As more and more commercial real estate companies take advantage of social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to reach prospective tenants, there’s another technology tool making a name for itself in the industry: video.

Social video is a great way to drive consumer engagement and draw attention to your property – and the creation doesn’t have to be complicated or professionally done. You can even use your smartphone! An easy way to incorporate video into your building’s marketing plan could be by recording a grand opening or groundbreaking. Other instances could be highlighting amenities in a building you are leasing or simply sharing client testimonials that represent your brand.

“I have seen the volume of referrals – the lifeblood of my business – more than double,” said Coy Davidson, Senior Vice President, Colliers International. “Real estate has always been a social business, and using the speed and reach of online social tools to expand your network will only become increasingly important.”

One of the most well-known social video platforms is YouTube. Cushman and Wakefield’s Pacific Commercial Realty Advisors began using social video as early as 2013 when it shared “What is Commercial Real Estate?” In the video, Senior Director Jeff Andrew explains what CRE is and what advisors can do for clients. It’s a great example of using video to personalize a brand and showcase thought leadership.

Commercial Property Advisors used a similar informative approach with video, “Commercial Real Estate Investing for Dummies.”

Another great example of social video in CRE can be seen from Corcoran Group, a real estate firm in New York City. Their unique and creative approach to utilizing YouTube is to have their CEO, Pam Liebman, tackle questions posted to their Facebook and Twitter.

Matthew Shadbolt, Director of Internet Marketing at Corcoran Group, explained how social video has impacted the company: “The main thing we’ve seen is that the quality of the referral traffic back into our main website has significantly increased. Not only are we seeing more traffic coming in, but visitors coming in from social media sites are staying longer and looking at more things.”

Social video can be used in so many ways, and it’s clear that it’s impacting and changing the way companies do business and market in the CRE world. Vine is another video platform that is increasing in popularity. A lot like the brevity of Twitter, Vine limits videos to six seconds, which can sometimes be a challenge in order to make the video useful. Luckily, the folks over at The News Funnel came up with a great list of ways to promote your business and engage with your customers through Vine. They are:

1. Showcase one room. Rather than getting overwhelmed about showing an entire property, create excitement by showcasing one room of a home or building you’re working on.

2. Behind the Scenes. Consumers want a sense of intimacy with brands. Show them how you spend your days and make them feel more comfortable with doing business with you. Give a tour of your office or take a clip of a showing you’re doing that day.

3. Introduce team members. People love to feel like they know the faces behind the brand. Introduce your fans to your team and let them know whom they will be working with.

4. Show your sense of humor. We all love a laugh! Did something funny happen at work? Share your funny stories with your followers.

5. How-to videos. Does your product or service require some sort of how-to? Show users how to sign up, log in, use a product, search on your site, etc.

6. Quick and easy advertising. Why not? Don’t be overly promotional, but it’s okay to promote your products and services a bit.

7. Highlight a feature. Did you just launch a new app? Or want to showcase an existing feature? You would be surprised how far 6 seconds can go!

8. Video contests. Really engage with your fans by running a video contest using hashtags. Ask your fan base to submit a video of their new home or office using a witty hashtag.

Of course, YouTube and Vine are not the only players in the social video game. There are tons of sites to host your video (Wistia, Vidyard and Vimeo, to name a few). One in particular that is real estate-focused is WellcomeMat. Phil Thomas Di Giulio, Co-Founder of WellcomeMat, explains how video is being used to impact CRE companies’ bottom lines: “The common identifier with each of the videos is their ability to engage and capture the imagination of the viewer online while delivering quality information about a property, place, person or town. Video enables companies to share this local knowledge and connect with consumers in a whole new way.”

As the CRE industry’s decision-maker demographic continues to shift towards Gen X and Millennials, it’s important for companies to stay on top of their technology tools to meet their demands. One thing’s for sure: social marketing isn’t going anywhere, and as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them!

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