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How REALTORS® can use video effectively and affordably

By Gwen Moran

Video has been having a marketing moment for several years, but 2018 saw both its usage and effectiveness jump. According to a recent survey by marketing platform HubSpot, businesses are using video more than ever: 87% of businesses report integrating video into their marketing and 83% say it gives them a good return on investment, up from 78% just a year prior.

For REALTORS®, the benefits of video cannot be overstated—it’s quickly becoming the most important form of content you can produce. But the key to using it effectively is to have a plan, says Gerard Lynch, CEO of Rise Media, a real estate marketing and technology company based in New York City.

“It’s no longer just about content. Those days are gone. It’s now about strategically positioning content in front of the right audience to extend its reach,” he says. In other words, you need to have a plan to get your videos in front of the right people and, ideally, get them to watch and take action.

Deciding how to shoot: Do it yourself or pay to shoot

With today’s wealth of technology tools and video services, producing videos that fit your strategy and budget is easier than ever before. But there are also times when it’s a better decision to work with a professional video team.

Neal Oates, Jr., CRS, broker/owner with World Renowned Real Estate in Hollywood, Florida, says he uses video as his primary method of connecting with virtually everyone. He shoots his videos himself. “I am not a ‘techie’ at all,” he says. He uses a Samsung Galaxy 8 to shoot his videos and occasionally uses an external Boya lavalier or shotgun microphone that he ordered from Amazon for $40 each. He also has an LED light for when he needs additional lighting. “My entire platform is meant to be portable so I could put it in my backpack and always keep it with me. So, whenever something comes up, I can just record right there,” he says.

5 Video Tools You Can Use

  1. BombBomb: Allows you to send and receive short videos instead of text.
  2. iMovie: An easy-to-use video editing software application.
  3. Magisto: A video editing app that has distribution integration with social media like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and others.
  4. Rise-Media: A real estate marketing and video production firm.
  5. Wondershare Filmora: An easy-to-use video editing platform.

When he’s not using his phone, he uses his laptop’s webcam and edits his videos with Wondershare Filmora, a video editing platform he has used for about three years. Filmora allows him to trim video; add filters, graphics or subtitles; add stock audio; and make other edits. The basic version is free. The Pro version is $149.99.

Gigi Burk, CRS, broker/owner at Burk Brokerage Real Estate, LLC in New Orleans, Louisiana, opts to pay a local media marketing company a monthly retainer and have them shoot her videos. Roughly once a week, the team does local business spotlights, market reports and listing videos. Freelance marketplace website Thumbtack estimates the national average cost of producing a short video is $600–$850, but it can vary significantly based on length, production components, geography and other factors.

Lynch says it’s also important to understand what viewers want when it comes to video.

The video should be short, informational and entertaining. A 60-second listing video should show key features that are engaging and excite people about actually seeing the house. A 15–20 second cut can be distributed on social media channels to get more traffic. It’s usually best to err on the side of brevity, he says. “No one’s watching a video that’s five or six minutes long. People will want to watch short, snackable content,” he says.

Putting your video to use

Once you decide how you’re going to approach production, the next part of your plan should be determining the reasons you’re going to use video and developing a distribution plan. Here are five ways you can use video to help build your business.

Establish yourself as an expert. Oates’ two primary markets are affluent clients and international buyers—and both want to know they’re working with someone who knows the market well.

He shoots videos of himself reviewing market trends, statistics, news and market updates, and then distributes them through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to position himself as the go-to source for real estate information in his market.

Get a little famous. Oates also created a web series called “Being World Renowned,” a reference to the name of his brokerage. The web series “has nothing to do with real estate, but opens up my life so my sphere of influence, clients and prospects can see who I am,” he says. He believes people want to know the personalities of those with whom they do business.

Mic Terminology

Lavalier microphone: A lavalier microphone or lavalier (also known as a lav, lapel mic, clip mic, body mic, collar mic, neck mic or personal mic) is a small microphone used for television, theatre and public speaking applications in order to allow for hands-free operation.

Shotgun microphone: A shotgun microphone is a highly directional microphone that must be pointed directly at its target sound source for proper recording. Shotgun microphones use unidirectional microphones to achieve this high beam of concentration on the sound source to record the sound.

“The purpose is to maximize my exposure. I consider myself a marketer so it’s all about gaining maximum exposure,” he says. “I believe people work with me mainly because of who I am outside of real estate—they see the man, husband, father and type of guy that I am.” Oates doesn’t share these videos on professional channels, but they get traffic from social channels and word-of-mouth.

Show off your properties. Videos are the perfect way to show off a property with a virtual house tour. The format can give prospective buyers a true feel for the property. “So, we might use a drone to shoot an aerial view of a large piece of property that’s incredibly landscaped. We’ll show the lake property and how beautiful it is on the water, Burk says. These videos may be distributed through social media, email lists and on her website.

Showcase local businesses. Burk’s business spotlight videos can get an average of 1,200 to 1,500 views per day. Not only do the videos show that she’s well-connected and knowledgeable about the community, they also help her distribution strategy. “A lot of the businesses share our videos, so they get a lot of exposure and it helps promote our brand,” she says. Because local businesses are featured, they often share the videos in addition to her own distribution channels.

Communicate with clients. Oates sends brief video text messages to clients and encourages them to do the same. “I know that most text messages are opened within two minutes of receipt and the open rate is close to 100%. Add to this the video in the message and people want to know what I’m saying even if they are in a meeting and shouldn’t be on their phones,” he says. The video exchanges strengthen relationships. “This has been most beneficial when sending videos to out-of-area clients,” he says.

Whether you choose to go the DIY route or work with a professional, video is an important tool. Keep it simple, have a plan and make sure your quality is good, and video can be a critical part of growing your business, Lynch says.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer based in Wall Township, New Jersey.

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