If you’re a Realtor who is still turning a blind eye to Instagram Stories, you might be in for a wake-up call. Real estate agents who don’t utilize Instagram Stories may be missing huge opportunities to grow their following. Utilize Reels and Instagram Stories to boost your Instagram engagement, and your real estate business can thrive. It’s that simple.

That’s why I decided to share some of my best strategies for creating engaging real estate Instagram Stories. These strategies have helped me build my Instagram account to over 476,000 followers, and I’m sure they can help you too.

Why Instagram Stories Work for Real Estate

  • Stories can add brand exposure.
  • Stories can boost engagement on your other content.
  • Stories tend to be less polished—you can shoot quick videos off the cuff, as long as the content is valuable.
  • Stories can amplify your existing marketing efforts by leveraging your visibility and current followers.
  • Stories offer a glimpse into your daily life and your real estate business, showcasing your authenticity.
  • If you end up wanting to keep them beyond 24 hours, you can use highlight covers to keep them organized so new followers can find them later.
  • Stories offer opportunities for more people to connect with you in a genuine way.

Not sure about the difference between Reels and Stories? Scroll down to our Instagram Stories vs Reels section.

12 Easy Ways to Boost Engagement With Instagram Stories

Now that we’ve covered why, let’s get into the different ways you can use Instagram Stories to increase engagement and double your followers fast.

1. Use Instagram’s Create Mode

Instagram loves it when you use the app as it is intended. When you create something organically on Instagram, you can expect better performance than uploaded or cross-posted content. 

You can easily access Create mode from your Instagram homepage on your mobile device. Just tap the plus sign on your profile or swipe right to pull it up. From there, you can hit “create” to pull up a colored background where you can add pictures or text. You can also use templates to upload premade slides from your photos. You can use templates from Canva or Etsy, or subscribe to a service like Coffee & Contracts. Templates work brilliantly for easily and quickly creating content for your Stories.

I like using Create mode to post something like, “Want to see the craziest text exchange with a client you’ve ever seen?” I might even include a little poll to boost user engagement with the Story immediately. Agents using Instagram’s Create mode can get a lot of mileage out of asking questions like, “Want to see the coolest house ever?” You can also try posting “Would you rather…?” before uploading several slides with comparisons for your audience to choose between. You can add polls, surveys, and more, and boom—engagement city.

Coffee & Contracts Posts templates

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2. Post Stories Throughout the Day, Not All at Once

My goal is to have a new Story up every time someone goes on Instagram. One way to accomplish this is to avoid bunching stories. One exception to this is when the posts are connected and have to appear immediately after one another to finish a thought, like one of the longer multi-part Stories. Instead, post Stories throughout the day at different times. That way, your Stories have a chance to grab attention from different viewers.

It’s good practice to let one Story expire before you post another one the next day during the same time slot. Letting the 24-hour time limit run out on your Story will refresh your content, allowing for the algorithm to reset and potentially leading to higher engagement. As I mentioned earlier, the Instagram algorithm likes when you use Instagram. Staying consistent throughout the day with Stories lets Instagram know that you are a loyal user—and they might just reward you with more engagement (along with a crippling social media addiction).

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3. Use CTAs Regularly in Your Stories

Unlike feed posts, you can basically force engagement on stories with polls, quizzes, and question slides using calls to action (CTAs). Poll your audience on housing styles, bathroom decor, neighborhood preferences, or anything else that is popular with your audience. Adding a CTA to a Story can give your post an immediate boost.

If you’re not sure what your audience wants, you can gauge what they might like by posting “This or That” posts to see what people are interested in and (more importantly) get them to click on your Story. Posting this type of content also gives you some insight into what’s on your potential future clients’ minds.

📌   Pro Tip

My favorite “Story hack” is to use questions to find content, known as user-generated content. Take one question from your followers and respond with a text slide, or create a video of you answering it. Viewers will want to submit questions to see if you answer.

The most straightforward video content you can create as an agent is an ask me anything (AMA) post. AMA is a very popular format for posts on social media that originated on Reddit. You simply post a slide that says “AMA about the {your market area} real estate market.” Your followers will drop questions in the comments and you can create new Reels from those questions. Use Stories to tease and direct viewers back to the longer video content. 

