Mistakes Realtors Are Making On Instagram & How To Fix'em

If you’re one of the millions of realtors trying to use Instagram to grow her real estate business and you’ve tried a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but you’re not seeing your page grow as much as you’d like or you’re not getting business from your page as much as you’d like, well this episode is for you.

I follow thousands of realtors on Instagram and I make it my business to stay on top of what’s working and what’s not working and here’s what I can tell you….there are a lot of mistakes being made and there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about what Instagram can and can’t do for your real estate business. So I wanted to gather a list together of what I’m seeing and help some of you course correct, get a different perspective, make a few tweaks to your content and start getting the results you deserve.

Hello hello, I’m jen percival and welcome to Season 3 of the women rocking real estate podcast. You may have noticed there is a new graphic for the show. I’m not sure if I like it or not but I am a firm believer in done is better than perfect. When I launched the podcast 2 years ago, I hired someone on Fiverr to design the cover art and literally just took what they gave me and used it. I hadn’t even really developed my brand at the time, but I just needed to get it done. Well now I’m bored of it and it seemed fitting at the season change to well change it. So this time, at least it’s in my brand colours. The strategy this time is really just for it to be fun, eye-catching, easy to read, easy to understand what the show is about. Check, check, check, check I don’t want to spend more time over thinking it anymore, done is better than perfect.

Alright before we jump into the episode, We had explosive growth in August so there are a lot of new listeners to the show here and I just want to personally welcome each and every one of you. As always I also want to send a shout out to those of you who left me reviews on apple podcasts - thank you Busy Moma of 5, Shannon, Paula, Lil Miss Callahan, Stacey, Melissa, Joanna & Treena. I so appreciate you ladies taking the time to leave me a review. All of my 5-star reviews actually resulted in a huge opportunity for me, and it will ultimately end up being a huge opportunity for any of you that want to learn with me in 2022. I’ve got some really exciting stuff planned that I’ll be sharing next episode.

Ok without further ado, let’s dive into today’s episode….


The first and biggest mistake I see realtors making on Instagram and it’s a doozy is thinking that Instagram is a lead generation tool for your business and placing too much energy, focus and attention on it and not enough on other more effective strategies. Let me be clear, I am not saying that Instagram is not a part of the strategy, it’s just not where you start, it’s where you end.

I want you to think about how most people who are thinking about buying or selling real estate begin that journey. They start on Google. If someone is searching for a real estate agent or is looking for information or answers about real estate related content, they start their search on the biggest search engine in the world which is Google or the look on YouTube which is the second biggest search engine. That’s why they’re called search engines, because they were built specifically to search for information. If you haven’t listened to last months episode, we chatted all about this. Social media platforms are not search engines, will they become more searchable in the future? Probably, but that’s not what we have been trained to use them for. So people are not searching for a realtor on purpose on Instagram. They may happen upon your content by accident, but considering that only 9% of your followers even see your content, the odds of someone local seeing your organic content, is very very slim.

So if you take 100 people who have an intention to buy or sell real estate in the next 3 months and 99 of them are searching for information and looking for a realtor on Google and YouTube and only 1 of them is searching on Instagram, where do you think you should put your efforts to get found first? On Google & Youtube. Unless you’ve got 5 years to sit around and slowly build your following, You are not going to get found by new potential clients on Instagram UNLESS you are using paid ads. It’s that simple. But even if you are using paid ads, you’re still missing a HUGE piece of the lead pie if you ignore google and YouTube. So the number one mistake is using it as your primary lead generation tool.

Instagram should be thought of as a nurture and convert tool. Focus on getting found on google and YouTube first, encourage those people to follow you on Instagram and then create content to demonstrate your authority, provide value and stay top of mind so that you can nurture and convert those leads into clients. It’s not the tool you use to start the process, it’s the tool you use to finish it. Does that make sense?

Now as a side note, if you ask someone where they found you, they will tell you the last place they remember seeing you or where they see you most often, which is often going to be your social media. But it doesn’t mean that’s how they found your social media in the first place. I know this personally because I researched it. For years whenever we got a new client I would always ask where they found us and almost always they would answer social media on the form, but when I drilled into more and asked in person, it was never social media. They were always like “Oh actually no, I found a blog you wrote online and then I started following you” or “I drive by your office every day and love the look of your branding and started following you on instagram” or “I see your signs around the neighbourhood and started following you.” Or I get your postcards in the mail and started following you.


