Why You Don’t Need to Worry About Snapchat…Yet

May 13, 2016

Confused about Snapchat? You’re not alone. At the Emerging Business Issues & Technology Forum during the 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., three social media superstars in the real estate space explained what the messaging app is for, and what it’s not.

First, it’s important to realize that it’s not really a social media tool, at least not in the way that Facebook or Twitter can be. Amy Smythe-Harris, Emerging Business Issues & Technology Committee chair and co-broker/owner of Urban Provision REALTORS®, explained that the app is best deployed on a one-on-one basis. “Thats why I think not a lot of people are using it in real estate,” she said. “It’s a communication tool.”

Axay Parekh, Smythe-Harris’ co-chair on the committee and the operating partner at RE/MAX Life in Tulsa, Okla., told attendees he’s seen some use Snapchat’s “Story” function to record a video that will be viewable on the platform for 24 hours. After that users can download the message and repost it to YouTube, or another social media platform where it won’t disappear after a proscribed period of time (like it will on Snapchat). But he added that he’s not seeing many people doing that, and guessed that the reason is that other social media platforms offer more engagement for the same amount of effort.

“I would rather do that as a live video on Periscope or Facebook,” Parekh said. “I get a better return on investment.”

Jacy Riedmann, vice president of Amoura Productions and member of NAR’s Social Media Advisory Board, said that this doesn’t mean that real estate pros can write the platform off forever. She made the point that Snapchat—along with all social media platforms—is constantly changing.

When it first started, Snapchat had “very private components,” Riedmann said. “Then they decided to put a business component on it, which surprised me… But all the platforms that we talk about are going to be different in two weeks, three weeks.”

Smythe-Harris also made the point that the demographics may have an effect on who uses Snapchat and when it's appropriate to incorporate it in business communications. “Your 14- or 15-year-old sons and daughters or grandchildren are the ones using it,” she said. “That’s my target market in like, 15 years.”

—Meg White, REALTOR® Magazine