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Instagram Live for Realtors: 10 Tips to Host and Promote a Successful Virtual Open House

Creating High-Quality Virtual Showings with Instagram Live During COVID-19

While the pandemic has caused challenges for real estate, the use of digital technology offers a safe solution to the crisis. As virtual open houses are becoming the new norm, it is more important than ever to embrace this digital transition and engage with clients effectively.
In this post, we cover how REALTORS can use the power of Instagram live to conduct a successful virtual open house and enhance the visibility of their listings.

Why Instagram Live for Real Estate?

Instagram live will let you connect with your followers in real-time. You’ll receive feedback (comments, likes, etc.) as you are recording, so personify your brand by responding to questions instantly. 

The authenticity of live videos makes this feature of Instagram highly interactive and increases the chances of being noticed immensely. Once you go live, your profile picture will appear at the top of your followers’ feed with a colorful ring around it and the word Live.

Your video will also be available on your Instagram story for 24 hours enabling you to extend your reach and update your followers even if they view it later. 

Instagram live videos can also be watched on your computer (desktop). This makes it possible for your viewers to follow you on a bigger screen.

Interested in using Instagram to create interactive and engaging content? Follow these 10 steps and unlock the power of Instagram live for your virtual open house:

Set up your Instagram Live

On the top left-hand corner, tap Your Story and swipe to see the Live mode. On this page you are able to:

  • Change your Live stream settings – Tap on the wheel icon on the top left-hand corner and you’ll be able to select what group you want to share your video with. Choose if you want to allow message replies or change the saving and sharing options.
  • See your active followers – This is a good indicator of how many followers are able to see your live performance in real-time. You can find the best time by checking this number a few times during the day before you live stream and get a good estimate of the best time to go live on Instagram and get the highest engagement.
  • Go Live – Once you are ready, tap this button and start your live-stream.

Instagram live

Share Questions

Share your followers’ questions on the screen by tapping the question mark on the bottom left. You’ll be able to answer any questions related to your listing, get feedback, increase engagement, and improve on the spot.

Pro tip:
Tap and hold a comment to pin it to the top of the feed.

Use Essential Tools

Instagram Live is an effective tool to increase your engagement with your followers and show your listing simply by using your smartphone. Adding these important tools will enhance the quality of your live-stream:

Stabilize your Video with a Gimbal

Gimbal is a useful tool you can use to stabilize your video and balance your smartphone or camera when you are walking around the property. With this, you don’t have to worry about how you are holding the camera. You will have smoother transitions and steady shots as a result, enabling you to focus on your speech.
Here’s an example of using a gimbal in your virtual open house, by Todd & Tania:

Enhance Audio Quality with a Microphone

Use microphones to enhance the quality of your Instagram live streaming. Although your focus is producing quality visuals, you also have to pay close attention to the sound quality. Using a microphone or even a headset will go a long way impacting the quality of your work.

Tip: Wireless earbuds are small and they can act as a good mic. If you don’t have any, make use of your wired earbuds to improve the sound quality. Remember, your audience will tune out if the sound quality is low.

Check the virtual open house video below if you’re wondering how the previous video of Todd & Tania looks like. Todd makes use of earbuds and a gimbal to make a professional video.

View this post on Instagram

LIST PRICE: $1,297,000 134 YORK AVE KENSINGTON 3 Beds 2 Full + 1 Half Baths 1,834 Sq. Ft.* DoM: 20 MLS #: 40900598 Delightfully Updated Traditional-style Kensington Home Delightfully updated traditional-style home on a premium cul-de-sac in the desirable community of Kensington. Views of the Bay greet you as you pass the terrace-raised bed planters and a private courtyard patio to the elegant front door. Inside, a spacious living room with exposed beam cathedral ceilings and a gracious fireplace welcomes you to tranquil Bay and garden views. An ample dining room, generously sized chef’s kitchen and half bath round out the entry level, with three bedrooms and two baths including a sunny master suite occupying the upper floors. An urban farmer’s dream, the rear garden is furnished with sturdy chicken coop, picnic table, veggie boxes and multiple fruit trees. With its great location, tasteful updates, wonderful indoor/outdoor flow and friendly floor plan, 134 York has something for everyone. Entry floor – Formal living room with double glass doors to entry porch and garden patio as well as a separate door leading to the backyard – Lovely San Francisco, Bay and garden views – Dining room opens to large kitchen – Half bath off of kitchen area – Stairs to lower level family room/guest room/office with direct access to backyard Middle floor – 2 well-lit bedrooms with high ceilings and large windows looking to the front garden – Updated bathroom with double sink and bathtub – Laundry room with stackable washer and dryer and storage area Upper floor – Master bedroom with exceptional Bay and Golden Gate bridge views and two closets – Remodeled master bathroom with glass enclosed shower and beautifully etched glass window – Additional walk-in closet on master suite landing Basement level – Bonus/hobby room and huge storage area – Direct access to back garden Just around the corner

