Is Instagram a part of your apartment marketing strategy? If not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach their userbase of over 600 million Instagrammers. Not only does Instagram have a big audience, but they have one of the most sought after assets for marketers—engagement.
Simply having a lot of users is one thing, but if people aren’t actively engaged and using the network, those numbers don’t matter. There are over 2.2 billion Google+ profiles floating around, but marketers aren’t knocking down the doors to reach them because a majority of those users are inactive. It’s an entirely different story on Instagram.
A whopping 75% of Instagrammers take an action such as visiting a website, searching or telling a friend after seeing a post. But in order to get a piece of the Instagram pie, you have to know how to be effective. Otherwise, you’ll end up posting photos and videos every day with nothing to show for it.
But we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re just starting or want to improve on what you’re already doing, here are eight Instagram strategies every multifamily marketer should know.
1. Get Strategic With Hashtags
Hashtags are used on just about every major social network there is. But Instagram has integrated them into key functionalities of the app, namely search. When people want to look for content on a certain topic on Instagram, they have to search by hashtag, not just keywords.
As a result, using popular hashtags in your Instagram captions makes it easier for your brand to be discovered by new people. This allows you to get more engagement, build a following and attract the right type of people. You can use hashtags to get in front of people looking for apartments, locations in your city or even apartment design ideas.
Here’s a look at popular hashtags containing the word apartment:
These are all hashtags you can add to relevant images to increase your visibility and expand your reach beyond people that already follow you.
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The good thing about Instagram is it’s acceptable to use multiple hashtags within one post. On Twitter, using just three hashtags in a single Tweet can be overkill. But on Instagram, posts with more hashtags tend to get more engagement. In fact, posts containing 11+ hashtags get 79% more engagement.
2. Get Support From User Generated Content (UGC)
You don’t have to produce all of your own content on Instagram. While original photos of your property team and events are great, getting other users to share content involving your property is twice as sweet. You get exposure to their audience, plus you can repost it on your own feed, too (ie - regramming).
GoPro has a very large and active following on Instagram, and a majority of the content they post is user generated. They ask users to tag their photos with #GoPro to make it easy for their social team to find the best content to regram.
Something important to keep in mind is to follow in the footsteps of GoPro and make sure you credit the source of any photos you regram. It’s also best practice to ask for permission from the creator before sharing it on your own feed.
Since Instagram doesn’t have a regramming feature built within the app itself, you’ll have to use a third party app. But there are plenty to choose from. Reposting is a popular option.
To get UGC for your community, you can ask tenants to post pictures of their creative apartment decor and tag you in the photo. Then find the best ones and repost them to your account. Or you could run a contest where participants have to create some type of UGC to enter. We’ll go further into running Instagram contests in the seventh tip.
3. Start Using Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is a new feature rolled out in 2016 to compete with Snapchat Stories. It has been very well received and recently reached 150 million daily active users for the feature. Instagram Stories works by allowing you to combine multiple images and video clips into one longer piece of content that self-destructs after 24 hours.
Check out our complete guide to Instagram Stories to learn more about how it works.
While there are more and more multifamily marketers taking advantage of Instagram every day, not many have jumped into Stories yet. That leaves a big gap in the marketplace for you to stand out.
Here are a few ideas on how you can use Instagram Stories for apartment marketing:
A story of your team turning over an apartment and getting it ready for a new renter.
A story about the day in the life of one of your team members (leasing agent, property manager, etc.)
A story about an open house or event being hosted on your property.
A story about renovations being made to one of your buildings.
Since stories disappear after 24 hours, it compels people to want to watch them to avoid the fear of missing out (FOMO). You can use that to your advantage by including exclusive rental deals and other time sensitive content that’s only available to Instagram followers.
4. Turn Your Feed Into a Mural
Reynolds kitchen gained a lot of attention from marketers, media, and consumers with their endless table Instagram feed.
The concept? Take a photo of several lunch tables filled with food and their products, then divide it into multiple Instagram photos. The end result is an Instagram feed that doubles as a mural of its own.
