The accessibility of information, the encouragement of multitasking culture and a desire for instant gratification are all huge societal changes that have massively impacted Gen Z individuals. How can we as an industry and as real estate finance experts adapt to reach and maintain the attention of next-generation prospective homebuyers?
Social media is going to be a vital piece of the “Gen Z Connection” puzzle. The use of social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok allows us as experts to meet Gen Z consumers where they are every day. By creating an online presence that presents short-form content, has a clear message, allows for interaction and generates relatability, we as real estate finance professionals can truly become that trusted source for financial success. Let’s dive into what I mean.
The American Psychological Association reported that the average adult attention span is around 47 seconds. I would argue this is even smaller when it comes to consuming content across social media. Getting straight to the point when creating video content is huge when marketing to Gen Z.
- Record a 15-second video of you doing something (for example, walking into an open house, sitting at your desk typing out emails, walking your dog, pretending to talk on the phone) and add audio or voiceover over the video discussing a topic.
- Use Instagram and Facebook stories as a way to produce short-form and attention-span-pleasing content.
When it comes to social media engagement and followers, it’s important that your audience knows what to expect out of your page. That doesn’t mean you can’t shake it up with some clever posts or bring in your personal side every now and then — it just means staying true to your brand.
Tip: Decide on 3-5 categories to focus your content on and try to stick with them — for example, local restaurants, mortgage content, family time, morning coffee thoughts, fun facts or acronym breakdowns. These categories can change over time, but it helps to start by thinking of them every time you post. Sometimes viewers will unfollow an account because of too many different content themes.
Authenticity and vulnerability are huge factors to think of when building out a digital brand. When you think about the intimate and confidential nature of most conversations involved with buying a home, don’t you want to discuss these details with someone you trust and feel like you can relate to? I have interviewed dozens of first-time homebuyers and prospective buyers, and it is clear that they want to safeguard their financial data intricacies from judgement or exploitation when sharing. What better way to position yourself as a trusted advisor than letting your walls down and sharing parts of your day that are relatable for others?
Tip: Relatable content can include things like trouble with Zoom meetings, slipping on ice when walking the dog or sharing your favorite workout with your followers.
I was recently asked whether LOs must “create a dancing video” to win Gen Z’s attention, which made me laugh. If you are a dancer, you like it and it’s fun for you, have at it. But if you’re not a dancer, that’s not the only way you can create content that will build trust with prospective Gen Z homebuyers. Bring yourself and your personality to your online presence — at the end of the day, humans want to work with other humans.
Instagram, Facebook and TikTok stories are very underrated. Sometimes I open Instagram and click through stories without even looking at my feed. Incorporating stories into your digital branding plan will not only adhere to the short-form content recommendation, but it will also allow for viewers to easily “like” the story or respond.
Tip: Try creating an Instagram story with a poll, such as “What do you think is the best part about being a homeowner?” with choices like: Being able to customize features how I want, The financial benefit, I have a place that finally feels like “home,” etc.
Social media is not the only way to build trust and engage with first-time homebuyers my age, but it is a great starting point in generating relationships. While my passion lies with Gen Z, I would encourage you (no matter your age) to see if this method of digital relationship-building is present in your life. Is it just my generation that has built a reliance on social media for education and meeting people, or is it our population as a whole?
Ally Carty is a “Gen Z Guru” and national account executive for ActiveComply.