Could Live Streaming Be The Future For Estate Agents?
Social Media sites are obsessed with video. Words are easy to ignore, videos catch your eye. Maybe this post should be a video. Seeing the success of Snapchat and Vine, Facebook and Twitter are integrating video into users’ timelines, allowing clips and gifs to autoplay as users scroll down.
User engagement is incredibly high for videos, let’s take a look at this graph from Wistia:
The fantastic Moz blog recently published How to Write for the Web, an article on content marketing and bounce rates, noting that only around 16% of readers actually read to the end. As part of Whiteboard Friday, the post features both video and text. The video is 9 minutes 31 seconds in length. If we look at the graph, we can expect around 40% of viewers to have watched the full clip. That’s quite a bit more than 16%, despite the video and words explaining the exact same content. People are far more likely to take notice of your content when it’s in video form.
Video integration efforts by brands and social networking sites run alongside the growth of a new industry: live streaming. Last year, Amazon bought the video game streaming site Twitch for £585m. YouTube continue to explore the area of live streaming, with their subscription service Red facilitating opportunities to provide exclusive live content. However the real advances to keep track off lie in the app store. Periscope and Meerkat are two of the fastest rising apps available.
Periscope has 2 million active daily users, though expect that number to be out of date in a few weeks – the service is rising in popularity day by day. We’re going to focus on Periscope as, following its acquisition by Twitter, the app looks more likely to be the number one live streaming service.
What is Periscope?
The services allow users to broadcast a live video, streamed straight from their smartphone. People can search for broadcasts based on location. While watching, they can post comments and ask questions, providing direct contact with the streamer. It’s all very futuristic, Periscope like to claim that the app is the closest available technology to teleportation!
Periscope has huge potential. Twitter have realised this, purchasing the start-up for a fee slightly under $100m. It’s estimated that around 40 years of video are watched through the app each day. Twitter integrates Periscope into tweets, letting followers know when streams go live, you can also view the footage through their networking site.
Facebook have started a similar service, Facebook Live, though only verified profiles (this basically means celebrities) can stream using Live. This will change as streaming grows in popularity. Facebook are accommodating of businesses, it won’t be a surprise when Facebook Live is available to a broader community. It’s somewhat irrelevant which streaming service takes off, businesses should be looking to find original ways to promote their services or products through live streaming.
How can my business use streaming?
This will vary from business to business. What matters is finding an original way to capture the imagination of consumers. We’re going to use the housing market as an example of how streaming can change an industry.
We’ve already seen virtual tours on Facebook, a series of video clips that show each room. These virtual tours aren’t too impressive, they’re hardly an improvement on seeing a set of photos. With video streaming, you could provide a live open house, open to viewers across the country. Why show a single family around when you can show thirty?
Audience interaction is easy, the estate agent guiding the tour can answer questions that come in from viewers. Viewers can ask to see certain rooms again, for the estate agent to open the wardrobe, to show the view from the second floor front facing window. In areas of Bristol, houses are sold within a matter of weeks. Sellers host an open house, they receive an offer and they sell the house.
Surrounding a major city, these houses prove popular with Millennials, a generation quick to pick up on the latest technology. With links to your website posted on the stream, viewers will easily find a way to put in a bid. Buyers can be sat at work, at home, on the train home. As long as they have their mobile they can take a look at the house they want to see.
There is an obvious point to address. Part of arranging a house viewing is to get a feel for the building. Streaming still proves to be an important part of the purchasing process. It’s far more engaging than a set of pictures; buyers ready to set up an actual viewing can get a much better impression of a house, leading to an increase in bookings.
This is just one industry. Digital Media Team are constantly examining new opportunities for businesses online. This article would be unreadably long if we were to delve into each one. As a business owner, spotting opportunities like this should be high on your to do list.
How do people find live video streams?
Social Media is here to save the day. Everyone accepts that social media is really important for modern businesses, yet very few companies have figured out what works. An idea we preach to customers is give people a reason to follow your social accounts.
Let’s use our imaginary estate agents again. We’re not going to post links to properties every few minutes, it scares followers away. With no following, no one will click on the tweets we post. We’ll cut back on the spam tweets, instead we’ll post a few links to the live stream of our house viewing. Customers now have a reason to follow our account, they will see links to our live video and tweets about our listed properties.
Using a little bit of audience analysis, we can pinpoint when our target market log onto social media. Hosting our live viewing at this time will bring maximum exposure and engagement for our stream.
As Twitter improve the user experience of Periscope, expect to see categories introduced. Users will be able to select an area and a category. They could choose Manchester as the area, house viewing as the category. They’ll find our live streams, as well as videos we’ve posted in the last 24 hours. Categories may not be available yet, but it must be on Periscope’s to-do-list.
Streaming will grow in popularity, which will lead each social network to incorporate live video into their services. We’ll soon be able to see streams through more than Periscope and Twitter, Facebook will quickly follow, as will Instagram. Snapchat already are attempting a similar idea, allowing users to contribute videos and images to a feed based around a live event.
Issues to iron out
One of the current issues Periscope faces is its sheer popularity. The excellent comments feature allows instant communication with viewers, but questions can quickly be lost in a flurry of comments.
The video game streaming site Twitch faces a similar problem, though they found a solution. Twitch allows all viewers to post comments, with popular streams averaging around 20,000 viewers. It can look like a rapid fire version of Twitter, constantly updating. The solution is a low cost subscription service. Comment sections can be set to subscriber only mode, for $4.99 per month a viewer can subscribe. There are less comments, allowing streamers to easily interact with a dedicated audience.
Periscope have no subscription service, though the app is in its infancy. Prizes to anyone out there who can name a popular app that doesn’t feature a payment service or advertising. Optional subscriptions seem a perfect model for businesses to offer on streaming sites. Keeping with our imaginary estate agents, we could set the subscription price lower than the cost of the petrol needed to get to the viewing. Our subscribers would have the privilege of having their questions answered live on stream. Non-subscribers would still be able to see the video, to see the questions and answers, but wouldn’t be able to ask. There is currently a similar feature, allowing streamers to only allow comments from followers, though a subscription option is too good for Periscope to ignore.
Even if no such update comes, Periscope deal with speedy comments in a simple way. The service only allows the first 100 viewers to post a comment, incentivising viewers to log on as the broadcast begins. With this system in place, there’s even more reason for customers to follow our social media accounts. We can keep them up to date on upcoming broadcast times, building an engaged social media following.
Spotting online opportunities and knowing how they can put your company far ahead of your competition. Keep up to date with the latest online strategies by subscribing to the Digital Media Team blog, or by following our accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Better still, call us on 0800 808 9980 or email email@example.com to find out what Digital Media Team can do for your business. We’re always advancing, always changing the game, devising new strategies that can take your online presence to the next level.
If you’re an estate agent hoping to find out more about our online services, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Estate Agents. It gives a simple run down of all the need to know information for estate agents looking to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.