A few weeks back, I wrote an article “Why Gary V Suggests Using Snapchat & Facebook Live to Increase Real Estate Sales.” It summarized Inman Connect speaker Gary Vaynerchuk’s thoughts on how Snapchat stories and geofilters can be used as a powerful tool in real estate to showcase homes, neighborhoods, attractions, etc. With content creation being so simple, Gary predicted that the overall demographic of the app will skew towards 30-45 year olds within the next two years.

However, there is one major problem with Snapchat. According to TheNextWeb.com, the app tends to be confusing and difficult to use – especially for non-millennial adults. In addition, the process of building a following on yet another platform takes time that most real estate professionals don’t have [you can only add people by user name or phone number… there is no direct Facebook connection]. The unconventional interface is most likely the main reason why the growth of Snapchat has been slow amongst adults.

Knowing that 2-3 years is longer than most are willing to wait to fully utilize Snapchat story, Instagram decided to leverage the idea of temporary moments and build their own solution.

 

Introducing Instagram stories!

On August 2, 2016, Instagram released the newest feature to their platform – the story. Considered to be a rip-off of Snapchat, their story works in almost the exact same way… letting users instantly share short videos or images with filters added; but, the biggest similarity is that it all disappears after just 24 hours.

However, according to Owen Williams [via an article in TNW], there are a couple of major difference between Snapchat and Instagram stories:

  1. the ease of use
  2. the established social connection.

 

The intuitive interface is easy to use.

As I mentioned earlier, the beauty of the story has always been the simplicity of content creation. These videos and images are meant to be raw and realistic, as the idea was to be able to share moments happening in real time. Instagram [whose name is derived from the idea of “instant content”] has kept these original standards, encouraging users to create quick stories that take little time and effort.

This means that you can use this new feature the same way that Gary V. once suggested with Snapchat… Create quick videos promoting things such as your listings, tours of the neighborhood, reviews of local attractions such as restaurants and parks, etc. Have an open house coming up? Creating a quick teaser video that encourages people to come by and check it out. The possibilities are endless and the potential reach is expansive.

 

Instagram is a highly established social platform.

For the last 5 years, Instagram has built its way up to become the second most popular social network in the world – with close to 400 million total active users according to AdWeek. Already closely linked to Facebook, it’s easy to find connections and share content across both platforms. This link with Facebook has played a huge role in Instagram’s growth; however, the second major reason has been its link with another popular social network: Twitter.

Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags to pool similar content. For example, simply adding #realestate to your image or video could help you potentially reach almost 4 million users that are actively searching for real estate related content. Instagram is big on community so once you find your niche and start understanding the hashtags that niche utilizes, it becomes a lot easier to build a following. Just remember that consistency key… if you want to build a solid following, you need to ensure that you’re providing your followers with what they are looking for – great content. Utilizing the story feature is a quick [and easy] way to do that.


Personally, I find there is no better way to learn a new feature than to dive in with both feet and start using it yourself. But if you’d like to learn more about Instagram’s new story feature first, check out their blog.

NOTE: to access stories, you will first need to ensure your Instagram app is up to date.

Happy storytelling!