#206 Mail-Right Show: With Special Guest Sue Zimmerman
#206 Mail-Right Show: Real Estate Agents Interested in Developing a Powerful Instagram Marketing Strategy in 2019?
We interview the queen of Instagram Sue B Zimmerman who is seen as one of the leading experts on Instagram marketing strategies, we discuss everything to do with Instagram with a clear focus on how real estate agents can really use this great social media platform to market themselves in their local markets.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail Right show. This is episode 206. Yes my beloved listeners on viewers. The episodes are just disappearing. We got a really fantastic special guest here. I’ve been trying to get her on the show for a while. And she’s been gracious enough to actually come on the show. And that`s Sue Zimmerman and she is the queen of Instagram, I’d say. So would you like to quickly introduce yourself to our listeners and viewers?
Sue: Sure. Hey guys, how are you? I am here on Beautiful Cape Cod. This is the shape of the Cape right here. For those of you that are like what? Cape Cod. I’m in Massachusetts and I’m in Falmouth Heights, which is right there at the end of the elbow of the arm. And that’s all made with sea glass. And a little fun fact about me is I am obsessed with collecting old vintage bottles. That’s the only thing I collect and there’s something about old glass bottles that just make me happy. So I’m here at my house on the Cape and I live here all summer. And when I’m not here on Cape Cod in downtown Boston, living right in the heart of the city and in all of its glory. So if you detect a Boston accent that would be me.
Jonathon: All right. I’ve got my great cohost Robert. Robert, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Robert: If I must? So I’m the founder of inboundrem.com, which is a website that focuses on teaching real estate professionals on how to do inbound marketing, which is more commonly referred to as SEO. And we specialize in lead generation. And I founded a service company after I found that the blog. But mostly if you’re going to check something out, check out the blog and get some good advice on how to do SEO for real estate.
Jonathon: That’s great. So Sue I have seen you on other podcasts. You’re always up for good chat and you give good advice. So where I aimed at real estate agents that are in their second or third year. And they looking to build their business. And they know about Instagram but it does time really know how to get started with it. So if you were in their shoes, what would be the, some of your first steps in trying to use this amazing platform?
Sue: Yes. So I’m gonna actually share with you in the chat a resource that I would love for you to share with your listeners. Because this will get everyone off to the right start if they’re here for business. Sue B Zimmerman.com/guide is a eight page guide that you guys can grab where I really help you set up the foundational knowledge that you need to have on Instagram. If you’re going to use it strategically and really work with the algorithm and not against it. And when I say that, Instagram now is a place where you can amplify, promote and broadcast yourself as a real estate agent. And there’s four different neighborhoods that you can do this in. I like to call this the Sue B 4 neighborhoods. And think of the analogy I like to give is to think of Instagram as a village and that people are hanging out in different neighborhoods on Instagram now that there’s so many different places to create that content. And it’s your job as a content creator to understand where your potential buyer is hanging out and consuming content. And more importantly, what kind of content are you sharing that would actually attract someone to purchase from you?
And if you’re a real estate agent, you need to really think about what makes you different than everybody else doing what you’re doing in the area that you’re doing it. And everyone has different aspects to their personality and their energy and their experience and their niche area. As a real estate agent, maybe it’s you give amazing customers service or you handhold your customers and physically take them and tour them to every place they want to see, which is kind of crazy these days now that we have the internet. You can look at drone videos and all that good stuff. But nevertheless, it’s really important for you to determine and establish how you’re different than every other real estate agent in your area, especially since it’s so competitive. And with that comes the understanding of creating content in these different areas. And when you think of Instagram, obviously you think of the feed first because that’s how it all started was with the feed.
And when I started teaching Instagram marketing seven years ago, the feed there was 140 million monthly active users on Instagram. And now there’s over a billion. And Instagram goal is to keep you on the app as long as possible. That’s how they make their money, by the ads that are shown to the right people that are being targeted. And so when you think about Instagram, especially as a beginner, and real estate agents often make this mistake, they’re mixing their personal life too much of their personal life with their professional career as a real estate agent. And it’s confusing. So when you’re creating content in your feed, you want to let people know immediately when they land on that, that they can understand who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how long you’ve been doing it. And with that comes putting all of that information in your bio.
