This week’s Over Ask Podcast is a bit different. Brooks Landry joined Matt Lionetti and The Broke Agent to host a BoomTown webinar and crack the 2023 Instagram code—starting with a lively discussion on— 

  • Instagram strategies working for each one of them vs. what used to work
  • How they get leads on the platform
  • How each one has built (and is continuing to build) their following 

From there, they launched into 14 burning questions, many from webinar attendees during the live Q&A. 

Your webinar hosts

Joining The Broke Agent are Matt Lionetti and Brooks Landry. Matt is the funniest real estate guy on Instagram, the new managing director of The Agency Toronto West, keynote speaker, BAM Creator, and agent referral god with 56K+ followers. He’s also The Broke Agent’s good friend and co-host of the Over Ask Podcast

Brooks Landry is a Bay Area Realtor with Real (Brokerage). He’s the founder of Invzn Media and an Instagram hooks master—or, as The Broke Agent calls him, “Captain Hook,” because every video he creates starts with a phrase that immediately captures the attention. He’s the king of creating video series—like “Be a Realtor.” He’s coming in at just under 10K Instagram followers, but he deserves way more. 

And, of course, The Broke Agent needs no introduction. As BAM co-founder, he’s had years of experience creating and adapting to the Instagram algorithm and sharing what he’s learned. 

Instagram strategy

For Brooks Landry, who has multiple video series on Instagram—including his “Be a Realtor” series—his main strategy is to be as consistent as possible, while still mixing it up a little bit to keep his audience engaged. He likes to keep things super simple, whether it’s his real estate side of things or catering to his followers on Instagram. 

One thing he’s found helpful is using acronyms—mainly LLC and PPP—to make sure he accomplishes something every day for his real estate business and his content creation. 

LLC stands for the three main focal points of his business: 

  • Listings—listings he’s working on, new listings coming soon, listing appointment prep
  • Leads—specifically those at the B+ level or above
  • Creative—anything Instagram, social media, video marketing… 

When he tends to all three of those, he can get on with the rest of his business, knowing he’s covered the essentials for the day. 

On the social media side, PPP stands for the types of content he works on every day: 

  • Personality content—like his “Be a Realtor” series
  • Professional content—like his “What buyers want” series 
  • Proof-piece content—sales and past sales, like his “Behind the sale” series 

For Matt Lionetti, the goal is to create content that’s shareable, relatable, and polarizing — content that starts conversations, whether that’s in his DMs or in the comments. Either way, it feeds the algorithm and keeps his audience wondering what he’ll come up with next. 

I try to be not so particular with what day I’m gonna post…I want it to be fun for me, and I think people almost forget that sometimes. At the end of the day, it’s just Instagram. Yeah, it can grow your business, but don’t get so stressed about it. There are so many of these gurus right now being like, “Post 5x a day, do this, do that.” It’s like, “Chill… Find your bearings, find your footing, and then figure it out from there…But everything I do is to start conversations. And then, once I start the conversation, it’s all in the follow-up.

Matt Lionetti

Matt is one of the best in the game at responding to comments and getting the most juice possible out of each post. He’s great at starting conversations, which don’t all have to be real estate-related. Your audience knows you’re in real estate if you’re marketing and branding yourself well enough. 

Instagram Q&A

The Broke Agent started the Q&A with a list of questions provided by the webinar sponsor, BoomTown, which also sponsors the Over Ask Podcast

#1—From fitness to real estate: “Do I keep my 10K followers or start a new account?”

12:22 – This one sparked a bit of controversy. 

On one side, Brooks reminded viewers of how much work goes into creating an Instagram and growing the following. He suggested keeping the account and show people you do both real estate and fitness. 

You don’t want to start that thing all over.

Brooks Landry

On the other hand if you don’t want to post about fitness anymore, a new page may be the best bet. 

Maybe a new page, because that’s gonna affect the algorithm if you just one day switch from fitness to real estate.

Matt Lionetti

To be fair, Brooks’ and Matt’s answers aren’t mutually exclusive. You could keep your old account while following the advice offered by The Broke Agent to build your real estate presence while still catering to the audience that shares a passionate interest of yours.  

The algorithm has already been trained for, probably, years of showcasing that content to a specific group of people. So, what I would do is use that fitness account, or whatever niche-specific account it is, to grow your real estate account, maybe shout it out in Stories, shout it out in captions, collab with that other real estate account. But if you just start switching up the content immediately, you’re gonna get zero engagement because those followers will not be interested in that type of content. But I would still let them know that you’re starting another account. And…starting a new account right now on Instagram, this is one of the best times to possibly do it because they are completely suppressing bigger accounts….because they want to give creators this extra boost….

