Digital-Marketing-Savvy: Real Estate Photo & Video for a Digital World

MARKETING a real estate listing today happens on the Web. For realtors, selling a home is a digital experience. Increasingly, successful realtors not only have to possess those tried-and-true habits of effective businesspeople (hard work, focus, client-orientation, customer service), but they must embrace the realities of this digital world too. Realtors have to be savvy to the tenets of digital-marketing.

An example of real estate photos taken for multiple web platforms. This place is offered by Jody Heffner, the Platinum Group Realtors.

The National Association of Realtors published a report a few months ago titled, “Real Estate in a Digital Age.” Some pretty startling and definitive statistics are presented. 95% of homebuyers used the Web in their search for a home , 46% (58% of younger buyers) even found their home using a mobile device!  The Web is everything when it comes to finding a home, or finding a realtor. A critical component of any presence on the Web is presenting your case, your self, presenting your story, presenting your listings through visual media.

This means photo and video.  Surfing the web, surfing social media is a visual experience. Information is meant to be communicated quickly, visually. The most successful websites and social media accounts use visual media well, meaning they include as much of it as possible. And it’s good. What makes media good? It needs to conform to the realities of the digital world, too.

The digital real estate world is also no longer just the MLS. Your own website, your brokerage’s website, blogs, forums,  and of course, social media. Good media should be optimized for all of these platforms. Listing pictures should meet certain standards (today, these should be HDR photos) and show elements of a property demonstrably, in a documentary way. But they should also attempt to motivate and inspire and invoke an emotional response; they should hook. They should be different. They should stand out. The best real estate photographers are taking photos not just for the MLS, but for social media. The best photographers take the typical, “standard” photos well, but can also highlight special elements of listings—that beautiful corner in the backyard underneath the oak tree; the special colors of a kitchen recently updated or the patterns in the granite of an artfully crafted counter—elements that might be inherently artistic in nature and will really stand out in a Facebook or Instagram post.


Video for the web and social media. An MLS-compliant version was cut as well.

There’s a technical component here too. Photographers and videographers should be able to provide you with multiple formats of their media, technically optimized for different platforms. Pictures for the MLS should be rendered differently than pictures destined for your own website. Video for Facebook is going to be inherently different than a video meant to be attached to standard listing site as a “tour.” Professionals will know the difference and won’t charge extra for multiple renders and formats. “Really…You want to post these on your social media pages too??”



“Real Estate, *Real”

Whenever I meet a new realtor client interested in video marketing or in digital platform management, I ask them who they are. Really.

The most successful realtors I know tend to be able to answer this question very quickly. And they also know what I’m really asking.  I’m not asking where they grew up, went to school, their marital status, etc. I’m asking who they are professionally, how they’ve defined themselves to the greater market and how they’d like to be perceived. Successful realtors are acutely aware of their niche, their hook or their special appeal and with any kind of video marketing—personal commercials in particular—it’s my job to highlight this, to communicate it, accentuate and promote it.

Real Estate, *Real with Kristan Rigdon from William Burcher on Vimeo.

Here’s a bitter truth and an unfortunate reality: Real estate representation can be viewed by the market at large as a commodity, as something homogenous and undifferentiated. Everyone charges the same, effectively, for what appears on paper (or a website or Facebook) to be the same services provided. So, if the “services” and the “price” are the same, what’s really different here? What separates one realtor from the next? What’s unique?

You are. You are unique. 

You talk differently, you work differently, you look differently, you treat clients differently. You’re an individual. And potential clients really, really do want to know who you are. Sure, what you do to market a listing is important. Your particular brokerage is important. How long you’ve been in the business is important. But really these things are unemotional and cold, and admittedly probably not that inspiring to a potential client. In this business, beyond the standard and cliché bullet-points, realtors need to market themselves. They need to let the world know how they’re really different. They need to tell the world who they are.

We just finished a personal video commercial for realtor Kristan Rigdon with HomeSmart Realty Group in Colorado Springs. Kristan is an individual. Within a few moments of meeting her, you become aware of this. She has this down-to-earth, straightforward, spit-fire-tough energy that comes across almost immediately. She’s smart and funny and … present. In person, she does a great job of inspiring confidence in her ability to get the job done. These are all pretty attractive qualities in a professional I think. And this is what we wanted to communicate with this video. “I am consistently myself,” she says. “I’m the same way with my friends and family as I am with my clients.”

YES. Yes. Yes. Please. Where do I sign? 

Now, imagine if all of this could be communicated to potential clients within a few minutes (preferably within a few seconds if we’re doing our job right) across multiple platforms, the reaches of which are easily, quickly in the thousands or tens of thousands. This is the power of video. This is the power of smart video, video with a purpose, video aware of its message and its narrative goal. 

Of course, this particular message isn’t going to work with everyone. The beauty, however, is that it doesn’t have to. Another realtor is going to be wholly different. But I guarantee that this person is an individual too. And some client, somewhere, probably on the Internet someplace, wants to know how you’re really different and who you really are.