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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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Tech News

The top 10 most ridiculous job titles in tech

(TECHNOLOGY) The tech industry is an interesting sector – diverse, open-minded, beautifully nerdy, and sometimes trying too hard, especially when it comes to job titles.

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ridiculous job titles

When it comes down to it, the Internet is all about memes and people constantly getting mad about one thing or another. I’m usually playing on the side of memes, but I joined the other group when I stumbled upon a CB list of the 25 Most Absurd Titles in Tech.

Absurd doesn’t even begin to cut it.

This list is a perpetual head-shaker and there’s clearly some stuff going on in the world of tech that needs to get a reality check.

All 25 of these titles are terrible, but I challenged myself to narrow it down to the 10 worst. Let’s work our way backwards.

10. Full Stack Magician – First of all, a small typo in the second word could really change your profession. Second of all, my concept of a Full Stack Magician is the guy walking around Denny’s playing card tricks for a few extra bucks on a Saturday night. How in the world am I supposed to know that “magician” is shorthand for “engineer”? Two very different things, friends.

9. Humbly Confident Product Designer – I don’t know about you, but humble and confident are often times two traits that don’t sit at the same table, let alone work together to describe a job title. As you might guess, it’s someone in product design who is self-assured. And humble about it. To me, this is something that should be determined in an interview personality test and a reason behind why one gets the job of product designer. It should just be included without having to be part of your LinkedIn title.

8. Chief Heart Officer – What comes to mind here is Dr. Webber on Grey’s Anatomy. This title was developed for Claude Silver of VaynerMedia in 2014. “Being Chief Heart Officer means being in touch with the heartbeat of every single person at this agency,” she later wrote. A nice concept, but, come on.

7. Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence – This one, developed by Microsoft (really, y’all?), has Star Trek written all over it. Apparently it was developed for Microsoft’s researcher, James Mickens, due to his personality. Should your personality really influence your job title? This Staff Writer votes “nope.”

6. Meme Librarian – I put this on here because I’m both jealous and confused. Getting paid to archive memes? Sign me up! But, also, what the hell? According to CB, this title was invented at Tumblr to describe the role occupied by Amanda Brennan, who researches fandoms and trends. The Tumblr team uses the data collected by Brennan’s team to better understand the unique communities, languages, and relationships that emerge on the platform.

5. Remote Funnel Marketing Ninja – Am I supposed to be going to work with this title or mastering a game on Super Nintendo? Responsibilities apparently include “architect[ing] funnels based on customer goals” and “creat[ing] & connect[ing] ActiveCampaign lists to Gravity Forms in landing pages.” Neat job description, but the job title is trying too hard.

4. Tax Wrangler – This is funny to me because I’m picturing getting audited by John Wayne. What it actually means, according to Automattic is, the in-house tax wrangler is in charge of “researching multi-state sales and use tax regulations” and working on “sales, property, excise and VAT taxes” for a company of 600+ people. Ok, sure.

3. Security Princess – Okay, but do I get to wear a beautiful gown and crown? Why the gendering of a role!? This title was designated to Parisa Tabriz at Google where she was formerly a security engineer. Her job was to find holes in the Chrome browser. I’m confused where Cinderella comes into play, but, whatever.

2. Weekend Happiness Concierge – In my travels, this title belongs to whoever owns the couch I’m crashing on any given weekend (I kid). This is simply a customer support agent, with concierge derived from the powerful role in 18th century European courts. To me, it just sounds like someone who brings you an extra pillow at a hotel.

1. SVG Badass – It was hard to pick number one, but I had to go with this. You mean to tell me that you’re going to walk into a networking event filled with other professionals and hand out business cards that say “badass”? In tech events, that will fly, but not outside of that bubble. Change the ‘bad’ to ‘dumb’ and we’ll be on the same page.

In order of #1-25, the original list consisted of: Innovation Evangelist, Dream Alchemist, Weekend Happiness Concierge, Happiness Engineer, SVG Badass, Time Ninja, Innovation Alchemist, Security Princess, Retail Jedi, Software Ninjaneer, Tax Wrangler, Remote Funnel Marketing Ninja, Content Hero, Meme Librarian, Happiness Manager, Conversion Optimization Wrangler, Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence, Innovation Sherpa, Digital Prophet, Chief Heart Officer, Brand Warrior, Wizard of Light Bulb Moments, Direct-Mail Demigod, Full Stack Magician, Humbly Confident Product Designer.

FFS.

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Make it harder for Facebook to track you around the web

(TECH NEWS) Facebook remains in hot water, but you can make a simple choice that puts you in control of your data. Check it out.

