Using Links in Instagram

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms and has transformed the way people do business. It’s no secret why businesses have spent hours developing and creating a strategy to grow and promote their business on Instagram. But as a real estate agent, do you know how to get the most out of the popular platform to help generate leads, market yourself, and engage with your sphere?  Whether you are new to Instagram or a seasoned pro, we want to help!

Why You Should Use Links on Instagram

Instagram has seen an impressive rise since it first launched in 2010. This has naturally made it a desirable outlet for marketers, and anyone else who wants to spread the word about their brand or website.

The problem is that, up until recently, Instagram has been extremely hesitant when it comes to enabling links. Even now, it’s not possible to add links directly to your posts through comments or post descriptions, even though this is something that has been possible on other social networks for a long time (Note: Stories can have links, however, you must have 10,000 followers to incorporate them).

However, there are still ways to incorporate links into your Instagram profile, and they’re well worth looking into. The key is knowing how to encourage those users to check out your key marketing links.

How to Use Links Effectively on Instagram

  1. Add a Link to Your User Profile

The simplest way to get a link on Instagram is to simply add it to your profile. The link will then appear right underneath your user bio, enabling visitors to click through. This is a perfect way to send people to your website’s home page, or to a special landing page.

However, you can also use this feature to get around the fact that you can’t add links to your post descriptions. All you need to do is include a link in your profile that is relevant to your most recent post. Then, add a message to the post itself, along the lines of: “Link in bio!” This is a common tactic, and it offers the added benefit of driving users to your profile.

Since you only get 1 link with Instagram (in your bio), we suggest that you check out one of these services.  They each have free services, as well as pro services.  The nice thing about them is that you can track each link to see how well they are performing in terms of engagement, page views & click through percentage rates.  Even better news – You can send followers to all your favorite sites including your real estate lead generation sites (see our example below using Linktr.ee):

  1. https://Linkin.bio
  2. https://linktr.ee

  1. Use a URL shortening service

The second method we recommend that you use are shortened and trackable links in your posts. You can easily create these using a URL shortening service and a link management platform (Bitly). That way, you’ll be able to track your links and see how well they perform on Instagram, which can help you optimize your efforts even further.

At first glance, it might seem it’s impossible to use links on Instagram.  However, while the platform is unusually restrictive with linking, it does offer numerous creative ways to implement links into your posts and profile.

Real Estate Podcast Picks

As we continue to navigate the current real estate market in North Texas, we want to continue to be a resource to you and your business. We asked our residential sales team to submit some of their favorite podcasts and curated the below list of our top picks which contain expert advice on small business, real estate, sales and marketing, coaching, and leadership.

The Brian Buffini Show by Brian Buffini

Brian Buffini was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and immigrated to San Diego in 1986, where he became the classic American rags-to-riches story. After becoming one of the nation’s top Realtors®, he founded Buffini & Company—an organization dedicated to sharing his powerful lead-generation systems with others. Based in Carlsbad, California, Buffini & Company has trained over 3 million business professionals in 37 countries. The company currently serves 21,000 members and trains more than 60,000 a year through live events and training programs. In addition, Brian’s podcast has reached 7 million-plus downloads in more than 180 countries. Today, he travels the world sharing a message of encouragement about how to “live the good life.” His wit, wisdom and motivational style make him a dynamic speaker, adept at helping people tap into their full potential and achieve their dreams. In 2017, he became a New York Times, Amazon and Wall Street Journal best-seller with his latest book, “The Emigrant Edge.”
https://www.thebrianbuffinishow.com/

The Brendon Show by Brendon Burchard

Go behind the scenes with Brendon Burchard, the world’s leading high performance coach and one of the Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures in the world, as he speaks to 20,000 people in arenas, coaches celebrities, helps his students, and reaches millions of people every week with his message for how we can all live, love and matter. Every week, Brendon shares what he’s struggling with, working on and marching towards – and how we can all live an extraordinary life. This is an intimate and inspiring look into the life and strategies of one of the most watched, followed and quoted personal development trainers in history.
https://brendon.com/podcast/

