The following excerpt is from the book “Social Media 101 : Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online” (Wiley 2010) by Chris Brogan. The book gives insight on effective use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, and how to utilize them to grow your business.
Disclaimer right up front: I’m not in the real estate biz, so I’ll write this from the perspective of what I’ve observed and what might be useful. Some real real estate pro can come and fix this on his or her own blog, and it’ll likely be better. Why would I ever let a simple thing like inexperience get in the way of sharing my opinion?
SHOW ME THE HOUSE The first and most obvious thing I think the real estate world can (and should) be doing is buying video cameras and shooting their own walk-throughs. You don’t have to be a pro. You do have to know how not to make something look horrible, but that comes with trial and error.
PICK UP A VIDEO CAMERA If you don’t yet own a video camera, here are a few thoughts: Most still cameras have a video feature, and that’s nearly good enough. The Flip camera is the easiest and often the least expensive video camera to use. Kodak’s new Zi8 (and related) models have more flexibility than the Flip, but are a bit more complicated as a trade-off.
EDITING Now, to actually do it, you have two options: Learn how to edit things easily in iMovie (Mac) or Windows Media Maker (PC), or pay someone to edit what you shoot. Benefits of the former are that you can edit when you need it and your time is all you pay. Benefits of the latter are that the editing pros are good at what they do, will save you time, and will know what to do next. The drawback of hiring someone is that it costs money and you have no control over when your files are returned, depending on how professional your person is.
POSTING THE VIDEO The last step to putting up a video is to find hosting for the video so that you can then embed it on your blog. YouTube makes sense for two reasons. One, it’s easy, and most people can navigate it. Two, it becomes a second market for your homes if you’ve added captions that show how to contact you. If you want a different look and feel from YouTube, you can try Blip.tv, Brightcove, Vimeo, Viddler, and a gazillion other companies who host video and have a nifty player.
WAYS YOUR BLOG WILL HELP First, blogging about certain properties you’re hoping to move will give you an obvious potential return, but that might be limited. Instead, think of what buyers and sellers might need to know, and what they might need to know about you. You’re likely going to weigh this information heavily on the sell side, and that’s okay, so make your website a great place to learn about things like curb appeal and how to de-clutter a home for better show ability. Give people ideas that have added thousands to the sale price of your clients’ homes.
TESTIMONIALS People are so itchy about asking for testimonials. Don’t be. Ask. Ask your clients with whom you’ve had a great business experience to comment. Want to get really edgy? Be willing to post someone’s negative comments about your business with them, and don’t be defensive. Instead, just thank them.
THE SECRET SAUCE As a media maker, you can do things that will add to one’s impressions of a potential new home. You can shoot video of the general neighborhood, add Flickr photos of some selling points of the town, record audio reports of people’s general feelings about the town. Can you imagine the impact that might make? You could potentially take a normal-looking house and demonstrate the value of the home’s setting through media. Will everyone care? No. Will you have a chance to reach more folks? I’m betting yes.
Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley and Sons from “Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online.” Copyright (c) 2010 by Chris Brogan.