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Tok Of The Town? Or A Ticking Bomb?

The Rise Of TikTok In The Mortgage Industry

Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra
3D Render of the TikTok logo

TikTok, the extremely popular social media platform, has been around since 2016 but within the last couple of years has been picking up traction with more mainstream adoption and use. The platform now has over a billion active users, with over 130 million of those active users residing in the U.S., making it especially appealing for businesses to consider using as the next big thing to advertise their brand and attract new customers. 

The mortgage industry has always seemed to be a bit behind the curve when it’s come to marketing trends, so it’s no surprise that many companies in this space are not currently using TikTok, although that is slowly changing. It is extremely enticing to think about being able to get your company and brand in front of such a large audience almost instantly However, popularity aside, there are certain things companies in the mortgage industry should consider before hopping on the TikTok bandwagon. 

Consider Your Target Audience

Over a billion active users is no small number of potential customers to be able to introduce your company to, however, it’s important to think about the average demographic of TikTok users. The largest portion of TikTok users, 60%, are between the ages of 16 and 24 (think Gen Z). For many companies in the mortgage industry, that is probably not their target demographic as this is not exactly the age range for individuals looking to purchase or refinance a home, or invest in real estate. However, Gen Z are not the only generation on TikTok. 

The notorious Millennial generation also has a decent presence on the platform, and accounts for nearly 26% of users. Yes, that does seem like a large drop compared to Gen Z, but 26% of 130 million active U.S. users is still not too shabby, and for the last five years, millennials have made up the largest share of home purchase mortgage applications, reaching 54% of all purchase applications in 2020. This means there actually is a significant opportunity for companies in the mortgage industry to get in front of potential customers but, just like you must develop a unique strategy for other social media platforms, what exactly is the best way to engage with individuals on TikTok?

Understand How The Platform Works

It should go without saying that a company shouldn’t attempt to promote itself using a platform or method it doesn’t understand, but sadly this is one of the number one reasons why companies may be struggling to utilize TikTok. Companies see the hype but fail to take the time to understand why users use the platform and what they use the platform for. Like most social media platforms, TikTok is not the right place to try to make a hard sell. Overt promotions are simply not going to be effective for TikTok’s user base, so companies going in with that strategy in mind should rethink their approach. 

Take the time to create a personal or small business account and dive into the platform. Start by watching videos, following successful competitor accounts to understand what kind of content they are posting, and following large brands to see how they are finding success marketing via TikTok. Also, like other social media platforms, hashtags matter. Research what hashtags are popular or trending, and figure out what relates to your brand or could apply to future company content. Keep in mind though that relevancy is key so make sure the hashtags you end up using are applicable to the content you post. Following this strategy will go a long way to capturing your audience’s attention. Also, like other social media platforms, TikTok also has paid advertising opportunities, such as brand takeovers, native ads, sponsored hashtag challenges and branded lenses, that companies should research and learn more about before shelling money out. Plain and simple, companies need to understand that before expending any time and energy on TikTok, they have to understand the platform and what will appeal to its users. 

Be Unique And Be Authentic

When it comes down to it, TikTok is a social media platform meaning users are typically using it for entertainment so its important to focus on developing creative content that engages your audience. Most of the content on TikTok isn’t necessarily extremely polished, and most users don’t take themselves too seriously with what they post. This is an opportunity to show the more fun side of your brand but you don’t necessarily need to re-invent the wheel. Look to see what type of videos are getting the most engagement and put your own spin on it. It could be a video of your office doing a hashtag challenge dance or a quirky video tour meeting the “personalities” of the office. All that really matters is that you content displays your unique brand identity and personality and is able to tell your company’s story in an entertaining way. That is the real key to ultimately being successful on TikTok. 

Get Filming

Once you have an understanding of the platform and have figured out your niche and how you will portray your company on TikTok, it’s time to start rolling. It will most likely take time to be able to understand and develop a deliberate strategy but just remember that like any good marketing initiative, be consistent with how often you’re posting and the type of content you’d posting and keep tabs on what is and isn’t getting good engagement just like you would any other initiative. Once you’ve gotten into a good rhythm, your company will have yet another useful tool for attracting and developing potential business. 

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine November 2021 issue.
Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra

Erica LaCentra is Chief Marketing Officer for RCN Capital.

Published on
Nov 29, 2021
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