Critical Real Estate Investor Lessons from Instagram

The great Instagram debacle has been hogging the media for the last week, and even for the non-geek real estate investors this holds some critical business strategy lessons which shouldn’t be ignored.

The Instagram disaster over its new privacy policy has been likened to both the downfall of Facebook and Netflix. All three have made fatal mistakes which rubbed customers the wrong way with crushing consequences.

Cultivating masses of user generated (free) content and using it to make a profit certainly sounds like a slick and innovative business move but burning your customers will only backfire.

In Instagram’s case this is certainly all a part of Facebook’s massive over correction in trying to turn a profit after amassing a giant user base. However, what’s the point in putting all that work in if people won’t stay?

4 takeaways from the Instagram nightmare for real estate business owners:

1. Find Balance from the Beginning

Find a way to strike a balance between profitability and delivering value from the beginning. Either your model is going to make money or not. If it doesn’t, odds are you can’t afford to give it away forever.

Consumers would certainly much rather pay for a valuable service with an upfront charge or may even donate if the value is there. Instagram has (had) over 100 million users, at a $2 a month subscription rate that is still a substantial amount of revenue.

2. Customers Like to Have Options

No one likes to be forced into anything or feel cheated and used. If Instagram users were given the choice of getting paid for their content if used or keeping it private many probably would have loved to have given it up and actually been driven to create better content.

3. Serve More, Succeed More

The more people real estate investors and real estate agents serve the more rewards they will realize. Calls to action are needed and expected but make sure you are giving more than you are taking.

4. User Generated Content is Incredibly Valuable

Encourage user generated content but don’t abuse it. It can save real estate investors and companies a ton of money on content creation, encourage more sharing, build loyalty and increase retention.