get the most potential out of Instagram, you’ll have to go beyond the basics.
Posting an image of a vacant unit with #apartment in the caption isn’t going to cut it. Let’s dive into some more advanced tactics that provide results. Try these 10 Instagram hacks to build your brand and attract renters.
1. Boost Reach With Non-Industry Hashtags
Everyone knows Instagram is all about hashtags. Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to reach your target market and make your content discoverable. However, most apartment marketers assume they should only use industry related hashtags like #apartments or #apartmenthunters.
Instead, start to familiarize yourself with popular hashtags on Instagram that are broader and more widely used. Here are some popular Instagram-specific hashtags you can incorporate into your strategy.
#tbt (Throwback Thursday)
What it’s for: #tbt is used for posting photos from the past.
How you can use it:
- Post pictures of when your apartment community was first built.
- Post pictures of an annual event from last year.
🎉🎉📸📸 podium backstage selfie 😉✌🏻️ #TeamNR6 #teamwork #victory #f1 #win #baku #europegp #winner #party #formula1 #awesome #weekend #mercedesamgf1 #formulaone #nicorosberg #vettel #perez #f1baku #bakugp #mercedesf1 #bildzeitung #gazetta #ferrari #scuderiaferrari #fastcars #rosberg #race #dfb #dfbteam #diemannschaft
Raspberry Delice Raspberry dark chocolate mousse, raspberry insert, hazelnut brownie, raspberry ripple Icecream At- @yauatchamumbai, BKC Credits- @thewickedsoul #Yauatcha #raspberry #delice #foodofmumbai #mumbai #foodblogger #mumbaifood #foodoftheday #Bombay #instagood #tagsforlife #vscocam #instalike #instagood #nofilter #vsco #yummy #instagood
What it’s for: #nofilter is used when you’re posting pictures without any Instagram filters.
How you can use it:
- Post pictures of apartments after they’ve been turned over.
- Post pictures from around the city to showcase its natural beauty.
#picoftheday and #photooftheday
What it’s for: #picoftheday or #photooftheday are used to highlight one specific picture you post during the day. Think of it as a featured image.
How you can use it:
- Highlight an apartment makeover by one of your tenants. Don’t forget to tag the tenant in the caption!
- Take a picture of a local business to highlight your community.
2. Regram Other Posts
Retweeting, sharing or repinning content from other users is a good way to reach influencers and grow your network. Unfortunately Instagram is one of the few social networks that doesn’t easily allow you to reshare/curate content. A lot of apartment marketers aren’t even aware it’s a possibility.
When searching for pictures to regram, look for:
- Pictures from influencers.
- Pictures taken around your city (search by hashtags or geotag)
- People who have tagged your Instagram handle.
- People who have used a branded hashtag.
Then regram these photos and tag the original poster in the caption. This has a couple of advantages.
- Your post will have a chance of showing up in the recommended posts section of Instagram users that follow the users you’re tagging.
- The people you tag will receive a notification, which puts you on their radar.
3. Swap out Your Bio Link
Instagram allows one clickable link in your profile. Most brands will automatically put their homepage URL here and never touch it again. That’s a waste of valuable real estate!
Instead of leaving the link in your profile static, change it out occasionally to promote new blog posts, vacant units or events.
You should have a corresponding post that explains where the URL links to, like in the example above. Something as simple as “check out the link in our bio for more information” will work fine.
4. Learn Basic Photography Skills
Photo quality is crucial for Instagram. Remember, the original user base for the app was filled with photographers and creatives. The app has been able to maintain that level of quality over the years, so it’s in your best interest to keep up!
Color, lighting and other factors are all very important when it comes to taking Instagram pictures. And while you don’t need to become extremely technical, these basic skills can help you take higher quality pictures that draw people in.
- Natural lighting: Bad lighting is one of the most common mistakes people make with their photos. Sunlight can take a boring photo and make it look like it was shot in a professional studio! The next time you’re trying to showcase a new apartment, try opening the blinds and playing with your lighting.
- Angles: Nobody wants to be the awkward looking person crouching down low or contorting their body just to take a picture. But sometimes it can help. Instead of just taking head-on shots, try getting a few photos from below or above to make your photos look more engaging.
- Color: Brighten up your photos by adding splashes of colors. Color is important because it will help your photos stand out when users are scrolling through their feed. An all beige or grey photo can easily fade into the background, while photos with green, yellow and other vibrant colors tend to stick out.
- Focal points: Your photos should have a focal point. If you’re taking pictures of an apartment, try doing it in pieces. For instance, you can have a picture of the kitchen, focusing on the countertops or the fridge. That way your posts have direction.