Reynolds isn’t the first or only brand to use this tactic. Photographers, artists, and others have used this done the same to stand out and get creative on Instagram. You can do something similar by taking a photo of a staged apartment, then dividing it into multiple photos to share on Instagram with an app like Instagrids.
5. Take the Airbnb Approach
From the early stages of Instagram, one of the key challenges brands faced was dealing with the fact that the app doesn’t allow clickable links within captions. Marketers were used to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other networks that allowed you to share content and direct traffic towards a specific page. But Instagram shook things up by trying to keep users in the app.
You can imagine how big of a challenge this was for a company like Airbnb or multifamily companies that need to be able to connect a specific post to a certain rental property. Well, Airbnb came up with the perfect solution.
Instead of posting links within captions, they made a page on their website where people can find the exact properties pictured in their posts. So when people see one of Airbnb’s amazing looking photos, they can click the link in their bio and find the exact property it was taken at.
For example, here’s an image posted on their page:
And here’s the corresponding photo on the landing page in their bio:
Apartment marketers can follow the exact same process. If you take photos of your available units, make a landing page on your site where people can find the exact apartment and inquire about it. Put the link to your gallery in your bio.
6. Get Creative With Photos of Your Units & Property
Every picture you post on Instagram doesn’t have to be an empty apartment available for rent. In fact, those pictures probably aren’t getting much engagement for you anyways. Instead, spice things up and get creative with your Instagram posts.
For example, instead of just posting a photo of their lounge area, HELiX Starkville Apartments made an interesting video from a different perspective.
Instagram started out as a platform largely used by photographers and artists. Even though the audience has expanded, creative content is still very much appreciated and helps you stand out. Particularly in the multifamily industry.
7. Engage Your Audience
Take a look at your latest Instagram posts. Are they all just broadcast messages of your sharing a photo of your property? If so, it’s time to switch things up and get your audience involved! You could ask questions, invite them to come visit your or anything else that gets them to do something other than just look at your content and move on.
One popular tactic to engage your audience is to host a contest. Instagram contests are a good way to get comments, likes and build awareness for your brand. IQ Luxury Apartments recently ran a contest giving away a Kylie Lip Kit and an MVMT watch.
As you can see, contests can also be a good way to get some UGC and keep your tenants entertained.
If you don’t want to run a contest or give something away, you can also simply ask a question like “What’s your favorite place to eat in [city name]?” The goal is to get people talking so you’re not just having a one-way conversation.
8. Partner With Influencers
Is there a popular blogger in your city? Do you have connections to a celebrity? Getting photos with someone famous or popular, or having them mention your community in a photo is a great way to get some positive PR for your brand.
Not only does influencer marketing deliver an 11X ROI over other digital marketing platforms, but 40% of people say they've purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram and other social networks.
The reason why influencer marketing is so powerful is because consumers expect to see companies praise their own products. But when a respected third party speaks positively about a product, it’s much more powerful because they don’t have to say it.
A good way to get started is by looking locally. Are there any influencers in your city that you could possibly partner up with on a giveaway or a special piece of content? Reach out to them on Instagram or email and see if they’d be interested.
Most influencers will charge you a fee, which is something you’ll have to weigh against the value they can potentially bring you. But keep in mind that not all influencers are equal.
When you’re looking at influencers and pricing, don’t go off of follower count. That number can easily be inflated. Instead, look at how much engagement they’re getting on their content. When they post about a product or service, do they get a lot of comments from people genuinely interested? And also make sure their audience aligns with yours. If you’re trying to reach working professionals, working with an influencer who’s following is primarily teenagers probably won’t bring you much value.
These are the types of things you have to consider before working with influencers on Instagram. But when it works out, the results can be amazing.
It’s Time to Act
We’ve given you the tools to put together an Instagram marketing strategy for your apartments, but the important part is implementing them. Give these eight tactics a try, and keep testing to find out what works for your brand.