In 2015, multifamily publications were all writing about one thing: live streaming. With the fast rise of social media’s live streaming platforms Meerkat and Periscope, many industry headlines read like the following:
It was March of 2015 to be exact, and the live streaming surge was officially on. Meerkat had emerged at SXSW and raised $14 million in funding, while Twitter simultaneously emerged with the launch of Periscope. Later that year, Facebook joined the live streaming race as well.
While Meerkat’s and Periscope’s focus was on garnering consumer users, many real estate marketing and leasing teams hopped on the live streaming train to see how it might work to promote and lease their communities. Even in the early days of video on social media, it was clear that video was consistently getting higher engagement than any other form of content.
While this could be a tale all about the incredible results that real estate professionals saw from their live streaming endeavors on Meerkat and Periscope, it is not that type of tale. This story is more of forewarning about the time and energy that “hype” can very quickly suck up if your teams are not careful.
A Look Back At Meerkat, Periscope, And Vine
While Meerkat had a meteoric rise, it also had quite a fast fall and was officially shut down in September of 2016. That year also saw the demise of Vine, another live streaming platform, which had launched back in 2013. Periscope did not fare any better despite the backing of Twitter and was officially shut down on March 31, 2021.
I’m sure there are many real estate professionals who wish they could get back the time they invested in building out processes, procedures, and more based on these platforms. It’s not that those teams didn’t see results from live streaming itself—in fact, many of them did (and still do). It’s that they built their live streaming on consumer platforms that were not built for professional use cases. The one common theme across all three of those former platforms? They were consumer apps.
The primary lesson that real estate professionals should take away from the rise and fall of Meerkat, Periscope, and Vine is that consumer apps will come and go. Having on-site teams lean on and use these consumer platforms for key business processes, like leasing and marketing, is a risky investment in something that may or may not be around in the long run.
That’s not to say that there is not a path to successfully utilizing video for your real estate processes though. Quite the opposite actually. Two words: enterprise solutions. Those two words can make all the difference when it comes to investing in systems, processes, training programs, and long-term plans for your business.
An enterprise solution built for real estate might not have the hype or flashiness as most consumer apps do. It likely won’t have celebrity endorsements or be in the Top 100 apps in the App Store. And that is actually to your benefit. Because that means the company behind that enterprise solution is building an application specifically for realty use cases and is focusing on an offering that will deliver value and ROI for your teams instead of focusing on their rank in the App Store or the media pickup of their latest press release.
Invest in a platform that is investing in your industry and your teams. Invest in a platform that understands your pain points, needs, and use cases. Invest in a platform that has shown the ability to persevere and that is set up to last.
Video Is Here To Stay
At the end of the day, video has proven that it is here to stay. Real estate professionals have come a long way since dipping their toes in live streaming back in 2015, and video leasing is now commonplace in leasing processes. Those video leasing strategies, though, require training, integrations, and realty-specific workflows in order to be the best virtual leasing platform and experience that your teams can offer.
Sure, Facebook Live is still around and FaceTime is more prominent than ever. And TikTok? It certainly has that hype factor that all consumer apps dream of. It has the allure of nearly 1 billion active monthly users. But it’s not an enterprise app built for real estate.
I’m certainly not saying that there isn’t value or potential with an active audience that large (Facebook certainly plays a key role in multifamily marketing). I’m just saying be careful with the time, energy and resources poured into it. Make sure your focus is on the long-term ROI of your investments and the enduring power of an enterprise solution.