Social video has never been more important for real estate marketing. But, which video formats work best? How do you engage audiences on Facebook and YouTube? Today, I take a look at the social media video techniques that will make your real estate business stand out from the crowd.

The changing face of social video

Many real estate agents are now using social media video to build brand awareness online. The sad fact is that it’s harder to do this now than it used to be.

Views of videos posted by brands and business pages on Facebook are declining as Facebook’s News Feed now prioritises content from friends and family. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to create engaging social video content that people will want to share.

Another change to consider is the rise of mobile video. Mobile devices have now become the most popular way to view videos online. Over 60 percent of all online video views took place on mobile devices in the last quarter of 2017. This is a global trend and it looks set to continue.

Optimising your social video content for mobile is essential if you want to create higher engagement.

Here are seven essential tips for boosting your audience engagement with your video content, and why they work so well.

1. Think mobile first

Which video formats work best on mobile? Up until mid-2017, portrait video (9:16 ratio) was the best performer in terms of audience engagement, and Facebook still recommends this format.

However, a recent social media study by Wochit notes that square video (1:1 ratio) is rapidly rising in popularity. The share rate of square videos on social media increased from 26 percent in the first quarter of 2017 to 50 percent in the last quarter. Interestingly, when Facebook first launched it’s Facebook Live video it was in the square format, so could the square video trend be coming full circle?

Portrait video and square video both have significant advantages over landscape video. 95 percent of Facebook users now view the platform on mobile devices, and we hold our mobile phones in portrait mode 98 percent of the time.

Landscape video works well in the movie theatre and also on desktop, but not on a smartphone as many viewers don’t want to have to turn their phones sideways to view your content.

Sticking to portrait or square rather than landscape makes the viewing experience more natural and comfortable for social video viewers.

2. Go native

In the past, many real estate businesses simply uploaded each piece of video content once to YouTube, and then shared the link on Facebook and LinkedIn. This is no longer a wise tactic as different platforms now prioritise content in different ways.

Facebook, for example, now redirects clicks on YouTube links to YouTube itself, making it inconvenient for viewers who don’t want to leave Facebook to watch a video.

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Recent research by Quintly shows that native video uploaded directly to Facebook receives 168 percent more interaction than links to videos on other platforms. This includes a huge 530 percent more comments from viewers.

3. Go Live if you are bold enough

Since its launch in 2016, Facebook Live has grown hugely in popularity, now representing over 20 percent of all the video on the platform. This is partly because audiences love it – 82 percent of users would prefer to see live video content from a brand over other types of social posts.

It’s also because Facebook itself prioritises Facebook Live video over all other types of content. I reported recently that live video is the only type of content that can still reach 100 percent of your audience for free.

There are tons of ways you can harness the power of Facebook Live as a real estate agent, from showcasing your properties to filming live auctions and offering behind-the-scenes snippets of life at your office.

4. Short and sassy vs long and laborious

The average human attention span is now only eight seconds. So that’s pretty much how long you have to grab the attention of your viewers. Hence six-second video ads have now become the norm.

Facebook allows videos of any length as long as they’re less than 4GB in size – that’s anything up to around four hours of video! However, the platform recommends video adverts of no more than 15 seconds.

If you’re posting an educational video, this can be longer, but it’s important to keep an eye on your viewer metrics so you can see at what time interval viewers are clicking away from your video.

5. Brand recall: “remember me?”

Social media video is all about building brand awareness. You need your viewers to remember who posted that funny, emotional, or interesting video, so they become drawn to your content in the future, and your brand stays top of mind.

So mention your brand in the first three seconds of your video to make sure the maximum amount of viewers are still engaged when you do. Consumers are 23 percent more likely to remember your brand if you mention it within this short window of time.

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You should also bear in mind the fact that 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed without sound. You need to accommodate the majority of your viewers by ensuring that your video has captions and can clearly communicate your message without the sound turned on.

6. Make your call to action a good call

There’s a lot of debate about where in your video you should place your call to action. Obviously, it’s essential to include one, as the whole point of your social video is to drive traffic through to your website and encourage people to use your real estate agency above any other.

Putting your CTA at the beginning of your video achieves little, as viewers haven’t yet had the chance to gain the information they need before deciding whether or not they want to click through. Leave it until the end, however, and you risk losing their engagement before they even get to see the action you want them to take.

So the best solution is to put your CTA somewhere in the middle of your video. Your engaged viewers will still be watching your video at this point. They will then be ready and open to the idea of what the next step of action should be. Putting your CTA in the middle gives viewers the flexibility to make this choice for themselves without feeling as if you are giving them the hard sell.

7. Seven is the magic number

Adding an engaging title and description for your video is essential for maximum audience engagement. These elements are also crucial for your SEO rankings, as Facebook and YouTube use them to determine the relevance of your video. Remember to include your main keywords for this purpose.

Your title and description should make it clear to the viewer what your video is about – no clickbait please, as this will detract from the credibility of your brand. Interestingly, some titles work better than others. According to Wochit, the most popular video title in 2017 was “Things to know…”. Viewers love lists of facts.

They also prefer these lists to contain odd numbers rather than even – and low and behold the favourite number was seven. So a video with the title “7 things to know about…” is likely to be a winner!

Practice makes perfect

Creating a successful social media video is not as easy as it once was but a popular and even viral video is still achievable. So keep my tips in mind and remember, quality is of utmost importance. Audiences are not interested in poor quality videos (anymore) so upload the highest quality videos you can if you want to showcase your brand in a favourable light.

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Melanie Hoole

Written by Melanie Hoole

Melanie specialises in helping real estate professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile, and implement inbound marketing activities to attract property owners planning to sell. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing – contact Melanie Hoole for help.

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