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I heart real estate video blogging and why you should too

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Lani’s article What you should read into stats about the growth of web video did a beautiful job breaking down the numbers for web video. The data is undeniable; web video’s potential for growth is enormous. Think back to just a few years ago when social media was proclaimed as the next big thing. Many agents thought it a passing phase, yet low and behold social media is well on its way to global domination. Some agents now find themselves playing catch up, and having to shell out the dough for overpriced social media tutelage.

Well if web video is indeed the next wave, you can bet there will be some enterprising opportunists hocking fancy-shmancy “webvideo packages” down the line. As the starlet of my own little unpretentious videoblog HabitatforHermanity.com, let me save you a few dollars in the future with a these web video tips you can use now.

Everyone and their grandma is facebooking, tweeting & blogging now. There is so much noise on-line, it is increasingly hard to break through. Cutting and pasting other people’s sales stats & articles in your blog, just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Starting a videoblog is a great way to stay ahead from the pack. It’s a very relatively untouched tool amongst realtors. Do it now, and do it first before everyone else in market is throwing up videos of themselves. Corner this niche now.

Short & Sweet

As a culture, we suffer from A.D.D. Attention spans are shorter than Paris Hilton’s mini-skirts. Keep your videos short, sweet & to the point. You doing a webcast, not reciting War & Peace. I am a big proponent of 1-3 minutes webcasts. Do not drone on and on. A viewer will think “If s/he is boring on video, s/he’ll be boring in person. Next!”

Smile

Start and end your video showing off those pearly whites. Be natural, personable & and let a light hearted sense of humor show. A little warmth goes a long way. Besides, no one wants to watch (much less work with) a sour puss.

Sell Sell Sell…Not!

It’s ok to highlight your listings once in a blue moon, but avoid using video as a direct sales tool. Some agents resort to solely showcasing their listings because a) they are vain b) they can’t think of anything else to shoot. What ends up happening is the viewer feels they are watching a late night infomercial. The agent appear to have an agenda (Tsk tsk tsk). The agent may want the viewer to buy buy buy, but the viewer is thinking bye bye bye.

“…and to our left, we have the local cemetery…”

If positioning yourself as a neighborhood specialist is your angle, give your viewers valuable content: demographics, what’s trending, school info, and recent interesting comp. Some agents make videos of local attractions & landmarks, as if that matters to clients. That doesn’t make you a neighborhood expert. It makes you a tour guide!

Be Opinionated

It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, just have one! That is why people will tune into your videos. They want your take on the market. They want your point of view about the right (and wrong) time to buy. Sometimes agents are scared to reveal too much about their true feelings for fear of offending people. Well, guess what? Consumers are starved for your true feelings. Your authenticity is what sets you apart and will endear you to them.

Start Simple

Before you go booking out a green screen studio, camera(wo)man, sound guy and editor, try a simple webcast from your webcam, Flipcam or Kodak zi8. Not everyone is born with my style, panache, class & modesty. Practice makes perfect. (Actually a more amateur vibe isn’t a bad thing. It lends a more accessible feel to videos.)

Look Presentable

Try your best to not look like a slob. Aside from looking unprofessional, you don’t want to be immortalized with bed-head hair. Once you post these videos, they will exist somewhere online in perpetuity. Watch your oily T-Zone too. A shiny forehead is worse than a foreclosure.

“You like me.. You really like me!”

The best thing about videoblogging is that by the time someone calls you, they have already decided to work with you. Most likely, they have been following your videos and like what they see. They are a fan! Isn’t it nice when people seek YOU out? Versus you groveling for their business? (Also, it saves clients time when looking for a realtor. They don’t have to interview a slew of agents, and then waste several weekends to find out they don’t like their agent’s personality.)

Warning: If u have a personality of a dial tone, vlogging probably isn’t for you. And that is ok! It’s like social media; it’s not for everyone. Neither are magic bullets, but both can be great extensions of your brand & business if you really enjoy putting yourself out there.

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. BawldGuy

    December 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    It was worth reading if only for the phrase, “…personality of a dial tone.”

  2. Joe Zekas

    December 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I suppose it’s useful to see all of the wrong-headed and misguided notions about how real estate agents should use video rounded up in a single post. This post does a great job on that front.

    We’ve been a YouTube channel partner for over 4 years, and have nearly 2,000 real estate videos online at our YouTube.com/YoChicago1 and other channels. We have lots of experience with what works and what doesn’t, and I’ll share some of that with you.

    People want to look at property, not at real estate agents, no matter how great the agent looks, or how much he or she knows. They also want to see neighborhoods through the eyes of a knowledgeable agent who can talk intelligently about what the kinds of housing they see cost, what they’re like, how they live, etc. A driving tour with on-the-spot, consumer-focused commentary works well.