The Mindset Mentor by Rob Dial

The Mindset Mentor podcast is designed for anyone desiring motivation, direction, and focus in life. Host Rob Dial has amassed a passionate following of over 2 million social media followers, including business professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners with his expertise and passion for helping motivate people to become the best version of themselves. Rob challenges his audience to live a life of love and purpose. Rob has been featured in Forbes and Inc. for his ability to connect with his listeners. Over the past 15 years he has studied with some of the greatest thought leaders of our time like Tony Robbins, Ram Dass, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Jay Shetty and many more. Tune in if you’re ready to take your life to the next level.
https://robdial.com/podcast/

The Tom Ferry Podcast Experience by Tom Ferry

Tom Ferry is the #1 ranked Real Estate Educator by Swanepoel Power 200 and the best-selling author of “Life! By Design” and “Mindset, Model and Marketing!” As founder and CEO of Ferry International, the real estate industry’s leading coaching and training company, Tom’s ever-growing influence impacts professionals in a wide variety of ways – including rigorous accountability coaching, the popular #TomFerryShow delivering free, fresh and relevant real estate tips weekly, highly engaging training events, two best-selling books, and his legendary keynote speeches. Tom has more than 30,000 hours of coaching experience and works daily to help agents and brokers grow a prosperous business while simultaneously balancing — and loving — their personal lives.
https://www.tomferry.com/podcast/

School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

Since its launch in January 2013, the School of Greatness podcast has grown rapidly to be one of the top-ranked Business and Self-Development podcasts in iTunes. It regularly appears in the Top 50 of all iTunes podcasts, and gets downloaded over 4 million times per month. Episodes range from interviews with incredible world-class game changers in entrepreneurship, health, athletics, mindset, and relationships, to solo rounds with the host, Lewis Howes, and the once a week listener-favorite, the 5 Minute Friday format. Past guests on the show have included powerhouses like Tony Robbins, Alanis Morissette, Scooter Braun, Julianne Hough, Jack Canfield, Arianna Huffington, and so many more.
https://lewishowes.com/blog/

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At Desk

MISMO Unveils Remote Online Notarization Standards

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At Desk

MISMO has announced the release of its Remote Online Notarization (RON) standards, which will enable the use of audio-visual communication devices to notarize documents in a virtual online environment. 

MISMO’s RON standards were updated to include language to preclude the storage of personally identifiable information. The standards support model legislation that was developed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the American Land Title Association (ALTA), which multiple U.S. states are now using to enact RON laws in their jurisdictions. MISMO noted that some states with RON legislation have already utilized draft versions of the MISMO RON standards to implement their state law. 

MISMO released the standards for a public comment period that runs through Aug. 12, at which point the standards will be moved to Candidate Recommendation status if substantive comments are received in the comment period. The Candidate Recommendation status means the RON standards are ready for broad use across the entire residential mortgage industry. 

“With states across the country enacting remote online notarization laws, MISMO’s standards will support greater consistency as the volume of remote online notarial transactions increases,” said Eddie Oddo, Vice President of Corporate Business Solutions at First American Title Insurance Company, and co-chair of MISMO’s Remote Online Notarization Workgroup. “We’re excited about this next stage in the standards process and look forward to seeing lenders, title companies, software vendors, and notaries leverage RON standards to offer borrowers a more secure and efficient closing process.” 

MISMO’s announcement was also welcomed by David Burner, Strategic Planning and Partnership Manager at Notarize, a Boston-based platform for legal online notarization. 

“We are really excited that MISMO put together the standards for the industry,” said Burner. “There is so much talk about online notarization that sometimes it can be confusing. This was a collaborative effort among different stakeholders, and without MISMO this would not have happened.”

Source: https://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news/71822/mismo-unveils-remote-online-notarization-standards

Remine At-A-Glance

Did you know that there is a program that allows you to farm neighborhoods much more efficiently?  Our Technology Trainers, Annette and Robin, teach a great class that dives into how Remine can change your farming game. 

Check out our Remine At-A-Glance class and learn how to better farm neighborhoods.

Click this link to sign up for this class or any of our other classes offered by wonderful and knowledgeable trainers.