Your bio is essentially your website. People go into Instagram more to find and search different product services businesses and there is SEO in your bio on Instagram. And a lot of real estate agents don’t understand this, don’t do it. They miss out and they make mistakes with the subtitle. They put their name, they don’t put where they’re selling their property, they don’t put the niche of what they’re doing and you’re really losing out. So mistake number one for real estate agents is they don’t have a bio that sets them apart from everyone else. Number two is their Avatar is a logo and not their smiling face because let’s face it, people want to do business with people. Even if you have a team or a firm. I’ve seen a great avatar with a team of five when I spoke at a real estate conference recently in New York.
I just commended those companies that often lead with the people behind the business and not hide from being the face of the business. And so people want to connect with you and you alone, especially as a real estate agent. You’re coming to them typically because you were referred or they’ve met you in line at Starbucks and you handed out your cards three years ago. And they remembered you and now they’re coming back to you. So I will take a pause because I could talk for hours. I just want to make sure that your listeners are receiving this information. And I’m just going to recap quickly that your Avatar, your profile photo should absolutely be your smiling face unless you’re a team. It should be your team and it should not be your logo. No one wants to do business with a logo.
Your bio should really say who you are, what you do, at how long you’ve been doing it, and what makes you that go to real estate agent in your area. And then separately the feed and then we’ll move into the other neighborhoods of Instagram. But your feed should essentially be the promise that you’re making in your bio. So think of this as a digital magazine. The cover that you promise on that magazine and what you turn inside that magazine is essentially the feed. And the reason that your feed needs to be fabulous is because that lives on forever. And that is essentially the way that you establish yourself as a go to expert or influencer.
Jonathon: I just love it. And I love the hat as well. Do you have a collection of hats Susan?
Sue: I have about 50 or 100 fedoras. And when I’m on the Cape, I hate it when my hair is in my face and it’s part of my like signature style. I love hats. It’s actually in my bio on my personal account that I’m obsessed with hat.
Jonathon: I have to get some hats. Robert, do you have a question for Sue?
Robert: I do, but I think she’s going to cover it cause my question right now is fairly basic. But Sue, I’m curious to know. You let everybody have a great amount of information, but a question that I feel from a lot of my clients is you create a personal Instagram account or business account because you have choices now.
Sue: Oh, absolutely business hands down. If you’re here for business, you want to make sure that you have all those business features, which are your contact information, the insights that you have, the ability to do ads. And the fact that you can do quick reply. If you’re on Instagram and you don’t have a business account that be the first thing that you do when you get off this call is to turn it into a business account.
Robert: The first thing you did when you stopped listening to the podcast or you rewind the podcast and you listen to it, so on and so forth.
Jonathon: The other big thing is, I just think people are fascinated by Real Estate. Aren’t they Sue? And videos growing on Instagram. You got any insights or advice about how agents should use video on that platform?
Sue: Yes, definitely. Video is in all four neighborhoods now. The feed, you can do video stop and go video right in the Instagram app. You can upload a video up to a minute. You can add video clips to a carousel post where you can add 10 clips to that. So you could have a long video. I know a lot of real estate agents that do tours of the home or drone videos. And you really can take people behind the scenes of a piece of property by using video. Video, video, video is everything from your face on it to your property on it. And so in the feed you can do videos and stories. You can do videos on an IG TV. Obviously that’s all video. And then there’s the fourth neighborhood Instagram live.
Jonathon: That was a lot. So we kind of aimed at beginners starting with this. If you were starting out, which of those four areas would you start off with your video outreach?
Sue: Definitely in stories. Stories in my opinion is where most people are enjoying hanging out. Now stories are basically what TV was in the 1950s. It’s a broadcast channel. And you can choose whether it’s video, whether it’s an image or a graphic. And you can have continuous video in your stories. And the really cool thing about stories for real estate agents especially is that you can save any of that content and share it into a highlight. So for those of you that are sharing your property in your feed that you’re selling and you write sold, like no one cares that you sold property, that’s not what they’re there for.
