5 Powerful Instagram Marketing Tips for Apartments in 2020

Alex Middel
April 23, 2020

It’s no secret; Instagram has become one of the top and most widely used marketing channels apartment marketers have in their marketing toolbox in 2020.

Today, Instagram now has 1 billion active monthly users, making the chances of your ideal renters being on Instagram more than just high. At this point, it’s obvious.

What’s even more impressive is the 500 million daily active Instagram users.

That’s 500 million people that are logging in and scrolling through their Instagram feed on a daily basis (and spending an average of 28 minutes on the platform each day to boot).

Building engagement and getting your community in front of potential renters on a daily basis is one of the best ways to build awareness, generate quality leads, and move those prospects from leads to leases in less time (ie - shorten your sales cycle).

But, with 25 million businesses also on Instagram, you're not the only one competing for your target audience's attention.

To get the most of your Instagram marketing campaigns, you’ll need to plan and execute your strategy at your highest level.

Here are 5 powerful Instagram marketing tips for apartments in 2020 that will help you do just that.

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1. Switch to an Instagram Business Account ASAP

Hopefully you’ve already checked this step off your list, but if not, make sure to switch from a personal profile to a business profile.

Similar to your apartment website's homepage, you can think of your Instagram profile as your Instagram homepage.

Switching to a business profile, compared to your standard personal profile, gives you some obvious benefits right away;

  • Better Layout: The layout is slightly different, tailored specifically for businesses, giving you options to customize how users get in touch with you from phone calls, to emails, and even messaging you right from your Instagram profile.
  • Instagram Analytics: It gives you access to Instagram analytics tools that give you insight into how your posts performed, profile visits, engagement analytics like reach and impressions, even profile visits and insights about your audience.
  • Instagram Ads: One of the biggest benefits, however, is access to Instagram Ads and promoted posts. Advertising on Instagram gives brands the ability to target specific audiences and quickly get you in front of the people that matter most.

Just like your website, many of the same tactics and best practices still apply with your Instagram Business Profile.

Profile Picture: Make sure you use your logo as your profile picture to stay consistent with your branding. A consistent brand experience and maintaining your brand aesthetics will make you more recognizable online and help to build trust and confidence around things like professionalism, reputation, etc.

Bio/Description: Your description is very personal to your brand. Make sure to include a clear and concise description of who you are, where you’re located (city, state, etc), and one or two things that set you apart from the competition and makes you unique. You're bio is also a great place to include a branded interactive hashtag.

2. Use Free Instagram Analytics Tools

Similar to other social networks, when you switch over to an Instagram Business Account, you unlock access to a whole world of analytics which Instagram calls “Insights”.

To view your Instagram Insights, simply navigate to your Instagram profile, click the hamburger icon in the top right corner (the icon with the 3 lines) and select Insights.

Here, you’ll quickly see your analytics categorized into 3 sections;

  1. Content: Your Content section will have an overview of the content you’ve published like the number of posts and stories you’ve posted. You can also go deeper into how those individual posts, stories, and even promoted posts performed.
  2. Activity: The Activity section of Instagram Insights measures the impact your content is having with data points like reach and impressions. Another nice feature in your Activity analytics is seeing how many people have visited your profile page, visited your website, and even called. how many people have clicked the link in your profile.
  3. Audience: Your Audience section is where you’ll find a demographic breakdown of your followers including info like age, gender, location, and most active hours.

Mastering your Instagram analytics is vital for understanding how your audience is interacting and engaging with your content and uncovering ways to grow your following.

If you’re looking for an even deeper look at your Instagram performance, there are dozens of third party analytics tools to choose from like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and CoSchedule, to name a few.

3. Track The Right Metrics and Measure What Matters

As the infamous Michael Hyatt quote goes, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.”

With Instagram marketing, or any marketing for that matter, the trick is in making sure you’re measuring what matters.

In other words, ensuring that your apartment marketing goals are using the right metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that contribute to, and represent, true success.

With Instagram marketing, start by tracking your Follower Growth Rate over a specific amount of time.

Follower Growth Rate = ( Present # of followers - Past # of followers ) / Past # of followers x 100

Don’t get caught up with your total number of followers. Most seasoned digital marketers would call this a vanity metric. And it absolutely is.

Instead, your Follower Growth Rate gives you insight into the content you're posting and your posting frequency, and whether or not your content is actually working to grow your audience.

Next, you’ll want to look at your Engagement Rate.

