How Social Media Affects Real Estate Trends and the Perception of Wealth

Posted Mar 1, 2022
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A person taking a picture of a sunset falling over a city on their phone.

The use of social media has increased significantly in the last decade: according to the Pew Research Center, roughly seven in 10 Americans are active daily on social media. Platform usage statistics break down as follows: 81% of surveyed adults use YouTube, 69% use Facebook, and 40% use Instagram.

Since social media has become part of our daily lives, many brands have shifted their advertisements to social channels. Brands are also noticing that collaborating with popular influencers can give them a boost in awareness.

Those in the real estate industry have joined the trend of increased social media usage to keep up with this competitive market. They’ve learned that posting well-shot photos can encourage consumers to consider their properties when buying a home. Let’s take a look at how these curated images are impacting real estate trends today.

Visibility From Influencers

Before social media, social comparison theory may have barely crossed peoples’ minds. It was much more difficult to get that apparently intimate view of a stranger’s daily life, triggering this sense of comparison.

It’s remarkably easy to overlook the fact that a lot of these feeds are more of a highlight reel than they are a play-by-play. Influencers are unlikely to post about their bad days. They’re going to focus instead on the best parts of their lives. This can include various locations throughout their home, the city they live in, or the place they travel to on vacation.

Influencers can specifically draw attention to real estate properties in a way that naturally instills a sense of child-like wonder in the viewer by creating tailored highlight reels designed to glamorize and embellish.

Location Tagging

Taking an aesthetically pleasing shot and tagging the location is a popular practice on social media, particularly highly-visual platforms like Instagram. These aesthetically appealing locations can be more likely to encourage engagement. Typically, the big city with bright lights or the picturesque lake house are going to be the types of locations that get tagged. When influencers are promoting real estate, they’ll do plenty of location tagging.

Sponsored Posts

Real estate professionals may use sponsored posts to elevate their visibility and reach a wider audience. When advertising with a popular influencer, agencies and realtors can benefit from the trusting audience that the influencer attracts. This trusting audience may be more inclined to check out the real estate product or service that this influencer is being paid to promote.

Sponsored social media posts can potentially reach a wider audience than non-sponsored posts. Additionally, social media can cost less than older advertising mediums, such as print. Companies can also track social media ads and their performance.

Some consumers may feel wary of a company with little-to-no established online presence. Sponsored posts can help a company earn brand awareness while building trust with a larger audience.

Engagement

Some 60% of marketers report that influencer-generated content earns more engagement (clicks, likes, comments) than branded posts.

Imagine an influencer posts a photo of a home that’s for sale and it gets plenty of likes. Anyone who sees that post could think that the home is a desirable property, thanks to the engagement. This is due in part to the idea that following the crowd is a deep part of human psychology. Or, people could feel motivated to give their home a makeover to emulate the design of the home in the photo.

Interactivity

The process of buying a home can be tedious for many reasons. With the increased use of social media, though, it has become easier to interact with real estate agents. Instead of calling an office and seeing if a certain agent is in the office, any client can simply just shoot them a quick message. What’s more, people can interact with influencers as they’re searching for their next home.

From an agency perspective, collaborating with an influencer is simpler as well. If an agency has a great promotional idea, they can easily contact their desired influencer to get the sponsorship going.

Psychology of Perceived Wealth

According to the Association for Psychological Science, individuals with negative net worth are perceived as wealthier due to their assets, despite having high levels of debt. A real estate influencer on social media that is not transparent about property acquisition journeys may appear wealthy although they’re in a lot of debt.

A person who is showing off the interior of their home, or sharing their most recent vacation shots may unintentionally be influencing others on social media to believe they are wealthy. While posts such as these don’t mean the person posting is rich, seeing curated glamorous photos can cause others to believe that’s the case.

Real Estate Choices

There’s a large list of reasons why people may feel it’s time to move, including marriage or starting a family. Of course, people consider the number of rooms in a home or the commute to work they would have to make, but they have other considerations.

Someone who enjoys socializing and nightlife could consider the nearby city’s amenities to be just as important as the features of their home. An entrepreneur may want to examine a city’s economy to ensure that they could thrive there. The ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle is also an important factor when you’re deciding where to live.

If your social media feed is flooded with curated real estate photos designed to make you wonder “what if,” you should take a step back and consider whether the images you’re seeing are what they purport themselves to be. In other words, will you allow yourself to be swayed by social media photos instead of professional guidance?

Remember: Social Media May Not Be Exactly What It Seems

It’s important to remember that there is most certainly a legitimate place for social media marketing in the toolkits of real estate professionals and influencers. On the flip side, you must remember that what you see on social media from these professionals may very well be nothing more than that: marketing.

If you’re ever curious about the true state of a property’s value and/or how market conditions may be affecting the value of your own home, you should consult a professional directly.

At the end of the day, diligent research is the key to making a healthy buying decision in the world of real estate.

Do your due diligence. Consult with financial professionals. Then, once you’re armed with this new knowledge, contacting that real estate influencer may be a far less perilous decision.

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