How To Use Imaging To Promote Your Business or Real Estate
All the information in this document is the opinion of the staff of Over And Above Photography based on research and actual results with our imaging. We will mention which of our products can be used with which outlets and suggest methods of using.
The primary purpose of doing imaging is to engage the potential prospect and perk their interest. In today’s world that means different types of imaging and varied outlets to display that imaging.
Still photography has been the mainstay of real estate sales and business advertising for many years and it is still vitally important. However with the advent of the internet and the rise of Youtube and other video outlets the emphasis has shifted. Now with new advancements we can engage the prospect in virtual reality to allow them to walk through a property from anywhere in the world.
Different users find different imaging products attractive and helpful. Recent research has shown that nearly 90% of real estate buyers start their search online. The same holds in the retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. That is why we offer various types imaging to best engage the viewer.
The major viewing outlets, in our opinion are Youtube, Facebook, Business web page, and for real estate, the MLS. There are a whole host of secondary outlets which are also worth considering such as Vimeo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. Each of these sites have their strengths and best uses. We will concentrate on the major ones but the same suggestions can help with the secondary outlets. You are spending money, or time, to obtain the imaging and you should make the best use of it that you can. This means having the most people possible see it.
Products we have which work with Youtube
- Video both interior and exterior
- 3D Virtual Tours walkthrough edited to Video (not as high quality)
YouTube is owned by Google and is “the” site for posting videos. YouTube gets over 30 million visitors a day.
While you can only post video on Youtube you can make that video watched more often by having good quality, making it interesting, giving it a good title, and adding text information with links.
We recently watched a real estate video on Vimeo which, while the video itself was good quality, it had no information except “xxx Main Street Unbranded”. No town, State, price, description, etc. This is a $12,000,000 listing. It takes only a few minutes to add text and link information to a video which can help tremendously when prospects are searching for information about a business, or property.
Facebook is the Jack of All Trades of the Social networking world. You can post pictures, video, floor plans, links to web pages etc.
Pretty much any of our products, or links to them, can be posted on Facebook.
Facebook also makes it easy to “boost” a post producing an advertisement which will show up on users pages. It is strongly recommended that you have a “Page” separate from your personal account for professional posts. This keeps your personal exploits away from potential clients, or customers, and keeps everything much more professional.
You need to write a good description for a post and then either upload the imaging product to Facebook or link to it.
Many experts advocate uploading videos directly to Facebook which is very easy, alternatively you can link link to the video have posted on Youtube or another hosting service such as Vimeo. Facebook is more likely to show an uploaded video than one which is linked to.
The usual recommendation is to post regularly on Facebook but not too often. What this means depends on any number of factors. Our feeling is that you want to keep reminding your followers that you are out there without making them feel that their timeline is filled with nothing but your posts.
Depending on the MLS you are subscribed to there might be multiple places to use imaging. Posting still photographs is the major outlet but most of our products can be used in the virtual tour section of the MLS.
Still photographs on the MLS, or a web page, are the primary “optional” factor in establishing interest in a property. Property searches typically start with location, and price. Once the search results are obtained often the first thing a prospect looks at are the pictures (at least the primary). If the picture(s) don't impress the rest of the property data makes little difference.
Get the best pictures possible and don’t feel you need to post the maximum number of pictures allowed by the MLS. Multiple pictures are important (what is wrong with the property that they only posted one picture?) but not bad pictures.
Virtual Tour Options
The MLS has rules about virtual tours but basically they say what you link to can’t be branded. There is no reason you can’t use video, interactive floor plans, 3D Showcase, or all of the above embedded in a property web page, as long as you don’t have it branded.
Virtual tours have been under utilized, and gotten a bad name, because for the most part they have been behind the times. Prospects are not interested in a slide show of the still pictures posted on the MLS. They already look at the posted pictures and skip the ones they aren’t interested in or spend more time on interesting ones. Why should they be forced to sit through a slide show?
Any of our products (except still photographs) can be used individually as the virtual tour link. 3D showcases (Matterport), video, and interactive floor plans can all spark interest in a property.
To us the ideal virtual tour incorporates a number of different imaging types. This is accomplished by embedding the imaging in a web page and then using that for your virtual tour. That way users can pick the imaging which best suits their property interest. Some like 3D showcases where they can walk through the whole property, others like looking at interactive floor plans so they can get a good feel for the layout of the building. Still others will watch a video first. By allowing easy access to multiple imaging options you engage the prospect for a longer period of time and have a better chance of promoting interest in the property.
We also feel the best practice is to inform a prospect that you have something different as a virtual tour. It is easy for a prospect to not notice a virtual tour link, or figure it is just another slide show. A good way to inform the prospect is to mention the tour in the Public Remarks section. Perhaps something along the lines of “Click the Virtual Tour link to take a self guided walk through of the house”.