This one’s for everyone who wasn’t able to make it along to #PropTech15 this month! We gave a presentation similar to the one we gave at VIDEA15, but this time with more time to fill, we could really build on the points and give a demonstration of how video helps your online presence. Over this article we’ll be breaking down our talk.

Why does your online presence matter?

As time goes by, even more of us are searching for property online, between 80% and 95% of us in fact. It shouldn’t take me to tell you how much things have changed over recent years and online searches are certainly not a passing fad! While most of these searches begin on the major portals, many people will follow through to an agents website to see who they’ll be dealing with.

As many hours as you work (and I know some of you REALLY put the hours in) at some point, you have to sleep. The great thing about your online presence is that it doesn’t. 24/7 365, your online presence is going to be working for you, as and when your clients want to interact.

With so many of your potential clients first steps being online, it’s massively important that your online presence be as strong as possible. In many cases your first chance at making an impression will be online and if you’re represented poorly, why should the client think about pursuing your services further?

So why do I keep talking about online presence instead of just your website? Online encompasses much more than just your website today, it means your website, your social media and your content marketing! And we’ll be touching on these throughout this article.

What’s the point of your website?

It never ceases to amaze me how many business have a website “just because” with no real goal behind it. Not knowing what you want from a website means that your users won’t know what to do creating confusion and a lack of focus.

This lack of focus can have some real negative impacts on your business. Confused users or even users that don’t find your site immediately intuitive will often just leave without clicking through to the information they’re looking for. You can find out more by looking at your bounce rate.

It’s important to know what you want from your site, and once you’ve got that clear goal you can start to work towards it. Whether you want users to look for properties or you want to get more valuations guiding your users is very important, and video can help.

How can video help?

There’s various ways that video can help your users and compliment their experience.

Informational videos:
Videos introducing you and the team, how-to videos and even local information videos are great ways of adding a human touch to what may otherwise may feel like a quite corporate interaction. Being able to see your face and your enthusiasm is great for allowing your visitors to make a personal connection to your business. This video, courtesy of the Romans Group, gives a great breakdown of what happens behind the scenes, giving a user insight to how you operate as a business while also building trust.

Our thanks to Romans Group (in particular, Harvey Coles) and a special thanks to Dave Gosley.

Background video:
Unlike annoying auto-play videos, the ones that will start music coming from one of the tabs you have open, background video can really help grab your users attention. People are very quick to make up their minds when it comes to websites and typically decide if they’re going to leave within about 8 seconds. That’s an incredibly short amount of time to make your pitch which is where the video comes in. A quick 10-15 second looping video will hold a user’s attention long enough to engage them without being so long that it bores them. This is great for getting the vital first click and keeping your users attention and we’ll take a closer look a little later.

Video testimonial:
Testimonials are important, they’re the living breathing proof that you’re doing a great job! There isn’t much higher praise than someone taking the time out of their day to put their name to your business. However, no matter how complimentary the testimonial, it’s still just text and sometimes can come across as a little insincere. A video testimonial on the other hand solves all of these issues.

Being able to see your previous clients endorse you, either in your office or in the new home that you helped them find is not only more striking as imagery, it’s more relatable. The following video is from an agency named Anderson Rose. They have lots of written testimonials on their site, but they also have the following video. Check out their testimonial page and compare it to the video below, see which you think is stronger.

Our thanks to Anderson Rose (and in particular, Jon Byers).

All-in-all video makes your website “sticky”. Once a user has landed on your site, your videos will help keep them there. With as little as 20% of your website actually being read, video is the perfect way to convey a large amount of information in a short amount of time. Once a user has made the time commitment to watch your content they’re not only more likely to stick around but also to engage with you further.

Social Media:

Social media can be a tricky one and businesses of all types end up having similar issues, and property is no exception. Straight after setting up your profiles on social networks, you’ll be faced with the problem of growing your audience.

No one knows you exist yet so it’ll be a challenge to get your posts in front of your target audience. Once your target audience has been identified and they’re seeing your posts, the next task is to get them to engage. Another common issue with social media is low engagement, not getting enough likes, shares and comments resulting in poor profile growth.

When it comes to addressing these issues, video is going to be your best option. Not only is custom video great, unique content that you can send to your audience it’s by far the most engaging.

Video is 39% more likely to be shared on social media than any text update, helping to get your brand in front of a new audience. Video is also the most likely update type to reach a followers timeline without being liked, shared or commented on, 135% more likely than a photo in fact!

There’s always new trends popping up on social media and keeping an eye out for them is a great way to spread your brand awareness. Cast your memory back to last year and the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. There was about a month solid where you couldn’t log onto Facebook without seeing someone you know having a load of cold water dumped on their head for charity. The Romans Group once again saw this trend and got involved. Their company video for the challenge not only went to helping a great cause, it’s by far the most viewed video on their YouTube Channel (about 3 - 4 times higher than their other videos!). Watch their directors getting soaked below!

Content Marketing:

Google is no longer looking just for keywords and the various other techniques people used to use to boost their rankings. With the two latest updates, Google Penguin and Google Panda, they are now putting a huge emphasis on high quality content that will be of interest to their users. This was put in place to both create a better user experience and to combat various black-hat SEO techniques. In terms of content, high quality video will do more to create links to you and will gain you more shares across various platforms that will ultimately improve your SEO.

People will come to know you by the content that you produce, allowing people to recognise your tone-of-voice. The great thing about content and video content in particular is that this will allow you to strengthen and even reposition your brand.

If you’re being perceived as a cold and corporate business but you want to be seen in a friendlier light, your content will allow you to change that. With video being such a strong tool, it’ll be the fastest way to re-enforce the brand you want people to see.

In our experience:

We’ve seen a fantastic response to the implementation of video for our clients and we’re only looking to increase that in future. One of our recent Website productions was for Rockett Home Rentals, for whom we used embedded video on their home page. Their old site had rather a lot of text, un-engaging imagery and far too many calls-to-action, which resulted in poor traffic and high bounce rates. It was quite typical of an agency website, so we changed things up a little. We refined the design and made everything much clearer and the results are astonishing. The new site has seen an increase in sessions by 44.88% page views rise by 55.32% and even with all the added visitors, bounce rates have fallen by 15.41%!

Note; all stats taken from their Google Analytics.

In short, not only were more people coming to the site, but that increased traffic was more engaged and spent more time on the site exploring it further. Go and see it for yourself here!

What to take away:

As people are becoming more accustomed to short but informative content, video will continue to grow in popularity. Experts predict that by 2019, most web content will be video so now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve!

In all forms of your online presence, personal and high quality video should be considered. Don’t be afraid of the camera, get out there and start creating video content for your business today!

Need some help to get up and running? See what we can do for you here.