Engagement metrics on Instagram are metrics such as likes and comments.

There are a few ways to calculate your engagement rates. In fact, measuring Engagement Rates happens to be somewhat of a controversial topic because there are a few methods to do this.

For that reason, the best method for calculating engagement rates on Instagram is going to depend on who you ask.

A good place to start is with this formula below;

Engagement Rate = ( Likes + Comments ) / Total Followers x 100

You can also look at engagement rates at a micro and macro level. Meaning, your total overall account engagement rate, and also the engagement rate of an individual post - both being equally important.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, is your URL Click-Through Rate (CTR).

Ultimately, we’re using Instagram to encourage prospects to visit your “store” - in this case, it’s your apartment website.

If you don’t already have your website link in your Instagram bio, make sure you add that ASAP.

Your Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the ratio of clicks your link received compared vs the number of times your link was shown.

CTR = ( Clicks / Impressions ) x 100

To determine your Instagram CTR, your Clicks will be the number of Website Clicks received and Impressions are the number of Profile Visits. (You can view both of these metrics in the Insights section)

The more effective your Instagram marketing, the higher your CTR will be.

4. Post Apartment Teasers that (gently) Urge Prospects to Lease

Instagram is a very visual social media platform - it's kind of their thing.

Keeping the user experience’s focus on imagery and photos (and not links) is one of the ways Instagram has been able to differentiate themselves from other social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even their parent company, Facebook.

For apartment marketers, this is a dream come true because it’s exactly what we want to showcase - the product.

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One of the best ways to utilize Instagram is by showing off your apartment community and giving them a taste of how great their lives would be if they lived there.

But, just like you and I, nobody likes getting sold to, especially when it’s obvious and obnoxiously self serving.

Instead, just like with all apartment marketing, you want to be positive, aspirational, empathetic, and helpful.

If you’re a newly constructed lease-up community, don’t wait until construction is done to start building awareness and getting your name out there. Just like with pre-leasing, start your marketing efforts 3-6 months before you’re open with behind the scenes photos and construction updates.

If you’re not a brand new community and don’t already have a show unit, take one of your vacant apartments, furnish it (you can also rent furniture through a company like CORT), and hire a professional photographer to get top quality photos that show off the best features.

5. Tap Into Local User-Generated Content

Simply put, User-Generated Content (USG) is content created by others.

Curating content helps you build a vibrant and engaging community on Instagram.

USG can incentivize your audience to share their own creative ways of experiencing your community or being a resident.

GoPro does a fantastic job with utilizing User Generated Content on Instagram.

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Getting your hands on great content makes a lot of sense, but how do you find it?

One way that you can do this is by social listening, or monitoring what’s happening in and around your community on Instagram.

To do this, you'll want to create a processes for helping you monitor for things like posts from local influential profiles of well known restaurants, shops, businesses, local celebrities, etc.

There are 3 main things you’ll want to monitor to uncover the best USG out there; profiles, locations, and hashtags.

  1. Profiles: This one's pretty straight forward - track down profiles of local profiles of well known restaurants, influencers, shops, businesses, etc. and follow them! When it's time to find some good USG, all you have to do is scroll through your Instagram Newsfeed. Simple as that!
  2. Locations: Monitor for nearby locations that users have tagged their posts with, especially your own community. 
  3. Hashtags: Make a list of 5-10 hashtags that best align with your audience and the type of audience you want to reach. These could be a combination of location-based hashtags, branded hashtags, etc. If you're already using hashtags in your posts, start with those.

IMPORTANT: When you do find the perfect UGC and want to use it, always make sure you reach out to that profile to ask for permission to use their photo. 9 times out of 10, they'll be thrilled about the idea - major ego boost 😆. Once they give you the go-ahead, make sure you credit them by tagging them and mentioning them in your description (like GoPro did!)

The Highlights

Instagram has a massive user base, and the chances of your ideal renters being on Instagram and only a click away from becoming a resident.

Start getting the most out of your Instagram Marketing efforts by setting up your Business Profile and unlocking those hidden features - it makes all the difference.

Once you do that, start getting familiar with your Instagram Analytics tools to find which tactics are working and which ones aren’t.

Be sure to align your leasing goals with the right metrics and build on the metrics that matter.

Use teasers to get prospects excited and closer to becoming a resident, while also leveraging local user-generated content to make your brand really stand out.

Last but not least, practice social listening to monitor and find the best User-Generated Content.

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