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Communicating in a Digital World: How Snapchat is Revolutionizing Real Estate

PropertyAccess Team |

Snapchat might not be your go-to real estate app — yet — but it’s worthy of a closer look. Snapchat enables real estate professionals to capture leads, track competition and monitor engagement. Because it’s built on interactive communication through video, picture and text, it’s changing the game of real estate, revolutionizing what it means to throw an open house and interact with clients. In today’s digitally driven society, staying relevant, establishing authentic human-to-human connections and crafting quick, visually appealing content is the key to success.

We asked 11 real estate professionals to share their insights on how Snapchat can benefit agents’ personal brands. Here is what they had to say:

How does Snapchat benefit your business, and how do you measure success?

Snapchat is all about personal branding and showing the “behind the scenes” in a day in the life of an agent. I measure success by views — are they staying steady? — and by engagement. If I ask a question, will I get anyone to answer? – Dean Ouellette of Phoenix Real Estate Guy

The measurable success I’ve had is the inbound and outbound referrals with other agents across the country. The unmeasurable success is getting to know my clients and other agents. Snapchat forces you to be real and authentic. Sometimes it even forces you to be a little vulnerable, which is a good thing. Vulnerability leads to trust, trust leads to relationships, and relationships lead to transactions and referrals. Agents worry about creating a professional image, but most people look for trust in their agent and couldn’t care less if they have a suit and tie on. – Neil Mathweg of Realty Executives Cooper Spransy

Many of my clients are on Snapchat, so I connect with them and create informative “stories” and snaps that keep me top of mind. Since Snapchat has a 90 percent engagement rate, it is a no-brainer to use this great tool to communicate and engage with clients
and prospects. I measure my success by my engagement, open rate and client retention. It is a very new, effective way to manage relationships and also grow them! – Wade Vander Molen, Director of Sales/Marketing for Stewart Title in Northern Virginia

How does Snapchat differ from other social mediums?

Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, nobody else can see how many people view your story, so you can measure your success privately. Snapchat is more personal and success is relative based on how much you are using it. – The Broke Agent

Snapchat is the social media platform that is most like a real-life conversation. It’s raw and unpolished, which is what people want. But for people to follow you, they have to be truly invested in the process of connecting with you, because it’s a multi-step process. Snapchat doesn’t have a native search for users based on topics, categories or interests, so it takes some effort to connect. If people make an effort to check out your content, they are invested in you and what you are doing. – Justin Lindsey of World Impact Real Estate

Snapchat is immediate, whereas with Facebook and Instagram you may be posting at the end of the day, or posting an interesting link or article. Snapchat has a more immediate reach and someone can follow your updates in real time. – Aaron “Ari” Meridy of Brown Harris Stevens

I measure Snapchat success by how many people engage with my stories: How many responses do I get? When I ask people to screenshot to vote on something or give feedback, how many actually do? I can tell you right now, the engagement on Snapchat is through the roof. People actually pay attention because they know that if they don’t, the snap will disappear in 10 seconds, or in up to 24 hours depending on whether it’s a direct snap or something in your story. – Dustin Brohm of Salt Lake City Real Estate Agent

What kinds of stories are you creating with Snapchat?

We tend to broadcast our day-to-day, whether that be a day doing paperwork in the home office, going to various meetings, or checking out fabulous properties in San Diego. Just last week we tried our first “Snapchat property tour,” where we allowed our followers to interact with us and choose what property we’d view and broadcast on Snapchat. Our followers loved seeing the ins and outs of the property they chose to view, so it’s something we will be incorporating regularly going forward. – John and Melissa Steele of Steele San Diego Homes

I create stories with funny characters that I make up. Using the filters, I have developed different “people” in the real estate industry that you may come across. I sometimes snap my open houses, but I try to differ my stories from the traditional agent. – The Broke Agent

I use Snapchat to post about properties I visit on broker tours, hot market updates and real estate insights. Basically, I try to add content that feels “exclusive” and more opinionated than my other social media platforms. – Avery Chaplin of Great Estate in Weston MA

Because it’s a real-time application, when are you using it?

