Is it time to master social media stories across Facebook, Instagram and now LinkedIn? 

Social media usage continues to grow at a rapid rate with over 3.6 billion people logging into at least one social media platform every day, and rumour has it that stories will eventually replace posts and the social media feed as we know it will disappear.

Stories are becoming the new marketing tool for property brands. But not all real estate agents and agencies have mastered the art of using social media stories to great effect. 

In this video, my good friend Valentina Borbone, CEO of Banter Group, and I discuss the importance of social media stories and how to leverage them to great effect and use them to showcase your real estate services.

Following is the video transcript.

Melanie

I saw that you were running a course on stories, and I thought, I know what I’m going to pick Valentina’s brain. So can you give the listeners a rundown on what social media stories are and how they work.

Valentina

Stories have really come about through consumer behavior, because we’re bored of the social media feed. So we bought the scroll actionl, we just want to get through updates really quickly and stories are essentially in the moment pieces of content – whether it be a video or a photo – that will only last for 24 hours.

Melanie

So, in terms of putting content up on social media using the stories feature, and the life expectancy of that content, can you give me real details on how that works, how you do that?

Valentina

Sure. Stories only last for 24 hours, so the idea is to make your content last as long as it can and to utilise it or maximise its existence. 

So what we do have to extend the visibility of story content is ‘story highlights’, and they’re the little circles that appear underneath someone’s profile bio, on Instagram, and you can add your stories content to those highlights. 

This means that the content firstly lives longer, but you can also categorise the content that you add to your stories as opposed to it being in your social media feed. 

With property and real estate, one of your highlight buttons might provide insights into your sold, for auction or properties for lease. Another story highlight might be content relating to things about the community, or focused on businesses that are local. It could be all about you – something personal to you, your team or your culture. So that’s just a snapshot of some of the categories you could create with story highlights. 

So that way you can create all these short term content pieces without the need for huge production, in fact, you can actually just use your iPhone or your smartphone to capture content for social media stories, and then save your content by category. 

This means that when a customer or a potential new member of staff checks out your social media profiles to assess your level of professionalism as a real estate agency (or an agent), they can click on one of your story highlights and go “Okay, let’s have a look at what their team and culture is like and see if that fits with me,” rather than having to scroll through your entire feed and work that out from your timeline.

Melanie

For people that want to pre-plan their social media stories content is that even possible? Can you schedule story content, because we’ve been doing that with posts we send across to our pages’ social media timeline using third party scheduling tools, and planning ahead of time for a long time now. So have stories put a cat amongst the pigeons in that regard?

Valentina

Look, you can still plan for a story. And you can use third party tools to schedule social media stories in advance. But really stories are about being in the moment, right here, right now. 

Social media stories are for things that you want to capture that are happening on the fly. It could be an auction in action, which you can’t really plan for in advance. But you can obviously schedule that post for later on. 

So yes, definitely plan for your stories. And really, essentially, the social media stories feature gives us a whole other platform. When it comes to planning your social media marketing activities, it’s now; Instagram feed, Instagram stories, Facebook feed Facebook stories, LinkedIn feed, LinkedIn stories, I mean, the list goes on. So you do have to plan and think about how you might make best use of the stories feature on each social platform, just as you would any other social channel in your marketing mix. 

Melanie

So a lot of agents say that they’re challenged to keep on top of their social media marketing because they’re busy, and they’re running around between appointments of properties. 

They tell me that they look toward their assistant or an admin person for help and assistance producing their day-to-day ‘in the moment’ social media content. 

How do you see that working? How could story content be managed within a small real estate team?

Valentina

So definitely, working together as a team certainly works the best. I have my own social media team that takes care of our planning and copywriting and the images that we’re going to use and who we’re going to tag and when those messages will be sent out. 

And that’s usually starting with the basis of my diary, or our diary as an agency to say what’s going and what have we got planned for the forthcoming week? Plus, what can we actually prep for? 

For example, if we’re going to say we’re doing a Christmas special, what is it that we’re going to include and what’s the key message that we’re trying to get across to our audience? 

Being able to use your marketing team or your support team, just to be able to say, well, what is it that we want to communicate, why would our customer even care? 

And then what’s the best format for us to create this content? Is it a short video? And if it’s video, is that an interview format, or is it straight down the barrel of a camera, which not many people are comfortable with. 

In the same way that you plan to get out of bed, beat the traffic, brush your teeth, you should have a plan for your marketing, and social media marketing is a huge part of that. So if you value clean, dental health, then you brush your teeth, and if you value social media as a real estate agent or agency, then you will plan for that too.

Melanie

Very good point, I like the teeth analogy. So, Facebook has been saying for quite some time that they’re going to eventually get rid of the social media feed or timeline, and we’re going to be living in a world of stories. 

What are your thoughts on that? Do you think we’ll get to a story’s only scenario because they reckon we’re gonna get to it this year.

Valentina

Essentially, it comes down to our behaviors. These apps, don’t forget are watching what we as consumers do, and the time of day or amount of time that we’re spending on their platforms, and they make business decisions such as what new features to create. 

Facebook is now 15 years old. I know that’s hard to believe, but they’ve learned a lot of lessons about what they’ve created and the creation of content, and the consumption of that content. 

They are trying not to make the same mistakes with Instagram, and already we’re fatigued. So for me, the consumer, I haven’t got time to scroll through two platforms, especially when those platforms can include the exact same content. That’s really annoying. I catch up on messages from my friends on Facebook and then jump on over to Instagram, and it’s exactly the same, that’s boring. From Facebook’s perspective, that’s just going to lose them money. 

So do I think they will eventually get rid of the feed? Yes, absolutely. Instagram stories are about sharing updates about the now and where I am today. Whereas Facebook has become a shrine of remembrance – that is how I look at it. 

It’s like, you know, building your memory box or your time capsule and actually, that was something that happened with our now aged parents, and not necessarily something that the new generation wants. We don’t necessarily need, nor want this documented piece of technology that is going to make us relive everything that perhaps our parents shared about us, too. So if we think about it from the perspective of what we post about our children, well, their life is already very public from the day they are born. And they might not want that.

Melanie

That is a very good point, because I was researching whether it’s good or bad to delete content from your feed, specifically Instagram, and the insights that I uncovered was that younger generations delete information as soon as it’s six months old. It’s kind of like they’re Madonna, they’ve reinventing themselves. And so they delete any past history because they don’t want you to see old out of date images or, in their mind, versions of themselves. 

Whereas, for our generation, social media can become like a photo album, also we don’t change what we look like, from year to year, so dramatically as a teenager does. 

So it’s really interesting that different generations are approaching their social media content and its historical value in different ways and using social media for very different reasons.

Valentina

Absolutely. And what I see with the younger generation is they have an opportunity to reinvent themselves the same way we did when we were younger, we just did it in a different way. 

And I quite like the nostalgia as well. And I dare say when younger people get a little bit older, they’re going to want to look back fondly on some of their life creations. But for us and our generation, as a younger person, we demonstrated our personalities and our growth and our evolution through our clothes and our shoes too, but not quite so publicly. 

You either wore converse or doc martin boots, and that gave a statement about who you were. And now that’s actually been replaced by Instagram, and the visual aspect and level of creativity that people can create. So I’m not that surprised that some people go “Oh, we’ll just erase that memory from when I was in my mid 20s.” I also wanted to erase those memories at the time, but now I look back fondly and go gosh, I love living through those times, but generations change.

Melanie Hoole

Written by Melanie Hoole

Melanie specialises in helping real estate professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile, and implement inbound marketing activities to attract property owners planning to sell. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing – contact Melanie Hoole for help.

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