Using Instagram to draw homebuyer interest

You're seeing it all over Facebook. Your Realtor friends are posting friendly little glimpses of a home they are trying to sell, inviting you to their next open house. But what if you are selling your house and you want to give it an extra push to get even more eyes on your listing? Look no further than Instagram, especially if you want to connect with the largest group of potential homebuyers — millennials, who left Twitter and Facebook in the dust a long time ago.

With more than 100 million users, Instagram offers a simple interface where you can upload and share pictures instantly on your smartphone. Many millennials gravitate towards Instagram above many other platforms these days, since its focus is photos and not huge paragraphs of people posting stories about their amazing grandchildren. Any entity or business hoping to show off something like real estate can appeal to a wide audience through eye-catching photography. Unfortunately, the real estate community has been slow to embrace Instagram, even though they are beginning to catch on.

According to an article in Dwell, you shouldn't be put off by how few homes-for-sale posts there are on Instagram. All that means is that you will have less competition. Using a combo of local hashtags and great photos snapped by either you or your Realtor, you should be able to appeal to a wide array of potential new home buyers. The article recommends you observe a few guidelines so that your "listing" stands out, however.

First, keep humans out of the photos. That includes yourself. Your home is the star of the show. And before you begin snapping sweeping photos of the place, make sure every area of the home is organized and cleaned. Not a savvy photographer? Make your photos pop with the many photo enhancer apps available on your phone. You'll be able to crop out the garbage can when showing the beautifully landscaped side yard and alter the brightness and sharpness to make sure each photo is as effective as possible. Just don't overdo and photoshop something to make it look different than it appears in real life. That's called a bait and switch.

If you intend to use Instagram, make it your business to learn to use hashtags appropriately. That means not spamming random buzzwords. Hashtags allow your potential buyers to find your photos — powerful search terms that are used to express every word that applies to the home in question. Obvious ones are "house", "home", "real estate", "homes for sale", and anything relevant to the local area you're in. If you are in a popular part of town, the name of your neighborhood might work really well.

If you have the ability to use a high-quality digital camera that surpasses the kinds of photos you can take with your phone, by all means do so. Aim for the best photos you possibly can right out of the gate. That also means using great lighting. If your Realtor had professional grade photographs made for the listing or brochure, using them means standing out in a crowd.

Source: Dwell, TBWS