Blog : Email Marketing

Hashtags #101: Maximize Instagram

Hashtags #101: Maximize Instagram

You may be using Instagram, but are you maximizing it? Are you increasing your exposure and getting more attention?

One critical step is to use hashtags properly. With so many posts on Instagram every day, it’s easy for you to get lost in the noise. Hashtags help the app identify what you are posting about and get your message to the right people.

Hashtags 101

  • A hashtag is simply a series of words or letters after the pound sign (#)
  • Hashtags started on Twitter as a way of easily finding what was being posted about a certain topic
  • Facebook and LinkedIn keep trying to get people to use them, but it hasn’t really caught on
  • Instagram and Twitter are where they’re used best

When you post on Instagram without hashtags, the only people who will see your posts are those who are already following you. If your goal is to build awareness (and that should be one of them!) you want to reach more people. Advertising is great, but hashtags are free.

Hashtags can give you real results:

1 – Instagram users follow both people and hashtags. Let’s say someone is scrolling through IG liking posts. Often, they will get a message telling them they’ve liked several posts with the same hashtag – would they like to follow it? It’s common to tap yes. So now people are following the hashtags you’re using, and you could show up in their feed.

2 – Hashtags help tell IG what you’re posting about. When someone does a search, they’re shown accounts and posts similar to who they are following and what they have liked. Use the right hashtags and your account can be one of the accounts they see that way.

3 – You can see who has liked your post – chances are a number of those people aren’t following your page. Follow them and they will follow you back!

Here’s an example of how it can work: I post on Instagram for the Toronto Film Society, which currently has about 1800 followers. One day in July I posted about Celeste Holm. The post reached 2090 people and the analytics told me that 88% of the people it reached were not following the Toronto Film Society. We reached 1403 people who weren’t following the account because of the hashtags we used.

How to get started:

Do a Google search for real estate hashtags.
Visit other realtors’ accounts and see what they’re doing

Go to Instagram on your phone (or computer) and start searching. #(yourcity) #(yourcity)realestate. Instagram will tell you how many posts are using those hashtags and suggest similar hashtags. You want to use hashtags that are popular enough to get you noticed but not too popular that you get lost.

You can use a maximum of 30 hashtags on Instagram, but it’s unlikely that there are 30 hashtags related to what you’re postings about. Ten to fifteen hashtags should do the trick.

Bonus tip #1: Make sure you’re using a professional account. If you’re using a personal account, you can switch it to professional in your settings or while editing your profile.

Bonus tip #2: Don’t forget about geotagging. When you’re posting on IG, identify where you are, whether it’s a specific neighbourhood or location such as a café or park. This helps IG help you reach out to other users who are in the same location.

If you are not using Instagram or you want to know more about maximizing your IG efforts, please be in touch.

Your DIY Digital Marketing Audit

You know how important it is to make a great first impression in real life; are you making a great impression when someone meets you online? When a potential client looks you up, you want them to find the best you have to offer. You don’t want to be outdated or inaccurate, which is why it makes sense to review your online presence on a regular basis.

Most consumers research a business online before they make contact, which is why you need to maintain your online presence. Unless you’re just getting started or are in the witness protection program, you’re already online – now you must make sure what people are finding reflects you and the way you do business.

We do a periodic Digital Audit with our clients to ensure they are maximizing their digital presence. This article outlines what we look for and the approach we take.

Step 1: Google Your Business

When people Google your name, what are they finding? Is it an inactive Twitter account? A LinkedIn profile that hasn’t been updated since 2012?

The good news is, you can easily find out: Just do what they are doing. Google your first and last name and see what comes up.

In an ideal world, the first few links are your website, then perhaps your brokerage listing or, LinkedIn and any other social media. In a perfect world, you also see your Google Business listing. If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, click here

If you have a common name, this may be a challenge, which is why it’s even more important to have a listing on Google Business. If you’re registered, when people do a search for you your listing will come up on the right-hand side of the page, with your website, social media links and most importantly, all your five-star reviews.

Step 2: Social Media

The next step is to identify any social media accounts that aren’t in use but are popping up in a Google search. Delete them. Chances are you don’t need that MySpace account anymore. Perhaps you have more than one Facebook page under your name – time to merge them or remove the one you’re not using.

