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An Ad-Savvy Agent’s Guide to Five of 2019’s Top Social Media Platforms

The world of social media is constantly changing. From the rise and fall of MySpace to the rise of newer networks like Snapchat, more platforms than ever before are vying for attention from users and advertisers alike. To help you focus your social media marketing plan, we’ve assembled this guide to five of today’s top social media platforms so you can decide whether each network is right for you. 

Facebook

Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has exploded into one of the world’s most dominant technology companies. Once Facebook ads were introduced in 2007, the largest social network in the world also became one of the world’s largest, most visible social media platforms. With more than 1.47 billion users accessing the site every single day, ads that run on Facebook are nearly guaranteed to drive some type of engagement.

Facebook should be the number one platform on most agents’ lists. There’s a wide variety of ad placement options, each offering a different set of benefits and drawbacks. Facebook also owns Instagram, adding more than 500 million daily active Instagram users to Facebook’s already gargantuan advertising network. This massive user base combined with Facebook’s ability to weather most social media trends means more consistent engagement for your ads.

Facebook offers another crucial tool with its hyper-specific targeting capabilities. Facebook allows you to target based on behavior, location, interests, previous engagement, and myriad other factors. This granular targeting helps you get your ads in front of the right audience, improving your ad’s performance and boosting your overall ROI. Additionally, when it comes time to dive in to your ad’s performance, Facebook presents you with easy-to-read data dashboards so you can gather insights and make decisions on the fly.

A screenshot of Facebook's ad dashboard.
Source: https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/social-media/facebook-ads-manager/

Instagram

Instagram and Facebook are, in many ways, one and the same: Facebook owns Instagram, and any ads you create for Instagram will be run from the same dashboard as your Facebook ads. The major differences come when looking at how people use the social media platforms themselves. Facebook’s average users are a little bit older, with 49% of U.S. users between the ages of 30 and 49. Facebook users are also more focused on sharing content and engaging with one another than they are on creating visually compelling content. 

Instagram, on the other hand, is all about the visuals: Whether you’re putting together an in-feed post or designing a standout Instagram story, Instagram engagement hinges on the visual quality of the things you post. Instagram users also tend to be a little bit younger, with 18 to 29 year olds comprising more than 60% of Instagram’s daily users.

Instagram ads are second only to Facebook ads when it comes to their usefulness in the world of real estate marketing. There are several different placement options when it comes to Instagram ads, but most agents should spend their time focusing on in-feed and Stories ads. In-feed ads look like regular Instagram posts, but they have an added CTA built in that tells users where to go next.

A screenshot of an Instagram Ad with the CTA highlighted.
Source: https://blog.bannersnack.com/24-instagram-ad-ideas/

As a bonus, if a user hovers over your ad for a few seconds, the CTA will “glow,” drawing even more attention to your ad. 

Instagram Stories ads are equally as valuable: These 10-second videos are shown between “Stories,” ensuring that your audience is already receptive to new content and increasing the likelihood that they will pay attention to your ad. The content of your ad is up to you: Some agents may choose to include several listing photos in a Carousel ad, while others will be more comfortable using footage of a walkthrough as the basis for a Stories ad. 

Whichever approach you choose, with an average cost per click of $1 or less for most industries, Instagram ads are a great way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing budget.

Twitter

Whether you’re catching up on the news as it happens or checking in on your favorite celebrities, Twitter is a great way to keep up with the world around you in real time. With about 126 million daily active users, Twitter’s reach is much smaller than the networks we covered above. Twitter may not be as heavily-trafficked as Facebook, but it has become instrumental to the way we consume news — and media as a whole. Instead of waiting for a headline to go to print, Twitter’s signature 280-character posts have allowed news to spread faster than ever before. 

A screenshot of a Twitter ad.
Source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/04/26/twitter-ad-examples

When it comes to using Twitter for advertising, most agents will probably be better off focusing their efforts elsewhere. Twitter ads are immensely useful in industries where a conversion results in a product or service being purchased outright: Twitter users move quickly, and they’re more likely to respond to ads that promise something more immediately useful than the services of a great agent. 

Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the more unique social media platforms out there. Part search engine, part content aggregator, part catalogue of ideas, Pinterest is a place where users can search for and repost visually-driven pieces of content, or “pins.” Each pin can be sent to a “board,” a central location that allows users to sort their pins based on commonalities. 

For example, some people may choose to look for pins to send to a board entitled “Wedding Inspiration,” while others might search for pictures of beautiful properties before pinning them to a “Dream Home” board. Plus, with its more than 250 million monthly active users, Pinterest is no slouch when it comes to user engagement.

With regard  to their utility for real estate agents, Pinterest ads aren’t necessarily a sure bet. Pinterest ads are relatively limited in scope: Users have to create pins before promoting them, and there are no variations in ad type or placement. These visually-appealing ads may work well for some agents, but we can’t recommend them outright due to the lack of available targeting and creative options. With that being said, If you have a particularly stunning property that you want to show to as many people as possible, creating a pin and promoting it could be a great way to drive site traffic.

A screenshot of a Pinterest newsfeed,
The ad is in the top right corner. Source: https://newsroom.pinterest.com/en/post/an-update-on-promoted-pins

Snapchat

Snapchat has had a very tumultuous couple of years. Snapchat’s claim to fame is the “snap,” a timed picture message that self-destructs automatically. Over time, Snapchat expanded into other content types, popularizing the “Stories” format that has been adapted by both Facebook and Instagram. 

Snapchat added itself to the ever-expanding world of social media platforms in 2011, gaining so much popularity that, by May 2012, more than 25 messages were being sent through Snapchat every second. By August of 2014, more than 40% of U.S. adults were using Snapchat on a daily basis. The rise of Instagram Stories hasn’t been kind to Snapchat, though, and the platform has reported consistent user base shrinkage over the past few years.

A screenshot of some sample Snapchat ad templates.
Source: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/snapchat-ads/

Snapchat does have an advertising platform, but due to the decline of the platform, we can’t recommend investing in Snapchat ads. These ads offer some truly unique functionality: From tight geotargeting to Instagram Story-like visuals, Snapchat ads have a great deal of potential in other industries due to their relatively low cost. With that being said, we’d recommend putting any money you’d spend on Snapchat ads back into your Facebook/Instagram budget. 

By The Disclosure
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