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Instagram pros share their best tips Instagram pros share their best tips
Instagram is ideal for buildings. It is a visual, storytelling medium that can perfectly highlight the architecture, design, neighborhoods, and lifestyles that any residential building has to offer. What better way to get a convey a message about something beautiful than by using a platform with 800 million active users with 80 million photos shared daily?

But most residential buildings do not use Instagram successfully. After surveying many accounts, their failings typically seem to fall in one of four categories: They try the hard sell. Nobody wants that; They are one-trick ponies. Okay, enough building photos already, show me more (be aspirational but not pretentious); They target the wrong demographic. If you are selling multi-million dollar properties, why are you posting stories with floating hearts and preset phrases that appeal to millennials? And they don’t engage their followers. This is not a billboard, it is an interactive platform. Use it.
The most successful Instagram accounts are individual accounts that are driven by big personalities, like Selena Gomez (136 million followers) and Christiano Ronaldo (125 million). Even though residential buildings are objects, they are filled with people, personality, neighborhoods, tons of beauty, and aspirations. They have all the elements to make for interesting Instagram content and yet few are successful.
Alexandre Corda is a master at creating social media campaigns for luxury buildings. As managing director at Optimist Consulting, Corda spends his days building some of the most successful residential Instagram accounts to date, like Madison Square Park Tower (23k followers), 53 W. 53 (16.8k followers) and most recently Bjarke Ingles’ much talked about the XI (1000+ followers in its first few days).
Corda explains, “Instagram is about storytelling. It is an integrated communication experience we’re creating and we are trying to link all the pieces. Social gives you a fantastic opportunity to connect the dots and tell the very curated story with the buildings. People are exhausted with ads and marketing is evolving to be more content based and less product feature based.”
“People are exhausted with ads and marketing is evolving to be more content based and less product feature based.”
- Alexander Corda of Optimist Consulting
Corda points out the three types of information successful account must provide. “First, so much of this business is driven by brokers. Instagram is a really smart opportunity to educate brokers about the development, help them understand the neighborhood and feed them content.” This feed involves a lot about the development, construction, and rendering.
The second is the neighborhood. With the amount of new developments rising every day, brokers need help grasping the nuances of the buildings and the resources and amenities available in the specific locations. “So much of today is about installing your development within its surroundings. Where do you walk your dog, where do you go for a jog, where do you grab a cocktail? That’s where social is such a natural connection because we are able to connect in an organic way, curate images from local establishments’ feed, tag them and tell the bigger story.”
“Instagram exists purely for creativity. You have to understand that, understand what it takes to make that type of content and understand the story you’re trying to tell. People go on Instagram to be inspired.”
- Alexandra Losung, Social Media Consultant & Founder of Grand Street Studio
The third piece is about targeting the audience/demographic you are looking to connect with. For Corda’s firm, this is the ultra high net worth audience.

Additionally, Alexandra Losung, a social media consultant and founder of Grand Street Studio, says “It’s a rule of thumb in social media that gone are the days where you can expect one photo to exist across multiple platforms. You might have a standard photo shoot or renderings but different aesthetics work on different platforms. Instagram exists purely for creativity. You have to understand that, understand what it takes to make that type of content and understand the story you’re trying to tell. People go on Instagram to be inspired.”

Clearly, Instagram is not a perfect platform. It lacks the easy ability to easily repost or forward posts and users cannot post links except in their bio, which is time-consuming and annoying. But it is the app of the moment and has great potential and power.

We looked to successful architects, design, lifestyle and building accounts to see what it takes to succeed.


Norman Foster, the world-renowned British architect, recently joined Instagram and he’s taking it by storm. Often promoting one’s lavish lifestyle can be off-putting and pretentious but Foster’s decadent jaunts to check on his current projects and letting us “in” on his process and thinking are incredibly interesting. Foster’s Instagram account humanizes him at the same time as it reinforces his place on the top of the world architecture stage. We get to see him cycling, skiing, relaxing, prepping, site checking and yachting.

Foster + Partner PR Assistant Eline Maager says, “Lord Foster handles his own Instagram account and we are not involved in this.” Wow, not only does Lord Foster know how to design amazing buildings but now he is a lord and master of social media. Take note!
Morris Adjmi Architect’s feed perfectly blends professional with personal. AK Thompson took over the account a year ago and started by looking at other architecture and design firm feeds and came to a few conclusions. Firstly, people do want to enjoy who they follow. Unlike Facebook, if you follow someone, you cannot hide their feed. Therefore, you better like who you follow. “Because of this, our feed has to have a lot of architecture because that’s what people are looking for from us.” Secondly, she said, “People like to know what’s going on behind the scenes so I try to give as many details as I can.”

Thompson says that before she posts a photo, she talks to the project architects and finds out specifics, things like details on the building’s facade. “It might be more boring for non-architects but most people following are architects or people interested in architecture.” Thirdly, she posts a “good amount” of professional photography, “but we can’t make our whole feed that so I source site photos from project architects and I’m always hounding people for photos.”

