Real-time visual communication is a fundamental shift in how we will share our brand with consumers
Camera first is the marketing mantra for 2018. Tomorrow’s consumer expects you to be the star of your own show, and being the star of your own show isn’t about ego or fame, it’s simply about communicating in the most human way possible — eye-to-eye, screen-to-screen.
Creating content that connects requires speaking to the consumer directly and in the right context. Video is the most effective way to do that. We all have free broadcast networks in our pockets now, and we can easily share our brand with the world at scale.
Gone are the days of posting a quick social announcement about your open house or just listed and getting bombarded with comments and shares. Now, it’s about providing thoughtful content, becoming the resource, and as Gary Vee says, acting as a media company — “comma” — that sells houses.
In my opinion, today’s marketing should be more about the real estate agent and less about the house. Consumers buy the house, but they have to want to work with the agent first.
The most effective way to relate to potential clients is to show them who you are and what you do. Thanks to apps such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, we’re all talking in pictures and our visual content means more today than ever before.
Here are my top 10 visual content tools that can help you level up your video marketing game:
1. Facebook Creator app
Debuting in November of 2017, Facebook is taking visual content creation to the next level by offering more creative tools to users to help them enhance their content.
In an effort to support creativity and sharing, Facebook announced that it would help its community “unleash their creativity with an an app that helps manage their presence on Facebook and a central destination where creators can get the resources they need to improve and grow.”
Designed as a one-stop-shop for creating branded Facebook broadcasts, the Creator app offers analytics, a unified inbox and access to a suite of exclusive creative features that allows users to personalize their live streams with custom graphics and intros and outros.
In addition to the app itself, Facebook also launched a new online Creator community website to better connect users, offer training and best practices.
Pro tip: Consider using this app to create a branded, hyper-local Facebook Live show where you interview local business owners and review your favorite local hangouts. Use graphics that support your personal brand.
The Facebook Creator App is free, currently available for iOS and coming soon to Google Play stores.
Self-described as a social video tool that can help you “create stunning, on-brand videos for Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more,” Flyr is a platform that helps you construct professional looking video content on the go.
Select from thousands of pre-made templates and royalty-free assets, and easily import your own visual media. The app allows you to add live links, copyright-free music, animated graphics and text.
I used this app to create my intro and outro videos that I uploaded into the Facebook Creator app.
Flyr is free for IOS with upgrade option of $9.99/month available.
3. intoLive app
I have dubbed this the “magic” app for the ultimate in interactive Facebook posts. This app allows you to create a “press-and-hold” image that reveals a hidden video that plays only if the viewer continues to engage with the image by pressing and holding it down.
If the viewer releases his or her finger, the video will disappear and revert back to the original static image.
It’s important to note that this kind of post only works on the mobile Facebook feed — not the desktop version.
This kind of engaging post is important because Facebook collects data on how users interact with posts, and that includes time spent looking at a post and even pressing and holding!
Imagine leveraging this type of post for your new listing with a “press here to see me inside” hidden video.
Pro tip: When using this app, make sure you tell people what to do either in the photo itself or in the text portion of your post as seen in the example.
IntoLive is free for iOS only and offers a one time $2.99 upgrade charge
An easy-to-use online platform that offers drop-and-drag social video creation with instant resizing capabilities, Wave.video offers 2.5 million stock photos, videos and soundtracks, and the option to upload your own media files.
The technology allows users to preview changes instantly without waiting for rendering. Create stunning Facebook Cover videos, Facebook Canvas ads, Snapchat ads, Instagram Story ads or landing page videos with this tool!
Pro tip: Consider crafting a unique community film or listing presentation with on-brand, visually appealing content that can help set you apart from the competition.
Instead of a printed booklet that every other agent leaves behind, what if you emailed a short video about who you are and why you are different prior to an appointment?
Free web version or upgrade from $39/month.
5. Adobe Spark Post
The Adobe Creative Cloud offers a variety of web and mobile apps designed to “transform your ideas into visual stories.”
One of the apps within this suite is called Adobe Spark Post, and it helps you create social graphics for every platform. The tool easily layers still images with animated text, which gives the photo a cinematic motion.
