We are in the middle of one of the biggest cultural and technological shifts since the Industrial Revolution. We’re really only a couple of decades into “the internet” and already companies like Amazon are starting to deliver packages with drones within an hour of placing the order! We can already use our iPhones to unlock our front door, turn the lights on in the kitchen, brew coffee, and start a load of laundry ... all while still at the office.
The way we market ourselves, and our real estate business needs to keep up with the world we live in. The good old days of only sending Just Sold/Just listed mailers, quarterly newsletters, and calling FSBO’s & expired listings is DEAD. The ground has shifted underneath our feet and most of us won’t realize it until it’s too late.
As Realtors, we can choose to either embrace technology and social media, or we can put up our dukes and resist; at least for a little while. For those of you who resisted joining Facebook … how did that work out for you? Now you’re not only on Facebook, but you love it because you can finally see it’s amazing ability to market real estate, and ourselves. With Facebook Ads, we can specifically target people “likely to move, with homes valued over $350,000, in Cottonwood Heights Utah, between 2700 East and Wasatch Blvd, who earn over $100,000/year, who are empty nesters, and who like watching Scandal on TV”. Pretty amazing, right?
Facebook is great, and should continue to be a big part of your online presence, but it’s old news. Snapchat is the social network of the future, and the future is now. As I write this in January 2016, Snapchat is becoming mainstream.
What the hell is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a messaging app where you can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings on top of them, and send them to your followers. The photos and videos you send are called "Snaps". Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (from 1 to 10 seconds).
Because the Snaps disappear after they’re viewed, you’ll have your followers undivided attention! They won’t be scrolling through a news feed at hyperspeed, because there is no news feed. It’s all about attention – keeping the attention of those we want to see our message. This is exactly why I’m jumping on Snapchat to market my real estate business in 2016, and why you need to as well.
We’re an ADD society
We live in an On Demand world – a world in which many of us legitimately get mad when another human being calls us. Be honest! You too have been irritated by a phone call at a time that was not convenient for you. You would’ve preferred a text. Why do we now prefer texts to phone calls? Because a text can be read and responded to on our time, when it’s convenient for us.
Netflix put Blockbuster out of business because they gave us the ability to watch what we want to, when we want to. Same thing with Uber disrupting the taxi cab industry. We want everything on demand. Snapchat allows our followers to open our Snaps when they want to see them. With Snapchat, you can keep someone’s FULL attention! If they don’t pay attention to your snaps, they’ll disappear forever. Where else in our society can you do that?
Snapchat for real estate marketing
Real estate is very visual. Videos and photos are everything, and that’s exactly what Snapchat is all about. I like to record Snap videos when I’m previewing a home. If the home for sale has a great view of the Salt Lake valley, I Snap it; sometimes with a little narration. The viewer of the Snap will get a feel for how the view looks in person. They can then message me from within Snapchat and request more info about that particular home. Do any of your listings have unique aspects that you want people to see? Go record some Snap video that shows them off. Much more effective than a few eloquent words buried in your MLS description!
The other night on Snapchat, I showed off some new smart home technology at Home Depot. My followers saw some cool new smart home gadgets, learned how they work, and now they know to watch my Snaps if they want to hear more about smart home technology, not just real estate.
I add these Snaps to My Story, viewed as one long string of photos/videos, which allows me to create a few minutes of valuable content for my followers. A “story” collects all your snaps together in one place and is visible to all your followers & friends for 24 hours. If you create a video that is so great that you don’t want it to expire in 24 hours, with one button you can download the whole Story to your phone and put it up on Youtube!
Who is already using Snapchat to advertise?
Movie studios like Columbia Pictures are using Snapchat to deliver movie trailers or exclusive extra content to their followers. They are now putting Snapcodes on their movie posters for new movies like The 5th Wave. Are movie studios just wasting their time and money advertising on Snapchat? Doubtful. I believe they simply see where the world is moving and are getting in ahead of the wave, not behind it.
Additionally, some major brands like CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Wall Street Journal, Mashable, and National Geographic are part of Snapchat Discover, where these brands highlight exclusive Snapchat video content & articles, and then direct viewers back to their websites.
Taco Bell has ben using Snapchat and seeing great results. They said that 80% of their followers opened the videos Taco Bell sent them, and 90% of them watched the videos through to the end! How’s that for engagement?
How to learn how Snapchat works
I know this sounds like a cop out but … YouTube it! There are so many How To videos on YouTube to teach you how Snapchat works. Learning to tell stories on Snapchat is key, so follow marketing influencers who are already doing it successfully, and follow their lead. Take social media and marketing genius Gary Vaynerchuk for example. If I had to choose just one marketing/business expert to follow on Snapchat, it’s him. (username: garyvee) Watch how he uses Snapchat, and follow his lead! Gary is a true Snapchat master.
You can follow me and watch how I use Snapchat to add value to my viewers. I’m sure you can get a few ideas of what you can do yourself. Either type in my username: dustinbrohm - or take a screenshot of my Snapcode. You’ll see how I use Snapchat to tell stories and educate people about real estate and smart home technology, as well as to highlight specific homes for sale in the Salt Lake City area. Even more valuable than snapping your listings, Snapchat shows me being authentic, unrehearsed and real. These days people are turned off by the polished, rehearsed salesman giving a sales pitch on why they’re the best Realtor for the job. They want to work with someone authentic and real, but who has also given them value and educated them.
In terms of being authentic, I believe that if you’re not self-conscious after doing a video, you’re probably not being authentic enough. So get out of your comfort zone a bit. Be a little goofy, if that’s who you really are. Be yourself and let your followers get to know you. Not the rehearsed and buttoned up version of you that we’re used to putting online.
Play the long game
Although Snapchat is a perfect way to get in front of a younger group of potential clients, don’t think you’re going to start getting business after 1 month. Snapchat is just a tool in your marketing toolbelt, but success won’t happen overnight. It takes time to grow a following on Snapchat, and then direct those followers back to your website and other social media channels. It’s important that you commit to at least 6 months of regular, consistent Snapping. Just like any other form of real estate marketing, it takes time and consistency to see results.
It all comes down to a simple decision – will you decide to download Snapchat and learn how to use it? Or will you resist it for the next 2-3 years, making excuses like “Snapchat is just a fad” or “Snapchat is just for young people” and keep doing what you’re doing? My suggestion: if you want to still be in business 2-3 years from now you start making an effort to stay current with the social platforms of today! Plus, who says it can’t be fun?
About the Author:
Dustin Brohm is a top Salt Lake City Realtor, blogger, smart home expert, and founder of SearchSaltLake.com, a website & blog serving and educating home buyers and sellers in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dustin loves new technology, and has become an expert on using that technology to have the most effective real estate marketing possible. Dustin is an avid traveler, who also loves sports and being in the mountains. But above all that, he enjoys spending time with his family and being a Dad to his little boy. His team specializes in selling homes in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas of Cottonwood Heights Utah, Holladay, Millcreek and Olympus Cove.