I’m snapping constantly throughout the day, usually 3 to 4 times an hour to give my followers real insight into my daily activities. – Salvatore Friscia, Owner/Managing Broker of San Diego Premier Property Management

I’m using Snapchat while I’m on appointments, at open houses, previewing apartments and walking the streets of New York City. Every neighborhood is special in its own way and has its own flavor which can be shown through a Snapchat video. – Aaron “Ari” Meridy of Brown Harris Stevens

I use Snapchat randomly throughout the day — some days I may only snap a few pics, while other days I’ll go off for 5 minutes about something weird that happened while negotiating a deal. I try to snap about whatever I’m up to that day and sprinkle in some educational “snaptorials” along the way too. I’m always trying to switch it up so people stay interested and engaged. – Dustin Brohm of Salt Lake City Real Estate Agent

What features of the app help with your marketing?

My Snapchat code is on my yard signs and business cards. I made a cold call a few days ago and was sharing my use of Snapchat. The woman I was speaking with said, “I know you! I’ve seen your signs!” Snapchat is also critical for connecting with the next generation of home buyers. I get a lot of high school kids who follow me on Snapchat, and they’re learning and engaging with me on real estate topics. They may not be thinking about buying a house right now, but when the time comes for them to buy, or if their parents start discussing buying or selling a house, they will know of someone to call. – Justin Lindsey of World Impact Real Estate

Certainly the weaving of a story is the best feature. Also, I upload individual snaps that I can repurpose to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. By doing so, I have gained new followers and more views on my posts. I boosted a Facebook post of one of my snap stories for one day and received just under 1,000 views. – Betty Lee of the Corcoran Group

Geo filters allows you to create a filter that can be used by anyone snapping in a certain geographic area. If you are hosting an event at a zoo, everyone who is at your event and taking pictures or video using Snapchat can then slide your marketing filter (branded to you) over their image. Then all of their follows see they are at an event at the zoo sponsored by you. Not to mention the thousands of other people at the zoo who may see your filter, or may actually use your filter. – Neil Mathweg of Realty Executives Cooper Spransy

How do you prioritize Snapchat in your broader social media marketing?

Snapchat is the most important platform right now, and I’m using all my other social media platforms to push new followers to my Snapchat stories. – Salvatore Friscia, Owner/Managing Broker of San Diego Premier Property Management

With Snapchat, I don’t feel like I’m taking time out of my day to do social media. Since it’s real-time and I’m capturing things that I already do on a daily basis, it doesn’t require much additional time from me. I see myself using it more and hope to make it one of my dominant platforms. – Betty Lee of the Corcoran Group

It’s my number one. I use Snapchat to create content for other platforms, and I use other platforms to bring more followers to my Snapchat account. It is the centerpiece of my entire media plan. – Neil Mathweg of Realty Executives Cooper Spransy

Why should agents start using Snapchat?

Nowadays, business and personal life are becoming one. In our parent’s generation, your business self was your business self, and your personal self stayed at home. Now, with social media, those lines have become blurred, and people will work with you because they like and trust you, not necessarily because you’re the most experienced or “best” out there. People connect with you on a more personal and real level. Snapchat is a great way to break down the boundaries when getting to know someone. – John and Melissa Steele of Steele San Diego Homes

In any business, change is constant. You adapt to change and learn to be where your target audience spends their time. Snapchat also allows agents to be seen as real people in real time doing real things. Also, being able to portray your value messages over video for free to your followers is huge. Realtors are marketers first, agents second. Any social network that leads with video is the future. Embrace it! – Wade Vander Molen, Director of Sales/Marketing for Stewart Title in Northern Virginia

Connect with the youth (your client’s children are more and more a part of the decision-making process). Show the world your brand is nimble and on top of the ever-changing tech scene. If you know about Snapchat, and use it, you are sending the message that you can adapt and maximize new technologies. – Avery Chaplin of Great Estate in Weston MA