The multifamily world is changing. The two biggest demographics to hit the real estate industry in decades are driving a dramatic shift in renting and purchasing homes. Those demographics are Millennials and Gen Z’s. These two groups have their own unique set of likes, dislikes, and behaviors, covered more in depth here. What that means for property groups and leasing agents is that marketing tactics must change as well.
For the Millennial and Gen Z audience, there is an innate desire for a combination of highly personalized, high-touch service and they want it FAST. These demographics only give around 12 seconds of attention to any number of companies targeting them. That’s not much time. Marketing tactics must be effective and impactful to reach these audiences where they are, but not intrusive. While trying to figure out how to reach them is important, we first need to back up a bit and focus on where leasing agents and properties can reach them.
Think Multi-Channel and Multi-Device
These new generations of renters and buyers bounce from platform to platform and device to device multiple times each day. The latest Adobe Digital Index (ADI) reports that they own, on average, 7.7 connected devices and use 3.3 each day. What does that mean for you? It means that multifamily professionals now have access to these target tenants through a myriad of channels.
For Millennials in particular, smartphones are always within reach. They do much of their shopping using those devices and apartment shopping is no exception. When beginning their search, both demographics will start online. Websites must be mobile friendly and apps are not a bad investment. Either develop a proprietary version or work with an existing app to make sure your properties are featured in their best light and with the best technology.
When marketing your properties, you can’t just look at the devices your prospective tenants are on though. You also need to consider the various platforms Millennials and Gen Z’s use. Targeting these platforms should be done in a cohesive, strategic way. Facebook marketing can, and should, be different than Instagram marketing – one is a source of information and the other more visibility. But, there should be a consistent message and customer experience because potential renters will be hopping from one platform to the other.
Be Strategic and Be Present
Because these generations grew up with social media and online communities, it’s important that your multifamily marketing have a strategic presence on social media. While Facebook is still the biggest player on the block with 41 percent of Millennials using it daily, Snapchat and Instagram are also consistently growing with that demographic.
The downfall for many businesses using social media is the lack of presence. Property groups can’t just put up a photo on Instagram and walk away. These audiences have come to expect immediate responses should they reach out or inquire about something. If your company / property is on a social channel, the expectation is that someone will respond quickly to questions or feedback. A Goldman Sachs report showed that after conducting research online, 38% of Millennials actually prefer communicating with a company or brand via social media to any other channel. Furthermore, 34% of Millennials like a company or brand more if they have engaged with it on social media.
Also, stick to the channel where the communication was generated. Don’t follow up with an email if the original comment was on Facebook. Gen Z find email to be an outdated means of communication and are 3x more likely to open a chat message received through a push notification on their smartphone than an email. They also value privacy, which means the best way to reach them is via private or direct message means rather than public posts.
Having a social media presence should be a major part of any marketing strategy, but someone must also diligently monitor these channels and actually be present to engage. There are plenty of properties out there vying for that prospective tenant’s attention – missing an opportunity means that potential new resident could (will) move on to the next one within minutes—if not seconds.
Genuine Always Wins Out
Millennials and Gen Z’s are looking for true relationships with their preferred brand. They are used to making connections with each other online and expect the same from their preferred brands. Millennials and Gen Z’s are used to making purchases, signing leases and generally taking care of things online rather than in person. There is an increasing onus on property managers to make the most of a moment when they interact with potential leads online and start to create stronger personal connections.
It may seem overwhelming, but by communicating with them where they are, Millennial and Gen Z generations will be more receptive to this type of targeted messaging. Touch points with prospective tenants may decrease over time as well making each and every one critical.
Are you equipped to take advantage of these online interactions with Millennial and Gen Z prospects? Looking for tips, tricks or best practices? Realync is here to help and can put you directly in front of these audiences with the type of content they’re looking to engage with.
Speaking of engaging with content. We’ve now covered the “who and the where” of multifamily marketing, but the how yet remains. How can multifamily professionals reach these hard to reach and sometimes hard to satisfy audiences? Stay tuned for our next blog!
Until next time…keep it real!