By Strategic Passive Investments
If you somehow missed the fact that things have changed over the past 18 months or so, then some people might say you do not really even need to be reading this article. On the contrary, you really, really need to read this right away!
All sarcasm aside, you are certainly aware that the COVID-19 global pandemic has changed a lot of things about life, employment, and investing – especially for real estate investors. This does not just affect how you manage rental properties or navigate the various, complicated parts of rehabbing under a partial or total economic shutdown. It also affects something that directly impacts your returns: marketing strategy.
One of the most significant types of marketing in today’s world is the broad sector of social-media marketing. According to SEO consultancy BackLinkO, there were 3.96 billion people using social media worldwide in 2020. That was up nearly 11 percent from the year prior – likely in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also an increase of 92.76 percent over 2015, by the way. Forbes contributor Ralph DiBugnara noted that plenty of these new users were using social media to look for housing and real estate investments as well, observing that 82 percent of U.S. 30-to-49-year-olds use at least one social media platform and are the prime age for buying a house.
Clearly, there is something here worth investigating farther. Here are five pandemic social media statistics that could change everything for your real estate business:
The United States has 83 percent social media penetration for users 13 and older.This means that 83 percent of individuals 13 years of age or older in the United States are using at least one social media platform. When that statistic is expanded to include everyone, saturation still reaches 70 percent. While this information is important because it indicates most of your potential buyers and renters are online, it also indicates something else: In another 10 years, just about any adult making a housing decision of any sort will be using at least one social media platform, so the time to start building your presence online is now.
Social media use increased by 11 minutes per day in 2020.That might not sound like a lot, but it means that the average American with a social media account now spends more than one full hour on social media platforms each day. Note that this statistic includes people who use no social media at all. When they are removed, the number jumps to an average of 2 hours and 8 minutes a day. Furthermore (and you may find this troubling), the COVID-19 pandemic led to a dramatic increase in the number of users relying on social media for “reliable information and updates on the coronavirus,” according to a Statista.com survey of users. Whether you like this or not, the facts of the matter are that more and more people view the information they find on social media platforms as reliable, and the image you present on those platforms will affect how they view you as well.
Half of U.S. adults now use video conferencing.If you are not reachable via social media platforms, this could hurt your real estate business. This no longer means occasionally checking your PMs, DMs, etc. Now, you need to be willing (and able) to Facetime (or Zoom or Skype) in a professional manner even if you are stuck at home. While social media users started out 2020 using social media to socialize virtually with friends and family during lockdown, the rising comfort level of social media users with video chat options means that they now will expect you to use them in your real estate business.
TikTok is not going away.
In 2020, former President Trump threatened to ban the short-video app TikTok from U.S. smartphones if the platform did not deal with privacy concerns associated with its Chinese ownership. One week later, the president signed an executive order intended to force the sale of TikTok to an American business. The order was repeatedly foiled, however, and fizzled when the administration was voted out. In fact, TikTok, which is still owned by Chinese company ByteDance, added 7 million new U.S. users during the first four months of 2021 alone. More and more buyers and renters are on the platform, and that means that your real estate investing business probably needs to be there, too.
Not all social media platforms are growing.Many real estate investors neglect their social media marketing because the process is just too overwhelming. It seems like every day there is a new strategy and a new platform that might be “the next big thing.” However, not all social media platforms are expanding; some are actually declining in usage. For example, Pinterest, Twitter, WhatsApp, and SnapChat all lost users between 2018 and 2019 (the latest comprehensive data available). On the other hand, Facebook is still growing, as are Instagram and LinkedIn. YouTube held steady for the years in question but became the most popular network behind Facebook in 2020.
Technology Adoption Now Will Dictate Your Returns in the Future
Make no mistake: Your willingness to adopt the right social media technology will affect your ability to generate reliable and large returns on your real estate investments moving into the future. However, trying to do it all alone will probably just burn you out and likely be largely ineffective anyway.
Savvy real estate investors spend a little time determining where their target market is most likely to be located before diving into social media marketing. That way, the investor is less likely to spend a lot of time on a platform where their target market is unlikely to show up and spend time.
For example, if you are seeking baby boomer homeowners from whom to acquire assets, you might not need to dedicate a lot of time to marketing on Instagram and LinkedIn, since Pew Research reports only about one in 10 boomers were using those platforms in 2021. However, if you were hoping to reach adults in that crucial 30-to-49-year-old age bracket, you probably would want to spend some serious time marketing on Facebook.
Social media marketing is still a largely inexact science. To make things even more complicated, the platforms are changing constantly with user preference. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that social media is going to continue to grow in influence, so you must work hard to incorporate it into your business plan.