Instagram for REAL ESTATE

Instagram for REAL ESTATE

All right. Erica Rawls thanks
for chatting with me today. I’m so excited to get deep into how
you’ve grown your Instagram account. You and I have known each
other for over a year now. We worked together in August of 2018
and since then you have gone from 711 followers to now as of today, over 13,000. I do not know how. Well, I’m here to ask you a few questions so
we can kind of work backwards and figure out how as a real estate agent, you’ve been able to grow such a
targeted following. So first of all, why don’t you tell me about your current
business, who you help and what you do? Yeah, so I am a realtor in
central PA, um, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania or specifically.
And um, I have a team of agents. It’s myself and I have, um, two buyer
agents. I focus on the listing side of it, um, and they focus on our buyers.
Um, then it’s my admin as well. I have an administrator as well. So,
um, we love what we do. We really do. We help people, um, buy and sell their
homes. Um, our target market right now, um, seems to be first time home buyers. We just finished our home buyers
workshop, which was really cool. Um, but we also have the move up buyers and
the people that are empty nesters and moving down as well. Yeah.
Amazing. So how big is your team? You touched on it briefly. Yeah. So
I have a total of four people. Yeah. Yeah. Including myself. Yeah.
Cool. So small but mighty. Yeah. Yeah. And we’re
part of franchise too. So I don’t have my own real estate
company. A lot of people think that, but I don’t, I’m under a franchise,
Next Home Capital Realty. Yeah. Is where we are. Yeah. Nice. Tell me a little bit more
about your business background. So I actually have a degree in accounting
and I started out in real estate first investing. Um, and then the real estate bug hit me
because I realized I can make a lot more money. Um, just focusing on
real estate as opposed to, um, working in corporate office
nine to five and, you know, hoping that you get a pay raise.
It’s like, you know, I mean, I think it’s every entrepreneur’s story. Like you start corporate most
times you’re like, wait a second, I could do much more in the
field and passion that I have. So I got into investments
and I just cut the cord. I was really dramatic with it, so much
so my husband’s like, are you kidding me? Did you think about how we were
gonna pay bills next month? Like that’s how dramatic
I was with quitting. Um, but we did go through a lot
of like struggles. However, it was still the best decision.
I’d do it again, seriously, cause I found my passion. I love
helping people, especially with their, one of the largest investments
that they’re going to ever make, I feel like in life. Um, and helping
people obtain home ownership, that’s huge for me. That makes me excited. When you made that
dramatic move in your life, what made you so sure and so
positive? Even though it was dramatic, like this is what I need to do right now. Yeah. Um, because I wasn’t happy where I was and
I saw that if I could focus 100% of my time doing what I really enjoy, um, that I would be able – it’d
be more rewarding because
it’s something I actually want to do now. It was slow in the beginning and I
thought a couple of times like, okay, maybe I made the wrong decision.
Um, and you know what, Elise, I even went and I got an accounting job
inside of our real estate office because I was so afraid that I was
not going to make ends meet. So I did that for about a year and
a half, but then I was like, Erica, you’re still slowing yourself down. It gave me the opportunity to understand
exactly how to run a real estate company or a business, the business of
real estate, which was very helpful, but it still wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I got back into sales and then
that time I was really successful. So I’ll say I took about a year and a
half hiatus from being on the sales side and went back into the, um, I guess
the corporate side a little bit, but still dabbling with
working with clients as well. Got it. Yup. Let’s go to July, August, 2018 you’re running your
business, you’re established. What happened at that point for
you to think, you know what, I want to be on Instagram. I really want to grow my
Instagram to grow my business. What was that turning point for you? Yeah. Even though it was a year ago, I don’t think that many people were
really focused on Instagram like they are now, like there’s like
droves of people. Um, and I think it’s really hard to penetrate. So I’m excited of the fact that I saw
something. I don’t know if it was just, um, I saw people like just
posting random things. Right. Um, then I started doing research.
