The most important piece of advice Amy Youngren, Ben Bacal and Peter Lorimer offered about real estate videos at Inman Connect San Francisco was to be authentic. There’s a lot more that goes into videos, but authenticity is what resonates with clients.

  • Be authentic in your videos.
  • Social media is a great platform to share videos with potential clients.
  • You don't need to invest thousands of dollars in cameras and drones when you have a perfectly capable camera right on your phone.

The most important piece of advice Amy Youngren, Ben Bacal and Peter Lorimer offered about real estate videos at Inman Connect San Francisco was to be authentic. There’s a lot more that goes into videos, but authenticity is what resonates with clients.

Youngren, Bacal and Lorimer all do different types of video. Youngren markets her properties and believes social media is the best way to reach potential clients. Bacal has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on aerial video and cinema quality production.

Lorimer, although admitting he’s only been in the video game for about one year, finds ways to make even the most boring topics (escrow, for example) interesting.

But it all comes back to authenticity.

Youngren runs a real estate team out of Toronto, Canada called Urban Lifestyle Group. The three-year-old firm just hired its sixth team member and will be closing it’s 150th transaction very soon.

Lorimer is the CEO/broker at PLG Estates based out of Beverly Hills, California.

Bacal operates Ben Bacal Realty based out of Los Angeles.

What do these three have in common? An affinity for the power of video.

Why you need video as a real estate agent

“For years the industry has been telling me, telling all of us, to use video,” Bacal told Katie Maxwell, master of ceremonies. “Why do only 4 percent of us use video?”

All three professionals agreed that videos of all kinds are the new wave of prospecting. Bacal described how he used to cold call and knock on doors (he has videos to prove it, some of which are total blunders,) but video is the new way of reaching clients.

Lorimer described some of the techniques that newbies to the video game can try. He even went so far as to suggest that if you don’t know what you’re doing, steal ideas from the people who do know.

“There are techniques,” he said. “Interview a designer, interview a stager, interview an agent… If you don’t have listings, do videos of other people’s listings. Just push out content.”

To promote your video is to promote yourself

But no matter where Maxwell would steer the conversation, all signs pointed to authenticity.

“We are all doing listings to promote our houses. The most important thing is to promote you… be authentic. Be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to fail. Just put it out there. The audience will react. Have faith it will work,” Lorimer said.

Youngren’s approach, although echoing the “authentic” advice, comes from a different angle. Lorimer and Bacal both shoot and produce videos themselves, but Youngren has chosen to work with a videographer to create her content.

“The number one piece of advice I got was don’t reinvent the wheel,” she said. “Find people that are doing it and do what they are doing.”

Youngren’s team emulates content machines like Buzzfeed by creating succinct 90-second videos with a countdown; top 8 reasons you want to live in this neighborhood; top 10 reasons you like this dog park.

Bacal’s approach to video is a bit more polarizing, but no less authentic. He’s invested in drones and RED cameras, post-production that could make some filmmakers jealous (not an easy task in Los Angeles) and his videos have been picked up by Forbes and TMZ. But the ones that get the most hits are the ones he shoots on his phone with his RoofShoot mobile app.

“I’ve spent a ton of money shooting content, shooting these videos that are extravagant… if I actually shot a video using my iPhone, it was more real and authentic,” Bacal said.

How to market video listings

Marketing the videos is another thing entirely, and ways of approaching the marketing varied among the panelists.

Youngren’s use of social media is what has helped her content reach the masses. She said that her organic following, supplemented by daily updates about her and her team and not always related to a listing, help keep clients enthralled.

“Look at video as prospecting,” Lorimer said. “Carve out time to self promote with video.”

Bacal attributed his marketing success to Google ranking and website ads.

“Video is the cheapest way to market on Google,” he said. “It basically costs you nothing.”

His advice included the uploading of content to YouTube or Vimeo and sharing the link. With Facebook doing what it can to keep your eyes on Facebook, the best way to share your work is to through link sharing.

No matter what, though, all three agreed that authenticity is what helps sell homes. After all, this is a business of relationships.

Email Britt Chester

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