Conducting live tours on social media as a team can be a great way to reach a wide audience and have some fun along the way. Here’s how one L.A.-based agency hosts weekly progressive Instagram open houses, plus a few helpful tips.

As we continue to conduct business in this new era of social distancing, virtual tours on Instagram and Facebook Live have become one of the most popular ways to showcase a listing and reach a wide audience in the process.

As a team, we’ve been having a little fun every Friday by conducting a progressive Instagram virtual open house tour on our @BondStParners account and showcasing our listings across Los Angeles.

This initiative has not only garnered great feedback from clients and interest from potential buyers, but it has also been a great team experience and morale-booster. Here is how we do it, plus some tips for hosting your own progressive virtual tour.

Get started

The hardest part about launching any new initiative is getting the ball rolling. Make a commitment to do it on a regular basis (your audience will want to know when they should tune in), and then plan out the specifics.

At our team meeting, we decided that we would do this every Friday, as people gear up for the weekend. It’s a great way to end the week and a time for many to step away from their work and really enjoy the experience.

The specifics

Next, decide which members of your team will be on the camera doing the tours and how many listings you will capture in one session. Make sure everyone gets an equal opportunity. It really is a fun process that everyone should enjoy. We’re lucky to have four team members who want to be on camera, and so we decided to have an hour of power and have each agent film for about 15-20 minutes.

This is ample time for a good look at a home. You’ll be able to show off all the top features while leaving the audience wanting more. Keep in mind that when it comes to virtual open houses, you want to show a preview, not the whole movie.

Then, decide on the listings and who will show what and in what order. If you’re having to repeat listings every week, you can provide a teaser to the audience, something along the lines of, “Tune in next week when we take a look at the vintage cars in the jaw-dropping, six-car garage. I might even take one for a spin and show you the gorgeous street this home is located on.”

Even when you think you’re running out of content for one listing, come together as a team, and put your thinking caps on — there is always more!

The logistics

Now that you have the time and order in which the team will go live, make sure you have everything you need to get the job done. Like, access to the home and required security codes, good cell reception, and a fully charged phone or battery pack.

On the day of the shoot, arrive at the listing well before you’re about to go live, and prepare the home as if you were conducting a showing with a potential buyer. Turn on the lights, and activate features like the fireplace and water fountain. Have a clear plan on how you’re going to walk through the home and what points you are going to touch upon as you move through. Be aware of both dimly lit and brightly lit areas, and adjust your route accordingly.

And finally, in the preparation and planning stage, make sure to promote your progressive virtual tour on your social media accounts as well. Be sure to include the time and date the tour will begin and even a slideshow of properties you will tour.

Lights, camera, action!

Before the shoot, make sure to allocate some time for grooming. Once filming is done, you’ll be saving the live story and adding it to your highlights so those who missed it can view it at their leisure. That’s why you have to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.

While filming, remember to be informative and to keep an eye out for people posting questions. You will want to make sure you answer them as you go. If you are filming yourself, selfie-style, and it’s your first time doing a live feed with people sending in questions, do a practice run with your team, perhaps on your personal account as opposed to the business one.

If you’re filming with a colleague, have them keep track of the questions that come in, and don’t be afraid to interact during filming. And last, but certainly not least, know that this is a great opportunity to showcase your listings — but also to have some fun.

Think about the people you like to follow on Instagram personally, and understand that you’re likely drawn to them not just because of their content, but also their great personality. Let your personality shine through, and have a great time. Positivity is greatly appreciated, especially right now.

Additional pro tips

Don’t forget to keep your eye on the comments section while filming. We always invite viewers to ask questions, and let them know we will answer them as we go or at the end of the tour.

Also, you can “pin” your comment in the beginning of the post so all your viewers can see it. To pin a comment, tap and hold it to pin it to the top. Once your live video ends, you can share a replay of it. Like other photos and videos you share to stories, live video replays disappear from your feed and profile after 24 hours. To share a replay of your live video, tap “Share to Story” at the bottom of the screen after you’ve ended your live video.

David Parnes is a director at The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on InstagramJames Harris is a director at The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.

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