Using Snapchat to Engage with Millennial Real Estate Buyers

Are you using Snapchat yet? The mobile app may have emerged as a bit of an enigma, but it has quickly transitioned into a staple of our daily mobile usage. With a current valuation of $15 billion and more financing pending, it appears that Snapchat’s popularity will continue to grow. We’ve already discussed the value of marketing your real estate business with Instagram, so in this article we will talk about what Snapchat is and how you can use it to engage with millennial clients.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo messaging app for iPhone and Android mobile devices. Users can take a picture or video and add text, drawings, and a variety of filters. They set a designated time limit, 1-10 seconds, and send to selected contacts from their list. Users can also set a “story” – a Snap that pins to their profile and is viewable for 24 hours after posting.

How is Snapchat Different from Instagram?

There are two fundamental differences between the photo apps Snapchat and Instagram – privacy and permanence. Unless you set your profile to private (which as a marketer, you wouldn’t) your Instagram photos are publicly accessible via a variety of platforms and search methods. For example, I can search #realestate on Instagram and discover millions of users who are using this hashtag. Snapchat has no such functionality. Two Snapchat users must add each other as contacts in order to send and receive snaps, making the app more personal. Photos posted on Instagram will remain on your profile unless you choose to delete them, whereas Snapchat photos display for a maximum of 10 seconds (for 24 hours, in the case of a snap story) before becoming permanently inaccessible. The user may choose to save their snaps, but this will only save it to their local device. If the receiver uses the screenshot function on their phone, or chooses to replay a snap, the sender is notified.

If the Photos Aren’t Permanent, What’s the Point?

The point of Snapchat is the user mentality. User experience on Instagram will typically focus on numbers of likes and followers, points of prestige that put a certain amount of pressure on the poster to provide content that will be highly engaged with. On Snapchat there is no such pressure. The point of Snapchat is to be fun and quirky, enticing and engaging your contacts with visual snippets of whatever you are doing. Teen and millennial users enjoy using Snapchat where they would traditionally send a text message. In many cases it’s easier and more stimulating to send a quick clip of the concert you are attending, for example, than it would be to text your friend “Hey I’m at this great concert seeing so-and-so, they are playing this song it sounds amazing!”

How Can I Use Snapchat to Engage with Millennial Real Estate Clients?

As mentioned above, Snapchat is useful where text messages would traditionally be appropriate. While Snapchat would not be useful as a lead generating tool, it is exceptionally useful for client engagement and retention. When you meet with a client and exchange mobile contact information, politely ask if they use Snapchat and if you can add them to keep them updated on the house hunt. Imagine being on the receiving end of a text message “Hey there’s this great bungalow you should check out.” Enticing? Sure, if a bungalow is what you’re interested in. Now imagine receiving a brief video (or a few photos) panning around a beautifully finished kitchen with sunshine beaming through the windows, with the caption “great bungalow, amazing kitchen.” The beauty of the Snap is that is draws the client into the environment and makes them want to see more. You use the limitation to your advantage and make your client feel compelled to request and attend showings. If a client is receiving 5-10 thoughtful snaps from you per week, they are going to think “wow this agent is really scoping out some great options, I need to check out these properties before somebody else does.” Even after a client has committed to a property you could send a snap of a pile of papers - “finishing up your paperwork!” - or of the front of the property - “your new home!”. The possibilities are endless, so long as you are always being thoughtful and not intrusive.

The Bottom Line

Snapchat is a phenomenal tool to engage with existing clients. It will make your buyers feel connected to you and the house searching process, which is conducive to converting sales and retaining these clients in the future. While the primary user demographic is in the millennial age range, the app is popular with many adults as well. Incorporating Snapchat into your client communication strategy will aid your ability to close deals swiftly and form long term client relationships.