    Forget video blogging. It’s stupid and a waste of your time, and will only accomplish what agents have historically been good at: trivializing, trashing and cluttering any useful media so that the agents who know how to use it well gain no competitive advantage from doing so. Taking dumb slide shows and adding irritating music is a huge step in the direction of killing real estate video – consumers hate that stuff and hate the people who bait them into thinking they’ll get to watch a real video.

    If you want to kill real estate video as a useful tool, by all means follow the advice in this post.

    • Benjamin Ficker

      December 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      What a ridiculous response to the article. Nowhere does the author say to “Taking dumb slide shows and adding irritating music…”

      You may be correct in talking about listings for your videos, if your target is buyers who don’t necessarily care who sells them a home. That’s fine. My target audience, and other agents I know (that get 10+ listings per month from their video blogging efforts), is an audience of home sellers who want to know who they are working with. They want to know that the agent knows what they are talking about.

      I believe that no matter who your target audience is, you need to be the expert. I don’t think videos of walking through a home make you an expert. I agree with Herman that “they can’t think of anything else to shoot.”

      • Joe Zekas

        December 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm

        I know what the author said. What I said was that I’d offer some of what we’ve learned about using video. That’s what I did.

        Agents who get 10+ listings from their video blogging per month? Sorry, but you’ll have to give links to those blogs for anyone to believe you. And, responding that those agents can’t be publicly identified for any reason just increases suspicion that they don’t exist.

        • Benjamin Ficker

          December 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm

          Fred Weaver and Kevin Kauffman with Group 46:10 in Tempe AZ.
          ShortSalePowerhour.com and MyFirstShortSale.com

          I’ve thrown those links around in MANY of my comments lately, I didn’t want anything to think I was schilling for them.

          The line about picture slide shows is in a paragraph that is trying to discredit the use of video blogging, which is what the author is talking about. And then you end it with “If you want to kill real estate video as a useful tool, by all means follow the advice in this post.” You are not talking about what you do, you are telling everybody that reads this article that it is a waste of time. Which it maybe in your market, not in everyones market.

          • Joe Zekas

            December 9, 2010 at 6:12 pm

            Some pretty funny stuff. Note the YouTube user name on the first link you provided: YumaCriminal96. Bet that has strong appeal to sellers. In any event, the channel’s good for another warning to real estate agents: don’t pirate other people’s images for captioning your videos. Unless you’re a Yuma Criminal.

            Of the 64 videos online from your second link (same dudes, no?), none has received more than 3 dozen views and most haven’t even been viewed 10 times. Anyone can see those stats on YouTube and measure your claim that the agents get 10+ listings per month from them against the hard numbers. And wonder how many of those views are from other agents.

            And anyone can watch these guys in action and guess just how much confidence they inspire in potential sellers. You can probably guess my guess.

            I own a company (Data Based Ads) that does print ads for major brokerage firms across the country and Internet applications for major newspapers from the Chicago Tribune to the LA Times to the Wall Street Journal. I suspect I’m familiar with agent behavior. I suspect that I’ve had far more contact with far more agents in far more markets than you have.

  3. Marc

    December 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Third Reich?

    As William Goldman once wrote, “sometimes, the best lines get left on the cutting room floor.”
    That include the not so great lines either.

    A little editing and sensitivity is a cheap but wise accessary for any writer or content producer. Consider these along with your collective embrace of social media.

  4. Benjamin Ficker

    December 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    @Joe – They have 58 active/active with contingency listings and 107 closed listings year to date. That’s not including buyer sides. If I had a way to send you the pdf of their business as evidence, I would. So yeah, I think they are great at inspiring confidence in their clients. I know these guys personally. I have worked with them. I know that their business comes from their websites and word of mouth. Good luck in the print ad business.

  5. FlatFeeRealty.com

    December 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I think I should stay out of this conversation. Not a fan of the corny video blogging.

  6. Bruce Lemieux

    December 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I find Fred and Kevin to be very informative and engaging. Herman’s 1-3 minute rule is a good one. I’ve got ADD and will click ‘next’ if I’m bored after 10 seconds. I can’t get through one of my own videos, but I can watch 5 minutes or more with these guys.

    Looking at just their YT plays, they are doing exceptionally well. Each recent vid has at least 100-300 views and they are really consistent. And their niche – short sales – is clearly defined. Arizona must be the most competitive RE blog market in the country, yet they seem to have a very loyal following.

    From all accounts, they appear to be a very good model for what an average agent can do with video to attract business (not saying they are average, because they aren’t)

  7. Herman Chan

    December 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    hi y’all!
    it’s really not that complicated. do what works for u & your market, be it print, vids, door knocking , prayer, yadda yadda. . that’s what makes this business so great. we run our individual business the way we want.

    have a prosperous 2011!

