TikTok for estate agents?
“TikTok is a fad”.
“It’s for kids making lip-synching videos”.
“It’ll never be a business tool.”
Or even “over my dead body”.
TikTok seems to have the ability to polarise people, judging by these comments and more that have been bandied around in my hearing lately.
Perhaps you agree with one or more of these statements? Well, you’re reading an article about TikTok for estate agents, so maybe you’re ready to learn…?
TikTok’s strapline is “Make your day”. It’s a video sharing app that has itself gone viral in the last year or so. even though it’s really anyone’s guess as to where the app will go in the next few years, and even whether it will fizzle out a la MySpace, Google Plus and Periscope, it is nonetheless gathering momentum at a startling pace.
In this article, I’m going to share with you a few statistics on the app and its usage, suggest some accounts to follow, and also give you a quick start guide to using the platform. But I ask one very important thing of you: read with an open mind……
Some TikTok stats
TikTok is now available in 75% of the world’s countries and has over 1 billion monthly active users. By download, it’s the most successful app in the history of the internet.
Also, by average minutes per user per day, TikTok is smashing it. Currently, an average user is on TikTok for 52 minutes per day, compared with 34 minutes on Facebook and 30 minutes on Instagram (source: Hootsuite).
Some of its biggest users have audiences bigger than countries – the current top three TikTokkers in the world have mind-boggling follower counts:
- Charli D’Amelio (@charlidamelio) – 108 million followers
- Addison Rae (@addisonre) – 77 million followers
- Zach King (@zachking) – 57 million followers
Charli (age 16) and Addison (age 20) are primarily famous for their dance moves, and now earn around $4 million a year each from the platform through sponsorship deals. Zach originally made his name on YouTube and then Vine (remember that?) is a filmmaker, whose income is generated by his own books and merchandise.
One of the reasons TikTok is beating the other social media platforms so resoundingly is that its engagement is off the charts. For comparison, Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) recently posted the same video on Twitter and TikTok, and it got 2 million views on Twitter, but 71 million views on TikTok. That’s despite the fact J-Lo only has 5 million followers on TikTok but 45 million followers on Twitter. (Source: wallaroomedia.com)
And those big numbers aren’t limited to just celebs. My daughter (@TessAshdown) – not a celeb (yet) – uploaded a dance trend video in November 2019, and within a month it had had over a million views. It’s now standing at 1.5 million views and still growing. There hasn’t been a social media platform in the history of the internet to enable that speed of growth.
That’s actually one of the attractions of TikTok – that anyone’s video can make it big. A silly dance, a dog stealing food from a microwave – even a feta pasta dish recipe – it doesn’t take much for a simple but entertaining video to go viral.
Just ask Scottish postie Nathan Evans (@nathanevanss) who now has over a million followers, covered the sea shanty – Wellerman – on TikTok, on 27th December last year. It blew up, changing his life. He’s now quit his job, got a record deal and is planning a tour. He’s been duetted (created a side-by-side video on TikTok) by Andrew Lloyd Webber (@officialalw) and Brian May of Queen (@queenofficial). And on 31st January 2021, Wellerman made number one in the UK charts. A TikTok success story, by anyone’s standards.
Whilst the average age of a TikTok user was teen and even pre-teen in the app’s early days, TikTok is now gathering a healthy user base of people in their 30s and 40s. In fact, over a quarter of users are between the ages of 25 and 44, with the biggest age group growth at the older end of the audience range.
Covid certainly helped the platform gain traction, with millions of people stuck at home, bored. (Bored in the house; in the house, bored.) TikTok grew by an eye-watering 75% in 2020, according to Forbes. In a year where we craved entertainment, TikTok gave us mini-doses of Netflix, in an easy-to-digest format. In the minute it takes for the kettle to boil, you can check out up to four TikTok videos; or during a boring bit of a tv programme, or waiting for the kids to finish their homeschooling….
TikTok now has as many users as Instagram, in less than a quarter of the time. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) describes TikTok as being to video what Instagram is to photos, and with the privacy issues, data scandals and general unease surrounding Instagram and its sister platform, Facebook, some media analysts are predicting that these giant behemoths may start losing users to TikTok.
What makes TikTok so appealing, is its simplicity. Watch a handful of videos and you could be learning how to make tonight’s feta pasta supper, how to clean your rug with a dishwasher tablet or how to stop your dog pulling on its lead. You could also discover fascinating facts about ancient London, Disney Easter eggs or watch a behind-the-scenes video of a famous movie scene. And then there are those pure-entertainment accounts that have me sending random TikToks to my family, my friends and even my team at a time of night I should be fast asleep. It really is addictive, in its ability to see human life in all its forms, from the recent Texan freeze (#texassnowstorm2021), to bringing to life old photos (#smileproject), its randomness is truly captivating.
Now for the question you’ve been dying to ask…
How can estate agents use TikTok successfully?
And let’s stop and think for a moment, why would anyone want to follow an estate agent on TikTok anyway? Well, for one, estate agency is one of those careers that everyone says they’d love to try (“I’ve always loved property” – said in every interview, ever), and people everywhere love a bit of ‘property porn’, so show off your best homes. With some fitting music and a nifty transition or two, your video will look pro with very little effort.
