September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
Video is everywhere now, becoming more prominent in social media feeds and especially in your Google search results.
How can you as a real estate professional use video to market and grow your brand when it seems like such an overwhelming task to create video content? The answer is with a well-crafted video strategy.
No matter what kind of budget and resources you have to invest in content marketing, having a strategy is essential to finding success and getting that return on investment.
Some key points to determine before you can get started on an effective strategy are:
- What do you want your video content to accomplish?
- What resources do you have to devote to video production? (Time, skills, money, etc.)
- What is your current overall digital marketing strategy (if any)?
There is no one way to create and execute an effective video strategy; what works for one professional won’t necessarily work for another. Knowing what you need to get out of your efforts and what you have available to invest and build on are the most critical elements of a good video strategy.
That means you don’t necessarily need a big budget, fancy equipment or a paid digital marketing team to create compelling video content, and you probably need a lot less than you think to get started.
What do you want video content to accomplish?
Your goals for video content don’t have to be grand or complicated, but they need to exist.
Some possible objectives for social media marketing are to:
- Bring awareness to your brand
- Educate your audience
- Drive traffic to your website
- Grow your following
These are areas where social media shines, and video content makes it sparkle.
Keep your goals in mind for every video you create. Don’t get distracted by what other social media creators are doing, either. The whole purpose of a strategy is to keep your content targeted so it can be seen by the audience you’ve identified and accomplish what you want it to.
If you’re trying to talk to everyone and say everything, you’ll wind up talking to no one on social media.
Once you’ve established your goals, choose metrics to measure and, rather than look for specific numbers, look for a trend of positive growth. Slow and steady is how social media success happens.
For example, if you want video content to help raise awareness for your brand, focus on engagement with the content you create. Ask questions, teach things and be active in the comments.
What resources do you have to devote to video production?
Video is an intensive form of content to create, and it will take either time or money, and often both. Understanding what you have to offer already is essential.
If you can edit videos or learn quickly, think about how much time you can spend doing so. If not, determine how much money you have to pay someone else to create video content via a contracted video editor, which can be easily found via an online marketplace for professional services like Fiverr or Upwork.
Unless your brand is already well established and you can afford to add video content onto an already robust content marketing plan that an agency likely runs, the more you DIY your videos, the better they will be.
That might seem contradictory, but it’s the truth. Authenticity shines through video, and the best video marketer in the world isn’t a substitute for what your audience has signed on to see: you. So even if you are able and willing to pay someone to help create video content, you will likely be spending a fair amount of time shooting video footage for them to use.
Speaking of authenticity, be sure to be yourself on camera — not your fantasy made-up self, but the real you. That means showing up on camera the way you look every day.
There’s no need for fancy outfits, glam make-up or perfect hair, unless those are things you enjoy and put effort into every day already.
Generally, you’ll need to invest in some equipment, like a smartphone and a ring light, and software to help you edit and produce videos, which can even be as simple as a few apps. The other option is hiring a video editor for your editing and production, which on average costs about $350-$400 to edit a 3-minute, pre-shot video, meaning you are providing them all of the footage upfront.
If you’re on a large budget, a produced 2- to 3-minute video can cost $2,000-$7,000. The average cost of video production is between $1,000-$5,000 for each finished minute. Cost can vary depending on the experience levels of who you hire and the amount of video needed.
What is your current digital marketing strategy?
If you’re considering breaking into the video content scene, then you likely already have a marketing and digital marketing strategy. If not, back up and create one of those first.
A good marketing strategy will help you determine who your brand will resonate with, overall marketing goals, etc. Use all of this information to create the video strategy as well.
Knowing your audience is key to understanding which social media platforms to use for video, how long videos should be, and whether short reels, stories and TikToks are the better options versus long-form videos on YouTube.
Following video trends and trending sounds might be an excellent recommendation, for example, if your followers enjoy trending videos. However, you’ll be wasting valuable time and effort if they don’t know what trending videos are.
Video is worth the effort
Regardless of your budget size or skills, a few tips that work for almost everyone using video content follow the less is more philosophy.
- Less time: Videos do not have to be long. One minute (or even less) is often ideal for social media.
- Less production: Good video marketing doesn’t have to look like a Hollywood blockbuster, and often trying to make it look like one only hurts your chances of success.
- Less preparation: Being authentic is the key to success in social media marketing, and video content is no different. Don’t overthink your appearance or your script. Think of every video as a conversation. Talk like you would to anyone you meet about the topic at hand.
If you’re looking to create video content to grow your brand or ramp up and target your current efforts, there’s almost no way to lose when you start with a solid strategy.
Video is growing quickly; with every piece of content published, you’ll learn more about what works and what doesn’t. Adjust your strategy accordingly and often, but not too often — usually, every couple of months is a good rule of thumb.
Keep this living document where you can find it easily, and share it with anyone on your content marketing team. Check out some great examples of strategies from Hubspot, Sprout Social and Google.
Jessi Healey is a freelance writer and social media manager specializing in real estate. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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