The Broke Agent

#2— “I’ve been stuck at 1,000 followers for six months. What do I do?”

15:48 – All three moderators agree on engaging with those 1,000 followers. When you cater to the followers you have, your following tends to grow because they start sharing your content. 

Be consistent with your content, focus on what your followers like, share, and engage with, and try some new content to see how it goes. Matt recommends trying new content in Stories to test it out first and see what gets the most engagement. 

The Broke Agent added his recommendation to engage with commenters and to comment on other people’s accounts to get the attention of people who might enjoy your content, too. 

Right now, the posts getting the most engagement on Instagram are slideshow/carousel posts and Reels with original audio. 

#3— “When is the best time to post?”

20:34 – For Brooks, the best time of the day to post is in the morning. He’s tried later in the day and has noticed less engagement. Matt typically posts around 10 or 11 am his time, but he doesn’t usually pay too much attention to it. 

One commenter suggested checking your Insights to see when your posts perform best, and that may be a good place to start—unless that time of day doesn’t really work for you. Brock Johnson, an Instagram Growth Coach, suggests not posting at the top of the hour, mainly because that’s when everyone else does, and your content has more competition. 

One thing the Broke Agent recommends is keeping your best content for Monday through Thursday during working hours when people are keeping their phones close. 

#4— “What insights do you pay the most attention to?”

23:14 – For Matt, likes and comments used to be the thing to watch, until shares and views took priority. Now, he’s focusing more on how many people watch his videos and then DM him. Because none of the other engagement metrics really matter if it doesn’t convert. 

Brooks is focusing more on non-followers—specifically those who watch and like his videos but don’t follow his account. 

The Broke Agent called attention to a new Insight on business accounts: Watch Retention. This shows the average watch time for each video, which will be a vital metric once it carries over to all Instagram accounts. 

If you know how long people watch your video—or when they bail if they’re not watching it all the way through—you can tweak the same video multiple times to see what makes the biggest difference. What gets people watching the whole video and then taking the time to engage with it, follow your account, or DM you? And what makes some videos blow up while others don’t?

#5— “Trending audio: Yay or nay?”

28:25 – Brooks has used trending audio to punctuate his videos, but has been moving to less popular audio tracks and sticking with instrumentals. Matt also sticks with instrumentals and he tends to avoid trending audio. He also sets the volume to one so it doesn’t compete with his content. 

The Broke Agent likes to use instrumental audio that adds context to his videos. And since Instagram is pushing original audio, agents can take advantage of the opportunity to maximize their reach and build brand awareness.  

Another benefit to using audio is it fills in those awkward pauses—as long as Instagram doesn’t mute your audio due to copyright issues, which is another reason to avoid trending audio.

#6— “How important are hashtags?”

33:41 – All three agreed that hashtags aren’t extremely important. Brooks uses them sometimes in his captions. Matt only uses them for comic relief, at this point, and is more intrigued by the potential of Instagram topics, which don’t include real estate (yet). If that changes, it could be a more effective way to categorize videos that are real-estate-focused. 

If you’re thinking of using hashtags or if you’ve used them, The Broke Agent recommends keeping them super-specific to your content. The more general the hashtag, the less effective it is, and the more likely it is to actually hurt your content’s performance. 

For example, use #clevelandopenhouse instead of #openhouse. 

Also, make sure you’re putting those hashtags in the caption itself, as opposed to in the comments. 

#7— “How to best promote a link?”

36:06 – There are a few ways to get more link clicks

When talking about how to get people to sign up for an offering, The Broke Agent recommends a chatbot called ManyChat, which makes it easy to send out links to people who are interested. Ask viewers to comment a specific word (of your choosing), and ManyChat will send them the link in their DMs. You can use this chatbot with a business or creator account. 

When talking about linking out to a blog or YouTube video, changing the link text to include an attention-grabbing call to action also makes a big difference in engagement. Matt recommends including something your audience will feel they need to have or need to be a part of. 

It also helps to have a good story before and after the link. Put your link in the middle, when your audience is already hooked. Instagram doesn’t like it when you direct traffic off their platform, so make sure you nest it between content pieces that are performing well. 