Secondly, people love to see behind the scenes videos. Whether it’s a photoshoot, your latest brochure being unboxed, or even just some office antics, you can create your very own behind-the-scenes video library on TikTok very easily.
Thirdly, it’s important to show the real YOU in your marketing when you’re an independent estate agent (and proud of it). Whether that’s on Facebook, LinkedIn or now TikTok, show a bit of who you are and what you stand for to build a small but loyal following of people who like what they see. Showing your personality helps builds trust and loyalty – you are unlikely to get a follower who likes and comments on your videos – then lists their home with one of your competitors. As human beings we are programmed to act in alignment with our decisions, so by showing advocacy on TikTok, they are revealing an affiliation with your company, and more importantly – you.
And lastly – but very importantly – you (yes, you) claim to be innovative and forward-thinking. Am I right? (If you’re not sure, go check out your website. Pretty sure it’ll say on there how innovative you are.) And even if you don’t make such a bold claim on your website, chances are you think of yourself as embracing of innovation. Well, here’s your chance to prove it. Grasp TikTok by the mouse and go show your audience how bold and daring you can be in your marketing.
You need to do TikTok because so few agents are on it
Having trawled TikTok for many more hours than I’m going to admit here in this article, I’ve been surprised by how few agents are using TikTok. Even in the US, the big accounts are property investment influencers or agencies for huge, glamourous homes, not the smaller independent real estate agents. This is good news for you and me – it means our industry has yet to get a toehold on this exciting platform, so let’s dive in and grow our audiences before our competitors even notice….
Accounts to check out:
@Dkrizestates – LA – 521k followers
@pillerproperties – international real estate – 325k followers
@Davispfaff – LA – 257k followers
@missdubairealestate – Dubai – 106k followers
@ryanserhantofficial – NYC – 85k followers
@stargelrealestate – LA – 26k followers
UK (slightly more modest follower numbers, but growing)
@AshdownJones (our account) – Lake District – 53 followers
@jamiefranksestateagent – East London – 1512 followers
@oasisestateagents – Staines – 380 followers
@feeneyestateagents – Stoke on Trent – 469 followers
@lunamoveestateagents – Weston-super-mare – 103 followers
@watkins_estate_agents – South Wales – 249 followers
@michaelbailey784 – Preston – 55 followers
@curransunique – Chester – 635 followers
@storeysofcheshire – Cheshire – 4 followers
@rutleyclarkuniquehomes – Leeds – 6 followers
@jpharll – Selby – 17 followers
@sarahjanerealestate – Cheshire – 40 followers
@jamiefranksestateagent – East London – 1512 followers
And then there’s our very own answer to Selling Sunset –
@Summernewmann – UK – 993k followers
A step-by-step guide to getting started on TikTok
TikTok is surprisingly easy at its basic level. The interface is user-friendly so just follow the prompts. To help you, here’s a step-by-step starter guide:
- Create an account on TikTok. With 1 billion users, you may find your username has been taken so try adding a location, rather than a number. Eg @SamAshdownWindermere rather than @samashdown1234. Account names have a 24-character limit so you may need to be creative with yours.
- Add a profile photo. Remember that on TikTok, profile pics are tiny, so choose a colourful one, if you can. TikTok users prefer people to brands, so make yours personal – you, not your logo.
- Find some good accounts to follow, using the search box. Some ideas are local businesses and personalities, other estate agency accounts (see above) and some big aggregate accounts like @ladbible, @onthetools and @gofetch, just for fun.
- When you like a video, it shows up in your ‘liked videos’ tab on your account. That way, you can find it again. Or if you want to save a video, either screen record using your phone’s record app, or copy and paste the link into your notes.
- Have fun exploring! TikTok can be used very effectively for business, but it’s also pretty addictive, because it’s so entertaining and informative. I love the recipes, silly dog videos and running tips. What will you find on TikTok?
- Now go make a video. Don’t be shy. You don’t have to feature in your videos if you’re petrified of the camera – just point and shoot then use the TikTok features to make it fancy.
Some ideas to try on TikTok as an estate agent
- Walkthrough videos
- Behind the scenes
- Tips on selling or letting
- Market update
- Team introductions
So there you have it. Yet another social media app to add to the growing list and moving goalposts. Just when you were getting to grips with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, along comes TikTok. Whether it can continue its meteoric growth remains to be seen, but one thing is clear – TikTok is no longer just for kids. Even grandmas can use it. I’m the proof.
And it’s not just for personal use, we’d use it in business too. You can find our Firewave TikTok by searching @teamfirewave.
If you’re an innovative, forward-thinking independent agent, who loves to embrace tech and is super ambitious, we’d like to invite you to join our private Facebook group.
Why? Because in it, you’ll find a ton of useful and insightful tips and tactics, video tutorials, and a friendly bunch of like-minded agents, sharing the good stuff. It’s where Phil and I share advice and successful strategies that you just can’t Google. So join us here, and let’s grow your agency together.