America’s youngest generation, commonly referred to as Gen-Z, are now entering their formative years and are quickly becoming a powerful force in the modern rental market. The first wave of this new demographic is already well into their 20s, and with a birthrate that has outpaced Millennials by 3 million, these up-and-coming consumers are already beginning to take the economic world by storm.
While appealing to Gen-Z is undoubtedly a worthwhile venture for the multifamily housing industry, pinpointing a marketing strategy to effectively reach these next-gen renters is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. Gen-Z is exceptionally unique because they are the first generation that has never known life without the Internet. Having grown up in an online, mobile world, they are instinctually tech savvy. They see no difference between online and offline business and want the ability to connect with you whenever, wherever, and on whatever device they happen to be using in the moment.
Reaching this social and constantly-connected group of renters requires an online marketing strategy that has a finger on the pulse of today’s social media practices. The popularity of social media platforms waxes and wanes on a daily basis and is subject to drastic changes that could come from something as simple as a Tweet from a celebrity influencer. With so much market volatility, your social media marketing campaign needs to be current, adaptable, and well-versed in the latest social media platforms to maximize your marketing efforts.
Ironically, the most prevalent social media tool for reaching Gen-Z renters is an app that has been available for nearly a decade. Instagram, an image-based social media platform that launched in 2010, has long held a strong audience of users that has continued to grow each year, building an engaged and active community. But their “Stories” feature has shaken up photo and video sharing social networking platforms as we know it—even though they weren’t the first to offer this product in the market. Their success with Stories has even challenged the king of temporary visual content: Snapchat.
The Stories feature is Instagram’s response to the daily video-journal design of Snapchat, allowing users to upload temporary content to their Instagram profile for a span of 24-hours in order to remain more active without clogging their feed. Using Stories, you can upload photos, videos, or Boomerangs that you can customize with stickers, text, GIFs, and more. Users can access your Instagram Story by clicking your profile’s icon or by thumbing through the Story Navigation Bar on their main feed if they follow your account.
While the launch of Instagram Stories in 2016 may seem like nothing more than a reaction to Snapchat, the feature offers an expanded usability beyond Snapchat’s augmented reality filter technology. Instagram Stories’ 20 new features including customizable fonts, superzoom filters, and a GIF Keyboard integration have earned it 300 million daily users, compared to Snapchat’s 187 million.
Currently, one-third of Instagram users are utilizing their Instagram Stories every single day—sometimes multiple times each day, and the app’s latest rise in popularity has correlated with a consistent 15-40 percent decrease in the usage of Snapchat Stories. Even the top Snapchat influencer accounts are now seeing a 15 to 30 percent decline in their story views, which explains why Snapchat influencers are now posting 25 percent more to their Instagram Stories, decreasing their own usage of Snapchat by 33 percent.
Favorability of Instagram Stories among casual app users translates to the same preferability for digital marketing teams. Not only do Instagram Stories allow you to post content in exclusive and convenient 24-hour bites, but it also provides businesses with valuable data metrics including total impressions, reach, taps forward and backwards through your content, and exits. You can even track the number of clicks on any geolocation or hashtag stickers included in your Stories, which is a great way to follow-up with additional research you may want to utilize for future Instagram marketing purposes. Snapchat does not provide metrics as comprehensive as their successor, falling short of modern day analytical expectations.
The Instagram Stories feature offers limitless potential for social media marketing campaigns, especially in the multifamily housing industry where showcasing products and services is key. Multifamily businesses can utilize Instagram Stories for featuring everything from a photo series of a planned resident get-together, a video walk-through of a newly available one-bedroom apartment, or a vlog about a city-wide festival that your community is taking part in. Plus, you can use the geolocation tag to place your upload in Instagram’s “Explore” page under its respective geolocation, which can increase audience engagement up to 79 percent.
But the most powerful quality of Instagram Stories is its ability to navigate the new, complicated algorithms that Facebook’s development team has recently implemented on the Instagram platform to better serve their 800 million active monthly users. Many businesses and influencers use the Stories feature to emphasize a new post to their feed—basically, as a way to drive engagement to their page and increase their likes, followers, and direct messages. If you find that your Instagram posts are not getting as much organic engagement as they once did, you can invite users to view your latest post in an upload to your Instagram Story. With this new avenue of boosting the organic reach for your social media marketing campaign, Instagram Stories has become a useful tool to drive engagement to your brand page.
With Instagram Stories, your temporary pictures and recorded, bite-size videos can broaden your marketing reach and connect your business with Gen-Z renters. It is an engaging feature that has helped make Instagram one of the most popular social media platforms available today, and combined with the app’s data and metrics tools, Instagram provides a wealth of marketing information for multifamily communities. As long as you are sharing relevant content, posting on a consistent basis, and utilizing this social media channel as a means of communication with your prospects and residents, incorporating Instagram Stories into your digital marketing efforts is a strong tactic for appealing to the Gen-Z demographic of renters.