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Instagram Tips for Real Estate Agents

Ryan Rodenbeck

Ryan started in Austin real estate as an investor in 2001. He looked at all investment opportunities — Austin foreclosures, condos, homes for sale...

Ryan started in Austin real estate as an investor in 2001. He looked at all investment opportunities — Austin foreclosures, condos, homes for sale...

Nov 10 22 minutes read

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Ryan: Alright guys, we got Dante Bruzzese on our broadcast today, and he is going to tell us how he is bringing in buyers and sellers of real estate in Boston. And he's got a following over of over 21,000 followers, and he is actually producing results and real leads with his Instagram channel. Join us in just a second.

[Intro] Welcome to behind the scenes with Spyglass Realty, with Ryan Rodenbeck and Matt Edwards.

Ryan: Just a little background here, Dante is in the Curator Community with me and I saw him speak in Boston at the Curator Conference about almost a month ago now, right?

Dante: Yeah, about two or three weeks ago.

Ryan: Yeah, and I was just blown away. I've been on the Instagram train for a while, highly focused over the last I'd say six months now, and I noticed that you're... you know, you work for a team... is it the role of group

Dante: Yeah, the Eric Rollo real estate team.

Ryan: Gotcha. And Dante has over 22,000 followers. Is that right?

Dante: Yep, yeah. Just about 22-23k right now, yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. So I'm developing an Instagram course for real estate agents, and Kelly is going to put a link in the chat so that if you're interested in attending one of my live classes at the Austin Board of Realtors, we're putting together a schedule over the next month so you can click the link and you can register for notification. We're probably gonna have our first class two weeks from today-ish. So, if you're watching this check this out. But getting back to Dante... And Dante, what I think you'll find interesting is that in Austin… So Austin's known as a tech city, as is Boston, right? I actually it was surprised to find out that, as far as I can tell, and I've looked pretty hard, that my Spyglass Instagram has the largest following of any independent brokerage in Austin. And this is what really... And I think we're almost that way 9,000 followers right now, which I would say is kind of low compared to, I don't know, I haven't really looked in other other cities, but even on the personal agent ones—I started looking up agents—I haven't seen anyone with more than five or six. So when I saw you at Curator, you know, and you have what, twenty-two? Twenty thousand?

Dante: Yeah, about two, twenty-one, a couple of weeks ago, yeah.

Ryan: That's phenomenal, so I guess my first question is how did you get on Instagram, and what was the bright light that said: “Okay this is something that's gonna happen.”

Dante: Yeah, so I've been on Instagram since, probably, 2011. So I've been on for quite the ride since really they've changed, before they even got acquired by Facebook, so I mean... Yeah, so I've been actively posting on there. I found that, you know, Instagram is just a great way to relay quick messages to people. I'm always quick on my feet, even before I got into real estate. So just kind of transporting pictures and quick messages to each other, I developed it into, obviously, something where I'm at today with the platform. But what really got me into this, and the influences, was just fitness and lifestyle at first. And I think Fitness the fitness industry really adopted Instagram at the beginning.

Ryan: Yeah.

Dante: There was just an immense amount of criteria, where you could learn, just about your general nutrition... just in regards to people posting about competitions, and the fitness community was really well built on Instagram, and that's really where I immersed myself and develop great relationships with people within the fitness community. And then, obviously, a few years down the line, I said: “Hey, you know what?” Instagram had started to develop, Facebook acquired it, and I said to myself: “I think that there is a little bit more, here, to do with real estate.” And sure enough, Instagram has turned into a billion plus user platform today... And yeah, it's what I essentially call the new generational door-knocking, if you will.

Ryan: Yeah. So what I did with mine is I started Instagram as personal, and about a year ago I decided, you know, I'm gonna get really focused on real estate. And it was always Spyglass Realty because I just put everything Spyglass Realty. So for people that are watching this, what's the best advice that you can give agents that are looking to revamp their Instagram into a platform that is going to attract business?

