Snapchat and Real Estate Today


Snapchat and Real Estate Today

By Matt Bruns

As many of you probably know by now, Snapchat is taking over as the hottest social media app amongst the millennial generation. You might’ve noticed the uptick in the number of selfies kids are taking or perhaps you’ve recently been asked to pose for a Face Swap photo. The photo and video messaging app is a fun and creative way to communicate, and the app is constantly upgrading with new capabilities and features.

While the app is most popular amongst millennials, its reach in older age groups is growing and should continue to grow as Snapchat adds new features, and both businesses and individuals catch on to the possibilities. As the apps user base expands, so does its value as a marketing tool for businesses to promote and communicate, and the real estate industry can benefit greatly. This post is about the app, how I use it, and other ways Realtors® can use the app to promote their business.

What is Snapchat and how do people use it?

For those who don’t know, Snapchat is a social media app based on photo and video messaging. Users take photos and videos using the app on their smart phones, and share them with their contacts within the app. The photo and video messages can be sent directly to specific contacts, where they last for only 10 seconds before disappearing, or they can be posted to the users “Story,” which is basically a photo and video slideshow of all that user’s Snaps in the past 24 hours. The app is also fun in that it allows users to edit their Snaps with things like emoji stickers, paint, and filters, and the developers continue to upgrade the app with more and more capabilities. And while more and more features are added, the main function is simply to share your photos and videos with friends.


While I use Snapchat for both work and personal Snaps now, I first began using it like most people do: to share funny, interesting, and unique experiences with my closest friends. It was mostly videos of my dog, vacation pics, my view from the seats at the game, and the occasional embarrassing photo of my girlfriend. Just about everything I shared was stuff I could’ve posted to Facebook or Instagram, but decided to Snapchat it since I felt it was quicker and easier. As time wore on and I started my real estate career, I eventually started Snapchatting more and more real estate related content.

How Do I use Snapchat for Real Estate?

My main use and goal for Snapchat now is to continually remind my Snapchat friends of my business, and expertise through consistent sharing of my real estate activities and related observations and opinions. Sometimes my snapchats are about really cool and exciting parts of the business like listings, showings, inspections, walk-thru, closing tables, etc. If I find cool features of a new listing like a good view or intricate woodworking, I definitely make sure to share because it’s a way to promote the house at the very least. Other interesting Snaps I share may be unique interior design I come across during showings or funny occurrences during home inspections and final walk thrus. I also make sure to Snapchat some of the stressful and tiresome aspects of being a Realtor®, too, like sealing hundreds of calendar envelopes before mail out or doing extensive research for a listing presentation. Why? Because for one, I want to remind people that this job isn’t always easy and hardworking agents have value. And two, because Snapchat is about sharing your reality and unavoidable hassles of a job are something everyone can relate to.


One way I express my knowledge in real estate is to include meaningful insights with the content I share, so that way my Snapchat friends are not only seeing, but also learning. It’s important for me to not suggest home inspector expertise, but there are lots of opportunities to point out things that the average person does not know or notice when looking at a house.

Another cool feature that I use on a regular basis is the Snapchat Geofilter. These Geofilters are unique photo and video filters only available when the photo or video is taken within a specific geographic area. For instance, when a Snapchat photo is taken within the Ballwin area, Snapchat users will have the option to add the Ballwin Geofilter to their photo. These Geofilters are available in many different municipalities around St. Louis, around the US, and around the world. Some of them are cooler than others, but they’re all a great tool for showing people what you’re doing and where you’re at. I doubt agents will ever be rid of the question “Oh you’re a real estate agent, what part of town?” but this feature definitely helps keep people aware.


Why do I Enjoy Snapchat?

I enjoy Snapchat as a social media platform for a few different reasons, but those reasons are mostly related to its simplicity. The app’s original and still current primary function is sharing photos or videos with your contacts, and that’s it. Of course you can customize them and edit your selfies with cool filters now, but the original and most commonly used purpose is just to send photos and videos. There is no share feature like Facebook or retweet like Twitter, so its simplicity ensures the authenticity of the content shared. When you open a snap, what you see is the product of the sender’s perspective, personality and creativity. And this is where people like myself get hooked on using the app. Whether viewing friends Snapchats or those of a celebrity, it’s easy to feel like you are right there alongside sharing the experience with them. Everything is authentic, and because Snapchat messages only last a short time, everything shared on the app is also very recent and topical. Think of it like watching up-to-date reality TV, except in 10 second increments on your smart phone. And since it all eventually disappears, it’s hard not to keep Snapping!

How Snapchat May Also Be Used in Real Estate

While I have used all the filters, emojis, and artistic skill I can muster to creatively share my real estate experiences via Snapchat, there are still new and effective ways to use it to market your real estate business. One feature added within the last year, sponsored photo filters, figures to be the most attractive option for any marketer going forward. The most prominent sponsored filters are used by massive retailers and entertainment companies to market their new products and movies. These filters typically last on the app for a day, and give every user the option to Snapchat something with the sponsored filter. Some examples include McDonalds, Batman Vs Superman, and Burger King. Because these filters have the largest reach, they also come with the heftiest price tag (around $500k and up) and are really only considered for marketing at the nationwide level.

But because of the popularity and success of the large scale sponsored filters, Snapchat has created another filter feature designed for smaller geographic areas and event-based sponsorship. With the release of On-Demand Geofilters and the Create-Your-Own Filter portal on its website, individuals and small businesses can pay to have their own custom filter available on Snapchat for any user within a specific day, time, and geographic area. Obviously there are restrictions and guidelines for use, but pricing for a multi hour event in a major city for 20,000 sq ft starts at just $5! These filters are quickly becoming a must-have for weddings, as well as marketing opportunities for fundraisers, conferences, and community events. So, next time you’re thinking about sponsoring or promoting a social event, maybe consider if doing a Snapchat filter would be in your best interests.

Some Tips and Things to Look Out For

As with any piece of technology or form of social media, there are always things to watch out for and be mindful of. The first thing to remember is that the content you share on this app is only viewable by the Snapchat friends you already have. There’s no way for your snap to be retweeted or shared out beyond your Snapchat friends, and you can only add Snapchat friends if you know their username. Using this for real estate is about exposure to your circle of friends and building Snapchat friends one by one, so don’t expect to just start Snapping and immediately grow your list of friends. I have almost 90 contacts on Snapchat, 30-40 of which look at my story every day, but I’m also a millennial user who has used the app for about 3 years. It takes time, the app is still growing, and ultimately it’s all about exposure.

Another majorly important challenge to be aware of is careful content editing and limitation. As with any form of social media used for business purposes, don’t overshare to the point that you turn people off to your Snaps, and be sure to mix business and personal content. Furthermore, make sure that any personal content you share is appropriate and acceptable to share with friends, family, colleagues, and clients alike. And lastly, remember your obligations as a professional to your clients and to your fellow agents. Don’t share personal or privileged information, and don’t use the app to bash and undermine fellow agents.

Now get to Snapping!

You can download Snapchat on the Apple Store or Google Play Store. To add me and see my snaps, add the username “brunsmatt”


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