Instagram Stories’ active daily user count has officially surpassed Snapchat’s. With over 200 million people watching Instagram Stories daily, the multifamily industry can’t afford to ignore these potential residents. I know what you’re thinking: How do I start? What do I take videos of? How do I use the live feature? We’ll take care of those questions and more below.
What’s the point of Instagram Stories?
Your Instagram posts should be the best quality and most interesting content you have access to. Instagram Stories are a lot more casual. You shouldn’t post an Instagram about how clear the sky is outside of your community that day, but you should add it to your Instagram Story it. It gives your residents, potential residents and all of your other followers a behind-the-scenes look at your community.
How do I get started?
All you need is a smart phone, an Instagram account, the Instagram app and something to post. Once you have a something you want to add to your Story, open the app and tap the “Your Story+” circle at the top or simply swipe left.
What are all of these different functions?
Starting on the far left on the very bottom:
- “LIVE” is for live video. It allows you to share news as it’s happening. After you’re done broadcasting your residents gathering for a movie night by the pool, or your office staff setting up for an event, the video disappears. You can opt to save your live stream to your phone for later use.
- “NORMAL” will either take a still photo by pressing the center button once, or record video by holding the center button down. Once your photo or video is taken, you can edit it before posting it to your Story.
- “BOOMERANG” will take a mini video that loops back and forth.
- “REWIND” will record a video that plays in reverse.
- “HANDS-FREE” allows you to take a video without having to hold down the record button. Press the button once to start recording and one more time to stop.
Just above these capabilities are some adjustments you can make to the photos and videos themselves before you record. Starting at the top left:
- The half-moon is to improve lighting in dimly lit situations.
- The lightning bolt controls your camera’s flash. Press it once and the flash is on. Press it twice and the app will automatically decide when flash should be used. Press it a third time and the flash will turn off.
- The center button either takes a picture if you just press it down for a second, or will record a video if pressed down for longer.
- The two arrows flip the feed from the back-facing camera to the front-facing camera. You can also double tap the screen to get the same effect.
Okay, I’ve taken a photo/video, now what?
While your photo or video is up, you can edit it before posting. There are several editing options available at this stage. Starting at the top left:
- The “X” will erase your story if you’re not happy with it.
- Swipe right to apply different filters to brighten, darken or change the color.
- The box with a smiling face on it leads to interactive stickers. You can add your location (which I highly recommend for multifamily communities), which allows viewers to click and see exactly where your community is located. There are many other stickers and emojis that add fun elements to your stories, so feel free to add any that you think add to the quality of your story.
- The megaphone turns the sound on or off.
- The pen allows you to write or draw on your story. Once you select the pen, several different effects are available at the top and your color options are shown on the bottom. For more color options, swipe left on the colors. The circle with three dots next to the colors adjusts the thickness of the line.
- The “Aa” button is to add typed text. Once you select “Aa,” you can adjust the size of the text with the “AA” tool at the bottom left. Next to the “AA” tool, you can choose the color of your text, just swipe left on the colors for more color options.
When you’re done editing, either press the “+ Your Story” button on the bottom left to add it to your story, or click “Next >” and you can add it to “Your Story” while also having the option to send it in a private direct message.
What should I post?
Anything that would be interesting to your residents, you should post on your Instagram Story! We’ve compiled a list of ideas to start using Instagram Stories at your community.
- Community Events
Instagram Stories are perfect for anything that has multiple steps. Take a picture of the event area “before,” post videos as your team is setting up, continue to post highlights of the event throughout the night and then thank everyone for coming. It reminds residents of the event and, if they can’t make it, shows them what they’re missing.
- Resident Features
Record a video highlighting your new residents when they sign their lease, or current residents that renew.* Post a Boomerang of some four-legged residents at pet-friendly communities. If the subject of your Story has an Instagram, you can tag them in it by going to the “Aa” button, typing in “@” then their username.
*Always ask for permission to take the photo/video and let the subject know exactly what it’s being used for.
- Local Businesses
Feature local businesses you think your residents will be interested in. New coffee shop opening right around the corner? Put it on your Instagram Story!
- Available Units
Post a video tour of an available unit. It gives prospective clients and all your other followers a tour they can take from anywhere.
Does your pool look especially refreshing today? Upload a Boomerang of someone jumping in to the water to your Instagram Story! Did you get a new piece of gym equipment? Post a picture to your Story!
- Contests and Promotions
If your community is starting a contest, introduce it with a regular Instagram post. Then, let your followers know via your Instagram Story that you have a new contest running and all the details are outlined in your most recent post. It’ll increase engagement with your contest, while also making your followers feel like “insiders.”
When you’re running referral specials, waiving application fees or offering any other type of leasing special, highlight it on your Story.
While Facebook Live isn’t exactly taking off, it looks like Instagram Story’s popularity is here to stay. What will your first post be? And if you already use Instagram Stories, we’d love to hear your favorite tips & tricks in the comments below!