They’re not there to see how much what you’re doing. They’re there to find out about property that they want to buy. So if you want to show that you’ve sold property, you can share that in your stories. You can talk about the new homeowners, you can take them behind the scenes and then you can share it. You can keep it as a resource in stories, maybe as a place that says happy customers, happy clients. So people know that you’re walking the talk and really selling property. No one is interested. This is not what’s in it for you? It’s what’s in it for the people that you want to do business with. And that’s the biggest mind shift that people need to make. Especially real estate agents.
Jonathon: Yeah, I’ll tell you I agree with you there. Well, we’re going to go for our break folks. When we come back. Sue will give us the opportunity to change hats. e’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back. Sue’s warming up to my humor. My English sarcasm maybe, I don’t know. I’m sure she’s used to dealing with much worse people than me. Over to Robert.
Robert: Okay. So during the break I asked Sue if she would take a look at one of my favorite real estate Instagram or which is run by Joyce Rey, who is quite literally a legend inside the real estate industry. I think if I’ve got my information right, she is the first woman real estate agent ever in history to cross the billion dollar mark in sales. She is the person that handled the Robin Williams estate when he passed. And she’s in here in LA where I’m from. She is quite literally everybody knows who she is. She’s been on every news channel. She also, despite being a very seasoned veteran, is one of the first people that I ever saw that really embraced Instagram as a way to market for real estate business. And point based on some not so precise data. But I have the impression that she is actually doing business from Instagram in the luxury market in Los Angeles. So Sue to take a look at her Instagram account and give us some thoughts based on what she’s seeing as an Instagram expert.
Sue: I love her account. I love her account. First of all, power to the women, women in power and empowerment. And I love that. You know, ages is the number it’s like, and she’s, she’s working it and living it, living life full on. And there’s a real feeling of a, the type of properties that she sells. B, her personal life is infused in this. In a way that gets me to understand her values, who she is as an authority. She’s a speaker. She’s often seen on stage, she’s confidently in front of homes. You can see that she respects friends and she aligns with friends and family. And when you know the US won that soccer champion, she shared that in a way that was classy with a photo that matched up to the quality of the photos that go with her look and feel.
She’s a class act. She’s doing it all right. I’m going to tap into the her descriptions, but in terms of the way that our feed looks and in terms of the way that her bio looks, she’s got it all going on now. The area that she could improve upon is her description. And because you get 2200 characters, every time you write a description, you can go really deep. So an example of this is 12 hours ago she shared this post celebrating Windsor Smith remarkable design and neoclassical villa for sale at the grand opening tonight, a tour de Florist. Congrats. So that is what she’s doing. I want to know more about the property that she celebrating and the details of that. And there’s not enough information in that description. So she could have gone a little bit deeper with that. She only got a 114 likes and one comment. I’m all about the conversation thread and the conversation in the comments more than the likes.
Because you know, likes can be not hers, but don’t believe all the likes that you see because people do things to get more likes. So I’m all about the conversation now. On another post, she did reduced 1244 Moraga incredible value set behind the prestigious Bel Air Guard. Gated community of Moraga estate is opulent, classic Italian Philip commanding nearly four acres on a rear double lot, which is cool, but I would want to know a little bit more about the property. And so this is clearly luxury lifestyle million dollar properties. She’s getting some comments here. But it’s from other real estate agents too. So Gordon probably an associated with her hidden gem of on a street. Like, so it’s the conversation threads that matter most to me. I’m going to just take one on her humanized one here where she throw back Thursday with my friends.
So I love that she gives us the throwback with our personality. I would again want to know more about what was going on in this photo so that I could feel connected to her a little bit more intimately. So she gets an a plus on her avatar. The fact that she’s doing stories, but she does not have any highlights so she’s not saving anything to highlight. She’s missing out in that opportunity. She’s got a great bio letting us know that she sold nearly 4 million in career sales. And she’s been featured on the today show, inside edition, NBC, CNN, ABC and International TV. So those are her accolades that she’s letting you know that she’s walking the talk and she’s the number one in southern cow. So she’s doing it all right. But there are things missing that could be improved upon.
Robert: What about the tags? I’m noticing that in some, there’s six or seven on another, there’s 12 and you have the room for 20.
