Will instagram replace Rightmove and estate agents in the pecking order for houses?
Developers report more sales leads coming from insta than listings
Platform creates brand loyalty
Instagram is becoming a fixture at the top of sales tools for developers who are seeing increasing numbers of sales coming from followers on the image and video-led social media platform.
More and more SME developers are turning away from Rightmove and actively deciding not to use a selling agent thanks to the platform’s ability to create brand loyalty and drive interest, months before a development is even launched.
One developer that has used the platform successfully and seen rapid growth of followers and even a waiting list for new developments is Beau Property, a boutique family developer with sites across Kent and Sussex.
Chris Hammond, director at Beau Property explains: “Instagram has grown hugely over the last few years and, for us, it has become one of our most important sales tools. While developing an audience can take time, engagement is instant and the analytics provide insights that previously would have taken a significant amount of time and money to access.
“Using the insights we can see the demographics of our followers and subsequently can create target posts specifically to reach these audiences. This is important when considering elements like location, age and aspirations – found by understanding the other accounts they interact with, which hashtags they follow etc. We have noticed, since increasing and targeting our Instagram posts, that engagement has increased both on and offline. Most of our enquiries and profile visits have been solely via social media rather than our website which is quite exciting.”
Developers who focus on great CGIs, lustworthy images and design details, together with the story behind their developments create a loyal customer base and an aspirational brand. Beau Property’s last scheme Nevill Row in Tunbridge Wells, a boutique scheme of exquisitely restored Victorian style mews homes sold out within a week of launch and instagram was responsible for two of the sales and the majority of the waiting list, due to clever posts and styling that graced the developer’s instagram account.
Beau Property’s latest developments, also in Tunbridge Wells, are already receiving enquiries via instagram before planning has even been submitted – simply following the posting of an initial CGI, with no pricing or other information released. As such, the team has decided to try marketing their properties privately themselves, with no agent appointed or listings paid for. This is an ambitious experiment but they are going into it with eyes open. They understand that they are likely to need more employees on the ground to comfortably liaise with buyers, and ultimately to fill the pretty sizeable boots of an experienced agent.
Hammond concludes: “We have seen how crucial instagram can be to a developer in building brand loyalty. We have big plans to continue to use the tool for targeting and to develop our waiting list with lustworthy and aspirational content. We will be launching a new feed for our Design & Build business too, using learnings from our existing work.
“Over the coming year we expect more developers to follow suit, and we are confident in our formula which gets us results – the right team working for us and helping us create the properties, interior designers with the best tips and tricks in the business, press coverage in key titles, and striking CGIs.”