People were actually posting houses, but I felt as though that was a way to
stay in contact with our clients. Right. And then they get to know me. So I think people want to work
with people they can relate to. And I know we didn’t get to this part,
but you were a huge part of that too, trying to really hone in on, um, like specifically who I wanted to
target. Right. I want people that um, would know, like, and trust me, can
relate to me, speak the same language, like the same things, lifestyle,
you know, everything. So, um, that was huge for me. And then I started
getting goosebumps cause I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, people are really
responding to this, you know, like they really are. Cause I thought
I was boring. Like most people, you think you’re boring, you know? So, um, it wasn’t about selling homes for me, it was more like trying to connect the
people that were like me that would like to buy or sell a home. And that’s something we really honed in
on when we started working together was we made you, and we say it in your
bio, not your typical realtor, that was an important
angle for you even then. Yeah, yeah, yup. Yup. So you saw Instagram
as an opportunity, you booked a one on one call with me, then you enrolled in InstaGrowth
Boss all within the same month. What made you go all in? Wasn’t it hours? Yeah. You were committed,
which I love. You took action. You were committed. So what were
you struggling with at that time, if you can recall to make you
think, I need to invest in this? Yeah, it’s um, okay. So for me, just
like anyone else, it was more like a, um, I was looking for the
vanity metric to increase. Like I wanted more people to see what
I was doing and to start following me. Right. So, but once I got to a
level where I was like, Oh, again, talking to you and you were
always harping on, Hey, don’t worry about the number of followers; they’re going to come if you just focused
on the person you want to speak to. I sound so cliche. I’m like, Oh my
gosh, I’m sound like the people that, you know, you’d look at different
YouTube channels and so forth. It sounds cliche. It was the
truth. It is the truth. Yeah, It was true then. And it’s becoming
more and more true with time, especially as more and more
people jump on Instagram. So I know a lot of realtors are
going to watch this and think, okay, Erica, well what did you do to go from 700
ish followers to now over 13,000? So looking back on the year, what do you think are the top three
strategies that you applied to your brand, your Instagram account, the way you
showed up? What were those three things, those three tips that you think made
the biggest difference to not just grow your account but like actually
earn revenue, which we
haven’t talked about yet, but we certainly will. I think the biggest, the first biggest thing was I
was looking at my competitors, not locally because quite honestly
no one in my area still to this day, they don’t focus on Instagram like they
should. So I was, my first thing was, um, again, the advice from you
looking at what I wanted my, um, my page to represent. Right. So
I was looking at my competition, um, and then looking to see the type of
people that were following them. And then, uh, once I figured that out,
they became a target audience. Then I started researching like
the hashtags that they were using, again from you, the hashtags
and came up with like, um, 15 to 30, um, that I could use depending on if
it was a special niche or um home buying/selling tips, um, you
know, all I had those set up. So I was rotating those hashtags
over. Then I was being, um, I was really being intentional
about commenting on the people, the type of people that I would actually
want to follow or the business I’d want, um, whether it was
builders. Um, I did that too. So, and that’s when I started seeing
an increase. Um, you know, just doing those three things. Yeah. Yup. So that’s when you saw your
followers start to increase, correct? Yeah. Then I started
seeing them followers, not from our area and it started to
freak me out a little bit cause I’m thinking, why are they following me? Um, so I kept checking to make sure that they
weren’t so called ghost followers and they were real followers and of
course you have your trolls. Um, but I saw that majority of the
people were actually real people, um, from across the world that were
following, um, started following me, which was really cool. Really cool. Why do you think that is? Um, Oh my gosh, that’s a great question. To this day I’m trying to figure it out. I guess I was relatable to
whatever they were looking for. Um, I like to think that I created a vision
board for people that have a dream of having a luxury style,
luxury lifestyle. Um, and whether it’s, I just started doing
the travel piece to it, but whether it’s, um, a house or whether it’s
clothing or whether it’s, they just wanted inspiration. I
think that’s who I was grabbing. That was who was gravitating
to my, to my page. You start to see your
followers grow. When was it, did you start to see actual sales come
from connections you made from Instagram? I believe it was May, was, it May. I think it was coincidentally,
it was when you were asking, I think in your Story. Um, and I want to say it
was around May that um, I had my first person asked
me like, Hey, you know, I’m ready to buy my first house. I’m ready to sit down and to
purchase a home. So I was like, what? This is crazy. So I was looking
to make sure that first, one, are you in the area, two, are you real? And then when I realized that the young
lady was real, I was like, Oh my gosh, this is so great. This is awesome.
I’m like, okay, this is really good. So we sat down and had a conversation
and we actually got together and they ended up buying. Now, average
price point in my area, um, is around $178k. Okay. So she ended up buying um,
around 175,000, I believe it was. So that was $5,600 that we actually
made on that sale. Yeah. Yup. So I was excited about that. So looking at your timeline, you
joined InstaGrowth Boss, you invested, you stayed consistent with
your content, your growth, and it took several months before
your first lead and client came from Instagram, correct? That’s right. Yeah. So what was it, August you said I started
InstaGrowth – Oh my gosh. And then, um, it was May I
believe it was, yeah, May, I don’t think it was May 16th so that
to the day that I got our first lead. So I was happy about
that and we weren’t even, I don’t even know how many followers I
had at that time, but just to have that, you know, that lead come in, I was like,
Oh my gosh, this is really working. And again, no one in my area was doing
that. They weren’t focusing on Instagram. And so now that you’ve
done this for over a year, do you know how many clients you’ve
gotten directly from Instagram? So I’m going to say two, three, five. Yeah. And I think I sent you like the DMs, like the conversations
that we actually had. Yeah. So I think there was five of them. Um, and there’s one that we’re still having
ongoing conversations because there’s some challenges that we have to overcome, but we still converted them from a
customer or a follower to a client, which is really good. So if I do the math correctly, five people from Instagram who’ve
become customers, on average, $5,000 commission per person so that you
could say you’ve generated $25,000 from Instagram? Oh my gosh. I didn’t even think of it that way.
