Instagram for Realtors

You’ve probably seen an eye-catching photo that’s artsy, interesting, has a cool vibe—and you find out it’s via Instagram.  What exactly is Instagram, and how can it be of use to you in your business?

photo credit: Andrew Ingram
photo credit: Andrew Ingram

First of all, Instagram is a social media platform that has about 80 million users, from A-list celebrities to your everyday friends and neighbors.  The reason it’s popular is that it offers simple ways to crop photos and add filters that give different “looks” to pictures.  The result?  Everyday people like you and me can snap a photo and make it look artistic and visually interesting just by pressing a few buttons here and tweaking there.

Filters can make photos appear bright and vivid, soft and cozy, vintage, you name it.  Aha!  Your wheels are turning.  When you’re taking real estate photos, you can make exterior colors pop, bedrooms appear welcoming and bathrooms sparkle.  When you’re selling a home, Instagram can be a useful tool.

  • Getting Started.  Instagram is a mobile app that you can download onto your smartphone or tablet (iPad).  Once you set up an account, you can take photos of your listings.  The first time you try it out, give yourself plenty of time to experiment—I suggest waiting for a nice day so you’re comfortable and not rushed.  Try taking pictures with different angles and in different lighting situations.  Hold your phone or tablet as still as possible, even setting it on your car or bracing it on a tree so that the photo is crisp and clear.  Get up close to key in on unique features and selling points.
  • Crop and Filter.  You can crop your photo to get rid of too much sky, for example, or cut out most of the driveway. Then comes the fun phase—experimenting with the filters.  Try out a number of different filters until you find the right one for each specific picture.  For example, the Sierra filter will give a picture a cloudy look; Lo-Fi and Hefe make colors pop, Earlybird gives a vintage feel, Inkwell turns images black and white, Nashville gives a warm look and Kelvin adds a glow.  Save the versions you like best.
  • Get Social.  You can use a current account on Facebook or Twitter to take advantage of your existing social networks.  You can follow other Minnesota real estate professionals to see what they’re doing.  You can also post any of your favorite Instagram photos to your MLS and online listing to share with prospective buyers.  Once you post your photos, you’re one step closer to selling that home or finding a new client.

Instagram is fun—but more than that, it can be useful.  As Minnesota home sales heat up, you can use Instagram to imbue your photos with warmth, clarity, color, coziness—whatever will help you and your photos to stand out and catch someone’s eye.

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