Dante: Yeah, so my first tip of advice is to always start small and build up. Rome wasn't built in a day. You want to think of this just like any other type of business plan. You're not going to go from a 0 to a 1 million dollar profit overnight, in revenue, that’s going to take a while. And you're you're an agent who's been in the game for a while has been very successful, and obviously, as you know, things don't happen overnight in real estate. So how do they transpond over to Instagram? It's going to be pretty much the same premise, just, obviously, online. So this is essentially like building an extended arm with your business, and like I said, the way to really get ahead, and to really start getting things rolling, is to essentially understand who your network in your sphere is. Because, you know, I'm not saying that if you just... You can't just post, post, post. The first thing people who come up to me approach me and say is: “Well, how do I successfully start off Instagram? Do I have to post every day?” And I think that's the biggest myth. I think that you have to do almost the opposite. You have to post information that people want to see, but if I'm just posting, to my sphere, you know, closings with clients but my sphere doesn't know my client, or maybe don’t about the closing, then is that really valuable material that should live on your page? So there's a breakdown, and I talked about this in Excellence a little bit too, you have your stories, and then you also have your timeline posts. And your stories can almost be your everyday “I just had breakfast, lunch and dinner.” While timeline posts should be important information that's important to your sphere. And to be directly targeted to real estate is great, and that's where my account has kind of spun to. Also share your personal life, because people want to work with someone that's relatable too. And I'm sure you know that, being in the industry, they want to work with a human, so…

Ryan: Yeah, so that’s great advice. Alright, so let me stop you right there and just kind of recap that nugget. And I've been trying to work on this. So the way I look at that, and the way I take that advice, is your posts are gonna be evergreen content that brings value, ok? And your stories are just gonna be a snippet of what your life is, in that day. Because your story is only gonna last for 24 hours, right? You’re allowed to make a lot more mistakes on your stories.

Dante: you can make mistakes all day, and that's what it's there for. You want to be non-intentional with your stories, like ok, you take a blurry selfie of yourself or you're going to post pic at a showing that someone sees, that they might not care about too much. They just they want to see what's going on. They're probably in their office, their phone’s on silent, they're probably trying to get through their day at work, and they're probably just looking at your showings. And overtime that's gonna continuously pop up, and people are gonna continuously see your stories. And it might not be the most relevant content, but that's where that non relevant content can essentially live. So, essentially, you want to be like 70% intentional on stories and 30% just kind of “let it fly” if you will.

Ryan: So Kelly is gonna put your profile in the chat here, in the description when we re-purpose this, but the next question I have is... So, I know that you are actually getting business, and getting leads, so how are you doing that? What are the posts that you do that actually people engage and say: “I want to do business with Dante.”

Dante: Yeah, so the first thing is obviously building your business, and building your brand, around people that trust you. And, fortunately, when I got into the business I saw that opportunity on Instagram because I felt like nobody else was doing that. So how could I go up and leverage this platform that's already kind of built up for me? I'm getting a hundred to two hundred, three hundred, to four hundred likes already, you know. I'm not worried about, necessarily, their likes, but that's where I said “I have the platform, I have the audience.” Let me get back on track there, how do I essentially leverage that and get business? It’s providing and finding. First of all, finding who your audience is. If I'm posting two million dollar properties all day, chances are that's probably like 0.1% of my demographic that's watching my stories. But how I'm drawing them in is because... You have to look, on your business page, if you have a cooperative business page on your Instagram, you can actually see the age breakdown of who's actually following you by age, location, graphically speaking... So I kind of took this into fact, and I said to myself: “Well…” Before, my Instagram continued to grow, but before I got on that track, I said “I have a network of people from the age of like, probably 19-20 to 35 and up. But my bulk of it, there was a percentile that was, I think, in the 30% range, was from like XX age to like, 20 to 28, So I said to myself: “Alright, that's your first time buying core right there.” Right? So I identified my demographic, I identified who my audience was, and I continuously tipped them with quick tips and quick hits. And people would, to this day, I mean… they will swipe up and say “What's the catch?” And it’s not a catch, it's just that no one's really ever taught them how to purchase a home the proper way. It's always been then it's been like “Ooh, you have to wait.” And so I found that age for me.

Ryan: Yeah, and I say the same thing about any social media you're doing. And you made a good example about the closing photos. And I'm not knocking anybody for doing that, my agents do it and I do it every now and then too, but is that adding value, right? So you have to add value, and you just spoke to that. That's a great answer. You're adding value without anything in return, and it's kind of like, I think a Gary Vay book what is it... Jab, jab, right hook. You know, adding value, adding value, adding value, and the right hook every now and then, is where you, say.. put in a lead capture, or whatever. Do you ever do that?

