Why Video Is The Secret Ingredient For Estate Agents (And Doesn’t Cost A Fortune).
Residential estate agents are often noted for being at the cutting edge in terms of technology uptake, but for some reason, when it comes to video, property professionals have been either astoundingly slow in appreciating how fantastic a tool video can be for their business, or dismiss video as unaffordable.
If, as a property professional, you’ve not embraced video, and we’re not talking property listing videos, although these have excellent benefits that we’ll discuss another time, what you’re missing out on is the amazing effect video can have on your online business presence, and ultimately, your bottom line. You see, Google loves video and ranks company websites with video far more highly in Google search engine ranking pages than sites without video. Video can propel your page ranking way ahead of competitors who’ve spent months tweaking keywords in the hope of improving their SEO.
The right kind of video is a worthwhile investment for any estate agent, with professional branding / promotional videos being the strongest option. However, Google loves fresh video content, so to dominate your market, you need a regular supply of new videos. Obviously professional property tour videos go some way to contributing to this demand, but here’s the best bit; in this modern age, not all video for business needs to be professionally filmed and edited, some video, you can produce yourself and little bit of video DIY goes a long way for SEO and customer engagement.
The art is in understanding when self shot footage is appropriate, and when it’s better to call in the professionals. As a general rule, self shot videos can be perfectly acceptable on social media, but probably not for your website where you need to present a more formal brand image.
This video shows the first time our new drone returned to travel mode.
Filmed by me, rather than one of our professional camera operators, it’s unedited and very rough and ready…and the sound is terrible, in the heat of the moment, I just grabbed the footage and then I was too excited about sharing the video via YouTube to remember about the sound. We wouldn’t dream of putting this video on our website, but for a social media video, it’s perfectly acceptable, giving an opportunity for social media engagement and a chance for some SEO Google love.
Modern smart phones and tablets have great inbuilt HD video cameras, they’re perfect for your social media videos, but always, always, always, shoot in landscape format. The old saying that the best things in life are free doesn’t quite ring true in the video production business, cut too many corners, and those rough edges will definitely show on screen. In video production, you most certainly get what you pay for, so even as a self shooter, you should invest in a few production basics, but they don’t have to cost a fortune.
Unless you have the steadiest arm in the world, if you’re filming for more than thirty seconds, invest in a tripod. Think about the kinds of video you want to make and buy the most appropriate tripod, or maybe two. You don’t need the most expensive, tripods can be bought online for as little as £3. If you’re mostly making videos around the office, a Gorilla pod, or similar will probably suffice and it’s flexible for a range of angles. If you’re filming your local cricket match, or doing pieces to camera out and about, or want to undertake panning or tilt shots, invest in a stills camera tripod. Either way, buy a tripod and always adjust your tripod to make sure your shot is level. Your audience will appreciate your tripod and your viewers will stay with you for longer. You’ll probably need to invest in a smart phone or tablet tripod adapter too.
And do something about your audio. Poor audio quality can be the downfall of video. Even a low cost lavalier microphone (£10 on Amazon with great reviews) can really boost your audio quality. Smartphones and tablets are great filming in most lighting situations, so it’s unlikely that you’ll need lights.
You might want to edit your video clips, smart phone software often has an edit package, but imovie and videoshow are good starting points, although there are many options out there. It’s a case finding the one that’s easiest to use. When it comes to editing, most video editing packages offer great dissolves and page wipes, but don’t bother, they’ll end up detracting from your video. When we first started out, we worked machine to machine for editing, using only hard cuts, it’s a great discipline to learn and still the best option. Also, think carefully about any grading presets you select and always review your video before committing. If you can add text titles, then all the better.
So what types of video could you self produce? There are basically two types – spontaneous reportage where you shoot as it happens and post immediately to your social media account; and planned productions, where you’ve put in some time planning what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it, where you’re going to film and think about relevant cutaways you could use to break up any pieces to camera.
Wondering what to film or talk about? Think about your customers, what type of interests they have – do you sponsor the local football or cricket club, could you host match highlights, or be of service in some other way? What would someone moving to the area be interested in? Could you film an overview of local schools, local amenities such as parks or golf courses that locals love, your favourite walk, or good places to eat?
You could also use self shot video to film a new instruction teaser video and immediately upload to YouTube, or send via email (have a look at http://agentvox.co.uk for a more controlled delivery option). When something spontaneous happens in your office or at a live event, or a delighted client pops by to say how great you are – you can share these types of events with your followers on social media immediately.
Although not directly related to property, this US realtor connected his car and his property business in this video. By doing so, the video he commissioned about his new car has been his most successful video, increasing his exposure and bringing in additional business.
The shape and style of video is up to you, but remember that people choose to watch videos to be entertained, not bored, so if you don’t think you’d watch your video, then it’s probable that nobody else will. Keep social media videos short and sweet, more than 2 minutes and you’ll probably lose a lot of your audience.
In terms of your website, set up a ‘community’ page or similar to host your more carefully filmed and edited DIY videos on your website. For About Us, market report type videos, property listings, or a host of other video types, call in a professional.
Remember to add keywords to your YouTube video and review your YouTube analytics. With a bit of tweaking, you’ll soon know what works for you. A little bit of thought and planning, you’ll soon be calling “action”, but if you need any help or advice in preparing for self shooting, or want a 1:1 masterclass, call us, we love sharing our knowledge.