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Quickly learn the basics of UX and UI (for free!)

(TECHNOLOGY) For the all-time low price of—well, free—Invise gives you the option of learning a few basic UI and UX design techniques.

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Woman browsing web, made easy with UI/UX

There’s no denying the strong impact UI and UX design has on the success of a website, app, or service—and, thanks to some timely altruism, you can add basic design understanding to your résumé for free.

Invise is a self-described beginner’s guide to the UI/UX field, and while they do not purport to deliver expert knowledge or “paid courses”, the introduction overview alone is pretty hefty.

The best part—aside from the “free” aspect—is how simple it is to get a copy of the guide: You enter your email address on the Invise website, click the appropriate button, and the guide is yours after a quick email verification.

According to Invise, their beginner’s guide to UI and UX covers everything from color theory and typography to layout, research principles, and prototyping. They even include a segment on tools and resources to use for optimal UI/UX work so that you don’t have to take any risks on dicey software.

UI—short for “user interface”—and UX, or “user experience”, are two critical design aspects found in everything from websites to app and video game menus. As anyone who has ever picked up an outdated smartphone knows, a janky presentation of options or—worse yet—a lack of intuitive menus can break a user’s experience far faster than slow hardware.

Similarly, if you’re looking to retain customers who visit your website or blog, presenting their options to them in a jarring or unfamiliar way—or selecting colors that clash for your landing page—can be just as fatal as not having a website to begin with.

The overarching problem, then, becomes one of cost. Hiring a design expert is expensive and can be time-consuming, so Invise is a welcome alternative—and, as a bonus, you don’t have to dictate your company’s vision to a stranger and hope that they “get it” if you’re doing your own design work.

It may not be the best year to break the bank on design choices, but the importance of UI and UX in your business can’t be overstated. If you have time to read up on some design basics and a small budget for a few of the bare-bones tools, you can take a relatively educated shot at putting together a modern, desirable interface.

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How to safeguard your small company’s data without distrusting staff

(TECHNOLOGY) Even a tiny company has valuable data that can be stolen from inside – without adopting a policy of distrust, you can take preventative action

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data theft

Data breaches are scarily common in today’s digital world, and even gargantuan businesses can easily be brought to their knees should a wayward phishing attempt (or a disgruntled former employee) succeed in making off with valuable information.

While your small business probably doesn’t have all of the same calibre of worries as your more monolithic counterparts, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your data can’t be stolen to devastating effect, even if you think the data you have is irrelevant and not worthy of being stolen (you’re wrong).

Cloud storage and increased collaborative tool use means that things like sensitive documents and files are at increased risk of theft. Small businesses are especially susceptible to this due to a lower likelihood of advanced security usage, so it pays to know what kinds of things you might be at risk of losing.

According to MUO, employees are most likely to steal collaborative documents, consumer databases, and any resources devoted to research and development.

Safeguarding these items can be tricky due to their relatively high-traffic use, so a preventive strategy is your best defense.

It should be noted that trust in your employees is crucial, and treating them like they’re poised to steal from you at any moment is not a particularly effective management strategy.

However, it’s important to be aware of the following reasons – and possible preventive measures – for employee theft of data.

Firstly, corporate espionage (as dramatic as it sounds) is still something you have to worry about as a small business owner. It isn’t uncommon for competitors to bribe (or even simply persuade) current employees to share data, even if your competitors are relatively small themselves.

Your employees should know that data is sacred (and confidential), but employing things like intrusion systems and holding trainings for recognition of espionage can help prevent this problem.

Those competitors might also try to snag some of your employees, and not just for their work ethic. Employees may save their own copies of documents that they think will be helpful in their new workspace; in doing so, they can unwittingly aid your competitor with much more than their skillset. Again, reminding your employees that all work documents are both confidential and property of your brand can cut down on accidental data theft in this category.

Non-Compete agreements and NDAs can also prevent this kind of theft, intentional or otherwise; if an employee chooses to leave your business, making sure they are aware of their contractual obligations is key. Perhaps the worst competitor you can have is a former employee who launches their own business in your field, though, and this is a situation in which data theft can be intellectual. Once again, Non-Competes and NDAs are helpful in mitigating damage in this context.

Finally, angry employees can find themselves doing a myriad of dumb (and harmful) things, up to and including data theft.

As mentioned earlier, early prevention is the best way to keep your data on your servers and out of your departing employees’ hands. Restricting employee access to files and folders can limit the number of possible breaches, and the aforementioned Non-Compete and Nondisclosure agreements are absolutely crucial in any business that deals in data–just make sure you’re discussing the terms of those agreements with employees as they come and go.

