Real Estate Marketing Ideas, Farm Fridays

How to Use Instagram Ads for Real Estate

By Meaghan Loraas Last Updated November 12, 2021 5 min read

Welcome to Farm Friday! If you’re just joining us, Farm Friday is something that I created to pass along some digital marketing tips I’ve picked up during my career. Everything I write about in Farm Fridays is meant to help real estate professionals grow their businesses. 

Who here is guilty of spending WAY too much time on Instagram? Me. For sure. I would venture that others feel the same: Instagram is one of my guilty pleasures. For example, I love seeing people’s animals, what they ate for dinner, and their children’s first days of school. I also buy more from Instagram ads than I do from any other social media ads. In my opinion, Instagram has its algorithms pretty well figured out and consistently targets audiences accurately. 

If you’re interested in using Instagram for your listings or brand awareness, this is the article for you!

Are Instagram Ads for Realtors Worth It?

Yes. From a digital marketing standpoint, Instagram ads are a great way to generate leads and increase your web presence. Additionally, did you know that almost a billion people use Instagram? Instagram is one of the most-used social media platforms globally, but hardly any real estate agents are taking advantage of Instagram Ads.

Your audience is likely on Instagram, and 86% of home buyers want to see professional photography of listings before requesting a showing. Put those two facts together, and you’ve got an incredible opportunity to find prospective buyers.

real estate instagram examples
Professional photography not only helps you sell listings faster and for more money, but you get great content for your Instagram ads!

Your Guide to Effective Real Estate Instagram Ads 

Virtuance recently conducted a survey of hundreds of real estate professionals across the nation. We found that less than 40% of real estate agents use paid social advertising as part of their marketing strategies. As a result, you have an incredible opportunity to get ahead of your local competition by taking advantage of Instagram ads. The following is a guide I’ve put together to help you find success with your paid Instagram advertising.

1. Establish Real Estate Marketing Goals

Why are you spending money on Instagram advertisements? Are you attempting to connect with potential first-time buyers? Perhaps your objective is to engage people who are looking for a place to rent. Maybe you’re looking for potential sellers and want to get your name as a real estate agent in their minds.  Whatever your objectives are, the first step to having an effective Instagram ad is establishing what you want to achieve with the ad. 

2. Take Advantage of Location Targeting

When you set up your first Instagram Ad, the most crucial targeting feature for a real estate agent is location targeting. Instagram allows you to get specific with location and audience targeting by using a zip code and a set radius. This way, you ensure that your ads are only showing to active users in your target audience. 

Make sure you include areas where your potential buyers may move from. For example, imagine that your real estate business revolves around selling homes to young professionals in North Austin and Round Rock. Still, you often sell those homes to first-time homebuyers who live in rentals in San Marcos, TX, or East Austin. In this case, you would make sure you target both Round Rock and San Marcos to ensure you capture leads who are likely to move.

3. Choose Your Target Audience

Instagram is much like Facebook (besides both being owned by Meta) in that it allows you to segment your audience based on various life events, relationship statuses, education, and more. The best way to choose your target audience is to think of who you usually sell homes to. Young professionals? Target graduate school-educated members. Young families? Filter by relationship status. However, do not forget to keep the audience size in mind. It’s on the right of the Ads Manager platform and lets you know how big your target audience is. You don’t want to have a tiny audience due to various filters, so pick your audience wisely! A small target audience isn’t likely to result in leads from people ready to purchase real estate.

4. Research Hashtags

If you read last week’s Facebook Ads guide, you may have noticed that I didn’t mention hashtags. In my experience, Facebook hashtags aren’t very effective in finding a specific audience. However, that is not the case with Instagram. Hashtags do a lot of work on Instagram, and many active users look through hashtags and their related posts daily. If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, you can look at your Google Search Console and find out what terms your audience searches for. You can type some of your ideas into the Instagram search bar to get an idea of how popular they are (how many posts exist with that hashtag). 

You can also create your own branded hashtag to use in association with a giveaway or look at what your competition is doing.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use On Instagram?

You can technically include up to 30 hashtags on Instagram posts and ten hashtags on Instagram Stories. However, Instagram recommends using no more than 3-5 hashtags on each post. There’s a bit of controversy among digital real estate marketers regarding how many hashtags to post. Some social media marketing experts recommend using a maximum of 30 hashtags on real estate ads, while some advocate for 8-15 hashtags.

If I were a real estate agent or worked at a real estate firm as a social media manager, I would likely use a maximum of 30 hashtags to improve my reach. If that seems like too many, you can also look at what your competition is doing to decide how many hashtags to use. 

realtor instagram ads
Make sure to feature unique features of your listing in your Instagram Ad.

5. Use Carousel or Video Ads

Instagram allows for multiple Ad formats. You’re not stuck with any one ad format, but the sheer number of choices can overwhelm you. If you’re looking to advertise a listing, I suggest sticking with carousel and video ads. Carousel ads allow you to display several images for your target audience to scroll through. You can show multiple rooms of the same property or multiple properties. Don’t limit your ads to just one external image. Use professional real estate photography to show your audience detailed shots such as kitchen fixtures or interesting architectural features. 

Video Ads are also helpful because they can help you or your real estate marketers bring your listing to life. When advertising dreamy properties, you want your potential buyers to experience the listing with an immersive experience. Video ads, virtual tours, or video walkthroughs are a great way to advertise listings on Instagram. If you’re not investing in visual content as part of your social media strategy, you may be behind your competition in your local real estate market. 

What’s the Difference Between Promoted Posts and Paid Instagram Ads?

One of the questions that often comes up regarding Instagram is the difference between promoted posts and custom Instagram ads. Using both promoted posts and custom ads can help you target different audiences based on their content.

Promoted posts are meant to boost an existing post or piece of content. If it were me, I would use promoted posts to boost already-popular posts. When you promote an existing Instagram post, it will pop back up on the main Instagram feed and your target audience’s feed, which gives you a more significant reach. In my opinion, promoted posts are best for brand awareness. Get your name in people’s minds so that when they’re ready to buy a house or sell their property, they’ll think of you.

What’s Next? 

Next Farm Friday, I’ll be discussing the top SEO keywords for 2022! Get a head start on optimizing your website or GMB by tuning in next week. In the meantime, get content like this in your inbox every week by signing up for The Good Stuff!