Cyber Security Threats

We have all been or no someone that has been affected by cyber security threats,  There seems to be a new threat everyday.  From email hacks, to company breaches, to those scary phone calls from the “IRS”, we all need to be on alert and educate ourselves and our customers on how to protect our information from these scams and threats.  

We have two great classes coming up that will give you some tools that will help you learn how to protect sensitive personal data in today’s ‘electronic’ age.  Please RSVP today!

Sankt-Petersburg Russia April 13, 2018: Apple iPhone X on office desk with icons of social media network instagram application on screen. Social network. Starting social media app. Photo taken at company office

Instagram For Business

Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses.  Here are some ideas to use for marketing your business.

  1. Add professional-looking photos.

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform, so it’s important to share visually pleasing content. Generic photos won’t cut it. Take photos, edit them, and take the time to make sure you’re creating a cohesive grid on Instagram. [Read related article: 10 Best Photo Editing Apps for Business]

To add a new photo, tap the camera button at the bottom of your screen. You can take a new photo or select one from your camera roll. On the next screen, there are multiple options to personalize your post. You can add a filter, tag other users, write a caption and add a location. You can also turn off comments on this page with the advanced settings. 

  1. Use Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is one of the channel’s most popular features. These photos and videos disappear 24 hours after they’re posted. Instagram offers many tools that make it easy to create engaging and creative stories.

“Small businesses should leverage Instagram Stories to market their products and services, getting their messages to followers that otherwise might not see regular Instagram posts in their feed because of the latest updates to the algorithm,” said Laura Kenat, content coordinator at Jo Chicago.

On Instagram Stories, you can post recorded videos, still photos, live videos, boomerangs (videos that loop back and forth), basic text, music and focused photos. You can also add stickers such as your location, the temperature, user tags and hashtags.

The stickers for polls, questions and sliding bars make it easy to interact with your users and get feedback. Some accounts use the questions feature to hold a weekly Ask Me Anything, which is a fun way to answer common questions.

Another way to draw attention to your brand is with Stories Highlights, which stay on your profile until you remove them.

  1. Stream live videos.

In addition to Instagram Stories, users can take and stream live video that disappears – sort of like a cross between Facebook Live and Snapchat. You can give customers a live look behind the scenes of interesting aspects of your business, show products or answer live questions through the comments.

Once the video ends, it lives in your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. If you want a video to remain on your Instagram feed, you can upload video you’ve taken or shoot video directly through the app to post. If you choose to shoot or upload video, you can still add filters and change the cover.

  1. Interact with other Instagram users.

As with any social media platform, it’s important to engage and interact with your followers on Instagram. Here’s how.

Liking: Liking is a simple way to connect with other users. To like a photo, either double-tap the image or tap the heart button under the post.

Commenting: Next to the like button is a comment button – just tap it, and the app will take you to the comments page for that photo, with a text box where you can enter what you want to say. Hit Post when it’s complete.

Mentioning: As on Twitter, you can use the @ symbol to tag other users in your Instagram comments or post captions.

Tagging: Instagram allows you to add tags before you post content. To do so, tap Tag People before sharing your photo, and then tap where in the photo you’d like to add a tag. The app then prompts you to type in the person’s name to search for their account. Once you’ve tagged other users in your photo and shared the image, other users can tap on the photo to see the people who are tagged.

Direct messaging: To access Instagram Direct, go to the homepage and tap the button in the top right corner. Here, you can send private instant messages, photos and videos to other users. To send a new DM, tap the + button in the top right corner and select Send Photo or Video, or Send Message. Once you’ve sent the message, you and the recipients can message back and forth. Users who are not already following you will be asked whether they want to allow you to send them photos and videos before they can view your DM.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, plans to integrate Facebook Messenger, Instagram direct messages and WhatsApp to create one messaging platform, according to a January 2019 New York Times article. When this is done, you’ll be able to connect with your followers on Facebook and Instagram through one application. 

  1. Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way to help users find content on Instagram. Hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can’t contain any non-numerical characters. For example, #DaveAndBusters works as a hashtag, but #Dave&Busters does not.

Because users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts in the app, relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, make sure you’re using the right hashtags for your brand.

