Why the New Instagram Updates Are Good News for Home Builders
There have been a few major changes to Instagram's algorithm in recent years, and more new features continue to be announced. These new changes are meant to further increase engagement amongst users and brands, and it's working well so far.
If your home builder business isn't already active on Instagram, now is a great time to start as you embrace these new features and updates to the newsfeed.
Reading time: 4 Minutes
- keep your focus on engagement so more followers see your posts
- why Instagram is testing the "Likes" feature and what it means for you
- two fun features to use on Instagram Stories
- new details on custom filters coming this Summer!
Engagement Drives Your Posts to the Top
We've had some time to get used to the biggest change to Instagram's algorithm. Gone is the simple chronological newsfeed; now we browse posts based on your level of engagement with the accounts you follow.
So the followers that engage with your content currently will continue to do so. The ones that do not will have your content pushed down their feed, but not off their feed. This is a great opportunity for you to look into your Insights and come up with more creative ways to bring unengaged followers into your posts.
Contests or caption posts with questions are great for bringing in new engagement and followers, as well as encouraging more of your current followers to comment. Try a simple giveaway where you have someone follow you and tag three friends. Have it run for a few weeks, then sit back and watch the likes and comments roll in!
Having the newsfeed set up this way is good news for you, because you're going to be "talking" to the people that care about your brand. Building your group of loyal followers means less "tire kickers" are engaging with you. You can turn these social relationships into something more when they take action on your website, turning into higher-quality leads and eventual customers.
You can ask your followers to turn on notifications about your posts. However, don't rely on this to make sure they see your new posts! The best thing you can do is post great content:
- Show what's happening behind the scenes and give your home builder brand a human touch
- Share pictures of new show homes
- Go live to answer questions
- Take polls
- Reply to people who take the time to comment on your posts. Let them know you see them and appreciate their interactions.
No More Counting Likes?
In early 2019, Instagram began experimenting with the "Likes" feature in Canada. In a world that has become obsessed with validation online, showing a count of total post likes could turn into some unhealthy user habits, so Instagram wanted to see what would happen when that feature was removed. Celebrities and popular brands would be on the same level as average users, only showing the names of a few people who like each post.
It will be interesting to see if this experiment turns into a global change. Competing for likes shouldn't be the goal of posting online. Instead, focus on more engagement with the accounts and posts you care about.
Create Polls and Ask Questions
The best way to add to your buyer persona and find out what your followers like and don't like is by asking them directly! Instagram has made it easy to ask questions and create polls using Stories. It's a less invasive way for someone to respond to you because it's anonymous, so you're sure to see great results.
Share photos of a new home model and ask for Yes/No 'vote' about what room your followers like better. You can have some fun with this and put two different showhomes up for a "battle" to see which one has the most votes, as you post images of different features and rooms. End the story by posting addresses of each showhome for an in-person tour.
Another idea you can try out is to designate a certain day to answering questions about the home buying process. You can post the top questions and film a quick video using Instagram Stories, with answers to each one. This is a smart way to build relationships with your followers, even if they're not looking to buy a home right away. Taking this personalized approach to engagement is more memorable and keeps your home builder brand top-of-mind with prospective buyers.
Anyone Can Create Custom Filters
This is exciting news! Starting this Summer, the ability for brands to create their own Instagram Stories AR Filters is no longer limited to a select few, thanks to Spark AR. Only users that follow your account or visit your profile can try it out, so this is another great opportunity to increase your engagement on the platform!
When you have a Showhome Grand Opening, imagine how fun it will be for guests to use your filter and post to their Stories! You get the benefit of a fun new way to engage online while events take place, and the ideas are endless with AR. You can even turn it into a cool contest, with photos using your filter counting as entries.
Instagram is Adapting, Are You?
Like any top social platform, Instagram will continue to tweak its algorithm and introduce new features. They remain focused on delivering better user experience and more engagement.
This is the good news for you, as a home builder! By effectively using Instagram as a marketing tool, and taking these updates into account in your strategy, you can be a great resource for your followers.
Now that you have a better understanding of the direction the newsfeed is heading and new tools you can try out to improve your home builder brand engagement, it's time to put them into action!
Originally published March 31, 2016, updated July 16, 2019
Photo credits: depositphotos.com
About Casey Cleary
Casey is passionate about marketing and using his skills to plan, implement, and run social media campaigns. He also creates and promotes content and plans digital strategies. He loves split testing and tweaking programs for maximum conversions! Also... #GoOilers!