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With the constant growth of technology, real estate agents are always looking for new ways to connect with their audience. While many agents use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, others are turning to different, more personalized platforms to reach younger buyers. According to a recent study, millennials now make up the largest group of homebuyers at 35%. 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.

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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 overlay, emojis or drawings, and (if you want to have some fun) you can also use lenses. Snapchat is different from other messaging or image-based apps in 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. This can be helpful, because it lessens the pressure of spending too much time crafting the perfect image. You can just focus on sending real-life material.

Other than permanence, Snapchat is different in the way you connect with your audience. If you want all of your followers to see a new video you posted, share your snap through “My Story.” When 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’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. On the other hand, if you only want to share with certain people, you can select certain names from your list of contacts. Snaps can’t be connected through hashtags and followers can’t like or share your snaps.

Why should agents use Snapchat?

When thinking about using Snapchat, it’s important to consider your goal. For instance, Snapchat wouldn’t be the most useful tool for lead generation. Instead, its best use is for 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.

Real estate is all about the visual. Agents use photos and videos to visually and emotionally connect with clients. 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. Because of the way it’s designed, you’ll have your viewer’s undivided attention. They won’t be distracted by a scrollable newsfeed, because there isn’t one. Users won’t focus on your number of likes or followers, because they’re not there. Because of all of this, Snapchat has a higher level of user engagement than any other social network.

What should you send to your followers?

A new listing or a community event provides you with the perfect opportunity to connect with clients. If you would normally send an email or text about a new listing, consider a snap instead. Take a quick video of the gorgeous view from the balcony or the new roman-sized tub that was just installed in the master bath and share it with a new client 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 know a client a little better, you can even send them snaps about community events or something from your favorite restaurant that you think they’d enjoy. For example, if your newest client’s favorite drink is a margarita, visit your favorite bar, take a snap of the drink, and caption it “The BEST margaritas in town!”

Snapchat is also a great tool for keeping in touch with clients who are further along in the buying or selling process. Was a client’s offer just accepted? Send them a snap of you holding their paperwork with the caption “Almost done!” Or if you have a client who has already viewed a few properties and you have a new listing that you think would be perfect for them, send a snap of the house with the caption “This could be it! Let’s talk.” to see if they’re interested.

Time 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, you’re not going to achieve the attention or engagement you want. 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. If you want to learn more about Snapchat or need a basic crash-course, check out this episode of the Homes.com Social Show!