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How Instagram’s Top Realtors Stand Out on Social Media

Storytelling has always played a huge role in successful marketing campaigns, and now social media has given literally anyone the opportunity to tell theirs, it’s fundamental to your brand’s success that your story be heard. In a time where people – mostly millennials – are truly open not only to receiving ads but also to engaging and sharing them, you know it’s key to your success to show all aspects of your business, so people eventually fall in love with your brand. We spoke to leading realtors Ryan Garson [@ryansellsnyc], Peggy Zabakolas [@peggy_z], and Ed Stulak [@edstulak] on their primary ways of achieving success on social media, and how they brought in business using one of the most visited websites in the world.


Ryan communicated with us that, in no uncertain terms, 100% of his business comes from Instagram- this may seem steep, but it’s how he markets himself. A New York real estate agent and founder of social media agency Very Social, Ryan’s stories are a big factor in his online success. He believes your goal should be great engagement in your stories, and one of his top tips for doing this is “This Or That” IG stories. Get your audience deciding on polls between fashion week picks, NYC restaurants, negotiating tactics – anything you believe they’re interested in. This is a great way to see who’s truly invested in your content and to improve your ranking with the algorithm. Furthermore, if you’re just posting about real estate, people are going to get bored of your content, so make sure to diversify! Ryan suggests always having a strategy in place for your content, so you can plan ahead and make sure it’s beautiful, branded, and engaging, which in turn allows space for authentic and timely stories that add more life to your more professional infeed posts. Stories are the space to be yourself, be honest, and have fun, so put time and money into them. Again, diversity in-feed, in stories, in photoshoots, and subjects is key, so show your real self, which for Ryan is being a father, living in NYC, and enjoying all the city has to offer. Showcasing your hobbies and what you love to do is a great way to connect with people, which is so important in real estate. Shopping for a house should be like a day out shopping with a friend, so open up your interests to your followers and find that common ground so they want to do business with you.


An overly curated Instagram feed doesn’t work for everyone, and Peggy is definitely one of those people that found it more constricting than exciting; she believes everyone is different, and you should own that when it comes to your Instagram grid. If your content is more lifestyle shoots than market reports, get inspired by Peggy’s Instagram. Her system is simple: make sure all your content is either educational, entertains on some level, or sparks emotion, whether it be funny, nostalgic, or empowering. Peggy engages with her followers on such a personal level that she calls them family, and this is her real selling point.

She brings her followers into her content by asking them what they want instead of making assumptions. By getting your followers to answer a series of polls, questions, and quizzes, you bring them into your business plan, which makes them feel like they’re part of something worth returning to. Questions give you the opportunity to play around with your content, so you can work out what works best for you. Through trial-and-error, Peggy found success in her hashtag #DealsAndHeels -and the hashtag perfectly summarizes her brand’s message; she’s here for business, but she’s fun too. Peggy knows that being a real estate agent means spending a lot of time with people, so a well-rounded online persona that can talk about more than real estate is key, and even more so, someone with a real personality. Her best advice is to not worry about looking silly online, simply trust that your tribe will love what you do, and if they don’t, maybe they weren’t right for you and your business anyway. Ultimately, whatever you choose to post should be a form of escapism for your following, so keep it consistent (Peggy recommends posting stories like you’d eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so they’re digestible) and keep your followers entertained because, at the end of the day, that’s the only reason anyone follows an account.


What’s Ed’s philosophy for creating content? Your Instagram is your digital business card, so make your content authentically you. Add your personal touch to everything you do, whether it be your personal or professional content, if you’re your true self in your content then the marriage of personal and professional content will work together harmoniously. Ed calls his own social media content obnoxious, and we know this is something that works when it comes to entertainment. Unforgettable media is memorable for the simple reason that it stands out from the rest, so Ed stresses that you should use every tool in your wheelhouse to get noticed. Whether you meet the societal standard for beauty or you’ve been told you’re pretty funny more than a few times, there’s no shame in capitalizing on that. Ed notes that memorable entertainment gets shares, and that’s when you have the opportunity to go viral. When 77% of his business comes from Instagram, you can trust that being passionate about your social media pays off – as Ed says “Today is a great day to be great” so make every day with your social media count. When you’re so passionate about your Instagram’s success that you have the handle stitched into your jacket (looking at you, Ed), you know being your true self can really pay off.

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