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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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Nate app: $38M Series A fintech startup you should keep an eye on

(TECHNOLOGY) The nate app combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform, streamlining the check-out process for hassle-free purchases.

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African American woman holding iPhone scrolling through the Nate App homepage.

No one likes to hop around from store to store searching aimlessly in aisles for all of their necessary items. That’s why the big guys win, like Walmart, Amazon, and Target – they have all you need in one swoop! Users choosing to shop online feel the same way. Having to reenter payment, billing, and shipping information over and over again becomes a pain – or worse, a deterrent to purchase, resulting in cart abandonment- that’s where the nate app comes in.

Nate combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform.

The well-funded, series A startup utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to complete purchases seamlessly without all of the fluff a user discovers when checking out at various online retailers. Once a user inputs shipping and payment information into the app during sign-up, nate keeps the data on file for subsequent purchases, virtually eliminating the time-consuming check out process. If a user sees a product they like from an online merchant, they simply have to “share” the item to the nate app, and it will take care of the rest.

Unicorner’s startup analysis states, “In essence, nate is bringing the benefits of shopping on a centralized platform like Amazon to a decentralized shopping ecosystem.”

Brown leather wallet with tip of credit card sticking out next to a iPhone showing a shoe purchase on the Nate App.

With a nod to Pinterest and LikeToKnowIt, the platform allows for users to create visual product lists on a personal account that can be shared with followers. If a follower likes an item they see, they can purchase the item in-app in just a click or two.

In contrast to the big wigs of the social media world, the nate app hopes that users will purchase based on true inspiration and not a targeted algorithm suggesting what they should buy. Instead, the app runs its business model on a $1 fee for each transaction which covers the ability to issue virtual cards, protect online privacy, and apply available discounts.

The nate app simplifies gift giving as well. Users are able to select a gift item and enter the recipients phone number – if the recipient is a nate app user, it can be shipped directly – otherwise, they will receive a text asking them where to send their new gift! This makes it a perfect choice for the upcoming holidays (yes, 2021 is almost over…whew).

To stay up to date on everything nate, download it now on the App Store.

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Facebook deletes developer over ironic browser extension invention

(TECHNOLOGY) Think a muted week for a nipple shadow is bad? Facebook just permabanned this inventor for…helping others to use the platform less.

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African American hand holding iphone on Facebook's login page.

It must be true that corporations are people because Facebook is pulling some seriously petulant moves.

In a stunt that goes beyond 24hr bans for harmless hyperbole, and chopping away at organic reach (still bitter from my stint in social media management), Facebook straight up permanently banned one of their users for the high crime of…aiming to get people to use the platform a little less.

Developer Louis Barclay came up with Unfollow Everything, an extension that basically instantly deleted your feed without having you unfriend anyone or unlike anything. Rather than have users manually go through and opt out of seeing posts, they’d now opt IN to keeping who they wanted front and center.

In his own words on Slate: “I still remember the feeling of unfollowing everything for the first time. It was near-miraculous. I had lost nothing, since I could still see my favorite friends and groups by going to them directly. But I had gained a staggering amount of control. I was no longer tempted to scroll down an infinite feed of content. The time I spent on Facebook decreased dramatically. Overnight, my Facebook addiction became manageable.”

Since more time spent on Facebook means more ads that you’re exposed to, means more you spend, the add-on started slowly making headway. I myself pretend to be a ranch owner to keep ads as irrelevant to me as possible (though my new addiction to hoof trimming videos is all too real), and Unfollow Everything probably would have been a great find for me if it hadn’t been killed by a cease and desist.

Law firm Perkins Coie, representing the internet giant, let Barclay know in their notice that Unfollow Everything violated the site’s rules on automated collection of user content, and was muscling in on Facebook trademarked IP.

They also added, in what I can only assume was a grade-school narc voice, that the add-on was “encouraging others to break Facebook’s rules.”

Barclay, not having the resources to fight a company with the finances of a small country, promptly ceased and desisted. Practical.

Officially speaking, Facebook might have actually have some ground to stand on vis-à-vis its Terms Of Service. The letter and legal team may have been warranted, not that we’ll ever truly know, since who’s taking Facebook to court? But then they followed up with a ‘neener neener’ deletion of Barclay’s 15 year old account – which was still very much in use.

Look, Facebook is the only way I connect with some of my friends. I don’t take enough pictures to make full use of Instagram, I fully hate Twitter, my Tumblr is inundated with R-rated fanfiction, and any other social media platform I’m happy to admit I’m too haggish and calcified to learn to use. So a complete WIPE of everything there with no notice would be pretty devastating to me. I can only imagine how Barclay felt.

And in light of the fact that the browser extension wasn’t hurting anyone, taking money, or spewing hateful rhetoric, there’s really only one thing to say about Facebook’s actions…they’re petty.

Sure, they may have the legal right to do what they did. It’s just that when you notice every fifth post is an unvetted advertisement, their high ground starts to sink a little. I mean nothing says ‘We’re being totally responsible with user information’ like the number of add ons and user tactics popping up to avoid seeing the unnecessary. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Facebook put up a fight against losing ad traffic.

We all know all those stores with amazing deals aren’t actually going out of business, or even using their own photos right? Right?

Barclay added in his article, “Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer. We are being locked into platforms by virtue of their undeniable usefulness, and then prevented from making legitimate choices over how we use them—not just through the squashing of tools like Unfollow Everything, but through the highly manipulative designs and features platforms adopt in the first place. The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook.”

Agreed, Mr. Barclay.

Now I’m off to refresh my feed. Again.

 

Graffiti wall with image of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, with the saying "You've been Zucked."

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Glowbom: Create a website, using just your voice

(TECH NEWS) Talk about futuristic! This app allows you to create quizzes, surveys, an online store, and even a website in minutes–without typing.

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Colleagues looking at Glowbom website homepage

In the past, we’ve discussed things like simplified coding and no-code app creation. Now, a San Francisco startup has taken the process a step further with no-type app creation.

Glowbom is a voice app that allows you to dictate steps to an AI – from adding information all the way to exporting code–in order to create a simple app, survey, or game. While the built-in options for now are limited to four simple categories, the power of the app itself is impressive: By asking the Glowbom AI to complete tasks, one is able to dictate an entire (if small) program.

It’s an impressive idea, and an even more impressive product. Glowbom founder and CEO Jacob Ilin showcases the power of Glowbom in a short demonstration video, and while he only uses it to create a simple survey, the entire process–up to and including the exportation of the API–is accomplished via voice commands.

Furthermore, Glowbom appears to process natural inputs–such as phrases like “Let’s get started”–in the context of an actual command rather than the colloquial disconnect one tends to expect in AI. This means that users won’t need to read a 700-page manual on phrases and buzzwords to use before jumping on board–something the Glowbom user base was probably hoping to avoid anyway.

As of now, the options one can use Glowbom to create include a quiz, a survey, an online store, and a website. It seems reasonable to expect that, as support for the app grows, those categories will expand to comprise a larger library.

Glowbom certainly opens a few doors for people looking to take their businesses or ideas from an offline medium into the digital marketplace. As coding becomes less centralized in computer language and more contingent on processes such as this, we can expect to see more products from folks who may have missed the coding boat.

Perhaps more importantly, Glowbom and products like it make coding more accessible to a wider base of disabled users, thus taking a notable step toward evening the playing field for a marginalized demographic. It’s not true equality, but it’s a start.

This story was first published here in October 2020.

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