On January 11, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped a small bomb on business users of the platform: effective immediately, Facebook would strongly prioritize newsfeed posts from users’ friends and family. Page content – the type typically posted by businesses – would take yet another major hit to its visibility.
There was a silver lining in this announcement, however. Zuckerberg specifically called out live video as high-engagement content: in other words, the type of content the new algorithm would be designed to promote.
So if you, like many other page owners, have been panicking over what will happen to your Facebook visibility, don’t despair. Make some headway against the changes by trying out these ideas for Facebook Live videos – and while you’re at it, here are some suggestions for live videos on other platforms, too.
Facebook Live videos have a high time limit – four hours – so they’re ideal for longer-form live content. Insider tip: set up a Facebook event or even run a hyper-targeted Facebook ad to alert people to your upcoming Live video. This will help increase your live audience and drive traffic to the resulting newsfeed post.
Virtual open house. It may be a somewhat predictable option for real estate-oriented Facebook Live videos, but it’s still a solid choice. This is especially true if you’re trying to reach out-of-state or international buyers. One tip: think like a news reporter. You don’t have to be the only one doing the talking. Host the Live video during a real open house and interact with visitors. If you get them to share what they like best about the home, you’ll build powerful social proof for the listing.
Community events. Festivals and other events can be a wonderful way to capture the unique feel of a community. If you want to go down this path, you’ll need to put on your reporter’s hat. Keep in mind that vendors or performers may be very busy the day of the event and may not take kindly to an ambush-style interview. Consider contacting them in advance to ask when would be a convenient time to get them on camera. Also, be aware that you may need to get permission from the organizers to broadcast video from the event.
How-to videos. These can be an effective way to keep in touch with previous clients in between transactions. Partner with local experts – plumbers, electricians, gardeners, and contractors – to host videos on homeownership how-tos. To boost engagement, pick seasonally appropriate topics: a video on building a raised bed in May, or one on insulating pipes in November.
Instagram Stories are a relatively new feature of this highly popular platform. They allow you to share photos, recorded video, and live video from a 24-hour period. Stories show up in a special section in followers’ feeds, and the content disappears when the 24-hour period has ended. Insider tip: Instagram video length is limited to 60 seconds, so this option is best used for quick moment-in-time videos.
“Day in the life” videos. Because of the 24-hour limit, Instagram Stories are particularly suited to “day in the life”-type videos. Keep in mind that this can be a day in your life, or a day in the life of your community. If you’re going to focus on yourself, mix personal and work content to make yourself relatable. You might share videos of a team service project, staging an exciting new listing, celebrating a colleague’s birthday, and playing with your dog when you get home at the end of the day. For a community video, give it a theme and do quick local-color interviews with people on the street. Ask them about themselves – how long they’ve lived in the area, what they do for a living – or about community features such as favorite dinner spots or weekend activities.
Client stories. Especially for first-time buyers or sellers, the real estate process can seem intimidating, opaque, and downright confusing. Make it less frightening by demystifying the experience through live videos. Choose a buyer who is having a positive experience and share special moments from the day they close on their new home: packing up the last box, signing the final closing document, walking through the front door for the first time. Or gather a few of your happiest clients and do quick “What I love most about my agent is…” videos that you post throughout the day.
“Meet the team” videos. Hiring a real estate agent is kind of like getting married: there are extra people who come with the deal. With marriage, it’s your spouse’s family. With real estate, it’s the agent’s team or brokerage staff. Create an Instagram story to introduce buyers and sellers to the people you work with, so they can see that hiring you means acquiring plenty of support to get them through the transaction.
Snapchat is similar to Instagram Stories in the way it organizes videos, limits their length, and removes the content after a short time. Insider tip: Snapchat offers stickers, geotagging, and other unique tools that can boost engagement and help you create hyper-specialized content.
City-focused videos. Snapchat features include Geostickers – city-specific graphics you can add to your videos – and the ability to place yourself on a map. Take advantage of these fun and eye-catching options by making videos that highlight unique elements of your city or neighborhood. Examples include historic buildings, public art, famous landmarks (such as the Golden Gate Bridge or St. Louis Arch), restaurants that serve local specialties, or locations that have been featured on TV shows. Do some research ahead of time and share a little-known fact or fun story about the place you’re highlighting.
Linked videos. Snapchat also offers the ability to include links in your videos. This makes Snapchat an ideal platform for teaser-style videos that point viewers to longer-form content. Keep in mind that this content can be anything you wish, as long as it’s linkable. While using a short video to tease a longer one is often effective, you can also use teaser videos to promote blog posts, infographics, or even events. The idea is just to capture the audience and pull them into a forum where you can have a more extended interaction.
Interactive videos. Custom Stories are another unique Snapchat feature. These allow multiple users to curate and build videos together. The stories can be private (limited to a whitelisted group of users), attached to a particular geographic location, or open-ended. As on Instagram, Custom Stories can be an engaging way to do a “day in the life” – type video: you and your buyers can take turns posting moments from the day they close on their dream home. These interactive video sessions can also help boost engagement with your community or sphere. Turn a custom story into a live, rapid-fire question-and-answer session about real estate, or collaborate with friends to tag-team coverage of a local festival.
Twitter is a news-oriented platform with a business-heavy audience. Keep this in mind as you plan your live video content for the platform. Insider tip: Live Twitter videos automatically appear on Periscope, even if you don’t have an account. Sign up for a Periscope account so you can maintain control over your brand presentation and respond to any engagement on that platform.
Educational videos. Use live Twitter videos to share short-form educational content that focuses on the business side of real estate. Suggested topics include why mortgage pre-approval is important, tips for negotiating in a multiple-offer situation, or the protection power of a home inspection. These videos can also be a good way to explain technical terms to first-time buyers or sellers (think debt-to-income ratio, loan origination fee, or escrow).
Client testimonials. Testimonials, of course, are the perfect way to demonstrate your professionalism and desirability as an agent. And Twitter, with its orientation toward business and news, is the perfect platform for highlighting your professionalism. Find a few clients who are willing to provide quick testimonials – along the lines of “My favorite thing about working with Jane was…” – and sit down with them to do some live videos. Do the videos in their homes or at a scenic location such as a park to increase the feeling of authenticity.
Industry news and events. Ever live-tweeted from an industry event? Now you can do it in video! More than any other platform, Twitter is the place to build your personal brand with respect to your peers. The next time you’re at an industry event, or you have a thoughtful perspective on a major development in the industry, share your experience or opinion through a live Twitter video. You’ll bolster your reputation as a competent, informed agent, which will be good for your referral business!
One last insider tip: just because a video is live doesn’t mean you can’t rehearse it beforehand. Unless you have experience and are extremely comfortable on camera, take at least a few minutes before going live to collect your thoughts and run through what you want to say. You’ll come across as more polished without losing any of the authenticity and immediacy that live video provides!