Interview with entrepreneur Ari Kaklamanis

6 years ago, young Aussie entrepreneur Ari Kaklamanis created an Instagram account with the aim to showcase luxury Sydney real estate as he studied Commerce and Law at the University of Sydney. Without any advertising and all genuine unpaid Followers, his account @milliondollarlistingsydney now has over 33k Followers and is the most in demand social media platform online for luxury real-estate in Sydney. Fans include celebrities, international businessman alongside some of the elite real estate brokers.

We sat down to chat with Ari more about this success and how others can grow their channel.

What made you decide to start the MDLS IG account?

Starting the account when I was 17 years old was really just a manifestation of my interest in property. Real estate is unique in the sense that it plays a part in every single person’s life. So when starting this page I knew the content would always be relevant and interesting to people, no matter their demographic.

I must admit that my addiction to the Million Dollar Listing New York televisions series certainly inspired the name of my page, Million Dollar Listing Sydney (MDLS).  

Did you have any training on how to grow social media?

Not at all.

Best advice for others reading on what people engage with online?

My tip, albeit cliché, is to be passionate about the subject-matter of your page – for me, that passion is real estate.

Without a genuine passion it will make it that much harder for the page to survive the early stages where there is little to no engagement, which can be very disheartening and almost tempting to “throw in the towel” and move onto a venture that produces more immediate returns.

The reality is that these online pages take time, particularly social media accounts. People are very selective with who they follow on Instagram. Accumulating this following for MDLS has taken over 6 years, and it still has so much more room to grow. But surviving the pain of those infancy stages where engagement is almost non-existent can only be offset, or at least made more tolerable, by the enjoyment of doing something you are actually passionate about. So long-story short, my number one tip when setting out to establish and grow an online business page is make sure you are doing something that you are genuinely interested in and passionate about.

Who are some of your fans you were surprised follow you?

Famous followers range from television reporters, radio hosts, actors, musicians and sportsman. The “property bug” does not discriminate.  

What sort of engagement do you get right now across stories, likes and views?

The Instagram insights indicate the page generates around 150,000-200,000 impressions per week. These figures fluctuate from time to time according to what I post and how much I post in a given week, but the page is consistently hitting over 150,000 impressions weekly.

The great thing is that this level of engagement translates to lucrative results for real estate agents featured on the page by helping them generate more leads for both current and future listings. Prospective buyers will often discover current ‘For Sale’ listings advertised on the MDLS page, and then proceed to enquire and bid on the featured property. Similarly, agents advertising their ‘Sold’ property results on the MDLS page are attracting awareness from potential vendor sellers who are impressed with the agent’s sale result featured on the page, and then proceed to engage that agent to sell their own properties. This just highlights the power of social media today in bolstering brand awareness, and goes to show that it is capable of producing real benefits for those who use it, and should be taken more seriously when allocating the marketing budget for promoting both ‘For Sale’ and ‘Sold’ properties. The benefits of a social media presence are not just limited to real estate agents, but also extend to other stakeholders in the real property industry, be they builders, mortgage brokers, architects, auctioneers, lawyers or conveyancers. It is now no secret that a social media footprint is extremely important for carrying on good business in contemporary society.

You see a lot of the most luxurious real estate, what’s been the best feature on a house you have seen?

For me, the single best feature of luxury real estate is the view, particularly water views of Sydney harbour.

What’s next for you?

No doubt I will continue to operate the MDLS page. I believe it is currently the largest property portal on social media featuring Sydney real estate, and I am yet to invest in any advertising whatsoever, so perhaps some marketing is a logical next step to push growth of the following and the database.

I also feel a natural progression for MDLS is to create a website that supplements the Instagram page. It will just provide another avenue to monetise the database that the MDLS Instagram account has accrued over the past 6 years.

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