For agents and brokers, Facebook is a key marketing spoke. Now, other platforms are on the rise—channels that Generation Z, the next home-buying wave, are flocking to in force.
Generation Z — teenagers today — are connecting not on Facebook, but on Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Facebook has fallen out of favor with Gen Z, with 51 percent usage—a steep tumble from 71 percent three years ago. By comparison, 72 percent are on Instagram, 69 percent are on Snapchat, and 85 percent (the highest share) are on YouTube. When asked which channel they log onto most, Snapchat won with 35 percent of the vote, followed by YouTube (32 percent), Instagram (15 percent) and Facebook (10 percent).
Why the attrition? While the #DeleteFacebook fallout has not materialized in meaningful migrations away from the platform, 24 percent of the teens surveyed have a negative overall perception of social media, attributed to bullying, the capability of presenting a pseudo-reality and characteristically impersonal interactions. Conceivably, teens, too, are more likely than older social media users to explore newer platforms—45 percent are online "almost constantly," and 44 percent check in throughout the day on social media, according to the survey.
Despite the shift by teens, in real estate, Facebook is the leader, and undisputedly valuable. (Ask the agent who made $42,000 with one Facebook Live video.) According to an RISMedia survey, 91 percent of agents and brokers have their business on Facebook, and use the platform to promote their services. With the ability to advertise, brand-build with consumer content and stay in touch, Facebook's at once an incubator for leads and digital marketing tool—and with two billion monthly users, the opportunities speak for themselves.
However, with Facebook frequented less by teens, bolstering your online presence with Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube (or all three!) is important for the long term. According to a 2017 survey by Zillow, Generation Z is facing the financial hardships millennials have today, so content that educates them is key. Gen Z is also diverse, which has implications for how you communicate and connect with them on social media.
Even so, Generation Z's expectations of their real estate professional are no different than any other: expert guidance and outstanding service. Here's how you can deliver on their favorite platforms:
Instagram – Eighty percent of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform. For agents and brokers, the clear course is to use Instagram Stories to showcase tours—but to appeal to Gen Z, aspirational content is the route to take. Have a client who just closed on their dream home? Celebrate and share their story. Have crisp listing photos of a property? Post them. What about eye-catching landmarks or restaurants in town? Caption them with why they make your market special.
Snapchat – Snapchat has over 190 million users, comprised of a legion of (mostly) teens. For agents and brokers, the benefit is in the branding. Are you holding an open this weekend? A client party this summer? How about a community event? Add a creative geofilter to the location, and include your logo. (Pro Tip: Avoid geofilters that are overstuffed (i.e., contact info)—you want it to be fun and shareable.)
YouTube – Like Instagram, agents and brokers can post tours on YouTube, and, like Snapchat, there are branding opportunities within the videos. For Gen Z, consider making a first-time homebuyer series, with updates weekly. Are you in a college town? Create a "Getting to Know"/introduction to the market video. Do you have clients raving about your services? Share testimonial-type videos. Whatever you highlight, add a call-to-action, and cross-promote it by posting it to your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia's online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at email@example.com.