The next big mistake I see agents making on Instagram is making it the “all about me show”. There are two types of people in this world. There’s the people that you run into that you haven’t seen in awhile and they talk non-stop about themselves and their life and they’re distracted while they’re talking to you, looking around and they don’t ask you any questions about how you’re doing or what’s been going on in your life or as soon as you start talking they somehow turn the conversation back to them and then say “I’ve gotta run but it’s so great to see you and catch up!” and you’re like “ok sure, whatever” And then there’s the other people, the ones who actually have a conversation with you, who actually listen and who see you and are engaged in what you’re saying and show an interest in your life. They give you their attention and they share meaningful thoughts. Who do you enjoy being around more? Person A or Person B?

Well think of your time on Instagram the same way. When you’re posting, that’s you talking. When you’re engaging in other people’s content, that’s you listening. Spend more time on Instagram being person B. I love how my guest Chelsea Pietz coined it - she said spend more time commenting and less time contenting. We get so caught up in creating content for Instagram, that we forget that one of the most effective strategies is to nurture relationships. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that you could post just once a week and spend the rest of your time just focusing on engaging with other people’s content in a genuine way and see much better results than 7 self-promotion posts every week. In my ATTRACT program I have a content strategy but what I really recommend is spending 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day commenting on peoples posts, reels and especially stories. And not just comments for the sake of comments, but genuinely show an interest in the person’s life and engage in a conversation without any intention of steering it towards a real estate conversation.

Now when you are creating content, you also want to make sure that you’re using the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should be adding value of some sort and only 20% should be self promotion. What is considered value-added content? Educational type videos or posts, market updates, local events, community information, etc. What’s considered self-promotion? Just solds, testimonials, about me type posts, why use a realtor type posts…basically anything that is really just to promote you and your services. The question you can always ask to know the difference, am I giving something of value or am I trying to get something.


The 3rd big mistake that agents are making when trying to grow their following is trying to rely on organic traffic alone to do so. Unless you have a ton of listings that will attract followers, it will be very difficult for you to grow your instagram page quickly by relying on organic traffic alone. Did you know that only 9% of your followers even see your content. Do the math on that, it’s probably not a lot. All the more reason to also not be relying on Instagram alone to be marketing yourself online.

If you want to get discovered by new followers on the Explore page, you’ve got to make sure you’re using local hashtags that are relevant to your post and you’ve got to be tagging your location everywhere you go. But even doing that consistently is going to be a long slog. If you really want to expand your reach, you’ve got to recognize that for businesses, instagram is really a pay to play platform. So when you’ve got listings, promote them every time with paid ads but the key is to run the ad right within instagram and select the goal of more profile visits. This is going to drive people back to your profile with the hopes they will see more of your content and follow you. Then your future content will reach more people organically. Now I’m not suggesting that this is the only way you use paid advertising on Instagram, I recommend different strategies for different goals, but using ads with listings and using the more profile visits goal setting is effective to help you grow your following. The secret here is that when people get to your profile from your ad, they’re going to have to go to your link in bio to get the information on the listing you promoted. So they’re going to your website anyway, but this way at least you’ve gotten an opportunity to get them as a follower before they do! Speaking of Followers, they bring me to mistake number…


I get it, we all want to look popular and have more followers than we do and it can be really tempting to take a shortcut and buy followers. Don’t do it. For starters, it’s really easy to tell when someone has bought followers and it looks TERRIBLE. As a business there is nothing more dishonest and disingenuous. If someone is lying to their audience about that, what else are they misleading people about? So don’t get sucked into considering buying followers, but the other thing I’m seeing happening is agents getting on the Instagram reels bandwagon because it is being touted as the latest, greatest thing to fast track your reach. Everyone and their brother and their sister is on reels talking about how everyone needs to be using reels to get thousands of new followers fast. Well while that may have been true, a) it seems to be dying down a bit, but more importantly, the quality of the followers it was driving will not only not help your business at all, but it actually could hurt your business.

Let me explain. So my following on Instagram is very targeted. 95% of my followers are women in real estate. They are my ideal client avatar. I recently created a reel that was more general and wasn’t targeted to realtors and it started going viral and I started getting all these random people from all over the place that had nothing to do with real estate following me. I don’t want random other people following me because it makes my advertising much more expensive when they do. When my following is targeted, it’s really easy for the algorithm to go find more people just like my following and that makes my ads really affordable.

If you start focusing all your time and energy into creating reels in an effort to get loads of new followers, but they don’t live anywhere near you or have any intention of using your services ever, they are not helping you grow your business. They may be a vanity metric, but they may also be ultimately hurting your ability to advertise effectively and to retarget your audience. So start paying attention to who’s following you & where they live. Make sure they’re working for you and not against you. Now again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be using this tool in your arsenal, but put it in its place and only allocate a realistic amount of time to it. I want you to create a pie chart and allocate the time you are currently spending on working your sphere, on google and YouTube on Facebook and then on each of the areas of instagram. What does your pie chart currently look like and how does it need to change?