- Keep it natural: You can touch up photos a little bit, but you’ll want to keep the photoshopping to a minimum. When you make too many changes, the finished product can look unnatural. There’s a reason the most popular filter choice on Instagram is no filter at all.
5. Check Who Your Followers Follow
Want to know what type of content your audience resonates with? Check out who else they follow on Instagram!
Click on your profile, select one of your followers, then click on the following count.
The next part of this Instagram hack requires some time and effort. You’ll have to go through the different accounts they follow and see what type of content they share. In order to keep the amount of work reasonable, focus on brand profiles instead of individuals.
Pay attention to the style of their photos, any particular hashtags being used and other similarities. Then try to integrate similar tactics into your own posts to attract more followers.
6. Weekend Hashtag Project
Here’s an Instagram hack that’s primarily for branding and to get exposure for your brand. Instagram runs a weekly contest called the Weekend Hashtag Project.
Each weekend, Instagram puts out a theme and asks users to take and upload a picture over the weekend with a specific hashtag (it changes with each contest). A winner is selected and featured on Instagram’s account and blog.
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHParchitecture The goal this weekend is to photograph architecture, and will be curated by Shoair Mavlian (@shoair_m), photography curator of the Tate Modern museum (@tate) in London, which is celebrating the opening of its new building, the Switch House, today. “Architecture is present everywhere in our everyday surroundings — from cutting-edge museum buildings and towering glass office blocks to bus stops, schools and sports stadiums,” says Shoair. “The world looks very different if we stop, rethink (and photograph!) the everyday examples which surround us.” Here is how Shoair says to get started: Focus on the different ways buildings and landmarks affect you. “Architectural structures play an important role in our everyday lives, from the private spaces we share with family to communal spaces we work or study in to shared public spaces we use to gather and come together,” says Shoair. Step back to show buildings within the context of their landscapes and surroundings (whether a skyscraper towering over an urban skyline or a thatched-roof house in the middle of an open field). Don’t forget to go inside the spaces you photograph to capture interesting details in walls, doorways and stairwells — as well as the people that inhabit or utilize the space. PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHParchitecture hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. If you include music in your submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged visual taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week. Photo of @tate by @freepy
The Weekend Hashtag Project is well known by photographers, artists and creatives, but a lot of brands are unaware because it’s not heavily promoted.
In order to participate, you have to check Instagram’s page and be on the lookout for the next theme. When a theme comes up that you think you can contribute to, jump in.
A word of caution, this is not meant to be a way to spam. The submissions are very high quality so taking a quick picture in hopes of getting some followers won’t work.
7. Managing Multiple Accounts
This is a great hack for property management companies with several properties. Each community should have its own Instagram page. But trying to juggle them all can be inconvenient.
In the past, you had to log out of one account to switch to another one. Fortunately Instagram released an update earlier this year that made it easy for brands to toggle through multiple profiles on the mobile app.
Simply go into your settings and select “add account”. You’ll be taken to the login screen where you just have to enter the login credentials for the additional account.
Now when you click on your profile picture in the app at the bottom, you’ll be able to switch to a different account.
8. Get Creative With Your Feed
One of the best parts about Instagram is its feed. Brands have figured out ways to carefully arrange multiple photos in the grid layout and make creative collages or murals.
You can use free apps like Layout to turn your feed into artwork. For instance, you may want to break a picture of a new unit into multiple pieces and turn it into a collage. As cliche as it sounds, the only limit is your imagination.
9. Size Your Photos for Instagram
This quick little Instagram hack is great for photos you’ve taken outside of the Instagram app with a digital camera such as an available apartment or an event.
Like other social networks, Instagram has an ideal image size for it’s photos. In order to avoid having your pictures show up pixelated or distorted, they should be 1080x1080 pixels. That ensures the full view and thumbnail will look high quality regardless of the device they’re displayed on.
Sizing your photos is simple and free. You can use Canva and select the Instagram post template.
10. Find The Best Time to Post
This Instagram hack is going to be particularly important for apartment marketers since Instagram is shifting away from a chronologically displayed feed to an algorithm based feed. This might impact your engagement and reach.
One way to combat the change is to start posting when your audience is the most active. This will improve your chances of getting your posts seen.
A good tool to help you get that data is Iconosquare.
Once you start to learn your audience’s behavior, you can begin posting at optimal times to increase your content’s potential reach.
Are you struggling to get your Instagram marketing off the ground? Contact us to find out how we can help your multifamily community get more out of Instagram.