These live photo posts can easily be customized with your own logos, colors and fonts to present a cohesive brand experience. The best part is that your creations are synced across desktop and mobile devices so you can create and share on the go.
I recommend using the following Adobe Spark Apps:
- Adobe Spark Post: Create social media posts and ads, collages and flyers.
- Adobe Spark Page: Create interactive microsites (perfect for a unique listing presentation or “about us” site).
- Adobe Spark Video: Create video stories with soundtracks and voiceover option (community and office culture videos that speak to your audience).
Free web and iOS app with variety of in-app purchases available; Droid coming soon.
Ever wonder how those Instagram influencers create an Insta-feed that’s thematic and visually pleasing? They’re likely using a tool such as Planoly to “visually plan, manage and schedule” their Instagram posts.
Touted as an end-to-end management platform for the hottest social app around, Planoly will connect to your Instagram account and allow you to:
- Plan and rearrange your Instagram feed with the drag-and-drop feature
- Draft and edit captions
- Schedule posts in advance (it will not post for you; it’ll only send you a notification)
- Use calendar view to see past and scheduled posts
- Collaborate with team members or assistants
- Manage multiple Instagram accounts
- View metrics such as your likes and comment engagement
- Use the split-image feature on iOS to create a more visual campaign
- Manage and reply back to comments in one place
- Discover user-generated content to replan and re-Instagram
You can even search hashtags and accounts directly from the platform.
The ability to move your photos around like a puzzle to see which ones complement the adjoining photos is my favorite feature!
Now, by using this tool, you can easily see how the photos will look next to one another and move them around until you find that perfect visual appeal.
Achieving a thematic grid means that the colors and images themselves should be cohesive and align with your brand.
7. InShot app
The InShot App helps you easily edit and resize your videos to the appropriate size required for a square, horizontal or vertical video post.
Pro tip: I like to use the InShot app to post a vertical video to YouTube or another square or horizontal platform without the ugly black bars on the sides.
Using this app, I can add complementary background colors or select a blurred image to play behind the main video.
Free and available on IOS and Droid.
8. CutStory app
Upload longer videos to Instagram Stories and even to your Instagram feed.
Currently, Instagram Stories only allows a maximum 15-second video to post as a Story and a max of 60 seconds for a feed post.
Simply upload your video to the CutStory app, and select the increment length — voila — your videos are split up into short clips and saved in your camera roll in the right order, ready to be uploaded to Instagram.
Pro tip: I converted my Facebook cover video to an Instagram Story format using Wave.video, then used CutStory to split up the video into shorter clips and then uploaded it to my Story!
$0.99 in-app purchase to remove watermark for iOS only; use Story Cutter for Droids.
This automation platform can help you turn words into visuals that can be shared to social channels.
Lumen5 is my second-favorite tool on this list, mainly because of the cool factor of using artificial intelligence to “read” any blog post and then turn it into a video almost automatically.
After signing up for your free account, simply copy and paste the URL of the blog post that you want to use, and Lumen5’s bots will crawl the post, select key content and associate that content with related visuals. You can even select which text and videos are used.
You can post your blog content easily to YouTube and social media platforms and embed it into your website.
Free web account with premium upgrades available.
10. Videoshop App
Another app with a slew of video editing features available including slow motion, filters, transitions, stop motion, social sharing and more.
I love using this app when I screen record on my phone and want to provide voiceover instructions for the video. I create many of my tutorial videos with this app.
Free for iOS and Droid with $1.99 upgrade available.
Additional visual resources
Here are a few other resources that I use to give my visual content pizzazz:
- Non-stocky photos for landing pages and social ads: Stocksy
- Outsource your video subtitles for the 85 percent of viewers who watch without sound: Rev
- Create easy social media ad graphics that resize for free: SNAPPA
- Whip up a custom GIF in seconds: Canva
The very best marketing tool for 2018 is authenticity. If you’re camera shy, it’s time to face your fears and embrace the inevitable.
The only thing we can really share at scale is our own story because it’s always with us, and we know it the best. The agents with the best stories win.
Even with all of these cool apps and tools, it’s important to remember not to get too wrapped up in the shiny objects. Nothing compares to turning on the camera and talking directly to your community.
Chelsea Peitz is the chief marketing officer with Group 4610 Real Estate Network in Phoenix.