Thompson also explains, “We have a strong culture here and I wanted to display that.” One standout example of a varied post Thompson uses is her #SundaySpotlight where she asks a colleague three standard questions and two “wacky” ones. “I have learned so much about the people I work with,” she says with glee. Thompson has a running list of questions and intersperses the MA feed with these staff highlights, “and the people in the office really seem to love it.” I know I do.
“I don’t have a specific agenda, I just post what inspires me.”
- Morris Adjmi of Morris Adjmi Architects
Additionally, Morris Adjmi, himself, maintains his own super interesting Instagram account where you can learn all about his David Bowie fanboy tendencies, his many art inspirations as well as some fun old photos. “My first rule is no selfies,” he jokes. “I end up doing a lot of art imagery, I document where I was and what I see. I don’t have a specific agenda, I just post what inspires me.” Adjmi delineates his account from his company’s account by explaining, “I try to post more about my inspiration, @morrisadjmiarchitects celebrates our work and the people that make it happen.”
Adjmi, who is very inspired by art, found two artists for his office gallery exhibits through Instagram, the tiny sculpturist Lydia Ricci and the photographer Saskia Boelsums. He also hired an employee off of Instagram. For sites that he enjoys, he points to freebrickpix (“obviously, I love brick"), ugly belgian houses, and carpet sample as some of his favorite accounts. Adjmi strongly believes, “Instagram is the best way to visually connect with people.”


Will Taylor’s account is appropriately named because you truly need sunglasses before opening his feed. Taylor says the key to Instagram success is authenticity and engagement.
Taylor’s uplifting feed is addictive. It’s like rays of sunshine, covered in cotton candy that make you happy and just wanting more. Taylor’s philosophy is “Be sure to post content that is consistent with your brand and messaging so that your audience get a sense of the rhythm of your feed, in the same way they can with their favorite magazine or TV show, for example. Then, be sure to answer each of your comments and engage in conversation with your followers - you work hard for that level of engagement so see it through to the end by making your followers feel valued via a reply. Finally, a human element goes a long way (especially in design/home), so adding a sense of life to your images helps a person visualize themselves in that environment."


53 W. 53’s motto is “life imitates art” which makes sense since the building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, soars above the epicenter of modern art, MoMA. 53 W. 53 is one of Corda’s favorite buildings (being French, he’s a huge fan of Nouvel’s) as he says about its Instagram account, “It is a beautiful story about the architecture. That building is going to become such a significant story in the skyline. It is not just a glass tower, it is not just about the architecture, it is the story of living in the art.”

Dylan Lesueur, a broker at Elegran Real Estate and licensed architect, runs a beautiful building-centric Instagram account himself. He thinks 53 W 53 is a great model for others looking to succeed on Instagram. Lesueur points to their use of construction videos and “the day-to-day work to get to the final product. 53W53 does that well.”

Corda explains, “The content is about the lifestyle, the architecture, construction, the education piece about Nouvel, and his works around the world. That is the pillar of what we’re trying to do.”
100 East 53rd Street’s Instagram captures the confluence of an extraordinary contemporary art collection, yummy food options, and beautiful design. The account shows off the entire high-end lifestyle that it offers. And a very cool part of the account is that the developer, RFR, is also creating content specifically for Instagram, which is pretty unique. Most developers just repurpose marketing materials. For instance, RFR recently launched a video series shot in Instagram's new optimized aspect ratio. These videos are specifically designed to be viewed on a mobile device, which puts 100 East 53rd Street at the cutting edge of innovation in real estate social media.
@BrooklynPointNYC features building renderings, construction updates and neighborhood views. Brooklyn Point is pioneering development in Downtown Brooklyn where there are many hidden, undiscovered restaurants, shops, and food options. The photography and content on the page give potential buyers and building fans a peek at what life at Brooklyn Point would be like.

As another unique social strategy, the developer also releases exclusive, never-before-seen sneak peaks of their building via social media channels ahead of releasing them anywhere else. This includes videos and renderings. Media outlets have actually picked-up imagery and news tips directly from the Instagram – because these videos, views, and renderings are seen there first.
Last year, Extell Development Company hosted an event with Instagram influencer moodygrams, who has over one million followers, and invited photographers from NYC into the building to take view shots from an upper floor, before the building had even topped out. Photographers were able to take exclusive views shots from one of Manhattan's most stunning 360-degree vantage points.

An #OMSfrom hashtag campaign builds upon this architectural landmark theme and highlights the unique positioning of the building on Manhattan's Two Bridges lower east side neighborhood. Pioneering super-tall development in the neighborhood, the towering skyscraper can be seen from almost any vantage point downtown.
GALERIE LIC is a new condominium in Long Island City across from MoMAPS1, designed by ODA New York with interiors by Paris Forino. The building’s motto is “home is where the art is.”

Art is displayed throughout the common spaces of the building – the sculpture garden features a work by local artist Allen Glatter; and the building operates its own gallery, Art Box, an exhibition space dedicated to showing art by NYC and LIC artists. “We create a lifestyle around that. Art of the home, the art of the building, and the art of lifestyle. We are cultivating a particular lifestyle in your home and connecting to our great neighborhood. We always have a gallery approach.” Their artsy feed is very pleasing to go through.
Essex Crossing's Instagram isn't any ordinary social media profile, it's a neighborhood resource for past, present and future residents of the Lower East Side to learn about the best restaurants, bars, cafes, and small businesses the area has to offer. Qualls Benson handles the photography and creative behind the account. The account also features updates for Essex Crossing's immense amount of future offerings, such as The Market Line, along with profiles of local business owners. To educate the community about 242 Broome, Essex Crossing's first condominium, @essexcrossing posted excerpts of interviews with SHoP Architects and DXA studio, the architect and interior designer for the building, respectively.
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Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.