Last month, Caro Digital Director Carine Hawkins was one of three expert speakers at the Profile Network event, ‘Instagram: The Power of the Property Picture’. Hosted by Grosvenor, the seminar briefed an audience of property professionals including developers, architects and digital and marketing specialists on the inherent opportunities of Instagram within the property sector.
With an excess of 1 billion users (monthly active), the phenomenon of Instagram shows no sign of abating. In an Instagram poll launched by Caro during the event, 77% of users agreed that buying and selling properties on Instagram by 2022 is likely to become a reality.
How is the built environment sector engaging with the platform, what are the success stories and what are the best ways for businesses and brands to interact with this growing medium?
Chrissy Cullen, Grosvenor’s Director of Marketing for Britain and Ireland, explained how the 340-year-old property institution is engaging with Instagram to help Grosvenor understand and connect with changing audiences in what is now a global marketplace. ‘We believe Instagram is the most important social channel,’ she said, ‘It’s centred around storytelling, and storytelling is historically very much part of human nature.’
Sarah Keeble of luxury digital agency Verb Brands has worked with Grosvenor on accounts to promote three of its London estates – Belgravia, Mayfair and new co-working and creative destination Ecclestone Yards. Keeble described the iterative process of building separate and distinctive place identities on the platform, shaped by different target audiences and types of engagement, reminding the audience that ‘70 per cent of brand awareness is driven by the creative’.
‘Follow the algorithm and the algorithm will follow you’, advised Caro’s Carine Hawkins as she presented Instagram case studies from the design, property and architecture sectors. The thought processes behind the algorithm were dissected by Hawkins and the key elements of an integrated strategic campaign then re-constructed for the audience.
Advising on tactics across a range of scenarios, Hawkins presented projects including a community-led Instagram campaign for the Design District, a new creative hub for London at Greenwich Peninsula by developer Knight Dragon. The project, which paired influencers with London-based creatives, exemplifies how social media – when integrated into the early design development stages of projects – can be used in communications strategies as tool for wider engagement.
While Instagram may be image-led, it’s important to think creatively, she observed. Visual scope for the property sector is by no means limited to images of the built environment, as illustrated by a virtually ‘buildingless’ Instagram feed designed to promote the personality of design-conscious property company Londonewcastle.
Projects for architects included work with architects Morris+Company on the launch of the practice’s new identity. This approach to an Instagram feed established a captioning style designed specifically to solicit responses and prompt conversation. ‘Even on such a visually-led platform, don’t underestimate the power of the caption. The alternative route to engagement often lies there.’
An industry-wide issue that has been identified by Hawkins is the lack of sector-specific measurement or resources for benchmarking the success of Instagram campaigns, as well as a related paucity of knowledge sharing among the architectural and development communities. This issue became the starting point of a new Instagram insights research project led by Caro Communications, currently under development.
If you’d like to be involved in the ‘Instagram Insights for Property Professionals’ research project, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.