Forget about marketing using the boring bedroom-bath-feature approach. What’s hot today is visual marketing and it’s easier than ever.
At the recent Agent Reboot conference, VScreen CEO Stephen Schweickart and social media strategist Katie Lance kicked off the morning by sharing how to market visually using video and photos.
Video: today’s marketing must-have
Did you know that over 50 percent of all Web traffic today is on video and that users prefer video by a margin of 6-to-1 over other types of media? Video also makes you 50 times more likely to rank on Google, increases click-throughs by 41 percent, and causes visitors to stay six times longer.
The video sales funnel
According to Schweickart, community videos are the most watched real estate videos on YouTube. Consequently, video sits at the top of the sales funnel. In fact, buyers begin their search by identifying the communities where they would like to live.
To make a community video that will have a long shelf life, hire a professional videographer from a firm such as WellcomeMat or Elance.com. Be sure to check references and the quality of their past products. Normally, you will pay 50 percent as a deposit and 50 percent on completion. Be sure to show your videographer samples of what you like.
To make your community videos shareable, minimize your personal and company branding. For example, if you’re shooting a neighborhood street view where you have a listing, be subtle. Show your listing in the distance.
You can also include local businesses, interviews with members of the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as nearby recreational activities. Other resources include your local mayor, parent-teacher association, tax tips from CPAs, or tips for home maintenance.
Listing videos are the second most watched type of video, while “how to” or educational videos are the third most watched type. As Schweickart observed, “Educate them and they will buy from you.”
Testimonial videos are also popular. Be cautious, however. Viewers can easily distinguish between what is coached vs. what is real and spontaneous. Focus on capturing your clients in a candid, happy moment.
The least viewed videos on YouTube are videos about you. Remember, your focus must be on the viewer’s “WIIFM” (What’s in it for me?).
Other video tips
The optimal length for your videos is 60-90 seconds. The shorter your video, the more likely people are to engage.
Distribute your videos on platforms such as ListHub and Point2. YouTube’s “embed” tool allows you to embed your YouTube videos directly into your Facebook account with a single click. Finally, remember to include your video on other social media sites such as Instagram, LinkedIn (for testimonials), Pinterest and Twitter.
Apps that can help you produce your video include the native app on YouTube plus MovieMaker, Final Cut Pro and Animoto. Videolicious is a great app, but works only on the iPhone.
In terms of equipment, you will need a tripod, separate mikes for audio, a quality camera and an umbrella light. Resources include BHPhotoVideo.com and HDhat.com.
Finally, if you run a brokerage or a team that handles 50 or more listings, ListingVideos.com provides an excellent way to brand all your videos, add in actual community footage that you don’t have to shoot, plus market statistics and walkability scores.
How to create a visual social media strategy
Lance highlighted how pictures tap into our emotions and build personal connection: “Your social media strategy is not just about real estate, it’s the entire picture. It’s about capturing the moments in your clients’ lives or in your own personal life. This is how we connect.”
Apps to use include Iconosquare.com to track analytics on Instagram. Use “Camera Plus” to make your photos from your smartphone look their best.
Apps to enhance your photos include the Over app, which allows you to add captions to your photos. Whether it’s a video or a photo, having the property address embedded in the photo dramatically improves Web response.
Lance also recommended the PicPlayPost app that can print a collage that includes both your photos and videos. To use this app, simply pan five seconds of a main street in your area, add six photos, and it’s ready to post and play on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Post on Pinterest
Pinterest continues to drive more referral traffic than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are female, and 23 percent visit the site once a day, staying for an average of 77 minutes. The No. 1 most searched word on Pinterest is “home.”
To reach this audience, always include the word “dream” since most Americans long for their “dream home.” Set up a “dream home” board when you work with buyers. Have them post the pictures they like or other photos that exemplify the home they want. It’s also smart to set up a Pinterest business page on Facebook.
To schedule your pins, use Tailwind.com, which functions must like HootSuite for Twitter.
Lance shared four additional resources:
1. Share As Image
Use Shareasimage.com to drop a photo into this site or to create a photo based upon the words that you enter into the site. The fee is $8 per month.
This is an amazing site with plenty of free options. You can create images in different templates and customize them to fit the various photo sizes required for social media sites.
This site allows you to create infographics for your posts on Instagram and other sites.
4. Remember RPR
RPR has some amazing resources. You can highlight different features or selling points as well as having access to a pricing model that adjusts easily using a slider feature.
The bottom line when it comes to visual marketing is to capture the moments, be authentic, include pictures and videos in posts wherever possible, and remember to tell the story.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.