A post shared by Todd & Tania (@toddandtaniarealtors) on

Prepare Answers

Take some time before the live video and jot down the type of questions you might receive during your virtual open house:

How old is the building?
How much is the monthly maintenance fee?
What are the nearby facilities?
How many bedrooms/bathrooms does the property have?

Then decide which ones you can include in an announcement before the actual live stream. For instance, see how Melinda Morrison-Persuitte includes everything a buyer needs to join a virtual live stream: Listing’s photo, the address, price and bedroom/bathrooms numbers and also her contact information at the bottom.

Now, go over the rest of the questions before going live. These are the ones you want to answer in your Instagram live stream. Be prepared and reveal your expertise by addressing the most important questions.

Pro tip:
Don’t allow silence to dominate your stream. Even if you are not receiving many questions from your followers, be ready to elaborate on some facts about the property. Talk about the number of bedrooms, how big the area is or similar information you would give if you were to hold an in-person showing.

Team up with a Realtor/Team Member

Partner with someone if you can. You are focusing on your virtual showing and might not see all the questions especially if you have a huge number of followers. It would be great if you could have someone to record the video or answer the questions as they come. See how ASHLEY SMITH is doing this:

View this post on Instagram

I took my live-stream show on the road today! Well, not quite… but my boyfriend Taylor Biggar (also a realtor with @Oakwyn) and I decided to join forces and host several virtual open houses at 2 of his vacant listings (a 2 bed condo in Steveston, and this 3 bedroom penthouse located at the North side of Richmond). It was really fun doing this together! ☺️💕 We did a Facebook Live and an Instagram Live back to back at each home. We’re learning something every time we take a shot at this new approach of marketing real estate. In total, we had about 350 people tune in – not bad! 👍🏼 I’ve been getting calls from agents over the last few weeks about best practices on how to handle these live-stream open houses, and while I’m learning a few tips and tricks each time (which I’m happy to share), the key thing is to just get out there and do it. It’s not going to be perfect – but nothing is perfect right now. It’s all about doing our best and growing along the way. 🌱 Was fun to get the chance to work with my isolation partner – having 2 people does make it a bit more fun, perhaps interesting, and I think a little bit easier too. Anyhow, thank you again for tuning in! I’m live again tomorrow at 11am (Insta) at mine and Thu’s concrete townhouse listing in West Cambie (Richmond) and then at 1pm (Facebook) showcasing our new boutique complex in Mount Pleasant. PS. I am noticing more people tuning in from the MLS marketing tool on our Paragon and realtor.ca systems, which is really cool! 😎👍🏼

A post shared by ASHLEY SMITH vancouver realtor (@ashley_realtor) on

Don’t fret if you don’t have anybody to be with you inside the property. You can invite a realtor or a team member to co-host your live stream by adding them to the conversation.

Do this by tapping on the Face icon at the bottom of your screen. Now, the partner can monitor feedback and give the audience further information such as a web reference or a link to the listing page.

Moderate Comments

As a professional REALTOR, you do not want to see inappropriate comments on your Instagram live. Instagram has a built-in engine that can filter out offensive comments.
In your Instagram Settings, go to the Privacy section and tap on Comments. Under the filters, turn on Hide Offensive Comments. You can also select to manually filter comments by choosing offensive words or phrases and the platform will hide comments that contain those.

Instagram comments settings

Announce the Upcoming Live

Make your live stream public in your Instagram and Facebook feed. You can put a countdown clock to announce the upcoming live-stream video on Instagram.
Increase engagement by encouraging followers to send you any questions in advance. See how Natalie Lewin Real Estate Team has done a great job by hyping their upcoming live virtual tour.
Also, pay attention to the related hashtags used to increase their reach.