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facebook container

Firefox has long been an industry leader in security, which is why it’s no surprise that they’re the first large browser to roll out an anti-tracking add-on geared toward making life difficult for everyone’s favorite social media platform: Facebook.

Facebook Container is a deceptively powerful add-on, allowing you to prevent Facebook from tracking and analyzing your browsing behavior while you navigate around the Internet. After installing it in Firefox like any other add-on, you log into your Facebook account inside of the container; from that point on, any Facebook tracking will be confined to the Container tab in which you’re using FB.

The primary purpose of the add-on is, of course, to limit the amount of information that Facebook can extrapolate from your browsing history. There’s still plenty of information that you can give to Facebook simply by scrolling through your News Feed page, but at least they won’t know what size of underwear you’re buying.

Another obvious ramification of using Facebook Container is its ad-blocking capabilities. Unlike a traditional ad-blocker, it won’t force-hide ads; instead, it will hide your activity, meaning you’ll see fewer targeted ads based on your browsing activity and habits. This is likely to cut down on frustration from users who feel inappropriately targeted or singled out by the social media giant’s often-invasive ads.

In addition to its numerous qualities, it also comes with a few downsides—though for the privacy-minded, they’ll probably not feel like game-changers. The main issue is that sharing buttons and those cute little “Like” buttons you see all over the Internet won’t work when you use the add-on since you’ll be logged out of FB everywhere else in Firefox.

Naturally, using the social media buttons outside of the Firefox add-on kind of defeats the purpose of using the add-on to begin with, so this shouldn’t be a huge problem.

You also won’t be able to log into websites that use your FB login information as a credential automatically, which—as Mozilla puts it on the product page—is “to be expected.”

If you’re the kind of person who says “I’d delete my social media accounts, but I need it to stay in contact with so-and-so,” at least once a week, this add-on for Firefox may be for you—and, even if you aren’t a Firefox user, their browser updates over the past six months make switching worth a try.

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Anti-surveillance mask – creepy, ingenious, or potentially illegal?

(TECHNOLOGY) Advances in surveillance tech have impressed the masses, but as our cultures consider the risk and reward, some are preparing to protect themselves from overreaching technologies and governments.

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anti-surveillance prosthetic

How many surveillance cameras do you pass when you walk down the street? Most of us don’t know and prefer not to think about it. We know that public and private entities, from social media sites like Facebook, to law enforcement agencies, are using facial recognition software. In most cases, we haven’t actively consented to this surveillance, and we don’t know what will be done with information – but it also seems like there’s not much we can do about it.

Enter artist Leo Selvaggio, who is interested in “increasing the amount of public discourse about surveillance and how it affects our behavior in public space.” Selvaggio has launched a venture called URME Surveillance, whose focus is “protecting the public from surveillance and creating a safe space to explore our digital identities.”

URME is doing this is in an unusual, and admittedly kind of unnerving way. The site provides masks, in the likeness of Selvaggio’s face, that you can wear in public to protect your own mug from ending up on file. These “Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetics” are sold at cost – Selvaggio isn’t in it for the profits. There’s a $200 resin prosthetic, a set of 2D paper masks for large groups (protestors?), and a downloadable PDF paper mask that fits together like a 3D puzzle, giving the mask more dimension than the flat, 2D version.

paper anti-surveillance

“Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub,” explains the URME website. “We don’t believe you should be tracked just because you want to walk outside and you shouldn’t have to hide either. Instead, use one of our products to present an alternative identity when in public.”

Is this product a genuine solution to non-consensual surveillance? Or is it simply an artist’s attempt to make a statement? The 3D resin mask is fairly realistic, but with the wearer’s eyes peeking out of the mask’s holes, it’s creepy, to say the least.

anti-surveillance face

While the mask may thwart surveillance cameras, it will probably attract attention from other people nearby – so perhaps anonymity isn’t the goal.

It’s more about making sure that your face doesn’t end up in a databank; or at the very least, inspiring conversation about the topic of public surveillance. Potential customers should also be advised that many states and cities have laws against wearing masks in public.

Regardless of the ultimate intention, the fact that Selvaggio is willing to sacrifice his own likeness to Big Brother means that he takes the issue seriously. Cameras linked to facial recognition software will identify and track Selvaggio, regardless of who is under the mask. URME has actually tested the product using Facebook’s “sophisticated” facial recognition software.

Selvaggio even acknowledges that people could use the mask to commit crimes, which could land him in hot water. However, he has “come to the conclusion that it is worth the risk if it creates public discourse around surveillance practices and how it affects us all.”

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