Pandemic Social Media Habits Have Changed Real Estate Forever


Happy Friday, and welcome to all the new subscribers this week. This week I spoke at Digital Summit in Minneapolis – my first time speaking to a live audience in 18 months. I’ve spoken at that event multiple times in multiple markets, but it was not the same to speak to a silent, socially distanced crowd wearing masks (especially after lunch). And thus…

5 IRL Conference Experiences I Didn’t Realize I Had Missed: 

  1. The venue’s wifi was overloaded and crashed.
  2. The person sitting next to me during the morning keynote had a spreadsheet open and was immersed in work email instead of listening.
  3. Someone’s phone ringer went off in a session, and it somehow took them three rings before they got it silenced.
  4. I had to leave a session to take a work call and put out a fire.
  5. No matter what food you set out during breaks, it is delicious and I will eat it. 

So basically, pretty much a normal conference experience. Kudos to Digital Summit for pulling off an in-person event amidst a pandemic and kudos to all the speakers for getting back out there. (Note: ever since we worked out the history of kudos, I can’t stop giving kudos). It was great to dust off some of those networking skills and find opportunities to meet new people in real life. Looking forward to the next one. 

Since buying a new house in March, we’ve had a steady stream of service professionals to the house to fix things, and I’ve noticed a trend where they avoid using our Ring doorbell and knock on the door instead. It happens too often to be a coincidence. I completely understand not wanting to be filmed and recorded in the scope of doing one’s job. Am I an an a$$hole for having a smart doorbell? Have you experienced anything like this? I genuinely want to know.

The medium size Creators and Influencers (that sit between micro and macro-size) are so in-demand and busy that they are either unreachable or unresponsive. They don’t have contact info listed anywhere and when you find it and reach out, they don’t follow up with you even if you stalk them. Good for those folks in finally achieving some leverage over the brands and agencies, but it’s annoying. And seems to be getting worse.

My kids let me know that companies don’t care about people who identify as LGBTQ+ anymore now that it’s not Pride Month. They know that sentiment is a meme, but they also insist it’s true. It’s something for us to think about as marketers. Gen Z is watching those rainbow logos and in-store pop-ups disappear with nothing coming in their place.  

Countdowns of the Week:

  • Days until Black Friday: 105
  • Days until Christmas: 134
  • Days until 2022: 141
  • Days until Winter Olympic Games: 175
  • Days until Midterm Election Day: 452

Here’s what else I’m tracking this week…

Screenshots from the Playhouse Real Estate app

Pandemic Social Media Habits Have Changed Real Estate Forever: We spent thousands of hours in our homes during the lockdown and suddenly we all became obsessed with our living spaces – and those of others. “Zillow Surfing” became a primary form of escapism. Suddenly you had a friend who was VERY into interior design. You may have bought a new couch or even moved yourself.

Realtors already knew that dressing a home well and having a 3D walkthrough were table stakes. But increasingly, a standalone microsite, drone footage, and a vertical-first, hosted walkthrough video is becoming important to compete. A recent study found that 44% of agents said that they gained a new client from social media and social was only second to referrals for obtaining new listings last year.

Beyond referrals, listings are the real treasure for social media users these days. Social accounts like @ZillowGoneWild@ZillowGoneWildCelebrityHomes, and @TheCraftmansBlog gave us content to criticize or dream about in the daily scroll (while watching HGTV’s Fixer Upper or Flip or Flop, or maybe Selling Sunset on Netflix, of course). Nextdoor offers ad options specifically for real estate. And Playhouse is a new mobile app for browsing video listings of homes for sale in a scroll set to music similar to TikTok, but clickable and actionable similar to Zillow.

Now that everyone you know is an expert on buying, selling, and decorating a home thanks to social media, will we ever go back to a handful of photos on a static MLS listing? Don’t bet your house on it.

A photo dump from Bella Hadid

Instagram Content Culture is Changing Drastically: You’ve probably noticed the content on your Insta feed has shifted from perfectly created “success theater” into something that looks more like Facebook and MySpae these days. It may even feature mashups of content that don’t make sense, audio that hurts your ears, and inside jokes that you don’t get. Here are three trends worth watching.

  1. Photo Dumps are growing more popular, where users upload a carousel post of random pictures tied together by one nonchalant caption.

Key Quote: “Think of Instagram dumps as your aunt’s random Facebook albums: Many of the photos are unrelated to each other, from different times or places, and offer little to no explanation of why they were posted. Casual selfies are mixed in with pictures of food, sunsets, and candid shots to give you an overall “vibe.” Images included in a dump post are often unremarkable or unworthy of their own solo posts — which is exactly why we love them.”

  1. Text Memes and Sh*tposts, where users post low-quality images, videos, or comments often accompanied by humorous or confessional commentary, fueled by Instagram’s Create post feature.

Key Quote: “These pages have surged during the pandemic as young people have turned to Instagram to externalize their innermost id and seek connection… They’re very representative of teenagers having to spend the last year solely communicating through the internet… Gen Z is rediscovering the old internet and updating it.”

  1. And then there’s the rise of the Chaos Edit, which often shares stylistic qualities like sped-up audio, classic movie samples, role-play video game scenes, intentionally poor image or sound quality enhanced by watermarks or graininess, and disturbing or gross-out humor. And although many originate on TikTok, they tend to spread on Instagram meme accounts like @on_a_downward_spiral.

Key quote: “If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’ll know that we’ve been writing trend pieces about why the next generation of online young people are really into nihilistic surrealism and meaningless humor forever… Perhaps it’s a pushback against the tyranny of Instagram perfection; perhaps it’s simply the logical endpoint of mass availability of video editing software. Perhaps it’s because chaos alone can encapsulate what a chronically online brain looks and feels like… It’s because they’re sort of cool and alt, and when you publicly share a chaos edit or a sh*tpost, you get to feel superior to other people who might not fully “get it.””

Reads of the Week: 1) Facebook is rebuilding its ads to know a lot less about you. 2) It’s a boom time for publisher paywalls. 3) Niantic Founder Calls Metaverse a ‘Dystopian Nightmare.’; 4) Why Stores Send You So Many Emails. 4) The Privacy Battle That Apple Isn’t Fighting; 5) How Discord is Luring Brands. 6) ‘Being too aspirational is repellent now’ – the rise of the ‘genuinfluencers’

Quick Hits:

See you on the internet!

If you like this, click and “LIKE” it. And share it. Or don’t. Be that way.