Instagram for Real Estate Agents [2023]

What is Instagram going to be like for real estate agents in 2023? We interviewed Chelsea Bucklew, who runs a social media class for realtors. We also had her present to our team of agents at our last company meeting. She tells all the Instagram tips and social media techniques so that agents can define their social media niche and add value to their channels.

About Chelsea

Chelsea was originally born in Washington DC and grew up in Austin her whole life. She attended elementary, middle school, high school, and eventually the University of Texas. She got her start in life in Austin and wanted to go to a bigger city. Due to the trajectory of Austin’s growth, it kept getting bigger and bigger each year deciding to stick around in the city.

Before getting into real estate, Chelsea was the global e-com copywriter at Under Armor for two years. Five to six years before that, she was doing social media and copywriting on a freelance scale where she’d have smaller clients like juice shops and tea companies if they needed social media help.

On March 2020, the whole team gets laid off at Under Armor, Chelsea got into real estate and quickly realized how heavily ingrained it was in marketing versus sales which is what she really ran with it and got excited about it.

Real Estate Copywriting

Some of the copywriting rules Chelsea shared is to be grammatically correct. The human mind in this day and age, your copy needs to be quick, easy, and simple. Some people tend to lean into wanting to be different so they come up with an outlandish vocabulary to speak to and don’t realize that the bulk majority of people aren’t going to dissect that the same way.

The rule of thumb is that the bulk majority of average humans have a third-grade level of reading which is shocking but also gives you a nice baseline of how simple it needs to be.

Content Creation for Real Estate Agents

Everyone has hopped on to the house tour reels. Some do it better than others. Some are more creative than others, but everyone’s doing it. 

When you see saturation in a marketing technique, that’s when you have to ask yourself, what am I going to do differently? How am I going to stand out? Because now there’s a ton of us doing this. 

Try to understand relatability and authenticity, and bring in more of your personality, because at the end of the day, people pick people they want to work with, based on who they are. 

It’s not hard to get a transaction coordinator to get the deal done. It’s about who you are as a person and how you attract the right people for you, but also how you get along and connect with that person. How you make them feel. 

Bringing that relatability to that personality also means getting creative. It’s a collaboration, not competition, we just have to find the right clients for ourselves. There are tons of clients, we’re not fighting each other for them. We’re just trying to attract the right ones. 

How Real Estate Agents Can Build a Brand on Instagram and Get Leads

The Social Brand Academy emulates what Chelsea did when she got into real estate two and a half years ago. When she started, she remembers looking on Instagram as millennials do for anything. Chelsea couldn’t find anyone who stood out or looked different than our typical version of the headshot, the agent that you know and see.

How is anybody supposed to pick them over any of these other people when everyone looks the same? That’s when she started brainstorming ways to stand out. Hence, Social Brand Academy came after she built an entire brand and started getting multimillion-dollar leads off of Instagram and the rest was history.

Why Real Estate Agents Fail at Building their Brand on Instagram

Here’s why most real estate agents fail at building their brand on Instagram. 

Build your brand, not your brokerage. Your brokerage is awesome, but your brand is a direct representation of your brokerage as well. 

If anything, your brand is going to help build your brokerage because with that association, so long as it’s positive, it’s going to let people know.

By building your own brand, not only can you take it with you if you leave, or if you turn into a different type of entrepreneur and start another business, you can take this brand that you’ve created and translate it into so many different things outside of real estate if you so choose or into different realms of real estate as you go forward. 

It’s really important to build your brand, not your brokerage because you as an individual is who people want to work with. What we do have is authenticity, relatability, and people liking people. 

If people like you, they’re going to work with you, but they can’t really like you if they don’t know that much about you if you haven’t put yourself out there. That’s why it’s so important to build your brand, to be authentic, and showcase who you are as a person because that’s what’s going to attract these potential clients to you. 