Also, don’t clutter up the area around the link with too many pictures or tags. Better yet, use Create mode or front-facing video to invite your audience to “clink on the link below” to get something they probably won’t want to miss out on. 

#8— “Any value in sharing the Reel to your Story?”

44:30 – Matt is 100% on board with this because not everyone goes through feeds; some just look at Stories. Just don’t make the mistake of starting your Story with a share. 

Instead, set it up with a prompt like “Have you ever gotten this question: ____? Well, check this out,” with an arrow pointing to the next Story with the Reel. 

#9— “Cross post Reels or upload them organically?” 

46:22 – What The Broke Agent has learned is that he gets way more engagement on his Reels when he uploads them organically to Facebook, rather than clicking that button that cross-posts your Reels to Facebook. So, he recommends downloading them to your phone and then uploading them to Facebook organically. 

Another genius hack (shout out to Jason Pantana) is to embed an Instagram post in a blog, which extends the lifespan of your videos. 

#10— “How important is branding with a new account?”

52:30 – It’s extremely important to create and maintain uniform branding across all platforms. And, as mentioned earlier, that requires consistency and vigilance. 

At the end of the day, you are your brand. So, whatever you do on one platform, whether it’s your content, how you respond to commenters or the comments you leave for other people’s content, you leave an impression that impacts how others on that platform perceive your brand. 

Share your personality, add value, make connections, and learn from other content creators who are killing it on the platform. Be yourself. And don’t be afraid of trying something new. 

#11— “How do you know where the line is with humor—whether you’ve gone too far?”

55:13 – Just as two different people can have two very different opinions on what’s funny, where the line is with humor depends, based on—

  • Where you live
  • Your demographic
  • Your political opinions
  • Your unique sense of humor
  • Your personal experiences

It’s pretty easy to cross the line when the only lens you’ve ever used to look at the world is your own. So, the more you connect with your audience online, the more likely you are to meet with diverse perspectives. And you can always try new content to see how your followers react. If any take offense, be open to learning more about how something in your content could have felt personal to them. Because while you’re not obligated to anticipate how everyone will react—and there’s an excellent chance you’ll offend someone even when that’s the last thing you want to do—it never hurts to be open to perspectives other than your own. 

That said, don’t let the prospect of accidentally offending someone stop you from creating and sharing your content. You’re allowed to enjoy yourself and share something you know plenty of people in your audience will find funny and relatable. 

As Brooks mentioned, he received a ton of nasty comments on his “Be a Realtor” series. If nothing else, putting yourself out there helps you weed out the people who don’t vibe with you (or vice-versa). You can’t please everyone. With some, the more they get to know your personality and sense of humor, the less they’ll want to work with you. And that’s okay. Because with others, the more content you share, the more they’ll want to work with you. Do your thing. 

#12— “Do you recommend interviewing local restaurant owners?”

01:01:23 – This strategy might be played out. The reality rarely lives up to the romantic ideal. 

Brooks prefers a different angle—like the best burger in town. Matt isn’t crazy about the idea, either, but he adds, “At the end of the day, who cares what we like?” If it works in your area, go for it. Do what works. 

Keep in mind, though, interviewing people is hard work. And if your interview subject is less than compelling, your resulting video probably won’t have many people watching it all the way through. 

Odds are, a video like this is not gonna go viral. Go with a more unique angle specific to your area, or go green screen to highlight local places you want to shout out.

#13— “Do dance trends damage your professional reputation?”

01:07:36 – If all you’re doing is dancing to a trending audio, without adding real value in the video or in your caption, then yes, this could damage your credibility as a professional. Paige Steckling does a great job hooking her audience with trends and then packing the caption with value. 

Matt offered a similar example with his funny Instagram content, which still adds value. He’s not just on Instagram to get laughs; humor is how he adds personality while still educating his audience. And because he does it so well and it’s clear he knows his stuff, his comedic approach in no way compromises his credibility. 

#14— “Is it a mistake to not be on TikTok?”

01:08:07 – This is a question that comes up a lot, especially with the possibility of a TikTok ban. But, you should be on all platforms. TikTok is where the trends start. If you’re not going to post there, at least consume it so you know where trends are coming from. 

That said, conversion on TikTok is nothing like YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. YouTube is where you can convert the most, especially with hyper-local content. 

Also, comments on TikTok are brutal. They aren’t your followers; they’re just random people seeing your videos. 

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This week’s Over Ask Podcast is brought to you by BoomTown. Click here to learn more.