3 Ways to Build Your Business' Brand on Instagram
If you’re still on the fence about using Instagram to grow your business, it’s time to get in the game: 25 million brands are now on Instagram and 200 million users visit a business profile every single day.
So what’s the key to building your real estate brand on Instagram? I recently had the chance to ask Sara Locken, Operations Manager for North Group Real Estate (Inman’s Most Innovative Team of 2018) what she and her team are doing to grow their business brand on Instagram. From providing their team members with incentives to planning ahead of time, here are Sara’s top 3 takeaways on how North Group became Insta-famous— and how your business can, too.
1. Get Your Team Involved
When you’re running a business, Instagram might be the last thing on your mind. Finding the time to post— or the right marketing hire to post for you— can be no easy task. That’s why at North Group, managing their brand’s Instagram account is a group effort. “15-20 people have our Instagram login,” Sara reveals. “We wanted to be a team with a lot of Instagram followers, but it’s hard to find that person who delivers on being a social media superstar; so as a practical move, we decided to have our team help us with our content.”
The ‘all hands on deck’ approach has been a turning point for North Group, but setting limitations on what everyone has access to was an important and necessary step in their process. According to Sara, all team members have full reign when it comes to posting on Instagram Stories, but what ultimately appears on their main profile page is more closely controlled. “We have full access to managing our feed, images, content, messaging and interactions with consumers.”
So why is allowing your team members to post on Instagram Stories so beneficial? “We aren’t out with our clients as much as our team members are. They can be out at showings, door knocking or getting client testimonials,” explains Sara. “Instagram is a social tool, and the only way to be social is to be reactive to what’s going on around you. Having our team play a part in that has been a game changer.”
2. Plan Your Pillar Content
Without preparation, it’s difficult to succeed on social media— especially on a platform as active as Instagram.
For North Group, the marketing calendar is always planned out two weeks in advance during team meetings. Sara offered insight into what that calendar looks like for them: “We have pillar pieces that we always know are going to fill content: community, brand, team related, or product.” Some examples of North Group’s pillar content include ‘get to know us’ posts, upcoming listings and client testimonials.
After establishing their pillar content, they focus on being reactive. With a guaranteed stream of on-brand content being created, North Group’s brand remains strong and frees up its individuals to engage directly in real-time. Whether it’s a team meeting or company event, North Group knows in-the-moment documentation and interaction drives engagement, which is exactly what you need if you want to successfully build your brand’s Instagram presence.
3. Play to Your Strengths
The reality is, making your brand Insta-famous is going to take a lot of work and the process to get there will differ from someone trying to build their personal brand. In Sara’s words, “there’s a reason Apple has 8.6M followers and Selena Gomez has 144M.” With people being more likely to invest in a person than a company, how can you ensure your brand gets noticed? Sara puts it simply: “We attack what we can and we try to compete on the level that we can.”
Acknowledging where you stand and what role your company plays in the social sphere allows you to execute your Instagram strategy more effectively. By familiarizing yourself with the top hashtags, you can avoid having to compete with the most popular ones. If you’re not careful, you risk getting lost in the feed. Sara shares that North Group’s solution is to “look at (their) local market to see what people are looking at so (they) can be the top posts in those areas”— with the goal of eventually building clout and continuing to rise.
Emphasizing brand & culture is one of the leading components of North Group’s Instagram strategy, so they incentivize employees with rewards like gift cards in exchange for getting active on Stories— Stories that Sara refers to as a ‘beautiful chaos’ for North Group. “(Our) Stories are more informal and fun. Our team is dynamic. We have a strong company culture and we want to show that off.”
For those who are just getting started on Instagram Stories, Sara has some valuable advice: “Just get in front of the camera and don’t overthink it. When you have a great idea, tell a story. It’s called Stories for a reason.”