An Intro to TikTok: Why should real estate investors care?

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Try explaining the GameStop stock phenomena in 280 characters. Now imagine breaking down the basics of ROTH IRAs, REITs vs. private equity funds, or why we are sending Dogecoin to the moon in 60 seconds or less. 

“How does the stock market work?”  

“What are NFTs?” 

Ah, content creation. The be all end all of social media stardom. 

Social media influencers have existed since the beginning of time (kinda). The origins of “influencing” can be traced back to Ancient Rome when gladiators endorsed products. European royalty could be considered influencers, as they often inspired fashion trends.

Influencers and influencer marketing have gained momentum in the modern era, and the word “influencer” has made its way into the dictionary. The early 2000s introduced “mommy bloggers,” and in 2012 the government enacted legislation that required bloggers to disclose when they promoted a product in exchange for compensation. 

Influencers can be paid anywhere from $250-$250,000 per post depending on followership and engagement rate. 

Over the years, “influencing” has poked its nose in almost every industry. 

Food bloggers, lifestyle influencers, beauty bloggers, and fitness influencers are some of the most common types of influencers, amassing millions of followers. But in more recent years, gaming influencers, book influencers, social activists, photographers, and yes, personal finance influencers have entered the chat.

It’s important to note that not all influencers are compensated monetarily. Compensation largely depends on following, engagement rates, and industry.

What is TikTok?

We stan TikTok. 

TikTok is a social media platform with over 2 billion global downloads in which users create, share, and engage with short videos. As of January 2021, TikTok amassed 689 million active users internationally. Over 60% of TikTok users are categorized as “Generation Z,” meaning those born in or after 1997.

Contrary to popular belief, TikTok isn’t “just a dancing platform.” Users share opinions and daily vlogs, participate in trends, create memeable comedy, share “Amazon finds” and life hacks, create art, chef up food, give career advice and more. 

The wide variety of content created is a nod to the platform’s diverse user-base.

The TikTok algorithm creates a curated “For You Page” (FYP), which is comparable to a feed on other social media platforms - a seemingly infinite scroll of seemingly  infinite content.

TikTok has an *astronomical* power in regards to consumer spending and brand authority. “TikTok viral” products have sold out in stores. Amazon even created an “Internet Famous” section that compiles all TikTok viral products. 

Looking for cool apartment/kitchen finds to maximize space? How can I make a vegan and gluten-free dessert? How can I improve my interview skills? TikTok is your new bestie .

Sub or niche communities exist within the overarching TikTok community. These niche communities allow users to explore and create content amongst like-minded or similar users.

For example, users and creators interested in healthy lifestyles, workout tips, and fitness are on “FitTok.” Videos that include “#FitTok” in their caption have collectively amassed 2.6B views (as of this article’s publication date). Users and creators who share mouthwatering videos of recipes, favorite grocery store finds, and favorite restaurants make up the “FoodTok” community. Videos that include “#FoodTok” in their caption have collectively amassed 4.8B views (as of this article’s publication date). 

#FoodTok has amassed such a high following that grocery stores ran out of feta cheese after a pasta recipe went viral.

@feelgoodfoodie

Baked feta pasta with cherry tomatoes!! Recipe on blog • Inspired by @grilledcheesesocial 😘 #tiktokpartner #LearnOnTikTok #fetapasta #recipes

♬ original sound - Feel Good Foodie

Unlike a Facebook or Reddit group, users can’t “join” a sub-TikTok community. Instead, the TikTok algorithm places users within a group by including a flow of certain types of videos on their FYP. Let’s say a user consistently engages with videos using “#FitTok” in the caption. The TikTok algorithm would serve that user consistent #FitTok videos until that user disengages with fitness/health content entirely.

Some other TikTok niches: 

  • #DogTok: videos of dogs... need we say more?
  • #MomTok: mom support and advice, relatable parenting stories, and product recommendations
  • #TravelTok:  travel vlogs, hidden gems, and travel hacks

With millions of users and videos, the possibilities on TikTok are almost literally endless.

What is #FinTok?

The World Wide Web has become the go-to spot for consumers to find personal finance information, resources, and advice. TikTok is no exception.

Personal finance and investing TikTok content has increased in interest with countless videos being published by many creators.#FinTok and #StockTok Influencers promote financial literacy and help users (primarily students and young professionals) navigate personal finances. 