You can also create contests like “Guess the price of this house,” where you give away a gift card to the winner. Be creative and come up with fun ways to get people to engage with you.

4. Add Music

Want to add more context to your content? Add some music to amplify the vibe. Whenever I  share a Story about a creepy crawl space, I always add some spooky music, like “The Shining” theme song. An angry meme about a buyer backing out? You know I’m going to throw some Skrillex music in the Story for extra effect.

You can’t use any copyrighted music in your Stories unless you have your account set up as a professional creator with “entrepreneur” as your category. But, even if you don’t have access to all the copyrighted music, you can probably find something that works great in the available royalty-free music right in the app. 

Instagram offers a wide selection of royalty-free music you can add to your Stories. You find it by tapping the sticker icon on the screen from your mobile device and scrolling until you see the music sticker icon. You’ll also find the icon to add captions to your video here. You may need to change your category on your professional page to “entrepreneur” to see the complete list of copyrighted music. 

There’s no real proof that adding music increases engagement, but it definitely makes stories more entertaining. Every property tour is 10 times better with a soundtrack. Just remember to add a “Sound On” sticker so people watching know there is music in your story.

Broker agent meme

5. Tell a Multi-part Story

Instagram Stories are named as such for a reason. The tool was literally designed for people to tell stories. Sharing slightly longer narratives in multiple parts while in Create mode is an excellent way to build engagement. You can do this by creating a carousel-style set of posts all at one time. 

Creating teaser slides where people have to click to see the next Story and reveal what’s happening next is a great strategy to keep people on your profile. The longer the tale you’re sharing, the longer people stay on your Stories. Tell stories using carousel-style slides and text, or just turn on the camera and record yourself telling the story. Just make sure you use captions if you’re speaking. 

Remember that your Story doesn’t have to be a bestseller. It doesn’t have to be a really long story, just something that your viewers can relate to. Share something that happened today while you were out, just doing everyday things, like running to Starbucks for your afternoon PSL. It’s not about being remarkable—it’s about being relatable.

Here’s an idea for either text slides or a script for your Story: “I want to tell you a quick story about the house my buyers just closed on … they wrote 15 offers on 15 different properties and thought they would never find a home … but …” and then you can finish how this story ends. 

Or you can use something like, “This restaurant has been a staple in the community for decades … I’ve gotten drunk here for years.” Instagram always prefers original content not shared from another account, so the more you show your face, the better.

6. Add Hashtags, Locations & Links

Like with feed posts, adding hashtags and locations will help expand the reach of your stories. Unlike feed posts, you can actually hide hashtags and locations by dragging them off-screen where they are not visible, sliding them straight down to the bottom of the screen. And you might consider hiding them because, frankly, it looks ridiculous to have them there—unless it’s an ironic hashtag like #winning when you’re clearly losing.

You can also add links using stickers if you want to drive traffic to a lead magnet. I’ve been using this strategy in my Stories to encourage followers to subscribe to my newsletter. You can create an e-book or a moving checklist for your audience and put the link right in the story. 

Unlike Reels or posts, you can only add one hashtag to your Story at a time. You can tag your location if it’s relevant to what you’re posting. Simply click the stickers icon to add geotags, hashtags, stickers, and pretty much anything else you want to add to your Stories.

 7. Add Captions

One of the best features of Instagram Stories is captions. You can find the “caption” button under the stickers tab. The new caption sticker automatically translates what is being said in the video to text.

A large number of Instagram users watch stories with the sound off, so captions will help provide context. It’s like watching movies with subtitles—once you do it, you will never go back. 

8. Post Reels to Your Story

Sharing Reels

Reels are formatted in a way that makes it easy to resize for your Stories. Share your Reel—or someone else’s—and blow it up with your fingers to the size where it covers the entire screen. It’s a sneaky way to keep people on your profile by acting like the Reel is part of your Story.

If it’s smaller, people might click on the actual Reel and leave your profile. Of course, you should always credit the user who posted the Reel with a tag. But Story views count for Reels anyway, so you are doing the profile you’re featuring a favor.

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9. Ask People to DM You

Instagram sees direct messages as one of the most valuable interactions on its platform. When a Story gets a lot of DM responses, it gets a lot of views. Naturally, funny or shocking content will provoke DMs. But a more business-friendly approach is to post a Story asking people to DM you for something in return.

