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 Photo via Stylish Detroit

With the rise of digital marketing and demand for compelling visual content, real estate agents now have to use a wide variety of tactics to reach and engage with their audiences across all platforms. With a heavy reliance on visual images to sell properties, it makes sense that social media is now a great platform to circulate listings.

Without well-shot photographs and carefully crafted captions or hashtags, however, you’ll have trouble driving any real leads from social. Make the most of your efforts with these six tips, which will help improve your listing photos to increase social media engagement.


1. Check your Equipment

High-quality photos usually come from a digital single-lens reflex, most commonly referred to as a DSLR, such as Nikon and Cannon—and that camera doesn’t come cheap.

Luckily, the camera on the new iPhone 7 is just as good, featuring a dual lens camera with a wide-angle lens. What’s most exciting is its ability to take pictures with a larger depth of field, according to a new CouponBox review, allowing you to capture high-quality images on a device you may already have or be planning to update to.

Pro tip: Play with the settings, just as you would with a DLSR, to make sure each photo you take is optimized for the home you’re in.


2. Take Advantage of the Golden Hour

This is the perfect time to photograph your listings, according to CoSchedule. During “Golden hour,” which happens within an hour of sunrise or sunset, the lighting is just right.

If you’re too late for the golden hour, brighten up darker rooms by turning on an overhead light, adding a lamp in a strategic place or even renting professional lights and knock out a few shoots in one day.

Pro tip: In a pinch, brighten your photos with a basic or low-priced editor, or using a filter in Instagram.


3. Set the Scene

When people invest in a home, they’re looking for a place to build their life. Showing them what life could look like inside the home is one of the most important parts of taking listing photos that will increase engagement and drive buyers.

However, that doesn’t mean you want the home to look “lived in” with messy covers and baby toys sprawled across the floor. Before taking any photos, follow this simple checklist:

  • Remove any personal touches such as picture frames or magnets.
  • Replace worn-out furnishings.
  • Check the curtains: Should they be opened all the way or just slightly? (This will help you find the best natural lighting)
  • Find the top feature of the room and highlight that.

Pro tip: If you feature unique interior details, use relevant hashtags to engage with interior designers to get your listing reposted for more potential buyers to see.


4. Think Unique Selling Points

When you’re taking photos of a listing, consider what unique selling points your photographs can capture and then share those on your social sites. Include a link back to the listing page so those who are interested can see the rest of the photos by clicking through.

Pro tip: Each week, post a photo highlighting an amazing feature of a new home. These more “interesting” photos will draw people to follow and engage with you. Use one of these popular real estate hashtags to make sure your photo is seen.


5. Make a Collage

Once you’ve taken the photos, a collage may be the best way to boost your social media engagement. “Splitting the main listing photo, as a collage, allows a potential homeowner to immediately see an interior and exterior shot. Because our homes are beautifully staged, the split listing photo gets a lot of attention and sets it apart from every other one in the MLS and online,” explains Paul Moore, founder of Smith Mountain Homes.

Pro tip: Use Instagram’s built-in tool to quickly and easily to design, edit and share. Connect your account to Facebook and Twitter, and share on all three platforms at once.


6. Use Hashtags

Once you post your photo, the caption should be carefully crafted to resonate with your audience and spark engagement, complete with hashtags.

However, not all hashtags are created equal. They should be relevant to your industry, audience and location. Finally, don’t go overboard; research has found that 7 hashtags are the sweet spot for increasing engagement on Instagram, and just 3 to 4 is ideal on Twitter. As a social media marketer, I’ve seen this work first-hand.

Pro tip: Find hashtags that are trending in your area, since you’ll likely be looking to attract engagement from people locally. For example, Greenville SC has a trending hashtag, #yeahTHATgreenville, that consistently gets engagement. Posting a new listing in Greenville along with the #yeahTHATgreenville is a great way to get engagement and brand impressions.


BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and been in social media and content marketing for five. She’s currently a full-time blogger and has been written for Lifehack, Inman, Reader’s Digest, Homes.com, and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.