The 411 on Advertising Your Real Estate Business on Instagram and Snapchat
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The 411 on Advertising Your Real Estate Business on Instagram and Snapchat

The 411 on Advertising Your Real Estate Business on Instagram and Snapchat

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The face of real estate advertising has changed drastically over the past few decades. The marketing mix now tilts digital, and professionals must be ever-vigilant about coming up with relevant, innovative ways to reach potential clients.

Millennials – those individuals born between 1982 and 2004 – make up a large portion of the home buying population and their share is growing each year. These young adults represented 32% of the market as of 2015. At the same time, the median age of real estate agents is 57. The disconnect that is created by this age gap has caused a challenge for real estate professionals who are attempting to strengthen their target marketing to Millennials. Expanding your advertising campaign to Snapchat and Instagram can bridge that gap and significantly increase your business’s exposure to this increasingly important demographic.


This social media community was launched in 2010, and in the short span of its existence has garnered over 400 million users worldwide. The premise is simple – users can follow each other, and by doing so they can see photos and videos posted by those in their feed. If a user posts publicly rather than privately, you can see their content regardless of whether you’re a follower.

How can you, as a real estate professional – whether broker, agent, stager, or loan officer – leverage the power of this popular platform to get exposure for your business? Instagram recently made this infinitely easier. It used to be that advertising had to be purchased through personal interaction with an Instagram representative. This meant that only companies with enormous budgets could afford to market there. Fortunately, with Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram advertisers have many more options.

Simple, Accessible, Targeted Marketing

In November 2015 Instagram launched a public API (application program interface), which allows users to customize their experience – including purchasing ads. Now you can get your company name out there in front of a targeted audience through the use of hashtags and location-specific marketing.

Instagram offers the option of photo ads, video ads, and carousel ads (posts that allow users to flip through multiple photos). You can embed links to your website and enable users to download your mobile app. This option opens up a whole new world of possibilities – you can post your current listings (high quality collages have proven successful for a number of real estate firms), share your company’s story through visual moments (creating a personal connection with potential clients), and encourage users to click through to the valuable content on your website.

Does it work? Ask Poshmark, the online portal for buying and selling gently used women’s fashions – they’ve seen an 85% increase in their campaign objective. Canadian firm Bench Accounting has experienced 12.5% increased click-through rates through their use of Instagram advertising. Even brands that are already prominent are seeing the benefits of reaching Millennials through Instagram – Philadelphia cream cheese alone has seen a 41% rise in sales. That’s a significant result no matter what business you’re in.


This mobile social media platform is a little different from others. To begin with, you cannot just follow another user the way you can on Instagram. You must request to become friends with them, and vice versa. This offers more privacy and more control over who sees what on your account.

When you send a Snap to someone in your list, you choose the length that the photo or video is displayed – from one to 10 seconds – and after that it disappears. If you choose to pin your Snap and make it a “story”, it will remain available for 24 hours. There are a couple of ways your real estate business can utilize and benefit from Snapchat.

Advertising on Snapchat

What makes this kind of marketing different from others? Snapchat touts its 3V ad format as superior to other social media interfaces due to its attention-keeping features. The Vs are for “Vertical” – all videos remain vertical on the mobile screen, “Video” – because, well, it’s video, and “Views” – which refers to the way the videos stay in full-screen, keeping the viewer’s attention and preventing frustration. Ads are seamlessly and contextually integrated into Snapchat’s curated content, rather than being displayed as pre-roll (those aggravating ads that run before the video that you really want to watch).

How does advertising on Snapchat benefit you as a real estate professional? It’s all about those Millennials you need to bring into your client base. 60% of this tech-heavy generation is on Snapchat. 100 million people use the app every single day. More than five billion videos are viewed daily through the app. That’s a massive audience of potential clients, to whom you can target your real estate business marketing by topic, location, even gender.

Connecting with Clients

Despite its limitations, there is a use for Snapchat that serves as its true hidden beauty. The very feature that seems the most constricting – the ability to only see an image or video for a limited amount of time – can in fact be an asset when communicating with current clients.

When you begin working with someone, naturally you exchange contact information. This is the perfect time to politely request to exchange social media info as well. As you find properties that may be perfect for your client, send them a Snap. Visuals are much more enticing than a simple text saying “Found great house, spacious backyard”. Show them the yard – but it will only be a snippet, which will stoke interest in seeing the rest of the property. Be alluring without being intrusive or overbearing.

You may be resistant to adding yet another digital task to your real estate marketing routine, but think of it this way: each new digital advertising avenue produces better results with less hands-on work. And the new marketing methods simply replace the old ones, little by little, so you’re really just changing tasks you used to do (like cold calls and designing paper mailers) into new ones (posting pics of that great Colonial you just listed).

Advertising your real estate business on Instagram and Snapchat is a crucial step in closing the gap between yourself – and in fact the industry as a whole – and Millennials, who are gradually becoming the industry’s lifeblood. You have to go where they are, and these days, that’s on social media. Catering to the way Millennials consume information will put you right where you need to be – in their hands, literally.

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