Yeah, I guess you could say that. Yeah. And the crazy part Elise is that we’re
not doing everything that we’re supposed to do. Like we don’t have
all of our funnels in place, so I’m just excited about the
next stage. You know what I mean? Like it’s for us to get consistent,
um, business from it. Um, and it’s not about the business, it’s
about like I’m a huge Gary V follower. It’s about adding value to people, right. Just give them value and value
and value. Like, okay, yeah, she really does care. I
want to check her out. Or she really knows what she’s
talking about. Right. Oh, everyday is not perfect either for her.
Right. So I want to reach out to her. So yeah. So that’s a big part of your strategy
is showing up real and sharing value. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Okay cool. So let’s talk about the five people.
Like 13,000 followers is great, but five people who’ve become
customers earning $25,000 is massive. So how did you create those
relationships with those five? How did you deepen those relationships
and then how did you eventually get them over to become clients and then customers? I would just stay in contact with them. Like once they raised their
hand and said, Hey Erica, you know I’m ready to sit
down and have a conversation. Cause that’s the one thing that we
always recommend and we don’t work with people unless we have a buyer
consultation or sellers consultation. So once they raise their hand, I would
kindly ask for their contact information, what’s the best way to contact you? And we would call within that 15 minutes
that they gave us the information, then explain to them what they can expect
and ask them what day and time’s best for them and then we actually
get together, um, you know, and we just would just
continue to cultivate that, send them valuable information based on
whether they’re selling their home or if they’re looking to buy a home. And we would just send them additional
information via email until the day that we actually met. And we just continued
that conversation until we went showing, um, you know, showing them homes. Um,
and then they were under contract, then after they closed. Uh, we definitely are huge on staying in
contact with them afterwards because we want repeat business. Plus we
also want referrals. So, um, anytime that we hit like, um, a level of, I think celebration for our clients or
they’re really happy with, say, Hey, who else do you think could benefit
from this? And then automatically, Oh my gosh, Erica, I cannot, you know,
believe this, blah, blah, blah, whatever. I have such and such, that’s interested. So we were able to build off of that too. Nice. That’s really smart. So you have the whole customer journey
mapped out from follower to then they’re referring you more clients. Correct. Yeah. And then one
of our clients actually, she ended up having her second child. So any time that they have some
big celebration in their life, we’re making sure that we’re following
them and we’re saying congratulations or if we, you know, send
them something, you know, so we’re always doing something
to stay in contact with them. So we’re continuing to cultivate
the relationship even more. Amazing. Yeah. Going back to those first few
people who said, Hey Erica, I want help. Or Hey Erica,
I want to work with you. Were you putting out a certain type of
content or were you sharing any specific type of story in your Instagram stories
to ask people to step forward and say, me, I’m interested. No. So just recently I changed
my call to action in my bio, but, um, I believe the first, um, call to action was, um, you have any
questions or do you want a coffee, question mark? Um, DM or whatever. So I never had any materials. I
was like, Hey, call us if you want, like in our actual feed. I never was
trying to capture business that way. I never did. It was always subtle. Um, and I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, but it was always that it was
nothing, nothing ever direct. Um, it wasn’t until just our home buyer
workshop that we got more direct with our marketing, you know, Hey, sign up here.
Um, you know, in our stories it’d be, um, we’re excited about our home
buying workshop and Oh, guess what? We have 25 people registered at this
point and we want you to be involved. And you know, just getting people excited
about it. But up until that point, I can’t say that I was really strategic
with like the call to actions. Like maybe I should. So,
and I’m just being honest. Yeah, no, that’s great because it
sounds like you took more of a, Hey, I’m going to show up as a real
person. I’m going to be authentic. I’m not going to be too salesy.