Sue: You have 30 and she definitely could be doing more hashtags and doing more niche hashtags with that.
Robert: Okay. Thank you. Thank you very much. I was kind of curious of what you’d say. That there is a many years ago I did some business with her and I worked for an agent image, which was a website company. And even then her team, the people that I was mostly communicating to, they really were head and shoulders above most other people. Just a small correction for our audience who’s doing audio only. The number was 4 billion, not million. So Joyce Rey is quite literally there not very many people that I’ve ever sold as much real estate in general as she has ever in the real estate market anywhere. The only exception is New York where there are people that have exceeded I think it’s actually 7 billion at this point and lifetime sales. But, but anyway, here in California, she’s the rock star.
Sue: That’s very cool. I love it. I really do. And it’s very inspirational for younger real estate agents to see that and see that she’s continuing to work and she absolutely loves what she does and that shines through.
Robert: Excellent. So my question would be this. So we have a brand new agent, which is probably what a lot of our audiences, we do have really experienced, but brokers and people that they’re are really established. I don’t find that they listened to a ton of podcasts in general. So I don’t know necessarily that we’re, that’s who our audiences mostly probably if I had to guess. 50% of our audience is probably people that are established in their careers or in the first few years of their careers. So somebody who’s just getting started is looking for some guerrilla marketing tactics. They’re considering Instagram. You’ve given some great advice on like how to do their profile, but let’s say they’re looking at it as, I want to generate business on Instagram and I’m newer in my career. What do you say to them?
Sue: Everyone wants to generate business off of Instagram. At the end of the day, everyone wants to make more money. In order to make more money, you have to build trust. In order to build trust, you have to show up as the go to authority and prove that you walk the talk. Because on Instagram you don’t always believe everything you see. Anyone can post a $2 million house or a Lamborghini and not necessarily own it or sell it. But just show it. So for me it’s all about are you really walking the talk and prove it. So I want to see it. I want to see you talking to customers. I want to see that authenticity in stories. If there’s anything you need to know about me, it’s, I’m walking the talk every day. I’m teaching Instagram marketing every day and it shows up in my stories. It shows up in my feed and it shows up in the way that I build community. And I think online, especially with today’s modern marketing, a lot of trust is being lost because people aren’t manipulating or being forthright or honest. And so because of that it takes longer sometimes to build trust. And you know, that’s the essence of growing a business.
Robert: Sure. So I just want to repeat back what I think I heard you say. So you’re saying that, that by walking the talk you’re seeing if you’re meeting with people and showing them homes, cause let’s see, you haven’t sold very many homes. You want to go out and go out and have a like a camera with you and say, I’m going to show John and Jody Smith a couple of homes today. You’re going to have the camera saying that you’re like beating the pavement, trying to work for your clients or you’re prepping a house, you’re doing, you’re staging a house and you’ve got your camera with you and you say I’m staging in my house for XY. Is that what you mean?
Sue: No, I mean just take your own camera. You’re on phone if your mobile device and take us with you and an Instagram story.
Jonathon: I think I’m just going to put, let’s see if I understand where you’re coming from. Cause hopefully I’m getting this right. I think what you’re trying to him is that they want to see that you’re active, real agent. That you’re out there doing your craft. And you’re actually getting results for you customers. And it is a way of showing them to get a snap of your day to get some insight what you’re doing every day. And you need to keep on subjects, but you also need to give them that kind of insight, which gradually builds trust. Am I on the right path, Sue?
Sue: Yeah, it is. Absolutely.
Jonathon: Yeah I taught that’s what you were hinting. So what you’re saying is they don’t want to see like pictures of houses you’ve just sold where you can put some of those, but the actual people that.
Sue: No, it’s okay to put pictures of houses that you sold, but it’s not necessary to put just sold or how much you sold it for. When it becomes like a billboard of sold or the money, it’s okay to show the house, especially if it’s beautiful and talk about the house and what’s in it for the property owners that just bought it. But it’s like talk about why you would enjoy living in that area that the house or the mansion is sold in. And what is in it like community-wise and you know, talking about historical landmarks or you know, great restaurants or retail establishment. Like it’s like what is it gonna feel like to live where you’re selling property.
