Housing referrals are a tried and tested way of connecting landlords and tenants by inviting current residents to refer people in exchange for a finders fee. Aiming to leverage the strength of social media, RentMineOnline took the next natural step and added Facebook to the mix. The venture is effectively an online affiliate program for real-world house rental. Through RentMineOnline, property managers send bulk messages to their tenants informing them of a new campaign. Tenants can then send notifications via their social network of choice: Facebook, Plaxo, Twitter or email, and property managers can monitor the reach of each referral campaign in real time.
It’s a win-win service on all sides. Current residents have the opportunity to help out friends and earn some extra cash (typically from USD 50 to USD 1500). Referred tenants have the security of signing with a vouched-for landlord, and possibly moving in next door to a friend. RentMineOnline takes a sales fee for each campaign from property managers, while the managers themselves benefit from a massive catchment pool of potential tenants, most of whom will be related by both demographic and location to current tenants.
The last point is key. As the presence of social media continues to grow, the question is increasingly becoming not whether, but how companies are going to harness it. For entrepreneurs, RentMineOnline looks to have created a model that should work equally well in other parts of the world.