One of the best examples of social media for real estate agents I’ve seen

I recently stumbled upon Jessica Riffle Edwards, a “realtor” in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her use of YouTube is one of the best examples of social media marketing for real estate agents I’ve seen.

Check out her real estate agent YouTube Channel. She’s made hundreds of videos and has 11,000 subscribers!

These videos provide tips about buying and selling property and talk about life as a real estate agent. They’re simple, to the point, and done just in her car (i.e. they’re low budget – pretty much zero dollars.)

Authenticity and keeping it simple works

I reckon, like most people, Jessica was probably nervous when she first started, but in these videos, she’s very natural and just herself which I think is a key reason they work.

More importantly, these videos show how you can create content for your business. It doesn’t need to be superfancy. You just need to answer your customers’ questions – in an authentic way. Have a look and you’ll see what I mean.

‘How to’ videos work

I found Jessica when I was researching selling my Dad’s house. I put into YouTube ‘how to choose a real estate agent’.

This is a smart video to make if you are a real estate agent by the way. (Or if you’re a small business selling some other professional service, you could make a video that answers a typical question your clients have.)

The point is your potential customers are out there on the web looking for answers to their problems. You can get found and get on their radar by providing an answer.

People get to know you (which really works)

The other benefit of videos is they help the viewer get to know you better. And help them decide whether you’ll be good to work with.

Which, I can tell you, after trying to figure out which real estate agent to sell my Dad’s house, can be the factor that tips the balance of who you go with or even just shortlist. There are so many real estate agents even for a specific suburb, many with good sales and awards etc, I found it mind-boggling to know who to choose (and how to make that choice.)

In the end, having someone good to work with is a little thing that’s really a big thing. And videos give you a much better sense of what a person is like than a webpage with a photo and a sales spiel.

How to choose a real estate agent? Here’s what I did

In my case, I had about 8 names after initial research (of sales in the area.)

I then got that down to 3 real estate agents. 2 of the 3 got there because of their videos. (The third was someone I knew through a connection.)

Here’s a video from one of the Brisbane real estate agents I shortlisted:

I called Nicole Devine after seeing this video. She was nice. When I told her how her videos played a key role in my decision making, she told me she was initially shy of the camera and found it confronting to do.

Which was a good first start I thought – humility in a real estate agent.

Being brave pays off

Most people find a video camera pointing at them confronting. If you feel like this you’re not alone. But I can tell you it’s worth being brave. You’ll get better at it and the nerves will get less the more you do.

Plus you’ll start getting business coming to you, rather than you having to slog it the old fashioned way e.g. running ads or cold calling folks who may not be interested. You’ll realise that “inbound marketing” is a much better investment of your time and resources. Camera fear is a minor hurdle in the scheme of things.

As internet marketing guru Seth Godin says: “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

Cautionary note: it can go the other way

Having said all that, here’s a quick side note / word of warning / reality check.

There was another Brisbane real estate agent who was recommended to me and had good sales in the area. She also had done a number of videos, but when I watched them it made me think she wasn’t really my cup of tea. I struck her off my list. But I guess she might be right for other sellers.

How do you make a video for your business?

Yes, how does Jessica Riffle make those videos in her car?

I’m guessing it’s just her iPhone mounted on the sunvisor or on the windscreen itself. (If you’re a technical type maybe you can tell me how you think she’s done it in the comments.) Doesn’t look there’s any editing. Just a direct upload into YouTube from her phone. Cost = zero.

If you do this be careful with the audio. You may need a small microphone if the sound is tinny.

In Nicole Devine’s case she’s had a video maker shoot, edit and put it together. Don’t reckon it would have cost too much. There are more videographers now specialising in this sort of work – often for under $2K.

If you think about it, Nicole’s video isn’t just about selling that one Red Hill property, it’s also giving people the confidence to work with her for other properties as well. Like what happened in my case.

So apportioned over a number of properties the cost is more like a few hundred dollars – if you made one video for every 4 or 5 properties say.