Now it’s time to have a hard look at your website. A colleague of mine who writes website copy says many business owners she speaks to are surprised about what they find when they look at their own website.  Take a few minutes to read the copy on your site. Is the information on it accurate? is it up to date? Do your social media links work? If you answer no to any of these questions, it’s time to update your site.

Review your active social media sites now. Are your usernames consistent? If not, see if you can make them consistent – you won’t lose any followers. Make sure your profiles are fully fleshed out including your story on Facebook as well as the About section. Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? It should be, because that’s one of the first links that will come up in a Google search. You’d be surprised at the number of people who haven’t updated their profile after they have changed companies.

Are you using the same headshot on each site? If your headshot is out of date, book an appointment with a photographer. If people don’t recognize you in real life from your headshot, that’s a missed opportunity.

Step 3:

  • Are there any other sites where you should be collecting reviews?
  • Set up a Google News Alert for your name to see when you pop up
  • Create a system for collecting reviews (an automated email or prepared template works well for this)
  • Update your email signature: Make sure your website and social media links are there and working

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. However, if a potential client looks you up online and sees that you’ve done an incomplete job with your online presence, they’ll likely think that is how you conduct your business and they will move on.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about your Digital Footprint.  We are happy to offer suggestions.

So you sent out your newsletter – now what?

So you sent out your newsletter – now what?

If you’re using email to stay front of mind with your clients, that’s terrific. It’s not an easy thing to do consistently, so well done!

If you’re using software like MailChimp or Constant Contact, even better. Your emails look professional and you have access to all sorts of important information, including how many people opened your email and what articles or links they clicked on.

There are so many different reports you can generate that the problem becomes having access to too much information and not knowing what numbers and information matter to you.

Here’s a primer on which numbers to pay attention to and how you can use them.

The percentage of people who open your email:
According to MailChimp, the average open rate for a real estate email is just under 20 per cent. This includes people who download your email but don’t read it. If your average is higher, that’s great. If it’s lower, you may need to make your subject line more compelling or change the time and day you send your email out.

The number of people who click a link to a listing or an article you’re featuring:
Why? It shows true engagement. Someone was interested enough to open your email and take an action to read more. Pay attention to the click rates because people are telling you what they are interested in. Give them more of those topics and less about topics that don’t generate engagement. You may be surprised. To get people to open an email, it’s more about giving them what they want and less about you think they should know.

Bounced email addresses:
If you know these people (and you may not know everybody on your mailing list – some may have signed up via your website or social media) it’s the perfect opportunity to reach out to get an updated email address and touch base.

Up to one per cent of people on your list will unsubscribe every month. This is completely normal. Most software systems allow people to give a reason they’re unsubscribing. Those who do are giving you good information. If the unsubscribe rate is higher than one per cent, it’s worth revisiting your strategy. Are you sending too often? Is the email too long? Is your content relevant?

Ready to go deeper?
You can pull a list of people who haven’t opened an email in six months to a year. You know they’re not engaged. You can decide if you’d like to remove them or if you’d like to reach out. It can be as simple as confirming an email address – “I was wondering if you’ve been receiving my monthly newsletter?”

On the flip side, you can pull a list of everybody who’s clicked a link in the past six months. Identify them as your top fans (Facebook has recently started doing this) and offer them something special, such as early access to tickets to an upcoming home show. You know your clients best.

Your newsletter database can be a gold mine, but it’s not going to work on its own. You must pay attention to what’s happening so you can maximize your effort.

Don’t like how you look on camera? Get over it.

Don’t like how you look on camera? Get over it.

When I speak about email marketing or social media, I always highlight video as the one tool that business owners should add to their marketing mix. It’s the most effective way of conveying personality and generating engagement. However, there’s often some pushback and I hear things like “I don’t like the way I look on camera,” or “I don’t like the way I sound.” Here’s some tough love: you need to get past this. Nobody likes how they look on camera but some great videos can really help your business grow.

In this article, you’ll get some tips on how to create your own videos and learn how a professional company can help. Once you have videos, we can help you leverage them using email marketing and social media.

Click here for my latest piece from REM Magazine.