Whether you are just getting started in fix-and-flip investing, or you're flipping dozens of houses at a time, to succeed in this business requires a strategy for effective b2b and b2c networking and marketing. Without having an intentional plan to connect with property sellers, and a cost-effective strategy to market your flipped properties to buyers, your business and your ROI will likely suffer.
Not every fix-and-flip investor has room in their budget to pay for slick marketing campaigns or to hire someone to find viable fix-and-flip property deals, fortunately, social media marketing is accessible to everyone, and it has proved to be an important and effective method for b2b and b2c networking and marketing for real estate professionals.
If you are already familiar with some of the social media platforms out there, you may have noticed that some have gone through changes over the years, with Facebook's new algorithms making it more difficult for audiences to see your content (unless you pay for targeted ads), and Twitter blocking users from tweeting repetitive content (making marketing on their platform a bit more challenging). However, Instagram -- especially its new feature Instagram Stories -- has quickly become one of the best free marketing platforms available to real estate investors. In fact, in June of 2018, Instagram surpassed one billion active users, and by January 2019, the platform had over 500 million daily active stories users worldwide, with over 65% of American Internet users visiting the platform daily (source: OmniCoreAgency.com).
To get started on Instagram, you will need to download the app to your smartphone or tablet. It's important to realize that unlike Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, Instagram is a mobile platform only, meaning you will not be able to post content from your computer--only from your mobile device. So, you will have to start by installing the app on the phone and/or tablet you will be using to post content.
Once you have downloaded the Instagram app, follow the prompts to create your Instagram business account and build your company's profile. When picking an Instagram username, it's best to use the name of your business if possible. Avoid using an underscore, number or any special characters that will make it harder for people to find your account.
Instagram for Business
Because you will be using your business account to network, market and brand your real estate investing business, be sure the account you set up is a business account--or you will not be able to run paid ad campaigns in the future.
If you have existing social media accounts for your business, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, be sure to link those accounts to your new Instagram business account as well. Linking your Instagram with your existing social media accounts will enable you to post to multiple accounts simultaneously, and will help boost your social SEO (your visibility across social media platforms), saving you time and effort.
Here is how to link your new Instagram account to your other social media accounts:
- Log in on your mobile device and select the 3 vertical dots icon to see your settings menu.
- Select “link account”
- Select an account and enter your login information
- Make sure you are linking to a business account not your personal one.
Be very careful that you are linking your social media business accounts, not your personal ones. If you link your business Instagram to personal social media accounts, in the future you will not be able to simultaneously run paid Instagram ads on those linked pages, and your business social media SEO will be negatively impacted.
Building an Instagram Following
Similar to the idea around website SEO optimization, social media marketing helps your fix-and-flip investing business build a focused audience and organically attract industry professionals and potential customers. An "organic" social media strategy simply means you are not required to pay money to attract leads, but instead you are drawing an audience with your content and with your interaction with the content of others.
Tips for Organic Audience Building:
Curate Quality, Intentional Content
Instagram is a platform specifically designed for image and video sharing. To make the best use of Instagram, you should plan ahead and devise a strategic content calendar with regular posts that will attract your desired audience. Your content should represent what you want your fix-and-flip company to be known for. If you have testimonials from happy home buyers, post them. If you have stunning before and after pictures, those will serve as proof that your team is skilled in turning distressed properties into beautiful homes.
The most important aspect of Instagram marketing for fix-and-flip investors is that this platform gives you the opportunity to "personalize" your brand with content that reflects your company's ideals and end product. Sharing photos or quotes of your happy home buyers, pics of your team, inspirational quotes, and before-and-after photos of your properties provides visual gratification for your audience, and will hopefully inspire them to follow and interact with your content regularly.
If you're not sure how to "create content," there are some really great image generator apps available (both free and paid) that will help you to easily create high-quality content that will look like you hired a professional graphic designer. Visit the app store for your mobile device and search for "instagram content" to find the highest rated apps available.
Second only to excellent content, the hashtags you use will be critical to building an organic audience. Similar to a website's SEO strategy, being intentional and strategic with your hashtags will attract the best audience for your business.
A hashtag is simply the use of the # symbol with a keyword, such as #fixandflip or #beforeandafter, which helps to categorize your posts, making it easier for your target audience to find them.
On Instagram, users can follow specific hashtags, so when content with that hashtag is posted, it shows up on their timeline. Adding hashtags that will attract the right audience is key to building your Instagram following.
Here are some examples of hashtags a fix-and-flip investor might use:
You can also use hashtags that specify your local market, such as #WoodlandHills #HouseforSale or #SoCal #CashBuyer. Instagram marketing for real estate investors requires authenticity in drawing the attention of your target audience. There's no point in jumping on a trending hashtag bandwagon if its in no way related to fix-and-flip investing. Trying to exploit a trend unrelated to your target audience is a waste of time, and could even backfire--leading to unfollows by your existing fans.
How Often, and What Time of Day to Post
Instagram strategists agree that to get the optimum result on the platform, you should be posting at minimum 1 to 2 posts per day, with 4 to 5 posts per day being optimum. Although this may seem like a lot of work, you can use a posting scheduler like HootSuite, Buffer or Later, to pre-load your content to post at calendared intervals. Consider visiting a freelancer marketplace such as fiverr.com to find a social media manager who can do this for you. While prices vary, you will find scores of freelancers offering to post your content 3-5 times per day across several platforms for under $150 per month.
Experts are conflicted on what time of the day is best to post your Instagram content, but generally speaking, M-F between 6am and 6pm is "safest." According to SproutSocial's 2018 research on the subject, the day with the least amount of content interest shown is Sunday, with the highest traffic day being Wednesday.
The truth is, you may have to do your own research to determine what days and times are best for your content and your audience. Perform some tests at different times of the day to see which of your posts (and which hashtags) are receiving the most views, likes, comments, and shares.
Paying for Instagram Ads
In addition to curating original content to organically grow your following, you may also elect to pay for advertising on Instagram. You can pay to "promote" one of your posts, or you can post an ad. On Instagram, most ads will be videos, and they must fit the following qualifications:
- mp4 (preferred)
- Under a minute in length
- Under 4GB in file size
- Aspect ratio and dimensions must correspond to square, vertical and horizontal ad specs
- Caption text can be up to 2,200 characters, but 150 or fewer is preferable.
Instagram is a Facebook asset, so when you pay for a "boosted post" on Facebook with a budget over $20/day or pay for a Facebook ad, it also will appear on Instagram as an "in-feed" advertisement, which gives you double exposure for the same ad.
Social media marketing is an entire industry in itself, so if you feel a bit overwhelmed at first, you're not alone. If you are willing to jump in and learn as you go, you will find that Instagram can be a great tool for connecting with industry professionals and finding potential home buyers for your fix-and-flip investment properties.