Learn more about content marketing

I’ve written a series of posts on creating content that will attract people to your business and give them the confidence to buy from you. Check out these posts on content marketing – what it is, why it’s important, and how to do it.

ps. Only in America

If you watch a few of Jessica’s videos you’ll notice there’s a few where she’s driving and talking (doing her video) at the same time e.g.

Not sure that’s a good idea or even legal? Though anything is possible in America.

Content marketing for beginners: how and why it works

People have been getting pretty tired of marketing messages being ‘pushed’ on them for some time. Now with the internet they are really over it. No one wants to click on your banner ad. Fewer people are opening your emails. And pop-up ads drive us nuts.

There is another way though. And that’s to get your head around how this new media really works, and work with it. The video here provides a great intro to how you can make a mark on the internet.

Instead of interrupting people with your message, what you need to do is give them something so good they not only thank you for it, the reaction you get is: “wow that’s amazing, I have to share this.” So they go on Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin or Pinterest and pass it onto their friends.

Think about it: people are on the internet to discover things, communicate with their friends and represent to the world who they are. You can create ‘content’ that can help them with that.

Don’t think of the internet as another way of advertising. Instead put material on the internet that’s interesting, useful, insightful, inspiring, enlightening, unusual and maybe even educational.

This kind of marketing has been called many things, but the name you no doubt have heard (and will hear more of) is “content marketing”.

Simply put, content marketing is about creating material your audience enjoys paying attention to, that they want to share, and that demonstrates you’d be a good person to do business with.

This post is the first in our series of posts on content marketing. In the posts to come we’ll get stuck into how to do it.

Have another look at the video in this post. If you can really do what it suggests i.e. switch people’s thinking you’ll be onto something that’ll go gangbusters on the internet. In the posts to come we’ll also look more closely at the secret sauce that goes beyond ‘the how’ to supercharge engagement with your audience – understanding ‘the why’ of content marketing.

Useful links:
Our series of posts on content marketing
Articles we’ve found on content marketing
Videos on content marketing

What do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know …

By Phil Stubbs

How to win at content marketing: tell a compelling story

How do you breakthrough when everyone has cottoned on to the idea of content marketing?

Tell your audience a story. People love stories. One that’s unique and from the heart of the business.

The video here is about a business that’s in the business of telling stories. It explains how finding and telling your unique story can work …

How do you find your story? You need to dig and ask the right questions.

Ask yourself what’s the idea behind your business? What’s ‘the why’: why are you doing it? Dig deep: what brought you to the point of starting it?

Now put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What is it you do that rings true for them. How are you making their lives better? What brings value to their lives?

There’s truth and power in the answers to these questions.

If you tell a compelling story based on a fundamental truth you have a better chance of your audience engaging with you. If they see the value in your idea they’ll begin to participate.

If you really are doing something that’s making people’s lives better they’ll adopt it to be part of their own story. And they’ll share it so it’s part of their communities.

This is the art of good content marketing.

Want to learn more? Check out these resources – yours for free:
Our series of posts on content marketing
Articles we’ve found on content marketing
Videos on content marketing
Videos on storytelling

Have your own ideas about content marketing? Leave a comment below.

By Phil Stubbs

Content marketing elements table

The elements of content marketing

New to content marketing? We’ve broken it down to its component parts:
– the types of content
– the formats of content
– where you can distribute content
– the triggers that encourage folks to share your content
– a checklist of essentials before you publish
– your objectives and how you measure your content marketing

Thanks to Econsultancy for a living example of content marketing. They’ve visualised the parts in this ‘periodic table’.

Read on to find out what all this means in lay terms.

