If a picture paints a thousand words then compelling videos paint a whole book. Whereas photos and text can only show and tell us so much, a good video with a voiceover can reveal infinitely more in a fraction of the time. It’s strange, therefore, that only 30% of estate agents are currently using YouTube, and even fewer are using TikTok, the world’s most popular video marketing platforms.
Why is this? It’s hard to say. It’s possible that estate agents are worried about the costs. Corporate videos are notoriously expensive to produce. However, video marketing is now much cheaper and easier than it used to be. You don’t need to be called Steven Spielberg or have a Hollywood budget to produce effective content for your agency. All you need is a modern smartphone and YouTube and TikTok accounts. We explain all below…
TikTok – One billion people can’t be wrong
TikTok is the short-form video platform that’s turned into a phenomenon. It’s only been with us since 2016 but already has a staggering one billion users. It’s particularly popular with young people between the ages of 18 to 24. Indeed, 41% of its audience falls into this age bracket.
Although young people are finding it harder and harder to step onto the property ladder (so TikTok might not be appropriate for all estate agents), lettings specialists should be particularly keen to tap into TikTok’s traffic. After all, the average age of UK renters is just 24 years old.
The problem, however, is one of perception. TikTok tends to be known for quirky videos of crazy dancing or cute cats. But this doesn’t mean that its staple diet of 15 or 60 second videos can’t be used for estate agent video marketing.
Short videos are actually an ideal way to advertise a property’s key features. What’s more, TikTok has just started allowing three-minute videos, too. This is more than enough time to create a simple slideshow with music and agency branding.
The TikTok property pioneers
Several UK estate and letting agents are already using TikTok for video marketing. The hashtag #PropertyTok has hundreds of thousands of views, and the platform is packed with property professionals plugging homes and offering expert advice.
High-end developer Avanton has been harnessing the website to sell luxury £1.5 million flats in Battersea with the help of TikTok property expert Toby Albert-Corban, who has a personal following of 140,000 people.
Other estate agents are getting in on the action, too. Hybrid agency Hortons, for example, has nearly 9,000 followers and uses one-minute video tours like this one to great effect. The company’s strategy is to film speeded-up tours set to distinctive ambient music.
Jump on the video marketing bandwagon
Agents are embracing TikTok because it’s remarkably user-friendly. Videos can be recorded (and uploaded) on a smartphone, and interested parties can easily share the content with a couple of clicks. TikTok’s potential is so vast that London agents, Kalmars, have hired a whole social media team dedicated to targeting young customers via the platform.
If your agency already has an Instagram account then you should consider using Reels, which is Instagram’s answer to TikTok. It’s just as simple to create short, snappy videos with quick cuts, catchy music and on-screen text. Major industry players like Savills are already using it to capitalise on their 180,000 Instagram followers.
Will a self-made Reels video be as good as professionally-produced marketing? Probably not. But you don’t need Oscar-calibre cinematography to create a splash on social media. You just need to put together a few 15 or 30 second property teasers. Telling the story of a renovation project is also a great way to get people sharing your content.
YouTube estate agent marketing
Did you know that YouTube accounts for over a third of all mobile Internet traffic? It’s staggering but true. YouTube is the most visited website in the entire world (other than Google) with 34.6 billion visitors every month. Therefore, if you’re not convinced that TikTok or Instagram is the platform for your agency, it’s certainly worth giving YouTube a second look.
YouTube is great for boosting your agency’s online presence. It’s free to upload videos and, unlike traditional forms of advertising, there’s no risk or wastage to worry about. Like TikTok, it’s also a great way to showcase a property’s best features, like a swish entrance hall, opulent bathroom, or National Park-esque gardens.
The other advantage of property marketing on YouTube is that videos can be as long as you want them to be (there are no TikTok time limits). Meanwhile, the analytics and tracking it provides can help you analyse and understand what your customers want.
YouTube is also fantastic for search engine optimisation (SEO) because, as the world’s second most visited website after Google, it’s such a well-established domain. A YouTube video embedded on your agency’s website will keep visitors on your page for longer and also signal to Google that your website is high quality. All these things will help you to climb the rankings.
It’s important to remember, however, that estate agent video marketing isn’t a silver bullet. It has to be thought through and part of a coherent marketing strategy. You can’t just shoot a few videos casually, upload them online, and expect your properties to start shifting like chocolate muffins at a coffee shop. TikTok and YouTube should be part of the mix but not the entire cake.
Furthermore, although many agents hope that their videos will go viral, this is very rarely the case. You have to be selling a jaw-dropping property to get that kind of traction.
Consequently, it’s important to be realistic. Use video as a way to supplement your existing activity and don’t expect miracles overnight. It can take time to build up a following on TikTok and YouTube.
Quality control is also vital. Whilst it’s easy to make short videos on your smartphone, beware of publishing anything and everything. Poor quality content will damage your brand, so edit your videos carefully.
It’s also important to recognise the limits of video marketing. Virtual viewings, for example, are more interactive than linear video tours. Having said that, however, a helpful video tour can dovetail beautifully with other promotional materials and certainly give vendors something to coo over.
Lights, camera, action
Whilst video marketing won’t be everybody’s cuppa – percolating videos of retirement properties on TikTok is pretty pointless – it has plenty to offer most agents. After all, it’s an extremely cost-effective way to broaden your reach and ultimately generate more business.
The ability to record content easily anywhere at any time has revolutionised media around the world, and you might be surprised how easy it is to record good quality videos on your smartphone.
The attitude of Boomin, one of the nation’s most tech-savvy property portals, is particularly telling here. The company has its own YouTube channel and remains convinced that video is an effective medium to showcase homes and harness the power of social media.
The other great thing about video marketing is that, even if it doesn’t lead directly to sales in the short-term, it’s still an ideal platform to grow your agency’s brand. Video marketing isn’t just for showing homes; you can create vlogs that discuss property trends in your area and offer buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants valuable advice.
Video marketing can therefore help you to position your agency as local experts and boost your personal brand. Become familiar to enough people in your town and you might even become a local celebrity. We can’t all star in the Wolf of Wall Street, but becoming a star on your High Street is definitely possible.