By now, property managers and REITs are aware of “traditional” social media tools, like Twitter and Facebook. But what about some of the other tools, like Instagram?
Instagram is an online photo sharing and social networking service that enables users to apply filters to their images, making them black + white or sepia at the click of a button. If you aren’t familiar with the tool, Mashable offers a user-friendly Beginner’s Guide, and the application’s Wikipedia entry provides helpful background information.
The service is easy to use and integrates well with other platforms, such as Facebook, which recently acquired the company. So it’s very simple to use Instagram to push out different types of digital assets, adding variety and appeal to your Facebook feed.
Why Use Instagram?
Sure, today’s youth is wild about Instagram. But it’s much more than a plaything or idle distraction; it can also be a valuable marketing tool, particularly for property managers. More and more, people have come to rely on photos when choosing where to live. They don’t just want to read a list of features and amenities – they want to see what the property looks like. Instagram offers a quick and easy way to meet this demand.
Here are a few examples of how property managers and REITs are using Instagram to promote their properties:
Milestone Management – We love how Milestone uses Instagram to showcase its staff and properties in a way that is fun and very approachable. They also proudly display awards.
Sunstar Realty – Sunstar Realty takes a lifestyle approach to its Instagram channel, and shines the spotlight on its properties as well as the beauty of west coast living.
PPM Apartments – Chicago’s Planned Property Management uses Instagram to offer contests to its tenants (like a closet makeover with a professional organizer) as well as shots of food from neighbourhood restaurants and so much more to engage their tenants.
How to Use Instagram
If you’re already using social media, then incorporating Instagram is an easy step. But you may find yourself wondering what to photograph. Of course you should take photos of your property – attractive exteriors, recent renovations, vacant units and standout amenities. But it’s also a good idea to feature photos of the neighbourhood, and lifestyle shots that are line with the image you want to project.
Here are a few suggestions for photo ops:
- Cityscapes – show off the area and let prospective tenants picture themselves living there
- Community events – capture nearby residents enjoying what their community offers
- Tasty dishes from local cafés and restaurants – everyone loves a great food photo
- People enjoying those tasty dishes – it’s always a good idea to show locals having fun with friends
- Fresh produce from local farmers markets – not only does this appeal to the stomach, but it shows that your neighbourhood supports green habits
- Artwork from local galleries and shops – let prospective tenants see the opportunities for culture
- Storefronts – create a sense of what daily life is like, including where people buy food and clothes
- Seasonal shots – give people an idea of what it’s like to live on your property year-round
- Adorable pets – people also love a great animal photo
- Public transportation – let prospective tenants know that it’s easy to get around, with or without a car
- Parks and pools in the area – highlight the fun outdoor activities residents can enjoy
Choosing a Photo-Sharing Service
Instagram used to be widely available to integrate with many social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. But since Facebook acquired Instagram, the company has disabled the previous feature that allowed users to post photos directly to Twitter – one of their major competitors. In response, Twitter launched its own photo-sharing application.
If you’re having trouble deciding which application to use, we hope this will ease your mind: You can’t go wrong with either one. Both enable you to promote your property with ease.
Perhaps if you have a stronger Facebook presence, you should use Instagram, but if you rely more on Twitter, it might be worth using their new application. Either way, you’ll have a fast, easy means of increasing the visual appeal of your marketing efforts, attracting new prospective tenants while giving them a clear picture of what life would be like on your property.
If you’re looking to get more social in 2013, check out PropertyVista’s WebVista, web-based property management software that allows you to easily integrate your social channels and offer tours and a ton more!