Launched as an online service in late 2010 (and purchased by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion), Instagram is a free social media service that makes it easy to share photos – as well as videos – with your friends and followers.

Using Instagram’s filters, casual shots taken with your smartphone come out looking like something a professional would charge hundreds of dollars to stage and shoot. Plus, Instagram makes it a snap to post those photos to Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media sites.

Instagram is a new and free way to market your real estate businessPeople are naturally drawn to photos and videos – which is why Instagram can be such a powerful force for real estate professionals eager to engage their sphere of influence. Ideas include:

Showcase a home for sale

Selling a home? Instagram makes it easy to share pictures of the property. However, instead of posting five standard listing photos and calling it quits, share one each day. For example, a shot of the house at sunset, with the caption, “The sunsets from the deck of my new listing are something to behold”; or a photo of the master bedroom with the caption, “I wish my master bedroom had walk-in closets and big windows like this (stay tuned for more photos of my new listing).”

Bring a listing to life

Instagram videos are limited to 15 seconds. But that’s time enough to show your followers a little peek into some intriguing aspect of a new listing.

Host an Instagram contest

Post a photo or video of a view, a park, a storefront or any other landmark, and invite your Instagram followers to guess the location. The first person to guess correctly wins a $30 gift card.

Share your expertise

The next time you see a home priced too low or too high, share a photo of it on Instagram with an insightful caption (e.g. “My reaction upon seeing this home for the first time: It’s priced at least $5K below its true market value”).

Share your experiences

The next time you attend an industry trade show, share some photos from the event with your Instagram followers.

Let your followers get to know you better

Many real estate professionals volunteer in their communities. With Instagram, you can post photos from those events to drum up support for the cause (and demonstrate your commitment to the area).

Be an inspiration

Use Instagram to engage and inspire your sphere of influence. Share photos and video of innovative solutions to common homeowner problems, unique architectural features, outstanding gardens and more.

Today, there are more than 300 million people using Instagram to communicate with photos and video.  Now is the time to join the crowd and build your personal brand with this exciting new medium.

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