Alright the next mistake I see a lot of realtors making comes down to filming & formatting their videos on instagram. If you don’t do it right, people aren’t going to watch your videos and if they’re not watching, what’s the point in making them right? Now if you’re sitting there thinking, oh this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t post videos on Instagram, well that’s an even bigger mistake that you’re making and I will be creating an entire episode about the video multiplier effect and how agents in my program are seeing amazing results from it. But for now I’m going to give you a few quick tips that you can easily implement into your videos in the meantime…

So first things first, go into your feed and open up the first post and then start scrolling down through your feed as though you were a follower, when you get to videos that are either reels or IGTV videos, watch them from your feed and make sure that any text is not being cut off. When people view reels from the reels explorer, they see the whole screen, but so many people see them from the regular feed and if the text is all cut off, half the time they make no sense. So when you’re creating reels make sure you keep the text within the boundaries so that they show up in the regular feed. Of the same note, make sure the text is big enough to read and make sure it doesn’t move so quickly that you have to have super sonic special powers to keep up. Remember WHY you’re creating these videos. Don’t invest the time, but then make little mistakes that prevent you from getting the results of your efforts.

Same goes for IGTV videos, make sure they are formatted correctly so that any text is clearly visible. I’m a big believer in film once and repurpose multiple times. That means filming all your videos in landscape mode so that they can be used on your website and YouTube , but filming it from a distance so that it can be cropped when you’re editing to vertical mode for use on Instagram. One extra step yes, but ways you can do this to keep it simple that make it worth the effort.

So just to recap the 5 mistakes that realtors are making on Instagram are hurting your ability to grow your business

MISTAKE #1 - is placing too much emphasis on Instagram as a lead generation tool for your business and not enough on other more effective strategies. The content you create should be first and foremost found on google and YouTube and only after shared and promoted on instagram.

MISTAKE #2 - is making your instagram feed the “all about me show”.
We get so caught up in creating content for Instagram, that we forget that one of the most effective strategies is to nurture relationships and that we should focus on listening instead of talking so much. Commenting instead of contenting and when we do post content, 80% of the content should be adding value of some sort and only 20% should be self promotion.

MISTAKE #3 - is trying to rely on organic traffic alone to grow your following. Social media platforms for businesses are pay to play and if you want to expand your reach in a timely manner, you’ll need to invest in paid ads. One of the most effective ways to grow your following is to run a listing ad with the goal of more profile visits instead of sending people directly to your website.

MISTAKE #4 - was focusing on the quantity of your followers instead of the quality. The whole purpose of your business being on Instagram is to build your business, so if you’re not generating business from your followers, it doesn’t matter how many you have. Focus on growing your following with high quality people who live and work in your community and who are likely to use your services or refer someone else who could.

MISTAKE #5 - lastly get the most value from the time you’ve invested in creating your videos by making sure you’ve formatted them in a way that viewers can easily consume the content. Don’t do what my husband does. I call it checkin boxes. If you’re gonna do it, do it right. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the other end of the spectrum, is just doing things half ass so you can check the box and say you did it and feel good about yourself. But that isn’t a good option either.

Alright the last thing I’m going to leave you with and it’s kind of a 6th mistake is learning about how to use platforms or taking advice, from people who aren’t in real estate. There are a lot of marketing and social media gurus out there that like to apply what they know to be true in some industries, to all industries and although it sounds good in theory, in reality it does’t always hold true. How you market online businesses, vs product based businesses vs. Local serviced based businesses, vs. Bricks and mortar based businesses vary considerably and what works for one type of business on social or google or YouTube, doesn’t necessarily translate to another. The same thing holds true for different markets. The strategies that work in a big urban market, likely won’t work in a small rural town and vice versa. I saw an add for a real estate marketing course that promised you’d close 10 transactions a month. Only the top .5% of realtors in my market would ever be able to close 10 deals a month where I work, there’s just not enough transactions that even take place, so it’s highly unlikely that the strategies suggested would work here.

So just be careful about what you hear and know that while it may work in other industries or businesses it may not apply in real estate and while it may work in other markets or countries, it may not apply in yours.
Alright that’s it ladies, hope you enjoyed this episode if so I greatly appreciate if you took a moment to leave me a review if you’re listening on apple podcasts and if you haven’t signed up for my monthly newsletter that goes along with this episode you should check it out. I only send it out once a month and I include all sorts of extra resources, tools and recommendations. You can find the link in the show notes on my website at womenrockingrealestate.com.

That’s it for now and remember the more you learn the more you’ll earn but only if you’re implementing what you’re learning.

Until next time.

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