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Twitter bid on hold, Tesla stock plummets: What’s next for Musk?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The surprising bid of $44B coming in for Twitter from none other than Elon Musk is now on hold and Tesla stock is down. Is Musk in hot water?

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elon musk offers to buy twitter

In the largest corporate privatization deal in U.S. history, Twitter has accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy 100% of Twitter for 44 billion.

Musk plans to privatize the company and do away with ads, a nearly 5-billion-dollar revenue source for Twitter, which accounts for 90% of their total income. Musk’s plan to do away with ads was nothing short of strategic. Musk is a free speech absolutist – or someone who believes that free speech should be unrestricted at all costs.

Advertisers are the main reason speech is restricted on social media platforms. For social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter who rely on advertisers buying space on their platforms, as well as sponsored content, to make most of their profits eliminating this revenue stream is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Without these restrictions or community guidelines, advertisers would not advertise on social media, and the sites could not generate much of their revenue.

But, when your pockets run as deep as Musk’s, I suppose revenue doesn’t particularly matter.

Some changes Musk plans on making are as follows: He claims, that despite the lack of advertisements, he will quintuple Twitter revenue by 2028. He plans on doing this while cutting Twitter’s reliance on ads to less than 50% of the total revenue. He also plans on growing the platform’s user base. He claims by 2025 there will be 69 million users on Twitter (however, considering 69 is his favorite number I’m not sure if this is accurate or another one of his famous trolling stunts). He also plans on offering a paid service, Twitter Blue, which will allow users to customize their Twitter experience for only $3 a month.

However, advertising is not the only hurdle to free speech on a social media platform.

Now Musk will face a barrage of questions and restrictions from government watchdogs, regulators, and activists. Twitter could even end up being banned in other countries if Musk attempts to skirt regulations. Musk wants to strip back content moderation rules and stop the censorship of new organizations; he has also not answered questions about how he plans to go about this, only stating that he’d only allow free speech that “matches the law”.

However, several European countries are changing their laws. New laws in the United Kingdom and The European Union (which comprises 27 European countries). The EU, for example, has enacted the Digital Services Act and The Digital Markets Act which aims to create a safer digital space, while protecting the rights of users and leveling the playing field for businesses. These acts extend to social media. The acts, in part, heavily fine companies that refuse to curtail illegal content on their platforms. However, as of May 9th, 2022, EU Industry Chief, Thierry Brighton, met with Elon Musk in Texas and they have reached an agreement regarding free speech and The Digital Services Act. Yet, the pair has not gone into detail about what exactly their agreement entails. When asked, Musk simply stated that it “totally aligned with his thinking”.

Musk may have circumvented the largest spanning cyber laws, but that does not mean he’s out of the woods regarding governmental regulation of Twitter around the world.

Now, the decision for Musk to purchase Twitter, and go public was a polarizing one and was met with mixed reactions. People did not hold back, and many roasted Musk for his decisions.

Some of my favorite reaction tweets are:

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Okay, but they make a good point. He’s been heralded as a “Real-life Tony Stark” and there’s nothing technically stopping him from being Iron Man.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Live your dreams I guess, Elon.

Disgruntled Tweet about Musk Bid.

Disgruntled Tweet about Musk Bid.

Sure some people are disgruntled by the whole ordeal, but there’s really not a way to boycott this. In fact, the user base is only projected to grow for Twitter, with Elon at the helm.

Elon Musk Meme

And, in true Musk fashion he trolled Twitter users, critics and fans by tweeting a series of Tweets detailing which companies he was going to buy next.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Musk then said would buy America’s most popular fast-food chain, and fix the most common complaint. I have to admit, I kind of want him to follow through on this one.

First, he threatened to buy Coca-Cola and put the cocaine back in, referring to the inception of the popular soft drink, when it first contained cocaine.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Lastly, the new Twitter CEO threatened to shut down the entire platform altogether, so that all the users go outside.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

UPDATE:

As of Friday the 13th (spooky), Musk announced his Twitter bid of 44 billion dollars is currently on hold.

He claims he still plans on following through with the acquisition, and he will owe Twitter a one-billion-dollar breakup fee if he does not follow through. However, if he can afford to spend 44 billion on a social media website, I have to assume one billion dollars isn’t much of a deterrent for him. The bid could be on hold for multiple reasons.

He could be trying to negotiate a better price for Twitter, the deal could be falling apart or he could simply be walking away. One issue is that he was going to borrow against his smart car company, Tesla, but Tesla stock has been plummeting as of late. A part of me wonders if this is some kind of bizarre stunt in order to get media coverage and attention prior to unveiling a new concept at either Tesla or SpaceX. After the frenzy the news of Musk purchasing Twitter has caused, the deal may not even go through, and once again, the future of Twitter remains uncertain.

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