Getting Started with Instagram Stories for Estate Agents

With social media changing at such a rapid rate, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest features. But there are some that estate agents should definitely be taking advantage of, and Instagram stories is one of them. Here is everything you need to know about what they are, what they’re good for, and a step-by-step guide on how to use them. 

What are Instagram stories?

Instagram stories are images and short video clips that disappear after 24 hours. They don’t appear in your profile or your main feed, but instead appear in a bar at the top of the home screen. 

Why should I use them?

Instagram stories can be a great way to strengthen your brand voice by providing a more personal and interactive experience to your followers -and there’s plenty of followers to be found. There are currently over 200 million people using Instagram stories every single day. 

It’s a great way to improve your visibility. Photos posted to your main feed aren’t shown in chronological order, so it’s generally only a small percentage of your followers who end up seeing your posts. Posting frequently on your stories (at least a couple of times a day) ensures that you will stay present at the top of your followers feeds, keeping you at the forefront of their mind.

How do I post one?

To create a story, tap your icon with the small blue and white cross on it, either on your profile or at the top of your feed, or simply swipe right on your home screen. This will open your camera, where you can take videos or photos to post directly to your stories. For a photo, tap the record button once, or if you would like to make a video, hold the button down for up to 15 seconds. 

If you like, you can also post videos or photos from your camera roll by tapping the image in the bottom left corner or simply swiping up. When you’ve taken or selected the image you want, tap the ‘Send to’ button in the bottom right corner and select ‘Your story’.

To get started, that is everything you need, but once you’re comfortable with basic stories there are lots of other features you can use:

  • Type – Use this to share text on a plain background without any photos or videos
  • Live – In live mode you can stream a live video to your followers straight from your phone
  • Boomerang – This feature creates a looping video by taking a burst of photos and playing them forwards then backwards
  • Superzoom – Use this to instantly zoom in on something in your video
  • Rewind – Does exactly what it says on the tin! This features rewinds videos and plays them backwards
  • Hands free – This lets you film videos without having to hold down the record button. It’s best to use a small phone tripod with this feature, but propping your phone up on any stable surface will work fine. Hands free allows to record longer videos of up to a minute long.

When you’ve taken a photo or video, you can also add the following elements to make your story more interesting:

  • Drawings – The pen icon allows you to draw on your stories, great for bringing extra attention to something in your image
  • Text – Likewise, the text feature allows you to add a bit more context to your story and 
  • Stickers – Tap the smiley face icon and you’ll find a range of stickers allowing you to tag your location, post polls and quizzes, host Q+As and add GIFs to your stories.

You can find all these options in the top right corner once you’ve got your image ready. 

What should I post?

Instagram stories are a great opportunity to give your followers an inside look into your business and to provide content that they won’t find anywhere else. Here are a few content ideas:

  • Hosting Q+As with your followers by using the Question Sticker, providing valuable answers to their questions about selling and buying property
  • Show sneak peeks of events, such as open houses or launches, from the set up through to the final product
  • You can share screenshots of your latest listings, sending followers to you website by directing them to a link in your bio
  • Share photos or videos of office events, such as birthdays or charity bake sales
  • If your company has sponsored a community event, share it!
  • Share short video tours of new properties to prompt potential buyers to book a viewing. You can even do this by going live and answer peoples’ questions as they come in.
  • Think of things you can post that tie in with your brand. Do you serve a specific area? Try sharing videos and photos of your favourite spots, landscapes or unique features.

They may seem complicated at first, but Instagram stories are well worth including in your social media strategy. How will you be using them in your business?