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What Social Media Platform is Right for Real Estate?

Not all social media platforms are created equally. I recently had a client ask me to create a Pinterest account because at a seminar they heard it was popular with mothers. That may be true, but Pinterest is also primarily a shopping platform. That didn’t fit a teenage sports team.

Starting a social media account “just because” or since someone said “this is popular” is a waste of your time and energy. The platforms you use must match your business, be frequented by your target audience, and fit your personality. Let’s take a look at the unique characteristics of the most popular platforms and their audience demographics.

FacebookFacebook logo

Besides personal pages for sharing adorable cat videos and tasty recipes, Facebook allows business pages and a range of advertising options from boosting a post to designing a targeted ad. It’s a way to connect with your customers through a managed profile, gain testimonials, and more. The platform is always innovating and updating its options. Now real estate professionals can upload videos, create slideshows, start photo albums and find other visual ways to appeal to customers.

As of 2015, over 70 percent of the American adults using the Internet also use Facebook, a number that has remained relatively stable. Over three-quarters of online women use Facebook. Age wise, it is most popular amongst millennials, followed by the 30-49 bracket, and declining with each older set. Still, almost half of online baby boomers use Facebook. Pew Research Center.  The users are diverse socioeconomically, ethnically, and educationally. The long and short: Facebook is popular across all demographics.

Users are more likely to check Facebook daily.

TwitterTwitter Icon

Twitter has adapted from 120 characters to 120 characters adding images and video. It’s a method of commenting or quick sharing “highlights” of a person’s life, business, upcoming events, etc. Through its use of hashtags, users can find others with similar interests. It tracks trending real time conversations making it easy to add your two cents.

Once again, the 18-29 age bracket is busy as a bee when it comes to Twitter. Nearly 20% of the entire adult population is tweeting. It’s by far more likely used by urbanites than suburban or rural users. Twitter is not very popular with baby boomers, with roughly 6% using the platform. Its users to tend to have some college education or a college degree.

Interestingly, Twitter users check in less often than daily or weekly.

InstagramInstagram Icon

Visuals are key in the Instagram world. Think stunning photos and short videos. It is primarily a mobile service, although now users have an accessible web page to link to their site. Like Twitter, users add hashtags to make uploads more shareable. It’s best used in the moment. The profile does not allow for links to outside websites, but you can paste into the image description. It syncs with Facebook and other social networking platforms.

The key demographic with Instagram is young adults: over half of online users 18 to 29 use Instagram. Baby boomers make up the smallest percentage of users: 4%.  A high number of minority internet users are on Instagram: 47% of African Americans and 38% of Hispanics, compared to 21 % of white, non-hispanic. Instagram is more popular with women than men, and with urban and suburban users.

Over half of Instagram’s users check in daily.

YoutubeYoutube Logo

YouTube has a huge audience, reaching 81% of American Internet users. It is more popular with younger demographics, primarily 44 and younger, but it attracted 20 million visits from users 65 or older in 2015. While more men use Youtube than women, the divide between the two is small.

The key to advertising here is to understanding what viewers are watching. Beauty and lifestyle channels are popular with women while gaming channels are popular with men. Animal videos receive nearly equal viewership. I guess we’re all suckers for adorable pet videos.

Google+Google Plus Logo

Google+ is kind of like Facebook in the way you’re kind of like your second cousin. It has posting capabilities, sharing, ability to make “circles” a.k.a group of people, but unlike Facebook it leverages all of Google’s related services. You can share Youtube videos, maps, photos, docs–content sharing is a breeze. Its user’s posts become visible in google organic searches.

Uniquely, more men use Google+ than women. The majority of users are based in the United States. A quarter of its users are 25-34.  While it has many members, only about 21% are active on Google + as of 2015. Its users tend to be well-educated with college degrees and a background in technology industry.

PinterestPinterest Logo

The bulletin board of the Internet, Pinterest’s primary use is as a shopping tool. Users scour the Internet and “pin” things they like to boards they create. Later, they click on their pin to return to that website. Recipes, travel, fashion, and baby-related items are popular. Users can share or like other boards.

Pinterest’s primary users are women. Nearly a third of adults online used Pinterest, and those individuals are most likely to be under the age of 50. Growth is expected for this platform, and since Pew Research started tracking, its numbers have doubled.

It’s rare to have someone check Pinterest daily or weekly. Only about 17% of adults check in daily, with most of its use in sporadic bursts.

SnapchatSnapchat Logo

This newer platform is similar to Instagram in that is a photo and video-sharing app. Where Instagram allows filters, Snapchat users can add wacky facial expressions and stickers, like turning someone’s face into a dog. Another key feature: images aren’t saved on Snapchat. Once a receiver views it, it disappears after ten seconds. Even its user “stories” aren’t permanent and vanish after 24 hours.

Since Snapchat is newer, it is more challenging to find demographics. A 2014 report said that over 71 percent of its users were under the age of 25, the overwhelming majority were women, and its users incomes tended to be under $50,000 a year.

LinkedInLinked In Logo

LinkedIn serves as a professional hub. Users post their resumes that allow for easy discoverability by headhunters, make professional connections, join professional associations, and to showcase their industry knowledge.  

Its demographics match its purpose, with LinkedIn’s primary user having a college degree. A quarter of online adults have a LinkedIn account. It ranks higher amongst users 30-49 than in any other age demographic analyzed by Pew Research. Its users tend to be employed, living in a urban or suburban area, and making $50,000 a year or more. Gender and ethnic groups are nearly equally represented.

The majority of LinkedIn users don’t check in daily or weekly.

What Social Media Platform Should Real Estate Professionals Use?

The lesson here: choose your networks with care. As you can see, Snapchat isn’t recommended for any real estate professional because of its primary audience. Realize that you don’t have to jump on every single new trend or platform just because you’ve heard it’s growing. Some real estate professionals have tremendous success with Instagram; others fail. Look at your lifestyle, your business, and your target audience and use this data to hone in on what will work for you.


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