TikTok has been providing real entertainment value across a diverse range of demographics, but it’s also quickly becoming a resourceful platform, providing viewers with tips for anything from secret menu items at well-known restaurants to beauty tutorials, to travel hacks and yes, even insights for renters. Did you know that TikTok actually ended Google’s reign as the most popular website in the world? Google held this prestigious title for 15 years before TikTok took the trophy in late 2021. Our friends at 30 Lines even acknowledged last week that one of their clients rented an apartment from their TikTok efforts (how fun is that?!). But, just like any other social network, there are vulnerabilities marketers need to be aware of.
A good marketer is an early adopter who is curious about new technologies and isn’t afraid to experiment outside the status quo. A great marketer is someone who does all of those things, but who also diversifies their campaigns and strategies, essentially future-proofing their business models yet setting themselves up for success at the same time.
TikTok has an audience of over 1 billion users and was the most popular app of 2021. It’s probably the app where you have the best chance of going viral and it’s likely got the attention of a good portion of your target audience. But, if you’re a marketer who sleeps with one eye open when you’re dipping your toes into the waters of new martech tools (like me), here’s what you need to know about TikTok for Multifamily:
It’s Difficult to Stay on Brand
You’ve likely spent weeks and even months carefully cultivating the brand for your portfolio or community and yet TikTok content is more raw and unfiltered, making it hard to adhere to brand standards and certainly tough to maintain brand integrity. Should we take advantage of this platform for Multifamily marketing? Absolutely! But a TikTok strategy should be mapped out, with a few considerations:
- Who will be making the videos? Are you comfortable giving your on-site teams the reigns to create these potentially viral videos? If so, what guidelines or parameters should they be working within?
- What kind of content are you comfortable putting into the viral video universe if it can’t be overly branded? For example, maybe you don’t want a walk-through of your apartment homes that will be shared with new and returning prospects as follow up content, but maybe you are okay with a video of the team doing something creative to welcome a new move-in or jumping into the pool to celebrate the start of the summer season. Here at Realync we’ve used TikTok for fun team-building activities and videos. These don’t have to be on-brand, but they’re the perfect unbranded kind of content that we’re okay putting out into the universe. They show off our team culture and demonstrate how much fun we have at work.
Lack of Targeting Your Audience
One size doesn’t always fit all. With TikTok, you’re putting your message out to the masses (essentially, 1 billion people who may or may not be renters) and it’s tough to find content that resonates with such a wide array of demographics. Even if only 1% of TikTok users see or engage with your content, that’s still 10 million people who may or may not live in your respective market, who may or may not be renters – or even in the market for an apartment at the time they consume your video content. This is exponentially more people than you’d ever reach through your other traditional apartment advertising verticals, so it’s definitely appealing, but you’re also spending time, human capital, and resources on a pretty generic audience. And, this broad messaging strategy keeps you from being able to personalize messaging for individual prospects (or residents). If you get savvy with hashtags and learn the ins and outs of the TikTok algorithms and search functionalities, you could refine your approach a bit more and potentially experience better results, but there’s still a lot to learn about the platform.
Disconnected Data and Analytics
TikTok does have some helpful metrics available, such as profile views, likes, comments, shares, and followers. But these high-level data sets don’t allow you to get granular and they don’t tell you what those individual viewers are doing or what actions they might be taking with your content. When we’re marketing a product that is of high value (apartments) and something that is a pretty specific need (a place to live), it’s important to have a line of sight into the behavior of each potential prospect because this will inform your next steps and help you craft a compelling strategy for them across your full marketing stack, not just within one platform. Wouldn’t it be incredibly impactful to know who viewed a video and when or if they shared it with someone else? Without integrations with other multifamily technology tools you’re using (like your CRM, for example), metrics within your TikTok account will stay there – making it harder to see (and understand!) the full story when it comes to TikTok’s potential influence on your leasing numbers.
You’re “Renting” Your Content
Most social media platforms will tell you that you “own” your content, but really, you’re renting your content out to these platforms. It could be Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. Yes, what you create is yours, but you’re most likely creating it within these platforms and it’s then “living” on these social media sites, too. Did you hear how Facebook recently lost 200 billion in value? So what happens when TikTok goes away? I’m not saying that’ll happen or happen any time soon, but this is what you’ve got to think about when future-proofing your content.
Of course, you can create a TikTok, host it on their platform and download your video and share out to other platforms (like Facebook or maybe your website). But you’ll always have the TikTok watermark on your video, no matter where you post it and if the platform ever does go down or away without notice, you may not even get the opportunity to download your content (and do you really want to be using or sharing content with a watermark of a social network that no longer exists or is outdated? Would you share videos to your Facebook account that had a MySpace logo on them)? 😉. Native content is almost always best, not only for social sharing but because you then truly do own the content and aren’t renting it out to anyone. You have control of your content. Every marketer should have a diverse tech stack and not be relying too heavily on platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok or Instagram to get or communicate with customers. Should you have fun with it and capitalize on it to supplement your sales and marketing efforts? YES! But have a strategy before you start and #1…protect (and save!) your content so it’s evergreen and can be repurposed at a moment’s notice.
No Revisions Allowed
Unfortunately, Tiktok doesn’t allow for revisions to videos once they’ve been published. Yet I can think of multiple reasons why you’d need to revise a video after it’s published. Think about how often things change in our industry. We have staffing changes, policy changes, changes to our unit availability, market changes, updates to our amenity offerings, changes to the way we do business (hellooooo Covid-19) and so many more. Wouldn’t it be nice to edit a video to update it to match the current state of our business? Nope, can’t do it. A new video would have to be created each time you need to make a change. So, you’ve got to make sure your content is evergreen or, be okay with people discovering messaging that may not be current or relevant.
Time Is Not On Your Side
Don’t be fooled with the investment of time you and your team will need to commit to when launching your TikTok strategy. While most of the Top 100 TikToks are videos of 15 seconds or less, it typically takes much longer to create the perfect video. Our Realync team spent about 30 minutes creating each video that we recently posted and those videos were all 15 seconds or shorter in length. Any video you create, no matter the tool or platform, will take time, but it’s important to weigh your time spent against the ROI you’ll receive and be sure you’re using a platform that makes it easy to track and identify your success and what’s working – so you can do more of that.
Have you used TikTok for multifamily? I’d love to hear about your experience, how you determined your strategy and how you’re measuring success – message me on LinkedIn!
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