Types of content
These are all different approaches you can take to creating content. Different angles if you like:
– how to’s
– reviews
– interviews
– beginner’s guide
– ask the experts
– Q&A
– compilation
– best practice
– case study
– research findings
– trends
– opinion piece
– vision for niche
– biggest tip
– inspiration
– quote
– product demo
– mindmap
– template
– checklist
– timesaving tips

Formats of content
You can package your ideas in different forms:
– video
– article
– blog post
– image
– infographic
– visualisation
– slideshow
– ebook
– webinar
– elearning
– event
– game
– app
– tool

Distribution / sharing platforms
There’s many ways you can get your content out there:
– website
– email
– blog
– forums
– Facebook
– Linkedin
– Twitter
– YouTube
– Google+
– Pinterest
– Instagram
– Slideshare
– partner sites
– traditional media
– traditional advertising

Sharing triggers
As you’re creating your content it’ll help you to keep in mind the triggers that will spur people to share it. Reasons vary. It can be they find the content:
– funny
– moving
– controversial
– unbelievable
– illuminating
– uplifting
– charming
– cool
– cute
– sexy
– shocking
– disgusting

Often it’s tapping into very essential human qualities that are the source of people’s urge to share. More in this post on the humanity of social media sharing.

Before you put your content out there make sure the work is:
– search optimised
– headline optimised
– device optimised
– copy edited and crafted
– used plain English
– used appropriate tone of voice
– credited sources
– checked facts
– sorted formatting
– fits brand guidelines
– included a call to action
– invited feedback

You should of course track how your content has performed – against these kinds of objectives:
– traffic
– leads
– branding
– sales
– search position
– members
– shares
– engagement

OK it’s a bit dry all this component stuff. What it does though is lay the foundation for all the different ways you can do content marketing.

Our series of posts on content marketing will help you dive deeper – into the stuff that’ll set you apart, that’ll engage your audience and get your content marketing to touch some deeper nerves.

You can also find more via our collection of free learning resources:
Articles we’ve found on content marketing
Videos on content marketing

Have we forgotten anything? Let us know in the comments below …

by Phil Stubbs

How to succeed online: 50 classic cliches that actually work

Success online tips adviceI recently went to the Problogger conference and heard some of the world’s leading bloggers explain their success.

The concepts really weren’t rocket science. But the same things kept coming up over and over. Which got me thinking – on face value they may sound obvious, but something’s going on if the leaders are saying the same thing.

So I’ve collated the best of the oft-repeated tips – to remind myself for my own work and to help you with yours.

There’s some clear camps they seemed to fall into – which you can see in the headings below:

Find Your Purpose
1. what’s your why
2. be your authentic self
3. dare to dream
4. think big
5. have a vision (of where you want to be in 5 years)
6. do something meaningful
7. what’s your mission?
8. what do you need to give the world? (what’s your calling?)
9. what do you want to be known for?
10. do what you love, it won’t feel like work

Create Great Content
11. solve your audience’s problems
12. what are their burning fears?
13. what are their hopes and struggles?
14. inspire people
15. attract attention
16. tell a story
17. add value
18. be generous
19. reveal secrets
20. be useful

Connect With Your Audience
21. learn to listen
22. what is your audience interested in?
23. where are they hanging out?
24. how can you transform their lives?
25. help them
26. pay it forward
27. tell your story
28. respond and engage
29. get them to know, like and trust you
30. word of mouth works

Think Success
31. don’t fear failure
32. look at failure as feedback
33. make the most of opportunities
34. learn from others doing it well
35. don’t compare yourself
36. get creative with what you’ve got
37. try things
38. do more of the things that work and drop the things that don’t
39. do what you do well
40. think long term

Get Things Done
41. know your goals
42. break it down (into the steps that’ll get you there)
43. take imperfect action toward your goals
44. give yourself a deadline
45. plan your day (and week)
46. prioritise
47. learn to say no
48. outsource
49. focus
50. take time out (to look after yourself)

Bonus tip
51. It’s ok to be an introvert.
(This one came up many times at the conference. A good one for me. You too?)

All these tips are well and good, but at the end of the day you’ve got to get in there and do the work. This was the thing I kept thinking to myself throughout the conference. So one last cliche from me (one I’ve borrowed from my mum who used on me a lot): For goodness sake Philip, just get on with it!

If you have any other advice, I’d love to hear it. You’re welcome to share them in the comments.

Something else I got from the conference was thinking on how to present. I’ve distilled it into some simple tips on how to do a presentation well.