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Do You Know How to Communicate with Gen Y?

July 06 2020

My last article, "Are You Ready to Deal with Gen Y First-time Home Buyers?" discussed that many of our first-time homebuyers are 26 to 40 year olds and some are making unbelievable tech salaries. The possible problem for many real estate veterans is that the average age of a REALTOR, according to the National Association of REALTORS, is 53 years old. To communicate better with this demographic, let's look at where Gen Ys (also known as Millennials) hang out online.

If you watch the news today, you often hear "the poll of polls" where they gather polling from many different sources, maybe even weight them based on how they were conducted, and then give you an average number. When it comes to social media and age groups, it's like that. Everybody might have an interest in promoting a platform over another, so I have what I call an "average of averages" for social media use.

One thing I found is that Gen Ys are much more visual than other generations, and if you want to reach them through social media, you need the platforms they prefer. While on the subject of Gen Ys being visual, think about your current marketing and branding. Paragraphs of bio might bore them, while a YouTube bio might interest them. Flat pictures of a home would bore them and a virtual tour could interest them.

My "average of averages" for Gen Ys shows how much this generation is visual. Just look at the platforms they use:

  • YouTube: 90%
  • Facebook: 61%
  • Instagram: 57%
  • SnapChat: 55%
  • LinkedIn: 40%
  • Pinterest: 32%
  • Twitter: 28%

The numbers listed above not only tell you how many users in Gen Y are using these platforms, but where are they spending their time. (Guess somebody smarter than me would need to come up with a mathematical equation to figure out your return on investment for using different platforms.) I found this information also interesting—for this list I had to do some converting of visits and time spent to come up with some sort of numbers to share with you. Disclaimer: I can't really state these numbers as facts, only my opinion. Here is an average of time spent on the following social media platforms each day for Gen Ys:

  • Instagram: 53 minutes per day
  • SnapChat: 50 minutes per day
  • Facebook: 43 minutes per day
  • YouTube: 40 minutes per day
  • Pinterest: 14 minutes per day
  • Twitter: 1 minute per day
  • LinkedIn: 1 minute per day

In reading all the different studies and reports, a couple things stood out. In every generation, the use of Facebook was declining—some say only about 60% of Gen Ys are now on Facebook, compared to Gen X with 79%. The other common point made by many is how many people are quitting permanently or taking a break from social media. Gen Ys are quitting Facebook or taking a break in large numbers. Not just Gen Ys, but all groups are starting to think about how much time they spend on social media. The four driving factors for slowing down or leaving social media is wasting time, the amount of negativity, privacy concerns and commercialization of the platforms.

To wrap this article up, we are looking at reaching Gen Y, who are largely first-time homebuyers. Start by being active on the social media platforms where they spend time. Think visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube and SnapChat, use eye catching photos and art, cut back on the words and leave negativity and ugly stuff off of your social media platforms! Do all of this and you might get a text or a call with, "Hey dude, we want to see a house over on Elm Street." Good luck!

Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at