I’m not going to be too pushy. And those who like me, those who want
to work with me, they’ll step forward, they’ll reach out. And it sounds like
that strategy has worked for you. Yeah. Because you’re so good at showing up
as a real person. Lots of personality. You show the behind the
scenes. I’m curious, is there a particular
type of content piece, whether in your feed or in stories that
you see your audience resonating with the most? Pictures of myself, which I’m just
like, I hate taking pictures of myself. Yeah. But it’s the pictures of myself. It’s supposed to be the luxury
pictures you guys. Yeah, but it is, it’s pictures of myself
that seems to do the best. Yeah. What about with
your Instagram stories? My stories, believe it or not. The,
um, the stories about my dog, Cash. Yeah. People love people
actually – Elise, no kidding. They know his name. But there was
one lady was like, Oh my gosh, how is your dog Cash? Wait and your name
is…? I’m like, Oh, this is so bad. So bad. Yeah. But he
resonates with some people. So people that love dogs, you know,
they’re going to want to follow me. One time, it was a week, I think a span
where I didn’t have Cash on my stories. It was like, Hey, how’s your dog doing?
I’m like, you gotta be kidding me. Really? So then the next day I was like,
Hey, since you asked, he’s doing great. He happened to be just laying
around doing nothing. Yeah. But that’s such great insight because I
talk about crafting your content to be about you, but it’s really about what resonates
with your target follower and you’re finding out that they, your type of buyer
and your type of client loves animals. They love pets. So you can totally
incorporate that into your feed, into your stories. He can be
a team member on your team. Like you can really have fun with it
and you know, people are gonna love it. Yeah. Yeah. We’re actually getting
him trained to wear a Go Pro. So then our property, um, tours,
it’ll be from Cash’s perspective. Yeah. That’s hilarious. Are you going to put the videos on
YouTube and like Instagram and everywhere? Absolutely. Yeah. I don’t care if he
crashes into a wall and you hear a snort, I don’t care, it’s going
to be from his perspective. Yeah. So good. Good. I
love that. It’s like, it’s things like that where it’s like,
okay, you know, your audience loves this. You’re having fun with it,
gives you more content ideas. Like I can’t wait for you to
execute that and publish it. That’s going to be so good. Um, amazing. Well thanks for sharing everything
that you have. Before we go, do you have any last Instagram related
advice for your fellow real estate agents out there across the world? Well, I think in a nutshell, I
think they need to call you. No, seriously. I know you
weren’t expecting this. That’s why I wasn’t going to bring
it up until now, now. But they do. They need to call you because there’s
a lot of people out there that are, um, claimed to be, um, Instagram
experts and can grow your business. Um, and the one thing that you do a great
job of is trying to figure out what their niche is and then also understand
what they’re passionate about. And also understand what makes them
unique so they can pull that out. So then that people that really
know like, and want to, you know, and trust them are going to gravitate
to them and it doesn’t happen overnight. I honestly can say that if it
wasn’t for my team helping me write, um, and even sometimes
taking my, um, my, my, um, my profile and commenting on my behalf
because I wanted to stay at with it. Um, I would not be where I am today.
So I don’t want people to think, Oh, she did this on her own.
I did not. But using your, your system seriously,
having a one on one with you, staying in contact with you is going
to be the best thing that they can do. Seriously. Yeah. She’s not paying me to
say this guys I swear. I’m not, I’m not, because you have your
own cash machine coming from Instagram, you don’t even need it. Um, but thank you. I need you to help me with my
funnels now to get more strategic. Seriously, I think, I think you have
it right. You know, the customer flow. We can definitely work on refining it, but you know what kind of
content is getting people
to raise their hand and then you know how to nurture them. And that’s
essentially what we’re looking for. So we can definitely touch on that. Or you can reach out if
you have any questions, but you’ve done so well just to turn
five people into buyers. And I know, you know, we want those vanity metrics and five
doesn’t sound like a big flashy number, but when in each person is
equivalent to $5,000 in commission, that’s nothing to, you know,
that’s nothing to ignore. 25k. That I might not have
had otherwise either. So I mean it was $25,000 I
may not have had otherwise. And you just keep going and we’re
gonna see Cash’s debut pretty soon. I love his name too, by the
way. Very appropriate. Thank you. That was a coincidence.
I don’t know why I named him Cash, but I’m getting another one. Frenchie yes, her name’s going to be Cardi so
it’s going to be Cardi and Cash. I can’t wait to meet them on Instagram. Thank you again so much for
chatting and sharing your secrets. I know this is going to be really helpful
for agents around the world who are just starting to see
Instagram as an opportunity, and if you’re not following Erica, go
ahead and follow her. She’s at Erica dot. Rawls and she’s killing it on Instagram, so thank you again for
sharing all your tips with me.


  1. New to social media. What are ghost followers and trolls please explain I didn't grow up with social media but been in the real estate business since 1985 in Colorado My goal for 2020 is to really dive into it seriously not just talk about it.thank you. Been told my generation is to old for this type of marketing.

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