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In the world of real estate, agents are looking for ways to connect with a more diverse audience. While many agents use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, others are turning to different platforms to reach younger buyers. According to a recent study from the NAR, millennials now make up the largest group of homebuyers at 35 percent. Snapchat, one of the top three social apps used by millennials, can be a great way to connect with this younger generation. Here’s why real estate agents should use this growing social tool to reach younger buyers.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is an image-based messaging app that allows you to send real-time photos and videos to your followers. You can add text layover, emojis or drawings and, if you want to have more fun with it, you can also use lenses. Snapchat is different from other messaging or image-based apps due to the permanence of your messages and the way you connect with your followers. The photos and videos you send, called “snaps,” are only viewable to your audience for a short period of time (from 1-10 seconds) as designated by you. Once your follower views the snap for the allotted period of time, it’s gone. Because snaps are only available for a quick burst of time, in that 1-10 second period, you’ll have your viewer’s undivided attention.

Besides the length of time snaps can be seen, Snapchat is also different in the way you connect with your audience. When it comes to who you send your snaps to, you have options. If you want all of your followers to see a new video you posted, you’d share your snap through “My Story.” If you upload a snap to your storyline, it’s available through Snapchat for 24 hours, but followers can still only view it in the quick burst of time you select. If you only want to share with certain people, you also have the option of selecting their names from your list of contacts. Snaps can’t be connected through hashtags and followers can’t like or share your snaps. This can be helpful, because it lessens the pressure of spending time crafting the perfect image. You can just focus on sending real-life material.

Why should you use it?

Real estate is a visual business. Agents use photos and videos to both visually and emotionally connect with prospects. While it may seem strange (or even counterintuitive) to put time and effort into a social app that doesn’t store your posts or connect through hashtags, it’s important to remember that the point of Snapchat is to visually engage with your audience in a way that grabs the most attention. Viewers won’t be distracted by a newsfeed, because there isn’t one. In the same way, Snapchat doesn’t focus on your number of likes or followers. It just focuses on the pictures and videos you’re sending. Due to all of this, Snapchat has a higher level of user engagement than any other social network.

Now, Snapchat wouldn’t be the most useful tool for lead generation. Instead, its best purpose is engagement and retention. Think of Snapchat like texting, only more visually appealing. Share a screenshot of your Snapchat username on your website or include it in the signature of your emails so prospects can find you through the app. Send out short snaps throughout the week to keep in touch with your followers. You could start with 3-5 snaps a week and increase where or when you think you need to.

What should you send?

Your Snapchat possibilities are virtually endless, but there are some things to keep in mind. When preparing to send a snap, think about which audience you want to target. Is it something you want to share with all of your followers or anyone in your city? A new listing or a community event is perfect for this type of snap. If you would normally send your clients an email or text about a new listing, consider a snap instead. Take a quick video of the gorgeous view from the master bedroom or the new roman-sized tub that was just installed in the master bath and share it on your storyline with a caption like “Just listed! Can you believe this view?” or “Need to relax? Check out this tub!” Entice your followers so they’ll want to schedule an appointment to tour the rest of the house. If you want to show off the great community in your area, visit your favorite restaurant and take a picture or video of the food or the bar. Share it on your storyline with the caption “The BEST mojitos in town!” Also, if you’re in a town with an active geofilter, you can take snaps of your location and load it to that storyline, so anyone in the area can see your snap.

If you want to send snaps one-on-one, Snapchat is also a great tool for keeping in touch with clients who are further along in the buying or selling process. Do you have a client whose offer was just accepted? Send them a snap of you holding their paperwork with the caption “Almost done.” Or if you have a property that you think would be perfect for your client, send them a snap of the house with the caption “This could be it!” to see if they’re interested.

Ready to start snapping?

As with any other type of real estate marketing, the key to success is consistency. If you only send one snap a month, it’s likely you’re not going to achieve the attention or engagement you’re looking for. In the same way, if you only maintain your account for a month, you probably won’t see results either. To see success, we’d recommend consistently keeping in touch with your followers for at least six months. For snap inspiration, we like to follow Katie Lance and Brian Fanzo. If you want to learn more about Snapchat or need a basic crash-course, check out this episode of the Social Show!

If you’re looking for more ways to get in front of homebuyers and sellers who are ready to transact, Local Connect Ads instantly bring you property inquiries from active buyers and sellers when they are ready to engage with you. Local Connect positions you prominently in front of transaction-ready consumers in your target zip code, while showcasing your photo or logo, phone number and endorsements.

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