Effective advertising does two things well: first, it tells a compelling story, one that the consumer can connect with. Secondly, it meets the consumer where he or she is present. In an environment where people have short attention spans and endless options for content and information, Realtors® can stand apart from the crowd if they make use of live video tools such as Snapchat Live, Facebook Live, and Live stories on Instagram. With these tools, you have an opportunity to tell a compelling, visual story and deliver it to client’s smartphones, tablets, and computers all without blowing your marketing budget. Social media presents Realtors® with many opportunities to market themselves and their properties, but it’s important to know how to use the various social media channels for the right situations. Some, like Twitter, are great for communicating factual information (links to listings, dates/times for open houses), but with live video capabilities, Realtors® have an easy-to-use platform that virtually gets clients into houses and enhances your brand as a customer-focused, innovative partner. Those who master this medium will have a scalable model for client engagement, and can provide customers an effective, experiential, and convenient way to stay connected.
This style of marketing offers inexpensive, yet very powerful benefits, including:
- User convenience: Homes are naturally visual; people want to see inside, outside, and the neighborhood, and as we all know, a white picket fence or a beautifully shaped tree can be enough to trigger a potential buyer’s emotions about a house. But first, the person has to see it and live video puts them right there at the property without them leaving the comfort of their home.
- Easy to use: The entire process involves taking a video with your phone while it streams to your Facebook or Instagram feed. Facebook Live even provides some editing features, while there are a variety of apps that enhance video feeds, which can be implemented when you reuse these videos later.
- Help your clients focus: With video, you can help clients narrow down their choices so they don’t waste time on properties they might not actually like.
- Improve your brand: Even for those who are just lurking, they will see you as a highly interactive, personable partner who embraces current technology in an effort to connect with clients. This is a way to sell yourself and establish your ability to meet your client’s wants and needs.
- Interactive: Consider that Facebook Live videos get 10x more comments than other types of posts. More engagement means more attention.
- Scale: Showing a house in-person takes time. You have to travel there and back, spend time with the client, and take care of any concerns that immediately pop up in the course of your tour. With video, however, you can put dozens or hundreds of people inside of the houses you’re selling without having to leave your office.
We’ve learned that when it comes to social media consumption, people love video and seek it out more than anything else (videos in social channels generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined). Millennials, especially, are enamored with video, as four times as many prefer to watch video than read an article. In our fast-paced world filled with instant gratification, it’s clear that video platforms are becoming the most effective way of reaching your audience. But to use these tools effectively you should take these things into consideration:
- Length: Remember, these videos are live, and people are likely to join at various times during the streaming video. A video that’s at least 15-20 minutes is good — it provides people with enough time to join and engage during the stream. In fact, an analysis of 100 million Facebook videos indicates that viewer engagement increases the longer the video lasts, up until about 16 minutes.
- Script your video, but not too much: Do a dry run, but don’t worry too much about getting every word right. You’ll be using your phone to tour the house, so be aware of anything that might, literally or figuratively, trip you up as you wander around showing off the home’s features. Know the things you want to highlight. Make sure windows are open and that natural light will be plentiful.
- Timing is everything: This is a chance to bring the house to your clients, wherever they are. For live videos (like Facebook Live), it’s best to film at a time when you can get users when they’re not distracted by other demands (lunch time, evenings, weekends). You also want to show houses with good daylight, so consider weekends and holidays to broadcast – you’ll be able to show off the house during daytime hours when people won’t be at work. Remember, users aren’t bound to an office or any physical limitations. As long as they have their smartphones, they can watch from almost anywhere. For Instagram and Snapchat, keep in mind that videos vanish after 24 hours.
- Capture leads: Ask your subscribers to follow you on this particular channel and keep referring them to your website where they can learn more as well as join your mailing list.
- Reshare and reuse: Even though you create the video live, it becomes an invaluable piece of content. Once the live video is done, it will be available to you to share as often as you’d like. Take the footage and post it to your website and other social media channels so potential clients can revisit and learn about properties they weren’t able to see the first time around.
Live video options from Facebook and Instagram are as easy to use as snapping a picture. Those who take advantage of them will discover an entirely new way for getting the attention of new clients and servicing the ones they already have. From a branding and customer service perspectives, live video can enhance how you’re viewed, thus improving your ability to get serious buyers and sellers who want to work with you.