Hey, Gen X and Baby Boomer Agent: Get to Snapchat Right Now

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Wednesday, 22 February 2017 13:15

Snapchat recorded 158 million daily active users, on average, in the last quarter of 2016. And yet, ask an average sampling of real estate agents if they use it, and you'll hear a chorus of "No's."

And then you'll likely hear a bunch of stuff about how it's only for millennials.

You might also hear a comment or two about how it's only for sexting - a common misinterpretation because of how Snapchat was initially rolled out. "The platform originated as a way to send messages that would disappear once opened. Initially Snapchat got a bad rap, becoming infamous for sexting inappropriate images. I personally have not experienced anything inappropriate on Snapchat," said Kala Laos, broker/owner of Arizona-based Real Estate Sauce.

These objections were noted this week when leading California real estate agent and advocate Elgin Walker, of the Elgin and Pilar Walker Team at Keller Williams, put out a call to his followers on Facebook - many of whom are agents themselves - and asked their opinion on using Snapchat. The overwhelming response was that Snapchat was only for younger people, and therefore irrelevant or unimportant to older and/or more established agents.

To be fair, Snapchat does skew young. Their most recent data shows that 37 percent of their users are 18–24, followed by the 25–34 age group at about 26 percent. Twelve percent are 35–54, with only two percent at 55+.

But, as Walker pointed out, a changing industry is an opportunity. And there's no barrier to learning something new that can embolden or grow your business, if you so choose. The larger issue is about communicating with clients and potential clients in the manner in which they are comfortable, which only serves to strengthen the bond with them.

"This is my 30th year in business. I have seen A LOT of changes in the industry," he said. "To provide the best service to clients you need to keep up and reach out in manners they are responsive too. Whether it's text, email, or social media, you give the customers what they want, the way they want!"

Snapchat's impressive numbers

More than 158 million people use Snapchat every day and more than 300 million monthly. The app passed Twitter's daily user numbers back in June of 2016, with Snapchatters watching over 10 billion videos per day, which is more than a 350% increase in the last year alone - data that was used to support the app's valuation of between $20-23 billion for its IPO, which is set for March 1.


Yes, Snapchat is going public in the largest tech-related offering since Alibaba in 2014. Should that be important to real estate agents? Of course. Snapchat's growth and market penetration should be on your mind if your own growth is important. And/or if you want to increase engagement with existing and potential clients.

If you're still not sure why it's relevant for you, or how it can help expand your business, take a look at a few people who are doing it right. Laos compiled a list of the "Top 10 people dominating the real estate industry on Snapchat." It includes agents, top-producing brokers, mortgage professionals, and property management company founders, and they're not all 22 years old.

Among those featured is Dustin Brohm, a REALTOR® and founder of Search Salt Lake. His article for Inman tiled "Why I'm jumping on Snapchat in 2016 - and why you should, too," is a good intro to the ‘who, what, when, where, why" of incorporating Snapchat into your business. His key takeaways: Engagement and interaction from your followers are all that matter. Snapchat has higher engagement than any social network on the planet right now."

Side benefits

Engaging directly with clients is the obvious top reason for learning and using Snapchat, but there's another important benefit for real estate agents looking to increase their brand reach. Backchannel has a great story about "Alex Wang: suburban dad of three, Silicon Valley real estate agent, a steady ace at selling houses in Silicon Valley's frenetic housing market," whose early adoption and mastery of Snapchat - even as a decidedly non-millennial - has reaped great rewards in some surprising ways.

There are those Snapchat stories that can have "tangible financial rewards," like when Wang "asked his Snapchat followers for referrals for a client who needed to find a good agent in Salt Lake City" and was sent numerous recommendations, lining up a potential referral fee for him at closing. But mostly, Wang is "playing the long game of building influence among his peers," they said.

He's formed the SnapPack, a group of seven "REALTORS across the country  -  only one of whom falls into the Millennial age bracket " - who "regularly trade Snapchat tips." And, ‘So far, he's ‘snap-coaching' one agent in Texas who asked for advice. He oversees and coaches ten agents at the brokerage where he works, Sereno Group, and noticed that they would approach him for advice on how to better use Facebook or better negotiate  -  both Wang's strong suits. So on Snapchat stories, Wang decided not to target more customers, but to pass on tips to other agents in a profession where he says the barrier to entry is way too low (you take three courses and an exam) and, as a result, is rife with amateurish high jinks."

Want more information about how to use Snapchat? The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has a Field Guide for Realtors with basics and links to articles and videos that can help.

Or you can just ask your child/grandchild/babysitter/neighbor's kids/nephew. That's what I did.

Rate this item
(2 votes)

Agent Resource

How to capture your next prospect - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.