I am pleased to announce that Climb Labs’ Snapchat experiment has concluded. When you’re in the middle of a project like this, it’s easy to lose sight of what you were looking for when it started. A lot of people that heard about the experiment were surprised we were spending time on Snapchat. “Isn’t that for teenagers? How does that apply to real estate?” was the most common refrain.
So for our final week, I wanted to check in with our agents and get a sense of how they saw Snapchat fitting in to their current and future marketing plans. Experimentation is wonderful, especially with free apps like Snapchat, but in the end what we all want to know is how these tools impact the bottom line.
I was happy to see that all of our agents not only enjoyed using Snapchat, but had managed to generate leads from their snaps. I can’t take credit for our agents’ hard work in engaging followers, but I’m delighted that this experiment captured some of their successes.
I thought the best way to wrap everything up would be to address the concerns of Snapchat skeptics directly:
“Isn’t Snapchat for teenagers?”
Snapchat skews younger, but it’s also growing at an incredible rate. Like a lot of startups, Snapchat’s product resonated with a particular group, which led them to double down on features that appeal to that group. This is a big reason why advertisers are eager to siphon dollars into Snapchat advertising – the 13-34 y/o audience is both elusive and valuable, making Snapchat uniquely positioned to reach them.
It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook started as a tool for connecting college students, but quickly grew beyond those bounds. I’m not saying Snapchat will follow Facebook’s success, rather that new platforms sometimes have to limit their scope as they scale.
“Sure, it’s popular, but isn’t this just the next Twitter? Isn’t Snapchat overhyped?”
This is a totally valid concern — many are wondering when Snapchat is going to ‘grow up’ (I.E. come up with a way to leverage its popularity and generate sustainable revenue). Snapchat’s Discover feature is notoriously unpopular compared to other advertising tools, something Sarah Lacy addressed in a recent Pando article:
“But like all things in tech, hype is no guarantee for success. Despite the huge engagement numbers touted by publishers on Snapchat’s Discover feature — BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Perretti once said it made up 21 percent of the company’s traffic—Pew’s research suggest the numbers don’t add up. According to its survey—which actually is from May but is referenced throughout the June report—only 2 percent of adults get their news from Snapchat.”
If not this feature, where will Snapchat generate revenue? The sheer number of users will keep Snapchat in the driver’s seat, but the long road to ‘legitimacy’ as a profitable platform could prove more difficult than anyone is ready to admit.
Of course, none of this should deter you from trying it out. It’s free and doesn’t take much of investment of time or effort compared with some other social media tools. Whether or not Snapchat can live up to the hype is irrelevant as long as it remains useful for forming connections with others.
“How does an app aimed at teens help with real estate?”
As any agent will tell you, real estate is all about relationships. You’re going to have to spend a lot of time with your agent, so it’s pretty important that you like them. Snapchat is designed for users to show off their personality and inject a little fun into their daily routine. All this applies to agents, who can use it as an amusing and engaging way to appeal to potential clients. It’s a different angle that complements the more curated marketing tools agents already use.
On to the questions for our brave agents!
Will you keep using Snapchat as a real estate marketing tool? Why or why not?
“Yes! I’ve had clients contact me after seeing Snapchat posts. It’s a great way to show people your day-to-day or just specific events. I also really like that it’s a non-invasive way to promote my business since followers decide whether to look at my posts. The fact that posts aren’t saved is great because it allows users to be candid and the imperfections in posts make everyone feel more real.”
Pretty much every agent said the same thing. That Snapchat has helped agents generate leads is critical, because it’s really difficult to quantify ‘success’ on the app.
What do you think makes Snapchat uniquely useful for real estate? If it isn’t, why not?
“It allows people to preview property without actually contacting an agent. It also allows me as an agent to showcase properties and give details about it. It’s also a ‘true’ video meaning it’s not doctored in anyway so people see the real deal. Sometimes properties look nothing like the photos this alleviates that.”
Again, the candor of Snapchat shines through. When we started this experiment, it was easy to theorize how Snapchat might appeal to people, but we had no idea if that would be true in reality. Based on our agents’ reactions, it’s clear that Snapchat’s features do resonate strongly with clients.
Say you had to convince another agent to try out Snapchat. What would you say to entice them?
“The filters and face swap is pretty awesome. Even if you do not use it as a marketing tool it’s still a fun app to play with.”
I liked this answer, because this may end up being as important to the adoption process as the number of leads our agents generated. Snapchat has a reputation for being hard to use initially, so anything that helps agents vault that barrier is a good thing.
This experiment was highly educational, and I’m happy to conclude that Snapchat has legitimate potential as a marketing tool for realtors.
A big thank you to the agents who endured by constant emails and questions. Give them a follow!