Going viral: The couple whose video of St Albans has taken Facebook by storm
PUBLISHED: 09:13 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:39 27 July 2018
Meet the social media video consultants who used their professional experience to market their Inkerman Road home.
When Ben Bryant and fiancée Amy O’Brien put their St Albans home on the market earlier this year they were disappointed by the lack of interest.
But instead of asking a different agent to market the property for them the couple decided to do it themselves, creating a video of their home and the wider St Albans area and sharing it on social media.
Including drone footage of the Cathedral and Verulamium Park, the video – which describes St Albans as “the British suburban dream” and a “peaceful oasis only 20 minutes from London life” – proved so popular that it was viewed more than 50,000 times in its first 48-hours online.
Given what the couple do for a living, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’ve achieved their goal of reaching such a huge audience so quickly; Ben, 32, and Amy, 27, run their own social media video consultancy, Life’s Lost Luggage.
This is a new career for the couple, who gave up their established jobs in financial services (Ben) and as a cardiac physiologist at Great Ormond Street (Amy) – to go travelling for 18 months, investing in a drone to capture footage along the way.
“That kind of spiralled and we ended up doing some work in the Cook Islands,” Ben explains. “When we came back we said ‘let’s try and make this a career’. We managed to get a project filming some villas in Greece and we’ve since been to the Seychelles and the Maldives.”
With Amy’s family based in Northern Ireland and their new career meaning that they’re often travelling, Ben and Amy are unsure where they’re going to end up settling. And with Ben’s second mortgage having just come to an end combined with the uncertainty of a self-employed income, now seemed like the right time to sell 32 Inkerman Road.
Where it all began
Former Beaumont pupil Ben bought the pretty Victorian cottage in 2014, with his brother Oliver taking on a share of the mortgage. With a bit of help from their parents, they oversaw the complete renovation of the house, opening up the staircase, landscaping the garden and fitting a new kitchen and shower room.
Ben lived there alone before Amy moved in, then they lived there together for a year before going travelling.
Back in April, Ben recruited a traditional agent to sell the property – but that didn’t work out as planned. “It was on Rightmove which is great but aside from that we didn’t see a huge amount of marketing happening,” he says.
Rightmove statistics were good, but “after your initial listing you just drop down; whereas if you create a video that’s interesting to people in the area and also outside the area looking to move to the suburbs then you can distribute it and hopefully draw more people in. Through our work we know how powerful social media is. It has people’s attention.”
So they decided to do things their way.
Doing things differently
“We wanted to get more eyes on the property,” Ben explains. “We thought ‘we do this for resorts, we may as well give it a go.’”
The couple spent a weekend getting all the footage together followed by a week of evenings spent editing it into shape.
The cottage, which has a private parking space, and is within a five minute walk of the City station, has an asking price of £475,000.
“I knew it was a video that would be around forever,” Ben says. “I’ve lived in St Albans all my life. All those bits we featured are bits that are important to my family, my friends and me and Amy.”
Once the video was complete, the couple shared it to several local Facebook groups, including St Albans Past and Present Memories and All Things St Albans, where they “knew the passion would be and people would love the video”.
In general, the response has been positive. “I was pretty happy,” says Ben. “The general vibe was pleasing and we got a lot of positive comments. We’re fairly used to having comments in from the work that we do and we realise people are sometimes a bit freer with what they say on social media than they might be if you met them in person. We always take it with a pinch of salt.
“Some of the potential gripes being raised were issues with St Albans in general, it’s not our position to comment on those.”
With 50,000 views in 48-hours, the plan to get more eyes on the property has certainly worked. “You see the powers of those groups, people who are highly engaged in local issues,” Ben adds.
As a result, Ben and Amy have been invited to meet with the management of local tourism board Enjoy St Albans, who would like some similar footage for their website.
As for the house, Ben will host any viewings himself initially, potentially recruiting an online agent to step in if the process takes a little longer than planned.
“It’s quite a different approach!” he laughs. “Fingers crossed it works because we’ve gone for it now.
“Whatever happens we’re glad to have made a video about St Albans that people have really enjoyed. But, yeah – the key thing is to try and sell the house!”
To find out more visit https://www.facebook.com/32inkermanroad/
To arrange a viewing, contact Ben to 07736 835319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.