Here are some examples: “DM me if you want to know how much this house is worth.” Or “DM me if you want a market breakdown of {your farm area}.” Or “DM me if you want to see nudes.” That one will work 100% of the time.

10. Use GIFs & Stickers

Like music, adding GIFs or stickers provides context to your stories. A strategically placed GIF may get someone to look at your Story for a bit longer and see what the image is all about. 

The stickers section in Instagram Stories is filled with so many different options: You can create an avatar, add a GIF, ask a question, insert a poll, add a countdown to something, and so many more options. You can add a poll and even add a link. Add a geotag and Instagram’s algorithm will share your Story with people around the area. There are a lot of tools under the sticker icon. Make sure you familiarize yourself with them and put them into use. 

Instagram rewards accounts that use all of its features. Always remember: Instagram wants you hooked on Instagram.

11. Use Your Feed Post Caption to Bring Attention to Your Story

If your feed post or Reel relates to your Story or vice versa, use this to plug your Story in the caption. For example, if you’re posting listing photos to your feed, you can say something like “Check my Story to see the backyard” or “Check my Story for showing details.”

You can do the same with your Reels. Create a Story to drive people back to your Reels for the full video. 

12. Be Consistent

As cliché as this sounds, it is the most essential advice for any of your social media strategies: Consistency is everything. Try to post to your Instagram Story daily. The cool thing about Story posts is they are so much easier because you don’t have to worry about the number of likes, comments, and engagement seen by the public, not to mention the unpolished nature of the videos. 

Instagram Stories vs Reels

I’ve shared some of my best advice on how to utilize your Instagram Stories. Now let’s make sure everyone is on the same page about the difference between Stories and Reels on Instagram. They’re both short video content you share on your Instagram (IG) account. But they are starkly different from each other.

Instagram Stories

First, the two formats target different audiences on the platform. Stories are short-lived videos, maxing out at 60 seconds in length, or text-based slides designed to disappear after 24 hours unless you save them in your highlights. Viewers find them by tapping on your display picture, and your followers or anyone visiting your public page can see them. When you see the colorful ring around someone’s profile pic, that means there is a Story ready to be viewed. 

Stories, especially when paired with your IG feed content, can play a powerful role in your overall marketing strategy. That’s because of their location, right on your profile display. Stories provide a highly visible way for Instagram users to interact with you. They were initially meant to be a snapshot of your life as you live it. But now you can share content from other creators, post polls, surveys, and other interactive content to help drive traffic to your other content. 

Stories help you stay top of mind because they’re typically created multiple times per day when Reels are more sparse. Think of Stories as a regular post but in video format. Whenever you have something you want to share on the fly, you can quickly shoot a Story, whether you’re on the go, behind the scenes, or just chillin’ on your patio. 

You can also use Stories to point to longer posts on your grid. For example, let’s say you created a Reel explaining the current housing market. You can then take a shorter snippet of that Reel and post it in your Stories and direct people back to the Reel on your grid. It’s a great way to drive followers to content they may have missed. 

Instagram Reels 

Reels, on the other hand, look like TikTok videos and are typically a bit more polished than Stories. They’re designed to help viewers discover new accounts and emphasize entertainment. They max out at 90 seconds. 

Because Reels don’t expire like Stories do, you can use them for more in-depth evergreen content. Consider labeling them with eye-catching covers or thumbnails. You can create your own highlight covers with Canva templates or you can find some fun templates on Etsy. You add highlights when you create your Story by clicking “Highlight,” then upload the cover from your photos in your device.

Screenshots of Instagram Story, Highlight button, Add to Highlights menu, and sample of highlight covers template available on Canva.

Want to see an example? Check out Chelsea Peitz’s grid. She’s got thumbnails for her content, making it easily searchable.

Screenshot of Chelsea Peitz's Instagram grid with thumbnails on her posts

There’s a lot to learn about building a business with Instagram, the many formats available, and how to utilize them effectively. And it doesn’t help that Instagram constantly changes its algorithm and moves the goal posts for content creators. But stick with it. Try to stay on top of changes as much as you can and just stay in the game. I’ve built an empire using Instagram, and I know you can do it too.

Over to You

What strategies are you using to crush it on Instagram Stories this year? Add your voice to the comments below.