Facebook rolled out its new 360 Photo feature in June, describing it as a way to “share immersive stories, places and experiences.” As the marketing agency Austin turns to for innovative apartment marketing ideas, we can definitely get behind the “places” part of that quote. The new technology presents a prime opportunity for residential marketers to provide in-depth property tours to prospects before they ever leave home, and provide those tours on a platform the prospects are already familiar with.
360 Photo offers a whole lot more than your typical “fly-through” or “walk-through” property video. The viewer can rotate their device and drag their fingers across the screen to view the room from every angle depending on the direction they’re facing. This type of experience is tailor-made for prospects to see every nook and cranny of a residential space.
Facebook offers succinct directions on how to take and post 360 Photos:
1. Take a panorama on your iOS device or Samsung Galaxy phone or capture a 360-degree photo using a 360 photo app or 360 camera.
2. Open the Facebook app and share the photo as you would any other photo: tap the status tool from the top of your Timeline or News Feed, select Photo/Video, choose the photo you want to share, and tap Post
3. Once your photo is posted, look around in your photo — or any other 360 photo in News Feed that’s marked with the compass icon — by moving your phone or dragging with your finger. Tap on the photo to view it in full screen.
Facebook’s 360 Photo technology is a step below the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR in terms of an immersive virtual experience, but to dismiss the technology for this reason misses the point of 360 Photos on Facebook. Part of the appeal of 360 Photo is how easily the content assimilates into everyday life. One second prospects are scrolling past baby photos on their Facebook feed, the next they’re taking a virtual tour of your property on their own terms and on their own device.
There are similar marketing ideas for apartments that property managers can use to offer virtual tours, but 360 Photo is the most intuitive option. Apartments.com offers virtual reality tours on their website, but they require expensive virtual reality headsets. At a demo in San Francisco at the National Apartment Association conference in June 2016, attendees could walk through a series of properties using an HTC Vive headset and hand controllers. However, very few people have access to virtual reality headsets. Even if property managers supply prospects with the headsets on-site, isn’t the whole point of virtual tours to allow renters to check out properties on their own time and in the comfort of their own home?
As Business2Community.com points out, brands have been slow on the uptake of 360 Photo. However, colleges like Oregon State and The University of Oklahoma have recently featured 360 Photos on their pages, which should be a signal to the student housing marketing industry that future residents are ready and willing to use this technology.
Threshold Agency can help your property get started with 360 Photo and any other social media marketing initiatives. Schedule a call today so you can fill vacancies and keep them that way.