Based in Minneapolis, Maura Keller is a seasoned writer, editor, and published author with more than 20 years of experience. She has written about business, design, marketing, healthcare, and a wealth of other topics for dozens of regional and national publications, as well as Fortune 50 employee communication materials. She is the author of Design Matters: Portfolios: An Essential Primer for Today’s Competitive Market. In addition, Maura provides copywriting and editing services for corporations, advertising firms, and creative agencies. She has won awards from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists and several of her creative writing pieces, including her memoir and poetry. With a passion for literacy, she serves as executive director for Read Indeed, a nonprofit literacy organization based in Minneapolis. Connect with Maura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Over Your Fear of Live Video
You are your own worst critic. Don’t let your discomfort in front of the camera stop you from using Facebook Live videos for your real estate business. Here are some tips for getting started.
August 23, 2019
Brokers and their agents may be reluctant to use video marketing because they’re not comfortable in front of the camera or they’ve never created a video and are not sure how to go about it. But in today’s highly competitive, digitally driven real estate marketplace, agencies of all sizes need every competitive edge they can get. To achieve this, many brokers are turning to Facebook Live videos to revamp their marketing efforts and connect with potential clients.
Take Jay Macklin, for example, co-owner of Platinum Living Realty in Scottsdale, Ariz., who has been producing videos since 2010 to generate a more authentic relationship with his target audience.
“Facebook has allowed real estate agents and brokers the ability to become more strategic from a marketing and a reach standpoint,” Macklin says. “Because of this, Facebook has become a fantastic platform for real estate agents and consumers alike.”
After years of research, Macklin and his team have devised the perfect list of ways to optimize video on Facebook. For example, Macklin says the best videos for new home listings start at the front door with as much light as possible, followed by walking through the house showing the audience the top five features of the listing.
“Keeping the video to between 5 and 7 minutes long is perfect for Facebook Live because it gives people time to start watching the video,” Macklin says. “People also love lists, so start out by saying that you have a top five list. Then start with five and go to number one to keep them engaged and more likely to watch to the end.”
Know Your Audience
Cara Ameer, broker-associate for Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Northeast Florida, says Facebook allows real estate pros to build a following and build brand recognition and generate leads in a way that the industry hasn’t been able to previously.
“It has accelerated the process of being able to connect, get to know an agent, and interact with them in a way that old-school methods—postcards and newsletters—just can’t,” she says. “It allows 24/7 interaction and the ability to connect with someone when they want, no matter where in the world they may be.”
But brokers and agents should understand what their real estate clients are looking for when they follow their business page on Facebook. If you’re already conducting ad campaigns for listings, look at what ads perform well and why. What posts are getting the most engagement? Is it listings or other types of content you share? Is the price point, location, or type of property a factor? These answers will help influence the subject matter of your videos and promotional efforts.
To find other inspiration when developing a video, become a voracious consumer of industry content—whether that is from the National Association of REALTORS®, state and local associations, real estate news, blogs, other brokerages’ and agents’ video content—and follow industry thought leaders on social media to see what they are discussing. Ameer suggests using live video to quickly announce and promote a “coming soon” listing, share a relevant piece of information about your market, and showcase what you do. People are curious, and it gives them a window into your world.
Embracing A New Avenue
While shooting a video isn’t difficult—it can be done with any smartphone—it does take some planning and preparation, including determining the content or theme, where it should be filmed, and how to best communicate the intended message.
Practice makes perfect, so shooting videos more frequently will help practitioners get over their discomfort in front of the camera. “The best thing someone can do is shoot a few practice videos before they decide to post something or go live,” Ameer says. “Sometimes, the best content is created by a happy accident—an intersection of creative thoughts and execution in seizing the moment of something worth sharing.”
Because social media videos allow agents to share not only their knowledge but also their personalities, the footage doesn’t have to be perfect. But there are no “do overs” with live video, so you should have a command of what you are doing and be able to articulate clearly and think on your feet. Recorded videos, on the other hand, afford the ability to do several takes in order to get the best result. Editing the footage, and adding graphics and sound elements, can sometimes give it more of a professionally produced feel.
