Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTV for Realtors

According to the National Association of REALTORS, in 2018, 77% of real estate agents used social media, with the majority using Facebook. It’s been two years since that study came out, and the number of real estate agents using social media has likely risen. Each social media platform has seen many changes since NAR wrote that study. Most people under 30 say they use Instagram (73%) every day. As younger homebuyers enter the market, it’ll be more important to reach out to them on platforms they frequently use. How can Instagram be useful for realtors? Social media on every platform (Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.) is becoming more video-centric; Instagram is no exception. The platform has proved itself with IGTV, Stories, and Reels. But what’s the purpose of each, and how can they help realtors improve their social media marketing? 

What’s The Difference?

Of the three features, the first one that launched in 2016 was Instagram Stories. It’s a feature that allows users to take photos or videos, add effects, text, etc. and add them to their Instagram Story. Anything added to a user’s Story is temporary and expires after 24 hours. Users also broadcast live videos through Instagram Stories.

Next, Instagram released IGTV in June 2018. It’s not only a feature within the Instagram app, but it’s also a stand-alone app. This feature is best for videos longer than one minute, but allows for even longer video uploads (up to 1 hour when uploaded via desktop).

Instagram debuted its Reels tool in August 2020 in the United States. Reels are short, entertaining videos on Instagram. This feature is used to record and edit 15-30 second clips with audio, effects, etc. 

Simply put, each Instagram feature reflects another platform already out there. Reels is essentially a copycat of TikTok, IGTV is the YouTube of Instagram, and Stories are Instagram’s response to Snapchat.

Whether it’s temporary, long-form, and short-form videos, there’s a place for each one on Instagram. Which should you use? Would digital tours do best on IGTV, or Reels? What kind of content could do well for Reels? With every feature, realtors can use these Instagram features in a myriad of ways. We could honestly write in-depth, separate articles for IGTV, Reels, and Stories, but we’ll briefly go over a few content ideas for each feature.

3 Ways to use IGTV for Realtors

YouTube used to be the main platform for long-form content but here enters IGTV. Long-form video content is a great way to tell a story and create a connection with your audience.

Q&A Sessions

A Question and Answer session with your followers can be a great way to answer any questions they might have about real estate. Make a post on your Instagram feed and Story to promote the Q&A session beforehand to gauge your audience for questions. 

Q&As can prove to be an excellent opportunity to showcase your leadership and knowledge in the industry. If future clients have questions, they know they can come to you for answers and guidance. You can also make a custom thumbnail specifically for your Q&A sessions (or even for different video series). This way, when someone is on your IGTV page, they can easily scroll through and tell which of your videos will contain Q&A sessions compared to other IGTV videos.

Upload Your Drone Tour Videos

Most drone tour videos are typically longer than 1 minute. This type of long-form video works perfectly on IGTV and can be a great way to show your listing easily to your audience. Daniela Pagani (@daniela.pagani.chicago) uses IGTV to upload her listings’ drone tours.

 

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A post shared by Daniela Pagani | CHI Realtor (@daniela.pagani.chicago)

Indoor Drone Tours gives clients a branded and unbranded video file of their drone tour. Realtors can upload these tours anywhere (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) As long as the drone tour is longer than a minute, you can easily upload it to IGTV via mobile or web.

Create a Video Series

Realtors can use Instagram for lots of different video content. If you have many ideas for creating content on IGTV, grouping videos into a series is a great way to keep things organized and easy to find for your viewers. You could create a series showcasing different listings or a series on Open Houses. Like one of the above examples, you could create a series specifically for Q&A sessions. The possibilities are endless! A series can be great for creating videos on a weekly, monthly, etc basis.

Indoor Drone Tours posts their virtual tours on IGTV and separates them into different series depending on the tour’s content. If you’re looking for Luxury Drone Tours but don’t want to sift through dozens of videos, you can select the “Luxury Drone Tours” Series at the top to filter those videos. 

A screenshot of the Luxury Drone Tours IGTV series on Indoor Drone Tour's Instagram

3 Ways to use Instagram Stories for Realtors

A lot has changed since Instagram Stories was first released on the platform. Nowadays, you can add music, polls, stickers, and more directly within the app! Instagram Stories attracts more than 500 million users daily, so jumping in on the action is a great way to build your community. Even though Stories are temporary when posted, you can later add them to your Instagram Stories Highlights and have them live permanently on your profile. Highlights are great for showing the ‘best of’ your Stories.