Dante: Yeah, you can provide, provide, provide, and then you can ask. You’re begging for someone to swipe up and ask you a question, you're asking someone to donate to your team's fundraiser, like dusting it, and that type of content should most likely be in your stories. Like a quick giveaway, if you want to get your clients involved, maybe do a poll or two. And those are the things that are really gonna draw people. So... my Instagram platform, you know, transponding into more real estate agents, lenders, attorneys in other industries coming, to view what I have to offer. So what I essentially do is I switched up my dynamic a bit, and I kind of grew into that. And now I kind of have a diverse type of content schedule, if you will. And it will continuously change as you build your Instagram.

Ryan: Yeah, and so that's a perfect segway to my next question, which is: how do you organize your time, and your posts, and your your schedule for how you’re gonna post over the next day, week or month? How do you do that?

Dante: Yes, so I’d have written down… my business is formulated around a seven seven day week schedule time basis. I do have down time, like every normal person out there, but I realized that some tactics that potentially 10 to 15 years ago were very successful for some, successful agents, might not be the general calling for today's day and age. So what I did was... I still prospect, I'm still cold calling very actively, and I'm doing a lot of that, but I've also dedicated about an hour to—almost a day—to create content.

Ryan: Yeah. Written out ahead of time or not?

Dante: For posting my content I don't necessarily have a content calendar. It's almost like eyeing food, or eyeing something, and getting a gauge of it. After a while you develop tendencies and you know how your sphere, and your people, react to certain posts at different times. I mix it up. I mean, before I was doing like 6pm, and that was when everyone got home from work, in Eastern Standard Time. Six, seven o'clock, I would post them, do my two post a week. But what I realized is now people started expecting those types of posts. That's when you want to switch it up. A lot of people think that once you start to get people hooked that's when “Oh, you just keep posting at that time, people…” But you want to shake it up, that's because then people are still engaged with your posts. That's when you know you have the most engagement, so you have to go back to Ground Zero again and then rebuild, and start again in the morning, or start again mid-afternoon, and have them guessing. Because the more that they continue to guess, the viewers, the more that they're going to be active on your page, and that's a fact.

Ryan: Yeah. Give me a second. Do you mind if I jump on your page real quick? I think it's a pretty pretty good exercise, here. I’m gonna share my screen. Okay, can you see this? Alright, don’t pay attention to the enormous amount of tabs I have open here. So if you can see what Dante is doing, it's like you're putting a mix of pictures and, well... Looks like you have a lot of video right?

Dante: A lot, a lot, a lot. That was something it takes a while to get used to, because I used to be a big picture guy. You might have to swipe down too far, but you'll see, and you'll notice, that a lot before was just about me kind of trying to get as many people to like my videos. But I said “I'm missing a whole portion of my business by not educating.” And that's when the videos really started.

Ryan: By educating, right? Is that what you said?

Dante: Yeah, yeah. I mean, how much can you really doing on a picture post, you know? There's only so much you can do. But, again, like I said, if you're posting your Thursday night rundown of the market every Thursday, then yeah, people are going to expect that. Maybe you could continuously do that, but also then don't get content. Branch off and mix it up, and go post something on maybe a morning, and that's when you can really add. So people always ask me “When is the best time to post?” You’ve gotta find what works best, you gotta really dig deep into your network and really understand who's viewing your post, and your content. And that's how you're gonna get the most value out of it, you know? Austin Texas residents aren't gonna want to see, you know, what the hottest… Well they probably would, because you guys have an unbelievable night life over there, but... they're just not gonna want to see, like, Boston sports teams, or something like... you know, like a quick hit. No one wants to see Boston sports teams, but they don’t want to see quick hits of what I'm doing that night in Boston. You know what I mean? You’ve gotta find what people like to see, and what they want to see.

Ryan: Well, and that was a big takeaway for me. That... I don't know if you were there the last day when Chris gave his social…

Dante: He did a really good job.