Jonathon: Yeah, understand. So when it comes to the actual volume if you are a Real Estate Agent trying to build a brand using Instagram. What kind of volume of active of content should they really be looking at? Do you want give any kind of advice on that?
Sue: Say that again?
Jonathon: How much content should they be putting on Instagram realistically to try and build that brand?
Sue: I mean, that is a personal preference based on how much time you have to allocate to marketing what you do. So time is everyone’s like biggest excuse. But if you have systems behind content creation and you organize that strategically and not do it on the fly, you can have a very successful Instagram account. And that’s what I teach inside of ready set gram. Sue B zimmerman.com/rsg which is our signature beginner Instagram course. And for those of you that don’t want to invest in learning a step by step process foundationally, I also have a YouTube channel. Sue B zimmerman.com/YouTube and when you get there, just hit the bell. You’ll be notified when I drop a new video every Monday so that you can learn in five minutes a new tactic, a new tip, a new strategy, a new update. And when I go live on YouTube you can continue to learn and invest in your Instagram marketing.
Jonathon: Yeah, it’s a great channel actually. I’ve been watching some of your latest content and been enjoying it. And it’s really helpful. So I think we will wrap up the podcast part of the show now folks. And Sue what’s the best way, apart from your Instagram. What’s the best way to learn more about you and what you’re up to?
Sue: Yeah, the best way to connect with me, and I would love for you to connect with me, is to come on over to Instagram at the Instagram expert. That’s my business account and say hello and let me know what your biggest takeaway or question is from this interview. And let me know that you came over from this particular interview. Guys, what is your Instagram account?
Jonathon: We don’t have one. But we go on Facebook and YouTube. But I’m gonna have to set up the show’s Instagram account.
Sue: Okay. Well anyway I was going to tell them to tag you, but that’s not going to happen. So just let me know that you came over from this wonderful interview. As I mentioned earlier, I could talk a long time. Real estate agents really are one of my favorite markets to teach and talk to. Because typically real estate agents do understand the value of investing and marketing their products and services, meeting the houses that they’re selling. But the old tedious ways of printing postcards and putting it in a magazine are gone. It’s social media and today’s modern marketing and you don’t need to spend money because Instagram is free. You could understand how to do Instagram ads and you could target very strategically and have great success. That’s advanced information that I do not teach on a live interview cause it’s way too much and it’s not my wheelhouse. But just to keep everyone excited and to understand that you can have great success on Instagram. And many of my clients have found new customers because they’ve connected with them personally. And that’s the goal.
Jonathon: Yeah, absolutely.
Robert: And by the way, I’m going to tag on this blatantly, but I do have an Instagram account. Forward slash Inbound Rem forward slash. I got a couple thousand followers on there. I haven’t updated it in a little while, but I I have an active Instagram account for my company.
Jonathon: So Robert, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you?
Robert: Instagram, the best way for people to find me is on my website, which is inboundrem.com. And I do most of my content there and in all my social media content is ancillary for the most part. So which I have content on all my channels, but I prefer that you go to my website.
Jonathon: I’m going to wrap up the show. Sue it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Hopefully you enjoy the rest of your summer. And you have to come back at some stage and have another chat. Hopefully you enjoyed it. We will have another expert like Sue, but next week, sharing their knowledge and helping you get the business you’re looking for, for yourself and for your family. We see in next week folks. Bye.
Sue B Bio
Before I started teaching online, I had a retail shop, SueB.Do. While a success at face value – the schedule was nothing short of a constant marathon. I spent hours a week merchandising the store, taking inventory and ordering stock. In my ‘free time’ I would work 14 hours days driving to local towns at sunrise and setting up ‘pop-up’ tents at local craft fairs. I was doing ‘pop-ups’ for my store LONG before it was something trendy for brands big cities…I’m looking at you All Birds!
I THOUGHT I had freedom because I was working for myself. And I THOUGHT I had flexibility because I set the schedule. But in reality, I was probably working far too many hours for the income I was bringing in…and a slave to a minivan full of beach tunics and bracelets that needed to be sold before the New England leaves changed in the fall.