Realtors fail at building their brand on Instagram because they don’t know how or where to start. It’s free marketing. But most people have no idea where to start, like, what do I do? What’s my brand? Font? What’s my name? What are my colors? 

We get really on our heads about it. Start small and evolve. You don’t have to come and like choose this hard branding right now today and stick to it and feel like you only have one chance at this. 

You can evolve over time, in the same way, that you evolve as a human being. Start somewhere, start small, start brainstorming, and eventually you’ll get to where you’re supposed to be with it. 

When people think of building an Instagram, everybody’s mind goes to having no followers. Everyone started with zero followers. That’s the number one thing to keep in mind. But followers don’t equal clients necessarily. 

Your follower number is not the most important metric to look at, but the whole goal with that is just you have to make the time to start somewhere, you see the benefit of what you do today. 

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Instagram Content Strategy for Realtors

This one’s also a big one. It’s one thing to get on Instagram. You need to have a strategy in place, you need to have consistency. The algorithm picks up on similarity. So if you have a content strategy, and that content strategy is to post every day, the same type of content, eventually the algorithm picks up on that, and it will start shooting it out to the right people. 

By the right people, Chelsea means that we all have a niche here in real estate, whether we know it or not. There are some of us who prefer working with first-time homebuyers. There are some of us who prefer working with investors and those are all niches. 

It’s so important to come up with this content strategy because that’s what keeps you focused and organized. It’s what helps you get more traction.

And then last, it feels awkward and uncomfortable. Everything feels awkward and uncomfortable when you start talking to the camera. But once you start not only do you start to feel a little less uncomfortable, you start to get you to know the confidence and you start to understand it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Build Your Brand, Not Your Brokerage 

This is not to say that your brokerage is not an important part of your business. It’s huge but you can’t take your brokerage with you. As much as we all think we’ll stay at our brokerages forever, a lot of us will stay in places that we really enjoy for a long time.

Your brokerage is cool, but just in case, something happens and you have to leave. You still have that brand that you built with you. At the end of the day, it’s real estate agents. 

We are entrepreneurs. We work together, it’s a collaboration on a competition. We are colleagues, but we are entrepreneurs and we are building our own businesses as solo entrepreneurs. So it’s really important to build that brand. 

Building Credibility as a Real Estate Agent

You want that credibility. Amir is a great example. He is known on TikTok and people now see him on Instagram. He works at Spyglass. 

The same with Cindy. She has an awesome brand. Everyone knows that she’s a real estate agent, but also a foodie. That’s great brand recognition. They can also go see in her bio that she works at Spyglass. That’s amazing for Spyglass. 

It’s a win-win if you think about it, because you’re helping build the brand of your brokerage, but you’re also building your own business. It gives your brand or gives your brokerage more credibility, and then it can translate across business ideas to come. 

None of us know if we’re gonna be real estate agents forever. Even if we are, maybe we wanted to do something on the side later. That’s why it’s really important to build this brand now because you can leverage this brand for businesses down the road.

You can create a new account. You’re helping leverage yourself from your previous brand to build a new brand and that’s also a really excellent component. 

Instagram Metric Tools

It’s a business tool with metrics. It’s not just about the followers, it’s not just about like looking cute on the internet, you have metrics on your Instagram, so as long as you’re a business profile or creator. 

You can go to your dashboard you can see a lot of analytics about what’s happening with your content, and your profile if you’re up from 30 days ago, or if you’re down from 30 days. The posts that usually pop off are a really good indicator of what you need to do more of because it shows you what people engage with. 

When you see people like this one video, that’s your cue to keep making that type of video. It builds likeability and trust. This goes into building the brand side of things, people work with people they like, or people work with people that they like. So either become well. 

They want to be like you, or because they are similar to you, and they can relate and they feel connected to you. That is the core of this business. We’re not really in the business of sales, we’re in the business of marketing, and remarketing, and we are to showcase how we can help them.

