Recently, during a Zoom call with some real estate investors I mentor here in Chicago, one of the younger participants brought up Instagram and then coyly asked me if I had ever heard of it. It was a joke, but a fair one: I’ve been in this business for a long time—since even before the internet was widespread. Not everyone adapts well to new technology.
But, that’s a mistake. To stay ahead in this business, you have to keep up with all the new technology and communication channels. After all, the way people look at things and talk to each other is vital to your business. So yes, I am familiar with Instagram, and especially its use during the pandemic.
That said, Instagram is a tool. Marketing Chicago real estate on Instagram can be part of your business, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is your whole business. It can augment, but not replace, having a network of contacts who are ready to buy good houses in promising areas.
Why Marketing Chicago Real Estate on Instagram Is a Hot Trend
Instagram, like any other social media network, started without any really set ideas about the shape it would take. But then it quickly settled in. It’s the “nice” social network, without the angry toxicity of Twitter or the strange arguments of Facebook. People generally post pictures of vacations, food, sunrises, and smiling children.
In a lot of ways that makes it ideal for real estate, especially in a city as compulsively photographable as Chicago. Views of the lake, gorgeous neighborhoods, buildings that open onto wide expansive parks, like the up-and-coming Humboldt Park area. Chicago has it all. And, people looking for houses will look at Instagram.
So, if you are using it, it can be a powerful tool. Just get great photographs and videos, and get the right hashtags. Right now, some of the top Chicago real estate Instagram hashtags include:
Looking up any of those can bring you down a pretty exciting rabbit hole where there are incredible houses on every scroll. You can understand why it is an irresistible catnip for real estate investors.
But, that’s actually one of the problems.
The Difficulties of Using Instagram to Market Chicago Real Estate
There are flaws within the very nature of Instagram that make it unwise to use it as your primary means of moving a house you buy and rehab. Let’s say you buy a house in Andersonville. You take some photos of it, showing off its nice yard, its proximity to the Berwyn stop. You also get one of the iconic water tower. It’s a truly engaging spread.
You hashtag it #chicagorealestate. That means you have people searching who want to live in the West Loop or Schorsch or West Ridge. They may have no interest in Andersonville. You’re Instagram becomes just one in a sea of houses online. Right now, for instance, there are 315,000 posts with the same hashtag.
OK, so let’s narrow it down. #andersonville has 115,000 posts, not all of which have to do with real estate. In fact, very few do, and a few are not quite safe for work. Moving on.
#andersonvillerealestate is really targeted, so the people who go there are already dedicated and are searching you out. And that’s great, but it’s also a very small market. There’s a reason there are only 85 posts.
Now, you could get lucky here. You could get just the right person searching the right hashtag. Or, more likely, your property will be scrolled by, or clicked on before someone goes to another. That’s just the rabbit-quick distraction cycle of social media.
Is it possible to market your real estate investments on Instagram? Absolutely. Is there a good ROI on your time and energy? Well, there’s very little investment, so the return is pretty even. It is reasonable to spend some time trying it out.
But, relying on Instagram to market houses? Absolutely not. That had better not be the only arrow in your quiver.
Why Networks of People Work Better In Chicago Real Estate
That same younger investor who asked me if I knew Instagram also told a story about how she sold her last house to someone she knew in real life from her real estate investment network. No hashtagging required. And I have a million stories like that because I’m an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee.
As a HomeVestors® franchisee, I am plugged into a nationwide network of real estate investing investors—professionals who understand the importance of a great house for a good price. Our network is built on mutual support. It’s possible one of them might buy my property. Or, perhaps I can plug into their networks. We help each other out. That’s a true return on investment, for me.
Even though we can’t always meet in person right now, it is crucial to stay active and grow with these networks. Instagram can be a great tool to help you promote your work. But, even though I embrace new communication tools, knowing people in real life is the best way to market Chicago real estate investments.
If you’re interested in being part of this network, request information about becoming a franchisee today. You can TikTok later.
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