Marketing and branding are constantly evolving, and agents who are serious about developing their voices and connecting with their audience know the value and the reach video offers.
Here, Adam Hamwey, who could arguably be named a pioneer in updating the vlog format for real estate agents, offers insight into what works and what’s next for agents looking to pivot their media into.
Originally from outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Hamwey moved to New York in 2018. You may know him as the videographer who helped create Ryan Serhant’s YouTube channel. You’ll find one of my favorite episodes below. The series was inspired by a New York Times‘ story about “the new form of reality TV.”
Hamwey spent a year with Serhant, developing and launching his channel. He produced 50 episodes grossing around 20 million views and helped to build an audience of 250,000 subscribers. He went on to build his portfolio and work on several projects in other genres, including the world of professional sports.
After launching Hamwey Studios, a talent management and show development company in early 2020, Hamwey dove once again into documenting the New York City real estate industry and began working with Cash Jordan.
The focus of the project? What it’s like to live in New York from the ground up. The videos are authentic and offer a realistic look at what it would be like to ride the subway and grab a bagel in your prospective neighborhood.
“I sat down with Cash at the beginning of the pandemic after finding one of his early videos on TikTok and was blown away by his ability to connect with an audience,” Hamwey said. “Since then, we have grown his TikTok to over 500,000 followers, and YouTube to about 70 million views and 200,000 subscribers in the last year between his two channels.”
Hamwey’s marketing insights for 2021 and beyond
What should you, as a real estate agent, be doing now? The answer: Make original short-form and long-form video part of your branding and business plan. It’s not extra, and it’s not just for luxury price ranges. It’s become a standard in marketing for your business and consumers, and your clients will expect it.
“Remember to come up with a plan to market yourself, and do not try to mirror a social media influencer,” Hamwey said. “I see many people trying to be someone they are not, and audiences can sniff that out. Authentic content is what many audiences tend to gravitate to. Let people get to know you as a human being and show the transitions in your life.”
1. Short-form videos
The discoverability aspects of platforms like TikTok may change in the future. Grabbing views on your content will become harder and harder, so it’s essential to take full advantage while you still can and develop a core audience.
In other words, it’s free now, but it may not always be that way. So, lean into stories and accessible forms of content when you can.
2. Long-form videos
These are documentary-style videos that give practical and immersive information that consumers can get lost in. What is it like to live where you are selling? What makes you unique? Where are you at in your real estate career journey? Take your customers with you on your journey.
3. Getting comfortable on camera
One of the most significant barriers everyone faces when choosing to use video is doing it. Hamwey recommended TikTok as a great tool to practice with and a way to tell your story in a short format.
TikTok is raw and requires minor editing. Over time, your comfort level will build. The best way to get comfortable and feel natural on camera is to practice. Since COVID-19 hit, TikTok has exploded in popularity. This helped many businesses realize that consumers are here to stay for short-form video content.
4. Best TikTok tip
Keep it short. Right now, the algorithm favors content 15 to 30 seconds, but don’t let that slow you down. Focus less on the time frame and more on what the first few seconds of the entire piece of content looks like.
TikTok wants viewers to linger on the first few seconds of the videos, and if you can keep the initial audience’s attention, they will layer and spread the video to larger audiences. Try using movement in the first few seconds to create interest in the TikTok for the viewer. Keep tweaking your intros. Have fun with it, and do not overthink it.
@cash.jordan🔥 luxury Tower in ##manhattan ##nycrealestate ##nycapartment ##nycapartmenttour ##apartmenttour♬ original sound – Cash Jordan
5. Should I be funny?
Be funny and have fun with it, but remember there is a fine line between funny and being professional. Churning out content at a high rate is challenging but Hamwey advised to avoid making the bulk of your content goofy. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming a parody account for entertainment and losing some of your professionalism in your message.
“You do not want to be a character,” he said. “You want to be an expert, not a joke. Trust the professionals you hire to help you with the tone and pacing of your longer-form content. When I started the YouTube project with Serhant, we left the drama at Million Dollar Listing and brought light and authentic viewpoints into his video series.”
6. To caption or not to caption?
In the last year, we have seen many consumer behavior shifts. However, we have seen the rise in captions. Remember: Just adding that additional step can slow you down. If you are trying to create a steady stream of content, keep it simple.
Remove any complicated barriers you are making to “beat the algorithm.” Social media platforms have historically rewarded users who post regularly and often. Hamwey’s advice is to keep things rolling and keep it simple.
Remember that video is a powerful medium to connect with your audience. There is room to jump on board at every budget level, but hiring a professional to even do an initial consultation with you will help you better organize your game plan.
Leaning into content on TikTok, Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook will be an effective way to connect with your audience for many years to come. Create video content that will allow your audience to get to know the real you, and avoid promoting a false image of what you think audiences want to see. Trust your gut, and just be yourself.
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting and blogging. Feel free to tweet her @rachaelhite.