Education, Inspiration, and Entertainment

These are three reasons people get on the internet. Think about why you scroll on Instagram and Tiktok at night for hours on end, until you realize you should go to bed. It’s because you’re either being educated, you’re learning something, you’re being inspired, or you’re entertained, you should be one to two of these different things. 

There’s enough to go around. It isn’t just a few of us who are capable, we just decided we were gonna do it, and we did it. 

Once you decide you want to do it, you can do it too. Educating and inspiring are really important too. Authenticity and relatability ties back into likeability and trust. 

People want to see who you really are. So don’t feel like you need to build this brand that’s like super extraordinary and super different from who you are. So building the light, or the authenticity and relatability around that showcases is honestly not the hardest part of everything. 

We can all look on MLS and help people find homes, but what is hard is being easy to work with being an enjoyable person to be around, and to relate and really make people feel seen and heard so that they don’t get upset about certain things happening in deals.

It’s a choice, you have to decide if you want to be successful on the internet. That’s not to say you can’t be successful with traditional ways of marketing, like cold calling, door knocking, and passing out flyers, all of which cost a lot of money and time, but if you think you can do that, that works for you, it will work for you.

Whether it’s YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok, pick a platform, you can translate all the different videos you do onto all the platforms anyways, but pick one thing you can and you will stand out. 

Pick your niche. It should literally be who you are. 

Be Consistent

You can post those super high-quality drone flying-in videos of your listings once a month, and it will not do nearly as well as posting a nice grainy iPhone video every single day. 

The reason is consistency. Back to the YouTube algorithm, the more you post, the more the algorithm gets a chance to learn you and know you and say they’re real estate agents. Be consistent. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be consistent. If you can do this, you can literally 10x your lead gen in 90 days.

Advice for Real Estate Agents Starting on Social Media

Chelsea has worked with over 50 real estate agents at this point in her masterclass. A lot of feedback she gets is they’re scared to show up on the internet, they’re worried about being annoyed about spamming them with real estate stuff, they’re worried they’re going to be judged, they don’t have the confidence for this.

Think hard. What’s weighing you down? Because you can almost guarantee something like that you either don’t believe you can or are worried about what other people are going to think and what we have to remember.

Keep this in mind, I wasn’t just born this way, but what you remember is it doesn’t matter what other people think. If they’re not here to help us grow, then they’re either just helping engagement by sending out stuff to their friends, or they are unfollowing us, and that’s perfectly fine.

We don’t want them to see our information anyways, we don’t want them to see our content, they’re not gonna buy with us, they’re not gonna sell with us, they don’t like it, or they’re just not entertained and that’s fine. 

We want engaging people in our audience, we want people who actually want to see who actually want to talk to us about these things. So the weed out of followers dropping off is just part of the process and it is totally fine. 

In fact, it’s wanted, you don’t want dead followers who just sit there and don’t do anything. So really, really get honest with you all yourselves, what weighs you down? 

The best way to predict your future is to create it. Chelsea is a huge believer in this if you think you can, you will if you think you can’t, you will not.

What Agents Should Focus on 2023

Chelsea feels like a lot of agents run into having a lot of impostor syndrome. Whenever we’re looking around comparing ourselves to other agents feeling like they haven’t done a $10 million deal yet, we can’t market ourselves as luxury.

Just remember to lean back into who you are. You don’t have to be this big name to be super successful. 

Chelsea decided she was a luxury agent before she had done one transaction and it’s how she got her first transaction.

Stop feeling so much impostor syndrome and really lean back into what’s my value. Who am I? How can I help?

Here’s the deal. You’re not lying to people by showing them multimillion-dollar homes. You can be just as curious and ask questions that affect you. 

You almost have an advantage because you’re going to it because maybe there’s some stuff you don’t know about this luxury home that you’re gonna get. You’re going to ask a question that maybe an experienced, luxury agent wouldn’t ask.

Connect with Chelsea Bucklew

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