It might be hard to keep up with all of the ways in which the world is shifting, but if there’s one shift agents should be aware of in order to keep up with their marketing efforts, it is the social media landscape. It is important to continue providing value on the classic channels, like Facebook and Instagram, but what if there was a new kid on the block that could help you extend your brand reach and generate new leads while flexing your creative muscles?
At 800 million users strong as of July 2020, TikTok is the newest platform that has captured the world’s attention. And, for real estate agents, it offers a suite of tools that allows you to easily create informative content and reach a wide audience. In addition, you don’t need to be an influencer to go viral. All it takes is one piece of relatable content, and you’ll be well on your way to getting in front of new clients.
The Outfront team spoke with four agents that have experimented with TikTok and have already experienced success on the platform. While strategically, many aspects of the platform remain to be discovered, here are the building blocks of finding success on TikTok for real estate agents.
Jacksonville, Florida-based CC Underwood; CEO of “Sellin’ With CC”; joined the platform in January, eager to learn more about how she could leverage it in order to advance her business. “One of the first things I quickly learned was to pick my niche,” Underwood says. “This platform is not like Facebook, where you can post about your kids and your business. You have 15 seconds or 60 seconds to get your message across, so I quickly went into providing real estate content.” Here is what she has learned along the way:
1. Adapt your real estate resources for TikTok. Creating content for TikTok does not mean starting from scratch. Instead, once you’ve identified your niche, Underwood suggests going through the materials and presentations you already have available. Go through each type of individual: buyer, seller, first-time homeowner, and brainstorm what they would want to know. “If you were educating a homebuyers’ seminar that would typically take you an hour and a half, how could you break that down into 15 seconds each?” Underwood asks. “Now you have a ton of content to share.” In using this thought process, she created one of her first videos on ‘things that add value to your home’ – a piece of content that brought in nearly 1 million views.
2. Measure success based on engagement. In joining the platform, Underwood’s intention was to enrich her brand by showcasing the fact that she is a real person. As a platform, TikTok is the perfect place to show your human touch and personality as the algorithm favors pieces of content based on the level of engagement (likes and comments) that they receive. On the agent side, it is important to measure success based on engagement. Some questions Underwood asks herself are: Are people interacting with my content? Are they asking for more when I have a call to action? “I did a piece of content on the cost of buying a home which got more than 32,000 views. On that one, I had a call to action, telling my audience to comment or message me their email address if they wanted a copy of our homebuyer’s guide. I received more than 30 inquiries.”
3. Use trending sounds and #hashtags. Once you’ve established the information you will be sharing, it’s time to focus on the presentation. When you click on the ‘Discover’ tab within the app, you will be able to explore trending #hashtags and sounds that can be used within your own content. On her page, Underwood employs a combination of dancing, comedy, and education. The more times a video is viewed and engaged with, the more people it is shared with through a feature called the For You Page (a curated feed based on each individual user’s likes). By using a trending sound, Underwood ensures that her content will appear when people search for the specific sound, therefore increasing her chances of getting engagement. To stretch her content even further, Underwood uses hashtags such as #realtorsoftiktok (helps build a community of Realtors), and local and state hashtags (one she personally employs is #floridacheck).
Kaitlyn Schmiel and Holly Gillund
Huerkamp Home Group client and marketing specialist Kaitlyn Schmiel and director of operations Holly Gillund started their team TikTok about two months ago, thinking it was a good option to generate more business for the team. “We’ve already had some success with getting leads. We have one pending, and about 10 agent referrals across the country,” Schmiel says. In addition to that, they have received more than 200 leads through the app. Steal a page from the duo’s strategy:
1. Define your audience. Schmiel and Gillund have a clearly defined audience, based on the millennial demographic frequented by TikTok. “Our goal is to target the first-time homebuyer, and we do that by finding the trending videos and dancing, then applying relevant real estate content to that,” Schmiel says. “For example, we did a video on the four things you can do to buy a home in your 20s, and it blew up to almost 2 million views, more than 200K likes and 900 comments.” That being said, it is important for the audience themselves to know they are being targeted – so adding a headline that says ‘Hey, first-time homebuyers!’ will easily get the attention of your desired audience. “Then, there’s no question about who the video is directed toward,” says Gillund.
2. Create a content calendar. For Schmiel and Gillund, the next step is creating a content calendar. “We want to be consistent and don’t want to come up with content on the fly, so we are taking the common questions we’ve received and putting together general ideas of what we can use for the actual text,” Schmiel says. Using that as an overarching strategy, and incorporating the timeliness of the sounds that trend on a weekly basis will help the team stay relevant throughout time. According to Gillund, an important aspect of their own content creation is the fact that both ladies are engaged TikTok users themselves. “We’re also seeing what our audience is seeing and being directed into the rabbit holes that people are being moved on.”
3. Content trumps execution. Paired with the right sounds and hashtags, the video can thrive if it contains value. “What you’re doing in the video doesn’t matter as much as the content and the value that you’re bringing to the video,” Schmiel says. “People have a lot of questions about the homebuying process, especially if they’re younger and have never bought a home.” Some topics that the team has tackled in order to offer value: What kind of price point should I go after? How much money do I have to save to be able to purchase a home? “Thinking about the basic questions that people might have and addressing those is the best way to not only get more views, but provide quality content.”
Chicago-area agent Justin Pillion embarked on TikTok as soon as he realized it was going to be the next big thing. Bolstering a sizable Instagram following (9.2K), Pillion is passionate about social media and is using TikTok to expand his brand accordingly. “I saw how successful its predecessor, musical.ly was in the social media influencer world. It is short content that is easily consumable and super quick, so I decided to give it a try. The first thing I noticed is how easily it is to get discovered having no following at all.” Here is what Pillion has learned along the way:
1. Conversation matters. Posting a TikTok is just the first step. Once your content is live, you have to gear up for the conversation. “If your TikTok has a question or a call to action in it, this will trigger people to leave a comment and you can respond. It’s not just about posting,” he says.
2. Take TikTok into your overarching social media strategy. One powerful feature of the app is the fact that it allows you to link out to Instagram and YouTube. “I generate a substantial amount of business through my Instagram, so linking it to my TikTok where people could discover me a bit more organically has helped funnel leads to somewhere where I can capture them,” Pillion says. His ultimate goal is to start gathering a robust amount of leads through TikTok (since opening his account a couple of months ago, he’s already closed one deal and has another five in the pipeline) and match the amount of leads he gets through other channels.
Ultimately, TikTok is not only powerful because of its ability to get you in front of new audiences, but also because of the software itself. For real estate agents, it offers a video editing tool that can elevate your content offerings and access to an extended audience beyond your immediate sphere. “It is so easy. You have the ability to record the video, add text, move text, put the text in for a certain duration of time, change the music and the background, trim and edit the video, and instantly post a TikTok. From there, you can download it on your phone and share it to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube,” Underwood shares. “The scalability and the ease of the editing program inside TikTok has massive value.”
Start your own TikTok journey today, and let us know how you’ve employed these tips for TikTok real estate success in the comment section below. Don’t forget to share your TikTok handle to connect with fellow agents!