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A 5 minute analysis of social media trends in 2017

Real Estate Business Real Estate Tech

It’s hard to understate the impact social media has had, and continues to have, on the world. Donald Trump. Enough said. There’s no stopping this crazy train. Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram – the vast majority of social media companies are rapidly evolving, and countless new marketing opportunities are opening up for us all as result.

Last year saw video explode across most social platforms, prompting brands to finally make use of that fancy camera in their iPhones – and brands were subsequently forced to start making better and better content in order to stand out. So what’s in store for us this year? Let’s have a quick look at what to expect from a few of the biggest social media players in 2017.

Facebook

Facebook is pretty much universally considered the gold standard of social media – and are truly a force to be reckoned with. If your agency hasn’t got a Facebook strategy – take a look into it. Today. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity to have your brand in front of thousands of potential clients cheaply and effectively.

So where are Facebook headed? At last year’s Facebook F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, outlined his 10 year plan for the company:

Facebook Trends 2017

Messenger is likely to be Facebook’s biggest focus this year. Already, they’ve expanded the app’s functionality to allow users to make payments and purchases, book Ubers and hotels, video call, and more through the use of AI technologies, lovingly named chatbots. These, alongside predictive algorithms, will have huge implications for our industry. Take a look at Domain’s new real estate chatbot, for example.

Facebook is also making big steps in virtual and augmented reality – exciting news for real estate. We’ve all read about the impact VR and AR will continue to have on real estate marketing and open homes, so another player in the game is going to help boost the competition that will deliver us these technologies cheaper and faster.

In other, more immediately actionable news, Facebook will continue to double-down on its mobile advertising platforms. We’re already seeing ads appearing in Facebook’s Messenger app, which, after some polishing, will help get your brand in front of more qualified leads, and provide them with better tools to find the right agent or new home. Although this isn’t a 2017 feature, Facebook’s new geo-local and demographic ad targeting features are powerful tools for real estate agents to make the most of. Now, for peanuts, you can put targeted ads in front of exactly the right eyes in exactly the right areas, making it easy to develop ultra-specific advertising campaigns. Who knows where to from here?

Short story: keep a close eye on Facebook.

Google

Facebook’s advertising opportunities are attractive for most small businesses – but Google should probably be a bigger concern for most real estate agencies.

It is worth noting, though, that after Google removed ads from the right hand side of search results last year, there’s a lot more competition for the top paid search results. This is particularly important for local businesses (like real estate agencies) to understand. SEO is now more important than ever. You need a good, search engine optimised, responsive website – and you need it now. New reality: Even if you’re paying for a top spot, Google will still order paid results in terms of relevancy and content quality.

But this isn’t about Google search – this is a social media post. So let’s take a look at Google’s biggest social platform; YouTube.

Google-owned YouTube is growing significantly – and 2017 isn’t looking to slow it down. It’s been thought that by 2018 as much as 70% of all content consumed will be video, and YouTube is one of the main platforms delivering it. If you haven’t already read the writing on the wall, it’s probably time to start looking into some form of video production for your agency.

After last year’s introduction of 360-degree video support (and headset-ready VR), YouTube is also proving to be a great place for real estate agencies to host more immersive property walkthroughs – with the added benefit of these also being easily embedded into your website.

Just check this out (click to grab and move the screen with your cursor):

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Twitter

Twitter hasn’t been doing so well lately – and most projections don’t really see an end to their plight. While they still have a reasonably large and active user base, their struggle generating any significant user growth is making it more and more difficult to compete. Functionality that once made Twitter special has largely been absorbed by other platforms, and their unique sales proposition is growing less and less unique every day.  Still. Donald Trump.

Twitter Trends 2017

There may be hope still for our blue, avian friend. Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, has big plans for the platform in 2017, including better tools for ‘influencers’ and curbing abusive tweets – hoping to capitalise on Twitter as a platform for quick updates from celebrities, politicians and journalists. Not to mention his plans to double down on the trend towards video by further polishing Twitter’s successful live-streaming app Periscope.

The latter is great news for real estate. Periscope has long been touted as a fantastic way for agents to ‘engage homebuyers and clients in real time by giving them the ability to live stream open homes and property tours to large audiences.

Snapchat

Lastly, Snapchat – or, should we say ‘Snap Inc’.

Last year saw Snapchat dip their toe into the hardware business by releasing specialty made camera-sunglasses from pop-up, minion-esque vending machines. After all, they do open their new website with ‘Snap Inc. is a camera company’.

In Steve Jobs’ spirit, Snapchat know controlling the hardware gives them more control over the overall user experience. Unlike Apple, however, they’ve decided to make their glasses remarkably inexpensive. At only $130 a pair, they’re some of the cheapest wearables around (in reality, they only really enable you to capture 10-30 second videos so any more pricey than that would be a joke).

In other news, Snapchat is planning on an IPO in March, and we’ve already seen plenty of changes to their app in preparation.

Snapchat’s biggest problem, however, remains. While its style of advertising is good to help big companies with even bigger marketing budgets promote brand awareness – it’s not really that good for much else. With Fast Company estimating costs for a sponsored lens at $450,000-$750,000 depending on the day, which would prove difficult to to slip into a buyer’s VPA budget. All the same, small businesses (and real estate agents) can still make use of Snapchat’s user base in other ways.

While some ‘pundits’ might still be droning on about Snapchat being a huge untapped tool for the real estate industry – it’s still not looking like a complete game-changer just yet. Although who knows what changes the IPO will bring to Snapchat’s business model and product?

Watch this space, real estate people. Social media is a juggernaut and commanding more eyeballs by the day.  Watch this space if you want to stay relevant.

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