Some people still think of social media platforms as places where your grandma’s dance moves go viral and your dog has more followers than you. While that may be accurate, as digital platforms continue to evolve at an exceptional rate, it has become nearly impossible for businesses to thrive without a social presence.
In 2023, we saw a lot of changes and movement among some of the most influential players in social media. Let’s take a look at a few of those moments:
In July, Meta released Threads, a new app that was created to rival X (formally known as Twitter). This platform grew to 100 million users in just five days — a feat that took Facebook four years to accomplish. We also continued to see a rapid evolution and dissolution on X, with many advertisers, including Coca-Cola and Jeep, pressing pause on their ad spending on the site. At UWM, we continue to monitor usage and engagement regularly to evaluate our strategy. For now, we are still onboard with X.
We also saw video content take off. In fact, short-form videos have become the top type of content in terms of reach and engagement, and there are now more videos on the internet than any other form of content. This has allowed TikTok to show its dominance not only for fashion and beauty influencers, but for brands as well. In the mortgage industry, we saw a significant number of loan officers and real estate agents join the platform to share educational home-buying tips targeted toward a younger audience and first-time homebuyers.
Finally, we saw a huge push for artificial intelligence (AI) across social channels, and by now, most of us have dabbled with ChatGPT. From content generation, to auto posting and even in the way our ads are optimized, AI continues to make a massive impact on digital marketing as a whole.
So now, the question we’re all asking: What can we expect for 2024? While there’s no crystal ball that can tell us the future, there are a few things we’re anticipating.
Short-form video is here to stay because it caters to short attention spans and is an easy and effective way to grow your presence on social media. If you’re not comfortable being on camera, my advice is to find a way to get comfortable. I’ve found that the more you do it, the easier it gets, so push through the awkwardness. It will be worthwhile.
The reality is, consumers love short, entertaining snippets of information. They grab attention, create authenticity and ultimately help build credibility. That being said, you don’t need an entire production team to create content. Here are four content areas you could use to help get you started:
- Explainer videos: Break down mortgage terms and concepts for your audience. This will help empower your borrowers by closing the knowledge gap they have when it comes to a mortgage.
- Answer questions: You get asked questions all day long and you answer them with confidence. Take that same content and use it to create a video.
- Day in the life: This is a great opportunity to blend personal and professional. Highlight a local coffee shop you go to or show where you pick up your dry cleaning before your workday starts. This will allow your audience to get to know you no only on a professional level, but on a more relatable, personal level as well.
- Market insights and updates: In the ever-changing industry we work in, your insights can be very beneficial to consumers who are only reading headlines and don’t have a grasp on the ins and outs of the mortgage landscape. Many don’t understand the opportunities/options they have to refinance or purchase a home, and simple insights and updates you provide can be extremely beneficial.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
The purpose of SEO is to improve your website’s visibility across search engines such as Google and Bing. And while that’s still the case, it’s also important to understand the significance social media has in this space. Instead of heading to Google, many users, especially younger generations, are now turning to social media to find information. According to Google’s own data, nearly half of Gen Z uses TikTok’s search function instead of Google. From TikTok search to Instagram’s explore page, social platforms have started to write their own code for tackling SEO, and we expect this to continue throughout 2024.
Writing keyword-rich captions is more important than ever. For example, using words or phrases such as “mortgage rates,” “mortgage calculator,” or “first-time homebuyer” in your captions can go a long way. You want to become the go-to source for housing needs. And whether you’re a real estate agent or mortgage loan officer, the content you share, and the consistency at which you put out that content, can have a huge impact on your business and social growth.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Whether it’s automated captions or asset generation, we expect more channels to incorporate AI, and expect more brands and companies to experiment with it as well.
While technologies such as ChatGPT are great tools to help with efficiency, it’s not the end-all be-all. Remember that it’s not a human creating this content, it’s a computer. Its accuracy and intelligence will improve over time, but we are not there yet. Make sure you fact-check and take the time to add your own voice to whatever you’re creating. Plus, you’ll want to add any necessary disclaimers, too.
In addition to “authentic” being named by Merriam-Webster as the word of the year for 2023, being authentic and pushing out meaningful content to make connections is going to be key in 2024. There will be a shift towards more genuine and relatable content, and we’ll see influencers and brands focus on building trust through transparent storytelling and sharing their values. Users will actively seek out content that resonates with their interests, beliefs and aspirations, leading to a more personalized and engaging social media experience.
Embracing these trends will enable individuals and businesses to navigate the ever-changing digital and social media landscape and harness its power for meaningful connections and impactful storytelling. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2024, and whether you’re a marketing pro or just starting to dabble, there are endless opportunities to grow your social media presence.
Sarah DeCiantis is the Chief Marketing Officer at United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM).
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of HousingWire’s editorial department and its owners.