#FinTok includes personal finance and career-related content. #FinTok creators also share industry stories or give their two cents on market trends (GameStonk, anyone?).

Other common topics...

  • Personal finance: budgeting, side hustles, and FIRE
  • Investing: 401(k) basics, crypto, best practices, how to invest in the stock market
  • Professional development/career: How to get that dream job, how to ask for a raise, how to ace the interview
@humphreytalks

GameStop explained in 30 seconds 🤯🚀 #gamestop

♬ original sound - Humphrey Yang

Videos using finance-related hashtags have amassed large amounts of views (all stats as of June 22, 2021):

Needless to say, TikTok users are interested in these topics.



Still feel that #FinTok is a little sus (suspicious)? Some light reading…

The sheer volume of engagement on personal finance-related videos shows that TikTok’s audience is interested in personal finance-related topics. TikTok has become a free educational resource for a younger and more diverse audience who might not otherwise have access to certain information. 

Why should real estate investors care about TikTok?

Before you call cap, let’s start with some stats. 

Popular RE x investing content includes house hacking, market trends, real estate investing for beginners, before and after flips, apartment and home tours, landlord/property management tips, and passive income opportunities. TikTok can also be used to generate leads.

Listing that house you just flipped? Hoping to lease that luxury downtown apartment? Looking to educate future investors about the benefits of passive income through real estate investing? TikTok might be the not-so hidden gem of your marketing strategy.

Real estate TikTok is not all rainbows and sunshine - creators also share the good, the bad, and the ugly of “fliptastrophes,” landlord woes and more (with a comedic twist to keep the mood light). 

Some personal finance and real estate investing influencers have amassed millions of followers and views:

For real estate investors, creating content on TikTok is an opportunity to introduce the benefits of real estate investing through direct ownership, REITs, private funds, and more. 

Clearly, a segment of TikTok cares about real estate investing. Even more importantly, that segment is composed of an audience who is younger and more diverse than other generations. Real estate investors can use this opportunity to educate younger generations and get them excited about real estate investing opportunities.

Gen Z’s direct and indirect average annual spending power is $143 billion.  Gen Z consumers will become future investors or employees. This means real estate investors can get ahead of the game and introduce investing opportunities to this diverse generation sooner rather than later. 

At the very least, Gen Z will make up the majority of the future tenant base in a “nation of renters.” And no one can argue the importance of having good buyers or tenants with a solid grasp of personal finance, who can take care of a property, and pay rent on time.

Okay, I’m ready to start investing! Should I follow advice on TikTok? 

Unfortunately, some TikTok content doesn't pass the vibe check.

Time and time again, we’ve heard warnings of fraudulent accounts and credentials on digital platforms. It’s no secret that users emphasize, change, or omit information about their personal and professional lives on social media and other online platforms. The buzzword “fake news” says it all. Social media is also known for “get rich quick” schemes or hacks. More often than not, these hacks probably don’t work and aren't sustainable.

Some content creators share personal finance advice without a reliable background, training, or education in finances and financial planning. Other content creators do have official training, education, and certifications in financial planning.

Sometimes, content creators will include a disclaimer in their bio or posts in order to avoid legal ramifications. Others don’t.


Other personal finance and financial planning professionals have created additional content that debunks or validates finance advice found on TikTok.

Users should consider that a personal finance or investment strategy that works for one person might not work for another. All financial situations are unique to individuals. 

Social media platforms have implemented content monitoring systems that analyze content to determine validity and hide or remove content deemed fraudulent. However, some content slips through the cracks and makes its way into users’ feeds. Because of this, a user can never be too careful or cautious when acting on advice taken from any online platform. Users must take it upon themselves to research and vet any financial advice found on #FinTok or any other social media platform. 

TikTok includes a disclaimer for users: “Before following any financial advice, keep in mind that all investments involve risks and consider doing your own research.”

#TheEndTok

Most people would automatically disregard TikTok as a valid source for any advice let alone use it as a personal finance resource. However, there are some legit finance influencers on the platform. And, TikTok uses “check marks” to verify accounts. 

Valid and professionally educated/certified personal finance TikTokers do exist. Regardless, users should conduct their own research to ensure certain strategies fit into their financial framework and goals. And if you happen to make the TikTok feta pasta or participate in a dance trend or two while you’re at it, we stan.

We hope you stan TikTok too.

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