In only seven years, Instagram has grown to become the largest photo sharing application of the decade. What first started as a mobile photography app has converted into a multi-million user social media site, with users following friends, celebrities, and brands. There are over 600 million Instagram users with 400 million using the platform daily, per WordStream.
With frequent innovative updates and large audiences, Instagram offers new and strategic ways for multifamily properties to engage with potential and current residents.
How can Instagram be helpful to multifamily properties?
According to Modern Message, “70% of Instagram users say they love the platform and are willing to follow their favorite brands if they’re posting entertaining and relevant content.”
So what is the “entertaining and relevant” material that residents and prospects want to see? Perhaps ways to get residents involved with the community, or features of local happy hours and events. So, if your property has an Instagram account or is looking into creating one, it is important to know of the recent updates on Instagram and how to best utilize them for your property:
Last year, Instagram introduced “Instagram Stories,” a feature that allows users to post multiple times a day to create a slideshow of photos and videos separate from their profiles. All media on your Story is deleted after 24 hours, so it is a great way to share content throughout the day without overposting to your profile.
25% of Instagram users watch Stories regularly, so this is an easy way to keep followers updated and interested in your content.
While regular posts are usually more professionally framed shots, Instagram Stories are great for getting quick snapshots or fun Boomerangs up throughout the day without worrying too much about quality or bombarding your followers with posts.
Recently, Instagram added the capability to include hashtags, locations, and tag other accounts within your Story, so viewers can see more posts related to the things, places, and people you have tagged. This compiles a collection of all media that used the same hashtag or location, giving users a comprehensive look at what’s going on in real-time.
Another Instagram story update is a “swipe-up” call-to-action that redirects users to a website to learn more about the content you posted. This could be used to direct them to your website, lease application, or another relevant property link. Although the Instagram app allows you to see how many views your Story gets, it’s hard to tell whether those are active impressions. However, with this new tool, you can see how many people are seeking out more information about your posts.
Instagram Live Stories are great for longer video footage of your property and amenities. Another perk to live videos is that your followers will receive a notification whenever you start recording, so they can jump right in and watch. Not only can Instagram users watch your live stories, but they can also send likes and comments to engage with the videographer. In lots of cases, followers will ask questions allowing the person recording to answer them in real-time and even ask questions to which viewers can respond in the comments.
This feature allows for instantaneous two-way communication between followers and your property. Additionally, followers have the option to view your live videos even after you have finished with the live video replay feature. Users can watch not only your live footage but also the likes and comments that you received during the real time live video. Live stories are great for announcements and industry events.
One of the most important reasons social media has taken off in the marketing and advertising world is because of how easy it is to maintain a more personalized relationship with one’s audience with tools like comments, direct messages, and likes. It’s important for you to reply to your followers who are reaching out to you and answer any questions or comments they have. However, sometimes this public communication is not helpful, and every once in awhile someone will post an unwanted comment on your photos.
One of Instagram’s newest features allows you to block any inappropriate comments. Unfortunately, there are Instagram trolls out there, but now you have the ability to keep your comments section clean and appropriate so as not to offend any of your followers. Remember, however, it is not best practice as a marketer to simply delete negative comments or feedback. Rather, it is a property’s chance to show transparency and provide positive customer service by responding to all comments — aside from those that are outright offensive. Turn a negative into a positive and work to delight your residents, while keeping your comment stream clean, helpful, and positive.
Carousel albums allow you to upload multiple images in one post. This way, you can show off everything you want your followers to see without blowing up their feeds. This feature will allow you to post multiple angles of an apartment unit, or highlight various amenities across the property. Another fun way to use carousel albums is by reposting user-generated content of satisfied residents, friendly staff, or local foodies. As some Instagram users are still adjusting to this addition, add something like, “swipe right to see more” to let them know there is more than one photo.
What To Post and When
Your multifamily property’s Instagram account is not the place for heavy self promotion. Instead, use this social platform largely as a way to get followers excited about the area surrounding your property, its unique aspects, and the personality behind community. For example, post artistic pictures of dishes, drinks, and happy hour specials at restaurants within walking distance of your building. Or, post announcements about renovations and resident events so your residents have an inside scoop on the activities happening onsite.
Instagram users used to have to plan very specifically when to post their photos. However, with a new algorithm in place, posts do not appear on a user’s feed in a sequential order. Instead, there are 7 key factors (below) that go into determining whose images appear at the top of your followers’ timelines:
- Engagement: How popular the post is
- Relevancy: The genres of content they are interested in and have interacted with
- Relationships: The accounts your followers regularly interact with
- Timeliness: How recent the posts are
- Profile Searches: The accounts users check out often
- Direct Shares: Whose posts users are sharing
- Time Spent: The duration spent viewing a post
This is extremely helpful for marketers, because it means that their content is going to the Instagram users who want to see it most.
According to Instagram’s new algorithm, the best way to be seen is to increase popularity and relevancy for each post and your property’s account. One easy way to do this is by simply tagging locations on your posts. This allows for users who are interested to see the most recent photos associated with that location. Similarly, adding relevant hashtags means users who are interested in topics related to your content will be directed to your posts, potentially boosting likes and followers.
Almost a year ago, Instagram rolled out the Instagram Insights feature to help track analytics easily through the app. It includes such things as new followers, clicks on the website in your biography, and demographics on your followers. In regards to your followers, Insights tells you the ratio of men to women who follow your account, their age ranges, the top cities where they live, and also at the times and days of the week they are most active on Instagram.
Insights also shows impressions, the total number of times all your posts have been seen; it shows reach, the number of unique accounts that have seen your posts; and it shows the number of times your profile has been viewed within the last seven days. There are options to view analytics on your Stories and promotions, which you can use to tailor the timing and content of your posts to your followers’ interests and schedules.
Instagram is an effective way to stay connected with your followers and residents on a daily basis. With all of the new features it has to offer, this communication is even more personalized to keep your residents engaged. And now, thanks to the analytics provided by Instagram Insights, it is easy to track your reach and impressions to better understand what sparks interest in your followers. Whether you are looking to start an Instagram profile for your multifamily property or increase organic likes and followers on your current page, these new features will help boost awareness and audience involvement, and drive future residents your way!