Welcome, in this article Michael and I will explain the benefits of using Live Streaming (Facebook Live) for real estate agents and brokers. This is the exact strategy we have implemented over the course of the past 1 1/2 years for one of our biggest and best clients.
The format of the article is Point/Counterpoint, Michael and I describe the 1 1/2 year journey of building a successful live streaming brand for a brokerage. We explain WHAT TO DO but just as important we explain WHAT NOT TO DO – saving you valuable time and money!
We also produced a video collateral to this article, attached below. IF you are an agent or broker, and you are curious about how Live Streaming can help your brokerage, I HIGHLY recommend watching this video.
Benefits of Live Streaming (Fast Forward to 22:00 Milestone in Video) – If you are talking about photography and marketing, you are talking about the same things EVERY OTHER AGENT is saying … If on the other hand you you say – ‘I am going to drive foot traffic to your house … you are disrupting the entire industry’
Point (Joe): What is something almost no one is doing to juice up their marketing? Live Facebook videos. Launched in April of 2016, marketing companies around the globe have been using it to help their clients get content in front of their target audiences. There are probably a million “best practices” articles out there, so I won’t bore you with those. I will share my experience in helping clients use live video on Facebook (and more recently, Instagram) to achieve their digital marketing goals.
Counterpoint (Mike): YES, Joe! As you know I am a BIG advocate of live streaming, specifically Facebook Live and YouTube Live. One BIG issue I have with Live Streaming is that if you are looking for recommendations or guides to get started, it’s typically dominated by what I call; “Live Streamers talking about live streaming.” (truth be told, I used to be one of those people). What is missing are use cases and actual recommendations from practitioners in individual industries or niches. There is NOTHING more boring than a live streamer talking about live streaming, I feel it’s MUCH more effective to learn from someone in your industry that happens to use the technology than learn from someone who does not understand your industry.
Point (Joe): A real estate brokerage in metro Detroit was looking for unique ways to market homes for their clients. A live preview concept was conceived. This went through several stages. At every stage, we learned new lessons about what to do and what not to do.
Counterpoint (Mike): I know the brokerage you speak of (wink), the brokerage back story, and have been fortunate enough to watch the evolution over the past 2 years. I will be honest, after the first live stream or two, I did not think they would commit long term to live streaming. One reason I say that is with live media, as with most forms of media and multimedia, is that it’s a LONG play and any tangible results (i.e. ROI) will require months and possibly years. It is entirely possible the benefits and results may not directly impact the bottom line but there are indirect benefits that need to be factored.
Point (Joe): At first, a total walkthrough of the home was used. While this served as almost a “virtual private showing” of the entire home, the end result made some homes seem smaller than they actually were. We only wanted to highlight the best features of the home.
Counterpoint (Mike): This is only something that can be identified and corrected internally. You never shared this point with me, I feel forgotten (just kidding). This is GREAT advice and incredibly valuable for anyone that is using video or live streaming to showcase with large enough footprints where perspectives are critical.
Point (Joe): The next iteration saw short, live previews of one particular room or feature. These were done individually, broadcast throughout the day at peak times of viewership. The problem was that these were short, 1-3 minute clips, not giving the audience of over 15,000 time to catch the live stream before it ended. As anyone with experience knows, the best time to catch a viewer is during the live stream. When it says “you missed it” viewership numbers plummet.
Counterpoint (Mike): For me, this strategy does not pass the smell test. It does not feel right and common sense says that this can’t be right. Here is one thing I would like to add and give Joe proper credit; I am a HUGE advocate of trying new things, you miss 100% of the shots you do not take. You don’t know what you don’t know, til you know (thanks Biggie Smalls!), sometimes the ideas that don’t feel right turn out to be the BEST ideas and sometimes our KILLER ideas turn out to be duds. It’s absolutely critical not to get too emotionally attached to any single idea, you need to be willing to stick a fork in your own creation, call it quits, cry uncle and move on to the next idea.
Point (Joe): In order to solve these two issues, we went back to the drawing board. The big question was, how do we keep the single-feature format, and extend the length of the livestream? It finally clicked: stitch the individual streams together and make it a long format, almost like a show. So now we were presented with another challenge. How do we best handle the transfer from agent to agent in a live setting. We were inspired by newscasts, where an anchor plays quarterback and “throws” it to one reporter, then throws it to another. But again, we weren’t operating on TV.
Counterpoint (Mike): Voila, the masterpiece is born! I would like to note here that Joe said; “Back to the drawing board.” With a solid understanding of where Joe’s mind is at this point in time, he actually had to take 1 to 2 steps backward and revert back to the single-feature format vs. the tried and untrue “snackable” 1-3 minute clip format. Joe is likely about 9-12 months into the project but has learned valuable lessons and is aware that he needs to go back a step or two to take the next big step forward. ONLY experience and trial/error can give you the confidence to go backward.
Point (Joe): How do we do what they do? Another brainstorm. Another solution: Pre-record the video and broadcast it live. This way, we didn’t even need the agents/hosts to be on-site at the same time. They could go at their leisure, record the video, then we could tie it all together in a nice little package. We even gave it a name. The “Digital Snapshot” was born, and it quickly became the most popular piece of video content the brokerage was producing.
Counterpoint (Mike): Now the masterpiece is all grown up! Joe is a smart cat and is stubborn as a mule, when he makes his mind up to do develop something special – he will get it done. Once again, this is part of an evolution over time. The evolution required knowledge of the actors, knowledge of the software, learning the production process, mastering the publishing of media and much more. The one thing that stands out to me is Joe’s ability to identify and work with talent. The actors are realtors, Joe did a real nice job of finding and developing the realtors with the talent and passion to pull this off (not an easy job).
Point (Joe): By combining Facebook’s love of content produced on their platform, the preference of consumers for authenticity & best practices, we were able to provide our client with a product that engaged their audience and assisted them in marketing homes.
Counterpoint (Mike): Facebook Live video publishing options have come a LONG way since the inception in 2016. Facebook has maintained since the inception of live video that they will give Live Videos a priority in the news feed, and that remains true to this day. One other benefit of live video worth of noting is the real-time interaction between brand and consumer. Consumers can ask questions, leave comments and engage with the host and guests on live video production. Live video is a very flexible and diverse publishing strategy, the strategies and tactics are really only learned with hands-on experience. As Joe mentioned to begin the article, best practices and guides are a dime a dozen, however, YOU need to figure out your own style and the best teacher is experience and trial/error.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article, we genuinely hope that you found this information helpful!
Building a Facebook Live video channel for your brokerage is a long play. If you are looking for immediate returns on investment, live streaming is likely not a good fit for you.
If, on the other hand, you want to make a small to moderate size investment in your business for the future, Live Streaming may be a GREAT fit for you.
In the near future, Michael and I will be publishing a HOW TO article, giving detailed advice and instructions on how to build your own live streaming channel. If learning how to live stream real estate listings and open houses is something would like to learn more about, please complete the information below and we will keep you informed on additional content and articles as we produce them!
About the Author: Hello, my name is Joe Karasin, I am the director of operations and marketing for POSH Detroit. At POSH, we take great pride in helping our CLIENTS win awards for their marketing. By helping our clients win awards, we can proudly say that we are one of Detroit and Michigan Best Marketing Companies! We can also help you if you are looking for Facebook Live Video Production Companies in Detroit and Michigan.