When it comes to buying or renting a home, today’s real estate customer has gone digital. The influx of Millennial and Gen-Z renters has certainly had a monumental impact in bringing multifamily marketing into the digital realm, but they aren’t the only ones turning to the Internet for their home needs. According to the 2013 Google/NAR study, “The Digital House Hunt,” 92 percent of people looking for a new home use the Internet to help them find it. As a comparison, only 87 percent use an agent. Even more telling is that the average homebuyer spends at least three weeks researching real estate online before making an initial phone call.

As such, today’s successful leasing agents and property groups are leveling up their digital presence. But a flat website won’t cut it anymore. Renters and buyers want to see and experience the property and the community. Because of those demands, video is proving to be one of the most effective ways to find footing in the online market. In 2012, the National Association of Realtors found that 85 percent of buyers and renters prefer to work with a property that uses video marketing. It is a safe bet that the number has grown significantly in the last five years. Quality video is no longer a nice to have – it is a must have.

However, simply uploading a video to the web, then crossing fingers and hoping it gets seen isn’t going to work. There must be promotion and boosting of posts to get things moving and make sure that the video is seen by the right people. The good news is that there are a few easy things multifamily marketers and onsite staff can do to increase their video views without huge amounts of time or effort.

1) Paid Promotion on Social Media Channels

Unless you already have a major following and audience built online, hoping your video will be organically discovered is a risky play due to the already enormous and growing amount of videos online. To combat this, simply use a paid advertising campaign. This allows you to reach a wider audience that isn’t already following you and choose your choice call to action with the promotion, be it likes and shares or clicks to a link. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all offer paid advertising options to promote video content. While ad blockers may throw a wrench in the plan, according to the IAB only 34 percent currently use them. So, by simply producing high quality video content and throwing a bit of paid promotion behind you, you should realistically reach the other 66 percent not blocking ads.

2) Create Compelling Thumbnail Images

Wherever your video is embedded, there will be a thumbnail image of the video that shows. Most platforms will allow you to upload a custom thumbnail for your video, so make sure to choose something that captures people’s interest and gives the potential viewer a preview of the video’s content. Make sure the thumbnail is clear, high quality and accurately represents the content as much as possible. Effective thumbnails include faces, text overlay and tasteful, but clearly identifiable brand representation. For example, a polished photo of a smiling leasing agent at your property with your logo in the corner would likely make the viewer think it’s a property overview video. Change the image to one taken inside the kitchen in a unit and that tone changes. The potential viewer would likely assume it’s a floor plan or unit tour at that point. Thumbnails are an integral part of ensuring success of your videos!

3) Have Optimized, Searchable Content

Optimizing all of your digital content can truly make the difference when it comes to a prospective resident finding the video. While the content that appears in the video can’t register with search engines, the headline and video description will. Adding keywords and phrases can help the video show up on any and all platforms. Including highly relevant hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can also help boost where the video appears in search results. For example, a multifamily property should hashtag the neighborhood where the property is located and try to be as localized as possible – instead of #Chicago, use #GoldCoast or #WestLoop.

4) Keep the Video Native

When it comes to promoting and working to get video views, make sure to post your video to the channel using that channel’s native platform. If the video is going to be posted on Facebook, use Facebook’s video upload process as opposed to posting a link to a YouTube video. According to Social Bakers, videos posted natively on Facebook actually receive over 10X the views of those not posted natively. Every social channel gives preference to videos posted natively and most will include features like automatically playing your video in the timeline and boosting views if posted natively. Not doing so could be very detrimental to your video viewership, so post wisely. 

5) Take Advantage of Email Marketing

Email is still one of the best ways to reach target customers. While producing great content is the obvious first step, what better way to promote your video than delivering it directly to a prospect’s inbox? According to a Syndacast report, simply adding the word “video” to the subject line of an email increases open rates by 19%. As if that wasn’t good enough, including a video in an email increases the click-through rate by over 96%! If you have a lead list, you already have an interested audience. Sending them content that they can engage with and even share with family and friends is one of the best ways to get them bought in and active. 

Sharing personalized video content for both current residents and prospective residents is a powerful tool for today’s digitally savvy multifamily marketers and communities. Using one, or all, of the above tactics can not only help you get views on your videos, but help fill those vacancies as well!

If you have any questions about your video marketing strategy or feedback on things that have worked well for you, please do let us know! We’re here to help. 

Until next time…keep it real!