View this post on Instagram

Could this be your next home?😍 Join me tomorrow, May 30th on Instagram LIVE (https://www.instagram.com/thenatalielewinteam/) for a virtual tour of my latest listing – Suite 510 at 185 Oneida Crescent in Richmond Hill! This 1 bed 1 bath unit is a great size (656sf) and features a spacious kitchen and a balcony with doors from both the master and the living room, perfect for enjoying drinks with friends. Parking and locker are included. Working on your golf game? Virtual golf is one of the amazing amenities featured in this building! Others include a party room, library and billiards. Located just steps to Yonge Street with a movie theatre and Hill Crest Mall nearby. Close proximity to the 406, 404, GO Station and other public transportation. Hope you can join me for tomorrow's Live Virtual Tour! I'll be going over even more great details and features. See you then! #condo #condos #condoliving #torontocondos #richmondhill #yorkregion #torontorealestate #torontorealtor #markham #vaughan #toronto #tdot #the6ix #gta #lovetoronto #thankyoutoronto #torontoliving #torontolife #moving #moveinready #dreamhome #welcomehome #homesweethome #homesuitehome #1bedroom #onebedroom #cityliving #openhouse #liveopenhouse #virtualtour

A post shared by Natalie Lewin Real Estate Team (@thenatalielewinteam) on

Beacham & Company, REALTORS® mentions their real estate Instagram live beforehand. Including the listing info with a high-quality photo of the property will also encourage buyers to consider watching the live-stream.

Pro tip:
Make it even more engaging by asking the followers to set a reminder.

Save and Repurpose

Once you finish your live stream, on the top left-hand corner, you will see the save button. This is where you can tap and save the video for later. It may take up to a minute to save your video if you have a longer live-stream.

Note: You can use the video but none of the views, likes or comments will be saved. By saving your live stream videos, you can repurpose later and share wherever you want: as 15-second clips on Instagram stories, one-minute videos in Instagram feed, or use it for a long IGTV. Check out Claudio Ingleton‘s IGTV here:

Spread the Word on Other Platforms

Making shorter clips and resharing on other platforms will enable you to enhance visibility. Use the video editing tools such as splice or Inshot to trim your video and repurpose your content later on different platforms. It is wise to also post your video on Facebook or Twitter especially if your audience is a slightly older demographic.

Get Creative

Think of other products or services you can use to differentiate yourself and stand out. Here’s an example of how you can get creative with Balloons By Tommy.

Boost Your Reach: Instagram Advertising

Use the power of paid social advertising to promote your live stream even further. Instagram is a powerful tool and spending a few dollars will help reach more local clients.

Pro tip:
Use sections of your video with location targeting to broaden your reach.

Final Words

Streaming live on Instagram won’t give you a chance to edit your video like the regular curated Instagram videos on your feed. But remember: This is about authenticity, not perfection.

View this post on Instagram

INSTAGRAM LIVE VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE – Sunday, March 29th @ 2pm! Hi guys! We’re so excited to share our new listings with you – 3 brand new strata units in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver. This boutique project (full of old world character), The Massey House, is one-of-a-kind! A front and back half duplex with a 3rd detached coach home in the back. @thuphamrealtor and I were originally planning to launch this on to the market with a full-blown VIP event with all the whistles, but current circumstances are having us think on our toes. 👠👠 Please stay tuned for our first ever VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE – this weekend! We’ll have a Facebook Live time and an Instagram Live time booked for this upcoming Sunday afternoon. DM me for exact details. Other methods of virtual tour options available. PS. Photos and floor plans are all now available. A link to our professional 3D virtual tours will also be available ASAP (inquire and I’ll update you as soon as we have them). Can’t wait for Sunday! 🥂 #realtorlife More info 👉 http://themasseyhouse.com #vancouverrealestate #eastvancouver #vanre #realestate #realtor #realestatelife #vancouverbc

A post shared by ASHLEY SMITH vancouver realtor (@ashley_realtor) on

Instagram live is more about showing your personality and increasing follower engagement, so smile and:

Be authentic – Be entertaining – Be an early adopter

Featured image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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