“I found my new home through Instagram.”
Those are words that probably haven’t been heard before the past few years.
One NYC-based real estate agency has been getting creative with their approach by encouraging their agents to build their own personal brands on social.
Stribling & Associates has their agents take photos of the properties and post the shots to both their personal and the company Instagram account. They then use Bitly to measure success and improve their strategy.
This week, we sat down to chat with Danielle Garofalo, Chief Strategy Officer at Stribling & Associates about how they use Bitly to track the performance of their campaigns.
1) How did you first discover/start using Bitly?
I started using Bitly when I was in my previous role at IBM. We were just building out our social media presence. At the time, Facebook wasn’t offering a lot of tracking tools for posts. We would embed Bitly links in our business page posts to track performance.
This was also during a time where Facebook posts were more organic. Bitly was a lifesaver because we were able to see exactly how many views each post received and how much of our audience was paying attention to our content.
We also used Bitly links pretty heavily on Twitter because of the character limit.
Of course, Twitter has evolved a lot too since then. The space was so limited back then. Now social looks like the “Price is Right” wheel. We can’t keep up with the amount of content and the pace that it keeps loading onto the social feeds.
2) Do you ever use Bitly links for bigger campaigns? Is there one particular campaign you’ve found a lot of success with?
At Stribling & Associates, we have made a big push over the past few years to get our agents more exposure on Instagram. We encourage all of our agents to take photos of our properties and post to their Instagram accounts.
But agents and real estate companies don’t typically gravitate towards the platform because there’s no way to track performance on Instagram. At least on personal accounts.
In order to see how our agents’ photos are faring on the platform, we needed to be able to measure certain metrics. Are people engaging with the photos? And which photos are better? We wanted to keep track of these things to improve on our technique and drive a better response.
That’s where Bitly comes in. We teach our agents to use Bitly and we don’t have to go through something more complicated like Google Analytics. It cuts down on the requests, “Hey, how does this work?” or “Can you pull this for me?”.
Agents can start their own campaign and say “when I shot the photo that way it drove better engagement” or “when I posted at that time, more people engaged.”
We’re also doing more collaboration between our agents on Instagram. We’ll have three agents come to the same property to take pictures. Each of them will post their own photos afterwards and use Bitlinks to track and compare performance.
When a link is posted to our main Stribling & Associates Instagram account, I usually give it five full days until we do our next shoot.
One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed from the data is regional engagement. You might have expectations that certain properties will get more engagement based on price point or neighborhood, but more times than not it’s not what you’d expect.
It’s also really interesting to see hits from outside the U.S. For example, one of our postings received a bunch of engagement from Spain recently.
That’s why I love my job so much. We get to see some incredible homes and where all the buyers come from. It’s like “Wow, we received a lead from Europe. It’s very interesting to see where interest sparks.”
3) Which social channel do you see the most engagement on?
Our digital agency also uses Bitly links. Especially when they share content on Facebook.
We see a lot of engagement on Facebook and Instagram – those are probably the most popular social channels for us. Some of our agents also use SnapChat or WeChat to communicate with customers, but those aren’t central platforms for our company. Real estate is visual, and anything where we can showcase our properties tends to generate the best traction.
We’ve had some other fun uses too. We had Tony Robbins on our podcast recently and promoted a Bitly link on air to see how many people would visit our SoundCloud afterwards.
4) What’s your favorite or most-used Bitly feature?
We use Bitly most heavily for tracking social engagement, but it’s also really important for branding. When people come across a customized Bitly link like bit.ly/106East71st, they’re much more likely to engage because they know that it’s a property, they have an idea of the location, and the Bitly brand gives them confidence that it’s a trustworthy link.
This is especially important on Instagram where our link sits in the bio for a few days. Once we start to post new photos and the link doesn’t match up to that original photo and the call-to-action anymore, if there was a randomly generated link of letters and numbers in our profile, our followers will be confused and less likely to engage.
We’re so excited about links. What Bitly provides to us is so valuable and our agents can actually give that data to the client and say “here’s where people are picking up your property.”
5) What’s the next big thing you’re planning at Stribling & Associates?
Within the next half year to a year, we’re going to be rolling out more crowdsourcing views. We will expand on inviting more people to the properties and shooting from different perspectives.
Bitly will help us track which photographs are driving more engagement and how many individuals went to see a property because of this campaign.
We’re excited to see our agents grow their personal profiles with their own content too!
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