Videos should be filmed in a way that allows you—the star—to feel most comfortable, Ameer says. Look at it as a way for clients to get to know you before ever meeting you or your team members in person—sort of “try before you buy,” she says.
How to Go Live
While the numbers vary, Facebook Live videos receive considerably more engagement than videos that are not live. And while the idea of streaming a live video may seem overwhelming, it’s rather quite simple:
Step 1: Select the Facebook Live Option
Going live on Facebook can be accomplished from your Facebook business page or your own Facebook profile. Open up the status bar as if you are going to compose a Facebook post and select the Live Video option (as indicated by the camcorder icon). If you are on a mobile device, a button will appear when drafting a post that says, “Live Video.” Be sure to give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted or you won’t be able to go live.
Step 2: Create a Video Description
Add Closed Captioning
To add closed captioning to your Facebook videos, you can either hire a company to provide highly accurate captions or do it yourself. Rev.com, for example, provides full closed captioning for $1 per recorded minute. You simply send them a copy of your Facebook Live video or the link and they will caption the video within 24 hours. Once Rev.com sends the completed captions in an .SRT format, you can simply edit the video by going to “Captions” and selecting “Choose File” to upload the .SRT file.
To do the transcription yourself, the process is the same as above, except you’ll need to create your own .SRT file instead of getting a third-party company to do it.
Step 1: Using a text editor (like TextEdit on Mac or Notepad on Windows), open a new document.
Step 2: Number the captions starting at 1 and going as high as you need to.
Step 3: Include the start and end time of the segment your caption coincides with.
Step 4: Write the actual caption.
Your text should look like this:
00:00:00,000 –> 00:1:30,000
Good afternoon and welcome to my Facebook Live.
Step 5: Once you’ve finished creating your closed captions, simply save the document as a .TXT file. If you’ve correctly formatted your file, it will automatically be saved as an .SRT file.
Step 6: Upload your file to your Facebook Live video using the instructions above.
Create compelling copy to capture the attention of potential views. The description of the video should communicate what your video is about and how it benefits the viewer.
Step 3: Finalize Setup and Go Live
When using a mobile device, make sure your camera is facing the correct way. Once you are in place, click on the “Start Live Video” button to begin. Clicking on this means that you are live and that your video will appear on your own feed and the feeds of your audience members.
Step 4: Click “Finish”
Before you begin filming, be sure to familiarize yourself with the “Finish” button placement so that when you end your video, it is a fluid, streamlined process. Once the “Finish” buttoned is selected, you can post the video to your Facebook page or delete it entirely. Posting it allows those viewers who were unable to catch the live version to see the video later. Just like other Facebook postings, you can make edits to the description or add captions.
Lead generation from Facebook videos will not happen overnight, so brokers and their agents should consider boosting their videos in order to build more traction and reach a broader audience.
Before starting a video marketing campaign, Imran Poladi, vice president of NextHome, suggests that real estate pros ask themselves the following questions:
- What are my goals for this video?
- Who is it for?
- When will the campaign start and when will it end?
- What’s the specific metric that determines its success or failure?
- How much have I budgeted for the entirety of the campaign?
What drastic changes should I consider in the middle of the campaign if the metrics are not moving in the right direction?
“Facebook videos have worked for thousands of agents in all types of markets—including myself,” Poladi says. “It’s simply a matter of having a full understanding of how to leverage these tech tools and how it can positively affect your business.”
According to Facebook, 85% of videos on the platform are watched without sound. Poladi suggests adding on-screen language or closed captioning on the video for those watching in silent mode.
“The video should also have a compelling call to action,” he says, “such as a landing page with an explanation of who you are, what areas you serve, and what makes you different.”
Video is a powerful public relations and marketing tool that’s here to stay. But just like other real estate tech tools, “there has to be a thought process before starting,” Poladi says. “Otherwise, you’ll just be throwing money away.”