Did you know that, as of September 2013, 73% of Americans use social networking sites? Of course, you probably already know and use the top contenders, with 71% of online adults using Facebook and 18% using Twitter, but have you given consideration to Instagram? If not, you should know that this fairly new site, launched less than four years ago, has more than 200 million monthly users, as of March 2014.
At first glance, you may wonder how this site can help you attract new tenants while retaining existing ones. After all, it doesn’t have the interaction available on Facebook and Twitter. Fans of the site, however, will tell you that’s exactly the appeal of Instagram over its competitors. It’s much more private and deliberate, if you will, in nature. In other words, your audience is created by choice and not through a forced feed of advertisements.
Other important reasons for the appeal (to both tenants and owners) are the imagery and the different point of view Instagram provides. When the site launched in 2010, it was all about photography. It allowed users to take pictures with their phones and then choose different effects to make the images appear vintage. For properties, the options are endless. Instragram provides a creative way of showcasing your property in a whole new, fun way that’s proven to capture attention.
As for the benefit of providing another point of view to your target audience, Instagram is brilliant at doing what social networking was made for: creating a conversation. If you look at Real Simple Magazine’s Instagram page, for instance, you will not see ads or subscription suggestions. What you will see is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it’s like to work for and create the magazine. It’s all about connecting with the audience and giving them even more information than they otherwise would have had access to, so they might make more informed decisions.
For property owners and managers, Instagram quite simply provides a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with prospective tenants, introduce them to properties, and continue a meaningful and authentic conversation through the renting relationship. Here are some simple steps to starting the conversation:
- Visit Instagram from a mobile device; you cannot sign up for an account without a mobile device
- Join the Instragram Blog to familiarize yourself with all the business perks it has to offer
- Setup your account; remember to choose a username that is easy to remember and can be easily associated with the property (e.g., CasaUnicasApartments)
- Connect other social media accounts; bringing in existing contacts will help you build a faster following
- Use hashtags; when posting, leverage the power of hashtags to tap audiences outside your list of followers
- Use media! Take advantage of Instagram’s unique photography offering by giving treatment to photos you post, but don’t be limited – use video, too!
For more information on using Instagram for business, this great article from Social Examiner has lots of fun and useful tips.