Editor’s note: This is the third in a five-part series.

Habitat for Hermanity‘s Herman Chan, a real estate celebrity and expert, did a dynamite session at Real Estate Connect San Francisco on how and why Realtors should be using video as an integral part of their business.

Current statistics show that 82.5 percent of all Web users view video online. Furthermore, 30 percent of all current Web traffic is devoted to video. That number may be as high as 70 percent by 2020.

Today’s buyers and sellers place a premium on video. While only 12 percent of all agents have a YouTube account, 73 percent of the sellers are more likely to hire an agent who uses video in their business.

Herman’s three lame excuses not to do video

1. Too much work
"Video is too much work? You must be kidding! All you have to do is point, click and upload." The newer video cameras such as the Kodak Playtouch upload your video automatically. In fact, if you have a smartphone or an iPad you probably already have a camera built into your mobile device.

2. It’s too expensive
In the past, shooting video was expensive. Once you shot the raw footage, you needed a professional to edit the video. Today, it’s easy to shoot short videos from your iPhone or other mobile device. Furthermore, most people have no issue with amateur videos as long as the sound quality is good. (Please note: It’s smart to hire a videographer to shoot the your main marketing pieces for your listings, especially on expensive listings.)

If you want to edit the videos, tools such as iMovie on the Mac make it easy. There are a host of tools for Windows users as well, including Windows Live Movie Maker and PC Magazine’s top recommendation, CyberLinkPowerDirector9.

3. I’m ugly
As Herman said, "Not everyone is as good looking or interesting as I am." His recommendation was a smart one: Turn the camera the other way. Interview your favorite stager or seek video testimonials from past customers. Seek out local business owners who have interesting stories or who are fun on camera. Your goal is to engage your viewers with what is great about living in your area and, in the process, constantly upgrade your website and/or blog with fresh content.

Herman’s top video tips

1. No more than 2-3 minutes
Research shows that the longer your video is, the less likely YouTube viewers are to view it. While Herman recommended no more than two to three minutes for the length of your video, other experts suggest keeping it to 60-90 seconds.

2. Grab their attention in the first 15 seconds
If you want to have people watch your video, you must grab their interest in the first 15 seconds or they’re gone. Make a controversial statement, ask a thought-provoking question, or entertain them with something funny.

3. Use "ESP" — energy, smile and personality
If you’re going to shoot a video, you must have high energy. Smile and let your personality shine through. As Herman put it, "Don’t be a plain Jane — be a jolly Jane or Jack!" People don’t want to look at someone who is a sourpuss.

4. Sell-sell-sell — not!
Your video should inform and entertain. Dump the selling or the viewers will dump you and your video.

5. Don’t be a tour guide
Remember that your job is selling real estate, not being a tour guide who says, "This is the bedroom, this is the kitchen, this is the dining room." That’s boring. If you’re shooting a video of the property, focus on what is interesting and unique.

Interview the seller about what he or she loved about living in the house or the neighborhood. Search for colorful facts about the local area that provide a rich mosaic of what it is like to live there.

6. Have a strong point of view
It’s not only acceptable to have an opinion, it’s critical. While not everyone may agree with your opinion, those who support your point of view will love you for it.

7. Take baby steps
Everyone starts a new process as a beginner. Chances are you already know how to point and click your camera in the right direction. Begin by uploading your unedited videos on the Web. As you become more proficient, try editing or playing with upgrading your videos. When you take it step by step, the process is much easier.

8. Look somewhat presentable
Remember that once a video is posted online, it’s there permanently. Make sure that the image you convey is appropriate for the client base you serve. A good guideline is to dress as your clients dress when they are at work.

9. Syndicate your videos
Two great syndication services are Hey!Spread and TubeMogul.com. Hey!Spread syndicates to nine different video portals, including YouTube, Facebook and BlipTV.com, while TubeMogul syndicates to more than 25 different video portals. The basic levels of both syndication services are free.

If you want to get the edge on your competitors, don’t wait — point and click your camera, upload, and watch your business grow.

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