Provide Market Updates

Many home buyers or sellers might not know the right time to buy or sell real estate. Use your expertise! This can be an opportunity to fill in the education gap. Use your Instagram Stories to provide valuable market information. You can talk through articles, show infographics, etc. This Instagram Story doesn’t have to be a well-designed template or curated video. You can simply record the video in-app and upload it directly to Instagram Stories.

Announcements

Stories can be great for making quick, short announcements that you might not want to post directly within the feed. You could announce a new member joining your team, a listing that just closed, a new listing, and general updates. You could even add an “Announcements” Instagram Highlight to add these stories to later on. Since Stories are only temporary, providing this highlight gives your audience a central place on your Instagram profile for any important updates and information.

Direct Engagement

Instagram encourages users to use their in-app features within Instagram Stories; You can use the location sticker, polls, questions, quiz, hashtag, countdown, etc., to create Stories that directly ask for engagement. The more users interact with your Instagram content (Whether it’s on the Instagram Feed or Stories), the more likely they’ll see your future content.

One prominent example you could use within Stories is Polls. It’s a great way to engage your viewers while also giving a sneak peek from your current listings. You could ask your followers which tile they prefer in a bathroom or compare two different outdoor spaces in a listing. You could utilize a quiz to give more information about a listing. Or maybe you can have users guess where a listing is located based on a photo. 

3 Ways to use Instagram Reels for Realtors

As the newest addition to Instagram’s platform, Reels is gaining a lot of traction within its first year. If other agents aren’t using Instagram Reels yet, this is your chance to get ahead of the competition and take advantage of this new feature. Reels truly fills the gap between Instagram Stories and IGTV: they feel less formal than IGTV, and are also more permanent than IG Stories. At the time of writing (April 2021), they say Instagram Reels is best for improving your algorithm within the app. Since it’s their newest feature, Instagram wants users to watch and create Reels. Instagram has confirmed it’s prioritizing “entertaining, funny, and interesting content.” 

Create Short, Fun Content

Short-form video content is perfect for showing the fun side of a brand. Being relatable is key to growing your audience on social media. Many realtors use Reels to create funny content that’s relevant within the industry. @leighmarcuschicago follows trends on Reels and uploads content with approachable realtor humor.

 

 

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A post shared by Leigh Marcus | @properties (@leighmarcuschicago)

Even going behind the scenes can be a fun way to build transparency in your brand. Social media gives a very curated look into the highlights of one’s life or business. Showing some light-hearted Behind the Scenes content can feel authentic and relatable. Some ideas for Behind the Scenes content could be giving a tour of your office space, showing how you stage a home, getting ready for an open house, or even showing how you film your social media content like @saernorealestate:

 

 

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A post shared by Mark Salerno Real Estate (@salernorealestate)


Short Videos of Listings

While you can use IGTV to upload a full drone tour, you can utilize Reels to upload short highlights. Jason Rowland of the Rowland Group (@rowlandgroup) uses Reels to do precisely this with his Indoor Drone Tours videos: 

 

 

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A post shared by Rowland Group (@rowlandgroup)


By uploading a shorter version of a drone tour, you can focus on the best parts of a new listing. You can use on-screen text to highlight the best features of the home (In-ground pool, luxury fixtures, proximity to public transit, etc). You could also pair the Reel video to a song that’s trending on the platform to help the post gain more visibility.  

Tips and Tricks

Short videos are an easy way to show your expertise in a fun, exciting way. If you have terrific DIY tricks up your sleeve or home decor tips, share them on an Instagram Reel! Do you service a particular neighborhood and know the ins and outs of the area? You could do short, key neighborhood spotlights of your favorite places.

 

Whether it’s IGTV, Reels, or Stories, every Instagram feature offers various ways for realtors to engage their audience. Don’t be afraid to play around with each feature and see what kind of content clicks with your followers. Of all of the three features, Instagram Reels is still very new. Now is the best time to experiment and try out different types of content to see what works for you. 

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