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The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Snapchat & Instagram Stories

Posted by Carrington Real Estate Services on August 15, 2016 at 3:13 PM

In case you haven’t heard, Snapchat is the hottest social media platform in the world right now and Instagram is trying to stake their claim to that title by recently releasing an update that includes "Instagram Stories" which directly mimicks Snapchat. 

Instagram-Stories-Snapchat.jpgWhat were once the favorite apps of teenagers across the globe have quickly evolved into one of the most popular ways for adults and businesses to communicate through their mobile devices.

Because it is so different from all of the other social platforms we have dealt with over the years, Snapchat and therefore Instagram Stories have a bit of a learning curve that catches many of its older users off guard. But if you are willing to push through that initial resistance, there is an amazing amount of client interaction that can be generated with even sporadic 'snaps' and 'stories'.

If you are looking to get on board with the next big thing in social media, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are the ticket. And we have put together a basic introduction that will get you seeing some ROI on your investment in the platforms in no time at all.

Snapchat and Instagram Story Basics

So what exactly are these apps? What is Snapchat? What is Instagram Stories? And what makes it so different?

At its core, Snapchat and Instagram stories are about sharing pictures and short 10-second videos taken directly from your phone with your friends and the general public. What makes it so different is that there really isn’t much more to it than that.

You don’t have to mess around with looking at other people’s profiles or look at comments from other users. You just watch what your friends and the people you decide to follow have to share, and then share what you feel like posting.

As you play around with the app, you will eventually discover things like emojis, text, face filters and geo filters that allow you to make your pictures and videos more interesting.

Platform Advantages

Another key aspect of Snapchat is that everything you share directly to somebody they photo or video will disappear once it has been viewed by the recipient. When you decide to post the video to your "story" on both Instagram as well Snapchat your video or photo will live for a full 24 hours (unless you decide to delete it before then) and can be seen by anybody who follows you on these social media platforms.

This was appealing to the teenagers that initially adopted the platform for obvious reasons, but it also has its advantages for adults as well. The fact that the snaps are going to disappear creates a level of scarcity that forces the people viewing them to actually pay attention to them, which is a very rare thing in social media these days!

Because of this high level of engagement, you can start seeing some serious return on your Snaps even when you only have a handful of followers. You don’t need to worry about getting thousands of fans to be successful like you do on other platforms. Even with just your phone's contact list you can reach 100's of people a day and share your information.

Another big advantage for Snapchat and Instagram users are that people viewing your “story” will be able to see all of your posts grouped together in chronological order. So if you are telling a story about what you are doing that day, or giving a tour of a property, you can take your Snapchat audience along for the ride without interruption.

Building a Following

Creating a Snapchat and Instagram presence that actually works for your real estate business requires you to focus on two things: building an audience and producing great content. Let’s start with the audience.

The first step in building an audience is to find and follow all of your friends and family on both Snapchat and Instagram. Since there is no native search on Snapchat, you will have to ask around a bit. Don’t worry, it’s worth the time investment.

One great way to kick off your Snapchat account is to promote it across your other social media platforms. Make your Twitter and Facebook profile pics your Snapcode (that ghost profile image) for a few days and your friends will start to follow.

Once you establish a basic following, the next step is to print out that Snapcode and display it at the office and at your open houses and other events. You might even want to run contests encouraging local residents to snap you pictures of their favorite listings!

Thankfully, there are ways to find your contact list on Instagram. When you first create an Instagram profile it will prompt you to find friends. You can either find a friend via your phone's contact list or by linking your Facebook. Once you have the app created you can also add friends by heading into the settings tab and from there clicking one of the "Find Friends" options presented.

Content Ideas

As you are building your audience, you are going to want to share some great content with them. Luckily for you, real estate is an incredibly visual business, so we will have plenty of ideas to work with.

The most common thing for agents to Snap are pictures of their listings. You can then take this a step further by showing off the best aspects of different listings, using multiple Snapchat and Instagram videos to do virtual tours of your listings, and to promote your open houses.

In between your listing-focused snaps, you can also try peppering in some pictures and videos of different aspects of your community. Showing what an expert you are about the community not only makes you look good, but it also gives people who aren’t currently in the market a reason to follow you.

Finally, since Snapchat and Instagram are very personal platforms, you are going to want to include some things about yourself. Take some time at various points throughout your workweek to show what the life of a real estate agent is like “behind the scenes.” You want people to get to know you as the person as well as the agent.

Frustrated with the huge stack of paperwork in front of you? That’s a perfect opportunity for a Snap!

Now that you have a basic understanding of how Snapchat and Instagram stories work, some ideas for building an audience, and the types of things that you should share with them, all that you have left to do is start taking capturing moments and watch your business grow because of it!

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