snapchat sign on a lawn advertising an open house

How the Real Estate Industry Can Use Snapchat and Facebook Live Video For Sales

After Crush It! and Thank You Economy were released, I realized that a lot of the readers who were drawn to my advice happened to be in the real estate business. Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense–to be good in real estate, you have to have great entrepreneurial tendencies. It’s no wonder why I’ve always had a bit of kinship towards that industry.

Back in 2011, I even did a big keynote speech at the Re/Max annual convention to over 40,000 people. Real estate has always been a hot topic and I continue to get a lot of questions on how realtors can leverage social media for their businesses.

My favorite concept in real estate is owning the story around a home and the city or town around it. Where social media comes into play is that you can easily craft daily content about a home and the 10-20 mile radius around the area where you plan to sell property. If you want to win on social, you should also be putting out content to make potential buyers romantic about the local amenities since people often pick where to live based on utility (ie. convenience, commute time, school districts).

So, here are some tactics you can use on two platforms that I can see gaining popularity in the real estate industry. Realtors can use these tips to bring value to their audience and produce real results (aka, actually lead to housing sales and rentals).

Snapchat

I’ve hyperbolized around Snapchat for so long and it is so obvious to me where the market is headed. If you know me at all, you know where I stand on it: it’s a platform that people use with intent. Because the content disappears, you can be sure that users are really paying attention to what’s happening on their screens.

But, the value of the platform that most real estate people are overlooking is the emerging 30 to 45 year old demo on Snapchat. In the next 2-3 years, Snapchat will skew much older and age much like Facebook has. There’s a lot of value in being a first mover on the platform.

Just as interesting is Snapchat’s growth among the elite top earners within the 30 to 45 year-old demo, especially on the coasts. (It is very obvious to me that Snapchat has the attention of my “rich” friends right now.)

The one arbitrage tactic that is still available (and I think is grossly underpriced right now) is custom geofilters. For example, I think it would be incredible for a real estate agent to buy filters on top of all the hottest restaurants in Soho with some clever creative and copy. You want to take advantage of the fact that if they are out in the area, they probably like the neighborhood. For the cool, affluent 36-year old who can afford a 3 million dollar apartment in Soho, a real estate agent who is smart enough to create a filter on Snapchat is exactly the person who is going to win that business.

One of the great things about Snapchat is that the platform makes it very easy to create content. It doesn’t have to be “polished.” Because of the low barrier to entry, you don’t need a high-tech camera or to be blessed with amazing photography or video skills.

For example, you can easily produce content around the neighborhoods where you have listings and showing the actual properties won’t take up much time. You can do quick reviews of the nearby restaurants, schools, the back porch, the patio, the pool, or anything relevant that adds value to the consumer. Think about it: It’s a one person show that you can do without a production company and it doesn’t require the high skill cap and resources that are often needed for other platforms like YouTube. For the average real estate agent, Snapchat content is quite scalable. All you need is your phone and insights on what people are interested in.

Facebook Live Video

Now, you also know my stance on Facebook advertising. It’s an incredible platform that allows you to overlay a ton of rich targeting layers like age, location, recent life events, and interests. However, that’s not all that Facebook can offer. There’s a big opportunity to use Facebook Live, Facebook’s native live streaming product.

Live streaming is hot right now and with Facebook Live’s growing popularity, it’s definitely something realtors should move on. Feel lost on how you can use Facebook Live? Think about the ability to create a virtual open house at scale on Facebook–a platform where many real estate agents already have a foothold for potential buyers.

I can envision a hotshot real estate agent streaming live from an open house while talking to potential clients. Potential buyers will be able to view the house remotely and ask relevant questions that the realtor can respond to and show in real time. Think about all the house-showcasing programs that took television by storm in the late 90s and into the 2000s. It’s MTV cribs made even more compelling with live streaming.

Using Facebook to do live, virtual open houses is going to be a monumental move. I expect multiple people to email me over the next 24 months to say they sold a house to someone who was watching on Facebook instead of going to a traditional viewing.

Using Facebook to do live, virtual open houses is going to be a monumental move.

A lot of realtors are not using social to their full advantage. A lot of you lack the desire to adjust and innovate with the new tools at hand. You can’t be romantic about using the same methods to make a sale based on the industry standard. While you might be mapping to your demo now, we are 24 to 30 months away from Snapchat and live streaming platforms becoming the mainstream for the 30–45-year-old demo. So, I challenge you to start experimenting with these platforms to bring value and make that sale.

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