How Are Real Estate Firms Using Online Video?

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There have been many developments in online marketing over the last few years, often with the result of making something that was previously expensive or out of reach, more accessible to all.

Online video is one of those things. In the past, producing and distributing video may have been prohibitively costly, especially for smaller real estate firms, but today we live in a world where six-year-olds have their own YouTube channel and the cost of equipment is much cheaper.

It’s also worth noting a few facts about online video from Insivia:

  • According to an Australian Retailer, real estate listings that include a video receive 403% more inquiries than those without.
  • YouTube users watch more than 3 billion hours of video per month, according to YouTube.
  • Including a video on your homepage can increase conversion rates by 20% or more, according to ReelSEO.

By all indications, video is a very influential online medium and its popularity is only continuing to grow. How are real estate firms taking advantage and harnessing the power of video? Check out a few examples and think about how they could inspire your efforts.

#1. SWFL Real Estate TV

John R. Wood Properties in Southwest Florida recently developed SWFL Real Estate TV in order to highlight real estate news, market trends, interviews with local real estate players, luxury properties for sale and any other pertinent news for the area.

The firm puts out a new episode fortnightly on their blog and across various online properties that they own (including individual agent’s websites). The videos are  high-quality compared to any kind of amateur effort, basically like you local news station.

Another point to note is that these videos are heavy on “community” content, rather than simply talking about real estate listings. This Inman article points out that 86% of homebuyers who view videos in their search for a home use them to research a particular community, while 70% like to use video to tour the inside of a house, which makes an important case for both types of video.

You will also find that any “community” videos you make can perform well for you in terms of visitors over time. This is because if you can create more “evergreen” content, it will continue to be useful to others and will attract prospects into the future.


Source: Inman

[tweetthis]Community videos are good for real estate firms. 86% of buyers who watch use them for research. [/tweetthis]

#2. HUB Media Company

HUB Media, lead by Stephen Garner, has been producing real estate videos for clients since 2008. One thing Steven notes in the comments here is that those videos are much more likely to show up on the first page of Google than say, a blog post.

Video format and using YouTube makes the videos easy to share to grab more views. They also often include snapshots of the local community and lifestyle, so a potential buyer can get a good feel for the area.

As Steven points out, these types of professional-quality videos win out over a shaky iPhone videos or robotic voiceovers. They are more watchable and shareable, therefore are more likely to do better in terms of reach.

While this is a company that may produce work for different real estate firms, it is worth checking out how its YouTube channel is set up for ease of use, too. The company has created appropriately categorized playlists while making use of the introductory video section at the top of the channel so that viewers can immediately jump to the type of category they are looking for.  The channel descriptions have been filled out properly and keywords and relevant links are included. This all helps the videos to appear in search engine results, too.


#3. Coldwell Banker

Coldwell Banker is a very large, country-wide firm that has made use of video across various channels, but the one we’d like to draw attention to here is on Facebook. The company uploads all kinds of video tips which can be useful for homeowners and potential homeowners as well as real estate news and the latest on in-home technology.

These videos get a large number of views and one of the reasons why is because they are uploaded  straight onto Facebook so that Facebook becomes the host of the video (rather than posting a link to YouTube or to a blog post with an embedded video).

Hosting videos on Facebook has the following advantages:

  • Videos autoplay for viewers and thumbnails appear larger than those for videos hosted elsewhere.
  • It’s easy for people to comment, like or share, which in turn can boost the numbers who see it. Facebook looks for clues as to the “relevancy” of posts so that they can show more of those which people are interested in.
  • Facebook recently hit 100 million hours of video watched each day, significantly competing with YouTube and demonstrating that they are still a growing giant of social media.
  • It is said that Facebook is more likely to show video posts that are hosted by them to more people.

Source: TechCrunch

#4. John Jones

John Jones has been using video for a few years to present “how tos”, home buying or selling advice and general market updates that interested buyers or sellers should know about. His “Tuesday Morning Coffee” tips have been popular on YouTube for the last few years.

This raises the importance of another type of video – the “how-to” or informative video. According to this Inman article, this type of video is the third most-popular with viewers with 54% watching videos to gather information on the buying or selling process.

Buyers and sellers are always looking for ways to get the best deal or make the most from their property, and often these videos can be good evergreen content too. It’s a good reminder to have a mixture; you may do market update videos, but these will date after time. Your “how-tos” should have a much longer shelf-life and gain more viewers over time. Do a good job of them and they could be the point of difference which sends customers the way of your firm.

Watch for these mistakes…

So we know video is a powerful medium and that it works to bring in the business if done well. Are there some no-nos you should be aware of? Yes, definitely think twice with regard to any of the following:

  • People who simply don’t come across well on video. You may normally be the most interesting, outgoing person, but sometimes that doesn’t necessarily translate well on video. You don’t want to end up with wooden, scripted videos, so do yourself a favor and practice! Remember, most TV personalities have had some kind of formal training and a lot of practice; it would be rare to be amazing on camera from your first try.
  • Shakey, unprofessional footage. Just because you can do a run through of a house using the camera on your iPhone, should you? Video is becoming much more common for house listings and as you can see from examples above, often these listings include professional grade videos. You don’t want to stick out for the wrong reasons!
  • Avoiding close-ups. As Adwerx points out, most realtors love to get the wide angle on homes in order to convey space, but this might mean you miss out the interesting details which buyers may find attractive. Don’t be afraid to use close up footage of any interesting elements so that these come across better on your finished video.

Final Thoughts

Online video has provided real estate businesses with more options for getting noticed and is now more affordable than ever.

Video is popular with real estate clients who like to see community videos, listing videos, how-tos and more. Creating these kinds of videos can help clients find you easily in a search and can help convey the authority and expertise of your firm in the area.

Place  your videos across different channels for maximum exposure. For example, you can upload to YouTube and embed those videos on blog posts or you can upload to Facebook directly so that those videos have a better chance of being seen.

Whatever you choose to do, just ensure that you come across professionally – people have a lot of choices when it comes to video now and are expecting better quality!

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