Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to grieve the passing of a few social networks. Unfortunately, they have no future (at least in real estate), only their legacy. But do not lose hope; while some sites fall, others still have a bright future ahead of them. So let’s properly grieve and hope for the future, together. Then, we can dominate social media in 2017.
In 2016, we said goodbye to Vine: a social site without a cult following and no clear path for growth. Vine leaves behind survivors, including family patriarch Facebook, matriarch Instagram and little sister Snapchat. You may notice that Twitter is not listed as a survivor, as I fear we may soon been eulogizing it as well. Vine’s claim to fame was short, 6 second or less videos. You can still get your insta-quick fix on Instagram! How? Utilizing the “boomerang” function which is growing in popularity. Boomerang is great because it plays two second loops over and over again, some of the more popular ones include dunking a basketball, doing a shimmy dance, and many others. Give it a try. Although it’s not the same as vine, it is a comfort knowing quick content still exists.
Pinterest, the “pretty” network: though not officially dead, I’m calling it, especially for real estate professionals. Sure, it’s a great place to plan a wedding, cover your home in DIY mason jar projects, and fantasize about master bedroom decor way outside of your budget. Pinterest thrives off of lofty ideas of “what ifs” and “some days”—it’s what our industry is built on: the dream of homeownership and taking a plot of land to make your own. But this network has a limited ROI; I get it folks, it’s fun and it’s pretty, but uploading individual pictures of a listing to saving an idea you like onto a board/category is very time consuming. On top of that, folks don’t come to Pinterest to find a house for sale; they look for ideas on how to spruce up their newly acquired home. My advice? Cut your losses and move on to another network where you can hand pick a targeted audience of potential clients ready to buy and serious about a house hunt. Leave the folks with their heads in the clouds where they are, on Pinterest.
Another network I would personally like to wish a fond farewell, and a “see you on the other side” is Twitter. Yes, yes, I know it is “technically” alive and well, but for real estate, it’s not. There’s so much content; updates have a minimal shelf life and are quickly covered up by the next, newest piece of content. Of course, there are Twitter stars and folks that have cult followings whose content is hearted and retweeted, but it’s hard to get to that point unless you’re an exceptionally active user and work to cultivate your audience into brand advocates. Most real estate professionals simply don’t have the time to invest in building an audience that is both passionate about content and brand. Twitter is a very unique network from strict content limitations to unique communities, it doesn’t appeal to everyone, myself included.
Surviving Family Members
Let’s pivot on to happier times now with some quick predictions for 2017, shall we? As I mentioned earlier, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are survivors and thrivers for 2017. The hot topic for social media in 2017 is video; live video to be specific. With Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat, the online world wants to see what you’re up to and how you can best help them. Now, how can all of this be leveraged for real estate? I’ll show you how.
In April 2016, I wrote about Facebook live, and even made a video about this video phenomenon (Inception). I accurately predicted this sensation was here to stay and would be used in various ways from broadcasting breaking news to baking cookies and everything in between. Facebook Live is for everyone, including YOU! Use it to show off your listings, do your own virtual tour of a house, host your own show and talk about the state of market. Heck, you can even do your listing presentation LIVE. Promote your business, show your audience why you’re the most qualified, and watch the loyalty roll in.
Your online community members crave pretty pictures; it’s what drives social media. Continue to post on Instagram and add new followers, but I URGE you to take advantage of some of the newer features built in as well. For example, now you can go LIVE on Instagram, just as you would with Facebook. Want to know the best part? When you’re live, you get priority placement at the top of the feed, putting you in front of other, older stories while you’re broadcasting. Let me say that again…going live gets you FREE priority placement on Instagram. I don’t know if I can make myself clearer.
Snapchat isn’t live per say, but your content on Snapchat has a shelf life. I have a great how-to and benefits article from earlier in the year, but I want to briefly mention another feature of Snapchat that you will find useful for your business: “geofilters.” A geofilter is a graphic overlay in an area that is live for a certain amount of time. For example, a few days before an open house, you can create a Snapchat Geofilter to be “live” during your open house hours. You place a “fence” around the area you want the filter to appear in, whether it is just the property you’re showing, the street, or the whole neighborhood, and then choose how long the filter will run. This is an EXCELLENT way to brand yourself, drive interest to an open house or listings, and connect with the younger audience on Snapchat. Here’s an example of a Geofilter. One day last summer, a charity put on a free ice cream event, and purchased a Geofilter that ran for a few city blocks. If you used Snapchat in that radius, you saw their filter. In addition to the awesome moose hats, they even promoted the ice cream in the filter. I was clearly a happy girl that day.
There’s a lot more to explore with Snapchat, but I’ll leave that for another article at another time. (Gotta keep you coming back for something, right??!?!)
Good riddance, 2016. May these departed social networks find peace, wherever they may be, and may their survivors carve their own legacy. 2017 has so much to offer real estate professionals, and harnessing the power of social media is part of it! Take care, and make this year your best ever! Cheers!