When real estate professionals consider their social media repertoire, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are usually their go-tos. But that means they’re leaving one of the largest platforms off the table.
With more than 1 billion monthly users, YouTube is the second most used social media channel to date after Facebook. Known for fast-tracking the trajectory of Justin Bieber, Tori Kelly, and Shawn Mendes to stardom, YouTube is largely thought of as a platform where people can become “internet famous.” What brokers and their agents often overlook is that YouTube is also a great source for educational videos. Every industry is represented from beauty to sports, and, yes, even real estate.
There are brokers who use the platform as a B2B-style marketing tool, helping agents navigate common industry questions and concerns. Others use it to help educate buyers and sellers. Take Andrew Finney, ABR, CRS, for example, a sales associate with Berkshire Hathaway Nevada Properties in Las Vegas, who has nearly 4,000 followers and more than 350 videos on his YouTube channel. He has dedicated a considerable amount of time to the platform, and his efforts have paid off with new clients reaching out to him.
When Finney entered the real estate business five years ago, social media wasn’t first on his radar as a marketing tool. “I was a retired Marine and I didn’t think it was necessary at first,” he says. In the field, though, Finney quickly understood the value of social media because his clients were looking for ways other than phone and email to connect with him. “That’s when I got started on YouTube.”
If you’re starting a YouTube channel from square one, or you’re looking to revive your channel, Finney has some tips for getting started.
Understand that YouTube Success Takes Time
Finney posted his first video in early 2016. “The quality was terrible,” he laughs, “but I leave it up because the content is useful and it helps people see where I started.” For more than a year, Finney’s following was small and his videos didn’t have many views. “My following just kind of exploded at the end of last year,” he says.
Social media is a long-term game, and YouTube is no exception. Building a following takes consistency and dedication, which are two qualities Finney applies to his use of YouTube. It might have taken a year to build up a following, but the benefits of his willingness to stay the course are real. Since the beginning of this year, 35 clients have reached out to Finney because of his YouTube channel.
Using YouTube as an Educational Tool
Want to change a tire or learn about how a hurricane forms? YouTubers have answers. Finney saw a need for more education on the real estate buying and selling process, so he decided to use the social platform to fill that need. “The questions I run into on a regular basis are mostly the same from one client to the next,” he says.
Finney addresses both top-level queries that many buyers would have and more intricate questions geared toward very specific circumstances. He has a video for everything from qualifying for a home loan and the differences between the various types of loans to the top renovations that boost home value and what to consider when buying a home with friends. Presenting such a wide variety of information does require a lot of time dedicated to research. “I want to present information that is factual,” he says.
Provide Content That’s Useful to a Wide Audience
Since YouTube has a national and international audience, Finney wants his video content is relevant to viewers in his Las Vegas market and beyond. “I went into this with the realization that YouTube is a global platform. Ninety percent of the people who watch my channel are U.S.-based, but the other 10 percent are international.” With that knowledge, he tries to make sure he delivers objective, unbiased information in a way that can benefit a wide audience. Focusing his efforts on the general real estate business while also honing in on the Las Vegas area has brought Finney clients from far and wide as well as locally.
It’s also important for Finney to address issues that all types of buyers and sellers deal with. His videos tackle topics of value to a variety of populations: veterans, first time home buyers, investors, and sellers. Creating a diverse array of educational content helps him attract a larger audience, so that more people—regardless of where they are in the real estate process—will find benefit from watching his channel.
How to Start Shooting Videos
In order to get comfortable in front of the camera, you have simply start practicing. “Just pull out your cell phone, shoot a video, and see how it goes,” Finney suggests.
YouTube takes a fair amount of planning, however. Finney says it’s best to first define the purpose of your channel. Is your goal to tell the story of your brand or company? Help rookie agents deal with the questions that come up when they’re new to the business? Walk investors through the intricacies of a deal? Or, are you interested in guiding first-time buyers into their first home?
Once you determine your target audience, take the time to plan out your content. The key to a successful YouTube channel is consistency, which takes organization and development. “You have to know what you’re going to say in these videos and you have to know what subjects you’re going to cover,” Finney says.
Plan your content for more than one video at a time. Here’s an example: If your goal is to post one video per week, plan a month’s worth of videos at once, shoot them in one sitting, then set them to upload every Tuesday. Choose the frequency and day of the week that works best for your schedule, and then plan content accordingly.
Whatever you do, says Finney, make sure your reason for the channel comes from a place of service. “I started my channel because I had a genuine desire to help my clients and other people who were getting into the real estate process,” he says.
Coming from an authentic place and setting a plan in motion creates a quality blueprint for getting started.