Industries that rely heavily on in-person, face-to-face contact have had to adapt quickly in order to stay relevant amid the pandemic. One of those industries is real estate. Instead of hosting open houses and scheduling multiple showings in a day, agents are now resorting to delivering behind the screen, whether that’s streaming video walk-throughs for multiple clients at a time or working with other videographers to develop 3D tours.

The pandemic had an overwhelmingly drastic effect on rentals over the world thus, taking an alternative initiative became inevitably essential. Real Estate agents had to look for effective marketing strategies that could counteract the near-record vacancies. Embracing the change, agents used the power of social media to showcase available rentals to potential clients. The popularity of TikTok made it a useful marketing tool that could reach numerous people in no time. This marketing strategy was a safe option as it was free, done at the comfort of one’s own home, and saved time. With people stuck at home spending more time on social media, the intimate and unvarnished videos on TikTok drew an audience that hadn’t considered living in Manhattan before.

An agent at Highline Residential had just 5,000 TikTok followers in October of 2020, and now she’s up to more than 90,000, and deals sourced from TikTok account for her entire business. She said she fields about 45 calls a week from apartment-hunters who found her on TikTok, and she’s grown accustomed to conducting online tours for clients who might have come in person prior to the pandemic. She recently helped two roommates from different parts of America find an apartment at Hudson Yards and signed the lease without ever stepping foot inside the unit.

Alexander Zakharin, managing director at GZB Realty, has close to 80,000 TikTok followers, and contacts through TikTok now make up 75% of his business. In February of 2021, he closed a deal on an $11,000-a-month, two-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Square for a Russian influencer who found him on TikTok.

According to a 2019 National Association of REALTORS® study, 44 percent of home buyers started their search online, compared to only 17 percent who started with an agent. In all, 98 percent of homebuyers utilized the internet to search for homes. Social media has been credited as being the best source for generating high-quality leads, even better than MLS websites by 15 percent, and the more active the profile, the more eyes it will draw.

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