Ryan: That was amazing, right? It's like, who is watching you and what are you going to give to them? Like I can go to Facebook and see my family photos, or anybody else's, right? and I think too many people have this habit of trying to be too many things to too many people. Well, if you're a real estate page, then you need to be about real estate, right? And even having this conversation right now, I'm getting a lot of traction on local restaurants, and bars, just taking pictures of them, and then saying what my favorite things are. And I think that adds value, but I'm gonna be switching over to stuff like this. And now I have my Spyglass page, and then I have my Ryan Rodenbeck page. My Spyglass is about places that people want to go to eat, you know, and I need to get less into that. I mean, a lot of people who are looking at my page are moving in out of State, right? But more about the different neighborhoods, the listings we have, what my agents are doing... And then, my own personal page, is all about what I am trying to learn and then teach to my agents. I'm very focused on that, and so I think that's... yeah. Even just having this conversation with you, there’s a big difference between a business page and a personal page, right?

Dante: Yeah, totally.

Ryan: So your business page, if I have 15 agents, I can be a little bit more well-rounded, whereas my personal page, like you, I need to be really focused, and that's why I'm not but posting three times a day on my personal page. Because I don't have that much to post, you know what I mean? I want that content to be good when I post it, does that make sense?

Dante: Right, yeah. I totally agree. And that's the one thing. You have to find the separation between the two. You can't have your business page be an exact reflection of what you do in your personal page. You have to show character. And that's a common question I get all the time, too. “Should I have two pages?” And I'm like: “Well, is one page your team page and the other page your personal page?” Because that's the only two you should have. You shouldn't have, like, a Dante Bruzzese real estate page, and then a Dante Bruzzese regular instagram of what I do on my daily life. Because it's a bad inflection, if you have to do that. Like clearly you’re hiding something. I mean, it's like back in the day when people would apply for college, and they were like “Hide your beer in your pictures,” or weed, make sure no people see that kind of stuff. But now people want to see that. You have to just draw the line. People wanna see who you are, and I think that's, really, the best... I tell people “Delete your business account,” or “Delete which one has the less following, or less engagement, and keep one and just roll with it.” But obviously there's a point in time where you have to… You know, you don’t have to go crazy posting crazy stuff like that, over the top, but you have to be yourself, too.

Ryan: I think so, too, and I made the decision like... I cuss a lot, right? and I made a decision that if it's in the moment, and I'm doing something on broadcast, I'm gonna let it happen. I don't want to be Gary the crazy with the cussing, right? But if I'm talking passionately about something and I let an s-word or f-word go, and I'm not going to do it now because we were talking about it, but I think you make a good point. If what you're doing in social media... it needs to be like: A reflects what you want your audience to see, but also have a good dash of personality. I mean, don't be someone that you're not. So if you say “shit” every now and then, when you're passionate about something, then say it. At the same time I don't think you can be... I don't know, I think maybe it's just me because I cuss, but I don't cuss that much, right? If I did maybe I would be doing that online, on social.

Dante: Right, I agree with you here. You just have to be yourself, and I think that a lot of people are afraid to get on camera, and I think that the biggest step is getting past that fear. Because what’s the worst that could happen? I mean, we've all been insulted in our lifetime at some point, whether it's to our face, behind our back... I mean, what is it for someone to send an Instagram DM and say something bad? Well, guess what? They just watched about 15 seconds, or 20 seconds of you, and they also just took another ten seconds to insult you, so they might be calling you to buy a home, even if they do insult you. I mean, I see it, I don’t see it as something that bad. And I'm not looking for a quote, I'm just looking to, essentially, teach people about how to buy real estate, and at the end of the day they should see me as the best value in in this area. And if they don't, then we can have that conversation. But at the end of the day it's about not looking at your ROI, not looking at the end goal, but just looking at how you can better yourself, and that's gonna better the people that are seeing what you see.

Ryan: Absolutely. Well, okay. So I'm gonna wrap this up, but for those guys that are watching, again, Kelly is gonna put this in the chat here below, his Instagram. I've got some social media training coming up the next couple weeks at the Austin Board of Realtors. If you are not following Dante you've got to follow him. I mean, he is probably the most impressive person I've seen on Instagram. And how old are you?

Dante: I am 26.

Ryan: Wow, that's amazing. Dude, you have an incredible career ahead of you. I mean, I'm 43 and I'm just very envious. Kudos man. Well, thank you so much, and I'll be in touch and I’ll definitely get some more tips from you.

Dante: Thank you to Ryan, the team, and Spyglass Realty. I appreciate your time. It's always a great opportunity to speak with you guys.

Ryan: Alright, buddy. Take care.

Dante: Thank you.

Ryan: Bye bye.

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