Hashtags such as #nofilter (a photo that hasn’t been heavily edited with filters), #selfie (a picture of yourself), and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (old photos) are popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. It’s a good idea to look at other established brands or even personal users and bloggers in your industry for examples of what hashtags to use.

Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a lot of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users, but it probably won’t increase your following all that much, and the interactions you get will likely not be from people who are interested in your brand but rather those who just saw and liked your image.

Once you understand hashtags, you can branch out and experiment to find which ones work best for your brand. It’s also smart to create a custom hashtag for your business or even an event you’re hosting. This way, customers can follow along with an event, even if they aren’t there in person.

  1. Advertise on Instagram.

Like on other social channels, businesses have the option to advertise on Instagram. There are three formats for advertising:

Photo ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom right corner under the photo.

Video ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.

Carousel ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.

All three ad formats appear in users’ home feeds. These ads support four objectives: video views, click-thrus to your website, mobile app installations and mass awareness. 

For more information about advertising on Instagram, go here.

  1. Sell products on Instagram.

In May 2018, Instagram added a payment feature for select users. It has now started to roll Checkout on Instagram out to all users. And it could potentially have a big impact on small businesses. With the feature, users can buy things without leaving Instagram. In the coming weeks, you’ll see a blue Checkout button under images of products from an initial group of 20 brands, including Burberry, Nike and Warby Parker. All that will be required to complete a transaction will be a name, email address, billing info and shipping addresses. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, will then save that data for future transactions. Users can pay via Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and PayPal. While this remains in closed beta, small businesses do not have the ability to sell via the platform. But, we anticipate that will change in the next year. 

Currently small businesses can take advantage of Shoppable Posts to sell products through Instagram. A business simply creates a product catalog connected to their account. Then you tag the product, similar to how you tag a person in a post. To create a shoppable post you must have a business account and you must sell physical goods that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies. You can create your catalog through Facebook, Shopify or BigCommerce. 

Other Instagram tips and tricks

To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind.

Links don’t work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that takes users to a website is in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific webpage, you can change the default link in your bio to that page and note in the caption that the link is in your profile.

Make sure your posts relate to your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they’re popular on the platform. But if your business has nothing to do with those things, it could make you look disjointed and confuse your followers.

Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale or contest, and ask users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner. Promotions like this allow your customers and followers to market your brand for you by talking about your promotion on their personal pages, and it drives more people to visit your profile. If you do decide to run a contest or sweepstakes, though, make sure you’re following rules and guidelines.

Respond to other users’ comments. When people comment on your photos, reply to them. Interacting with customers and followers shows that you are paying attention and care about what they say. They’ll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.

Embed Instagram posts on your website. From the desktop version of Instagram, you can get an embed code to add specific images and videos to your company’s website. This shows visitors that you’re active on Instagram and can help you gain more followers. Just select the photo you want to embed, click the ellipsis button in the bottom right corner, and select Embed. This pulls up a box with the embed code and gives you the option to display the caption. From there, copy and paste the code where you want it to go on your website.

Use Instagram influencers to promote your business. Influencers are people who have large followings on Instagram. You can pay influencers to market your products to their followers in a natural way. These sponsored posts typically are subtle and don’t look like ads. This is helpful because people typically hate advertisements.

Share posts directly to your story. In May 2018, Instagram announced a feature that allows users to share posts directly to their stories. With this feature, small businesses can interact with their followers while promoting their product or services. If a client posts a photo of your product, you can share the post directly to your story to highlight the product and your client.

Use polls and other features in your stories. Instagram offers many interactive features that you can use to build online conversations and relationships. For instance, you can use the interactive questions sticker in Instagram Stories. This feature lets followers submit questions for you to answer. This is a fun and simple way to interact with your followers.

Use IGTV. Launched in June 2018, IGTV is a feature that shows long-form, vertical videos. IGTV is available in a stand-alone app and within Instagram’s app, and each video can be up to an hour long. If you get creative, you can use IGTV to market your business in several ways, including by hosting FAQ sessions and conducting how-to chats. For more ways to use video marketing on social media, check out this Business News Daily guide.

Click here for full article and other helpful information. 

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7662-instagram-business-guide.html