By John Livesey
In 2020, the world went into lockdown. Property-developers and real estate agents were left in a state of paralysis as the housing market ground to a halt. At the same time, one social media app was beginning its global takeover. Benefiting from worldwide COVID-restrictions, TikTok quickly became the most-used App of 2020. By the end of the year, it had been downloaded 850 million times. In 2023, it is forecast to reach 1.5 billion users.
As TikTok continues this seemingly-exponential growth, the range of content on the platform has also evolved. One new trend is #PropertyTok, a tag which introduces you to a number of real-estate influencers and luxury house-tours.
#PropertyTok is a trend that Estate agents can and should capitalize on to enhance their online reach. Getting to grips with any new platform can be difficult. However the benefits are multiple. In this Insight piece, we take a look at four ways TikTok is revolutionizing real estate.
TikTok is a brilliant way to showcase properties. As an app predicated on video, it’s the perfect platform for sharing listings. Not only are video property-tours useful for attracting buyers, but evidence of a strong portfolio can build trust among clients looking to sell, particularly in the upper-prime Market.
The success of TikTok’s short-form video content has even led to the establishment of a copy-cat app for real estate. 1060 is a new short-video platform currently available in the US, and is used by agencies and individual realtors to showcase their listings.
The interface is highly similar to TikTok, with users scrolling through recommended properties, exhibited in 60 second videos. The platform, which is looking to expand in 2023, is evidence of how successful TikTok has at showcasing property online: reinventing the way real estate is advertised.
TikTok can also reach a larger audience than any other App. Statistics show that the average TikTok user spends 52 minutes on the App per day. This places the platform well ahead of its competitors: 34 minutes on Facebook, or 30 minutes on Instagram. Not only are people spending more time on the app, TikTok’s ‘For You’ page generates more organic engagement.
For comparison, Jennifer Lopez recently posted the same video on both Twitter and Tiktok. The Twitter post achieved 2 million views. The TikTok post reached a whopping 71 million users. What allowed Lopez’s TikTok video to achieve such a high level of engagement?
Thanks to the ‘For You’ feature, TikTok has a capacity to reach a much larger number of users, including those outside a company’s regular audience. As Real-Estate influencer Prince Whiting told CNN recently, ‘I’d say about 90% of the views are on the For You page and not the people that follow me… Everybody has an opportunity to go viral’ and ‘it’s not because you have 100 million followers’. Entertaining content - wherever it’s coming from - has the potential to generate big engagement. Just think about how many house-viewings that equates to…
Sometimes it can be hard to imbue personality into a property-firm, but TikTok can be a good way to achieve this.
There are already a number of highly-popular and well-trusted real-estate influencers. Madison Sutton, otherwise known as ‘thenycagent’ uses TikTok to give high-quality and entertaining house tours of property in Manhattan. Sutton was recently hired by the New York property firm Brown Harris Stevens. Established in 1873, even this heritage brand is looking to learn from the influencer, using online media to push listings worth up to $53 million. TikTok provides an exciting way to reinvent brand image.
Grant Bates is another success story. Dubbed ‘London’s coolest estate agent’, Bates has built a presence not just for himself but the agency he represents: Hamptons. Bates will shoot 30-to-60-second reels of properties, set them to music, and post them on his Instagram or Tiktok where they will receive tens-of-thousands of views.
By encouraging agents to replicate model of TikTok influencers like Bates or Sutton, estate-agents are able to bring a new sense of personality to any brand. These aren’t just conventional Property listings but energetic house tours that remind us of how exciting and fun house-hunting can be.
TikTok is not just a way to generate exciting content. Evidence suggests that social media presence is also a very tangible way of generating sales. Particularly when demand is high, potential buyers and renters are increasingly happy to make offers sight-unseen. In such a competitive market, posting visual media about homes can be an effective way to attract attention to properties currently on the market. The content is the product.
The important role of social media in selling homes is supported by the statistics. 58% of Millenials and 46% Generation X found their home on a mobile device in 2017. This trend makes sense. Online media makes house-viewings easier than ever before. Particularly in the early stages of looking, social media is as good a route as any to track down properties you like. As Madison Sutton, a New York property influencer otherwise known as ‘thenycagent’, told CNN:’ Where else in New York City could you see 10 apartments in 10 minutes other than TikTok?’
Often stereotyped as a platform for Gen-Zers and K-Pop fans, TikTok is in fact an increasingly diverse and versatile app, which offers real reach in terms of content engagement. TikTok is a new but nevertheless essential ingredient for the success of any digital marketing strategy.