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As videos continue to increase in popularity online, we are seeing more and more real estate professionals turning to services such as YouTube for promotion and sharing of their message. YouTube and other established video hosting sites have done an excellent job at making things easy for users to share their content.

While it’s great to see loads of videos from our industry making their way online, there are several mistakes that I see people making over and over again that are hurting the effectiveness of their videos.

Below are the common pitfalls of online videos:

MISTAKE #1 – People Think They’re Important
In most cases, people are the star of their own videos. Even small update videos or tours of homes often largely feature the agent—and therein lies the problem. Far too many videos spend far too much time featuring the agent or being about the agent. It’s one thing to be the host of the video; it’s another to make the video all about you. Do not make the mistake of taking a topic and then making the video all about yourself. If you are providing information, such as market updates, be sure that the majority of the video focuses on market updates and not about you, what you’re doing, what you’re driving or where you’re heading to.

MISTAKE #2 – People Think Viewers Care About Them
This is along the same vein as mistake No. 1. While there are many people who have made a career either on TV, blogs or YouTube and developed a following of people who want to hear their particular opinions, do not make the mistake of thinking that you fall into that category. Most of the YouTube personalities have been working at this for 7-10 years or more. They have earned that position over time and with lots of effort. If you are throwing videos online that are receiving a couple of hundred views, or if you are new to YouTube, then you must come to the realization that no one is going there to see you. They are watching your video because of the promised content of the video. If that content is not delivered quickly enough, they will leave the video. To put it into perspective, YouTube personalities will commonly hit several hundred thousand views per video and millions of views on their channel each month.

MISTAKE #3 – Videos Are Way Too Long
When it comes to viewing and creating videos I often see people take very different approaches. As they are creating their masterpiece, they take an approach that, “If the content is good enough, people will watch,” or, “If I were interested in this, I would definitely watch this video to the end.” The irony is that when these same people are on the viewership end of things, they are typically very quick to close out of videos. Believe it or not, for most things, videos over a minute and a half are viewed as a neverending eternity. You must approach your videos in a way that streamlines them down. Below a minute is best, if possible. If you find yourself in a situation where what you are trying to do simply won’t fit into a minute or less, then you should possibly look at breaking the video up into multiple videos. Oddly, many people will watch five videos that are 45 seconds each but will shy away from watching one video that is three minutes long.

MISTAKE #4 – The Pace Is Too Slow
You must keep in mind that you are not filming a suspense thriller. You are delivering information. People will usually come to your videos through some online referral. Whether it be an ad that links to your video, a link that you shared or simply because it was recommended based on a different video that someone was viewing, people will arrive at your video wanting the punchline immediately. Do not sit around building up to the main point. Start with it. Newspapers used this technique for many years. The headline is the most important piece of information and the information becomes less interesting the further into the article you read. You must do the same.

Incidentally, a video that starts with a logo, followed by an individual introducing themselves before going into the content will typically lose approximately 30 percent of their viewers in those first 8-10 seconds. Think about that for a moment. You work hard to create this content and work equally hard to get people to view it and before you really start to say anything about it, roughly a third of your audience has left.

MISTAKE #5 – The Call to Action Is at the End of the Video
Arguably the most important part of the video for people in sales is the call to action. Simultaneously, the least viewed part of the video is the end; in fact, the longer the video goes, the more the audience drops off. Even when people watch videos all the way through, the moment the person starts their wrap-up, many people close out of the video and never truly see the very end. The mistake that nearly everyone makes here is that they all save their call to action for the very end of the video—as in, the part of the video that no one sees. Do not make this mistake. Have your call to action on the screen at all times. There are many ways to do this tastefully so that it’s not obtrusive or obnoxious, but it should be there. If you want someone to call you, then be sure to have your call to action and phone number on the video. One of the better ways to do this is to have this information on the bottom of the screen. There are even cases where rotating between two calls to action is appropriate, and, if done right, the rotation between the two will catch people’s attention without becoming an unwanted distraction.

Wrap Up
While videos are absolutely an important part of your business and should be used, taking the time necessary to create, edit and share the videos will all be for naught if no one is watching them beyond the first few seconds.

Be sure to keep an eye out for my future piece on tips to improve your YouTube video presence and effectiveness.

Michael Darmanin is COO of Sellstate Realty Systems Network, Inc.

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