In a small Delaware town with a population of just over 2,300, Dustin Parker proves that a successful real estate video series can happen even in rural communities. With a focus on small-town business owners and even hometown heroes, Parker’s use of Facebook Live and video marketing to capture the attention of his community is a guide for agents everywhere.
Parker is a top agent based in Bridgeville, Delaware, a small town near the Maryland border, who leads The Parker Group with his wife, Rachel. (They also do business in Maryland due to its proximity.) He’s also a 2019 Bombbomb video influencer who creates several real estate video series for his community. Parker made the leap into real estate video marketing in 2016.
“I think at that time it was becoming the thing to do — jump into video. And in our market, we’re in a pretty rural area and things seem to happen a little bit more slowly than in more metropolitan areas,” says Parker. “We were the first ones probably in our market to really embrace video.”
Talk about embracing video: Today, The Parker Group has five different video series, with more on the way. They range from serious to funny and informative to silly. They each help build the Parker Group brand and grow the business in different ways.
Before we share lessons and advice, we’ll look at the Parker’s current lineup of real estate video series. If you’re a real estate agent who doesn’t have a Hollywood-sized budget, this is Parker’s roadmap to make a little TV show — or several shows — for your hometown.
Video series #1: #parkergrouplive
“The first one that we started with was called #parkergrouplive and we continue to do that today,” says Parker. “And that’s just a Facebook Live video [where] we answer common questions related to real estate.”
The average view count for #parkergrouplive videos is between 200-300, although some have 2,000+ views. An episode that covers how to handle multiple offers on a home has 2,600 views and clocks in at about 2:30 long. Some #parkergrouplive videos are longer while others are shorter.
The Parkers take a casual and informative approach to #parkergrouplive. They give detailed and actionable advice, such as explaining the use of an escalation clause and advising buyers to offer more than the listing price during a multiple-offer situation.
There is no call to action at the end of this video and it ends with an outro slide with their logo. Other #parkergrouplive videos end without any outro slide at all — just a simple “see you next time.”
Note that intro and outro slides are not typical for a traditional Facebook Live stream where you use raw and real-time footage. If you want to apply slides or other production elements to your own live stream session, you can do so by using a pre-recorded video. You can either
- use a paid service that lets you upload a video and schedule it to publish later as if it’s a “live” video
- take the D-I-Y approach using free OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) for you to pre-record and stream your video on Facebook
Whichever method you use, you can learn about the options and process here.
The #parkergrouplive video 5 Tips to Sell Your Home After the Holidays has a more impromptu style, with no intro/outro slates or other production elements. It’s just Rachel streaming outside using the front-facing camera on her phone. This particular video has a simple call to action: reach out to the team and ask questions if you need more guidance. The #parkergrouplive videos are low-to-no pressure sales. Their approach is to offer helpful advice on a wide array of real estate topics without any strings attached.
Video series #2: #getlocal, “a little TV show for the community”
The Parker’s next series following #parkergrouplive is #getlocal, which highlights local businesses in a range of industries — restaurants, fitness centers, music stores and more. When the focus is on a local restaurant, the Parkers interview the owner and highlight the atmosphere along with the menu.
Check out the episode that features Plate & Palette — a farm-fresh gastropub with great food and atmosphere in a building that used to be a bank (and still looks like one from the outside).
“Initially, “#getlocal” was really popular because no one was doing that. We’ve actually had people come up to us and say they would watch our videos every week and that’s how they’d decide where to go on date night,” Parker says. “It almost became a little TV show for the community.”
Parker says this series has brought a lot of awareness to local mom-and-pop shops and created a community feedback loop on social media. “We went around the community and started to interview local businesses, breweries, restaurants, those types of places … and just highlight them and introduce them to our followers,” says Parker. “As we started generating some interest in the series, other people began recommending places or other businesses started reaching out to us, asking if we would highlight them. And so it’s grown organically through that.”
Video series #3: #localheroes
In addition to the #parkergrouplive and #getlocal series, The Parker Group also hosts #localheroes because everyone loves a good hero story.
“It’s heart-wrenching for people because there’s obviously a lot of sad and emotional stories that people tell,” says Parker. “You know, [they] fought in wars or had been nurses or teachers, and some of the things that they’ve seen.”
In one video, #localheroes features a police officer who tells an emotional tale about his most difficult day on the job — the experience as he attempts to save a young girl from drowning.
That video has more than 16,000 views on Facebook since it was published in late 2018. Parker says people are still watching the video and engaging with it more than a year later.
Video series #4: Home Tips with Avery
Another series the Parkers produce is “Home Tips With Avery,” which features their toddler-aged daughter sharing cute and funny answers to real estate questions.
Adorable Avery answers all kinds of questions that buyers might ask, such as How do I clean my house when I list it for sale? and When is a good time to put your home on the market?
Avery’s videos are pretty short, not unlike a young child’s attention span — roughly 45-60 seconds long. The idea here is to put a smile on a viewer’s face, and it sure seems to work! This series “has been pretty engaging for people,” Parker says. It’s not unusual to see double-digit comments and reactions to this series.
Video series #5: Behind the Scenes
“The Office” fans will rejoice when they see Parker’s newest series, “Behind the Scenes.” It’s the perfect parody of the famous sitcom, featuring the team from The Parker Group in everyday office situations with a real estate perspective.
So far, the published videos for “Behind the Scenes” are between four and five minutes long. The only obvious self-promotion they have is a closing slide with their logo at the end.
How the Parker Group benefits from their real estate video series
Why would a real estate team spend four years making five video series and have plans for more? Because it’s working.
“We just found an enormous return on investment for it,” says Parker. “We had spent very little money to distribute and, in the beginning, very little money to produce. It was working and we just kept doubling and tripling down on it,” says Parker.
The benefits come in two forms:
1. Community recognition, branding and authority status
People recognize Parker and his team at restaurants and community events, which creates an easy icebreaker for conversations with new people. Over time, people in the community have come to see the Parkers as local area experts, which increases their trust and authority.
2. More business because they stay top of mind
Parker considers these video series to be a form of digital farming in their community, and they generate a significant amount of business both directly and indirectly. “Eighty percent of our business comes from our sphere of influence and past clients, and we feel that it’s through these video series and our social media content that we’re top of mind for them.”
7 Tips for Creating a Real Estate Video Series
You can create your own video series regardless of the size of your market. If you’re thinking about giving it a try, here are seven tips to get started.
1. Begin with Facebook Live
The Parkers first series, #parkergrouplive, takes advantage of live Facebook streaming. Facebook Live produces six times the number of interactions than traditional video and users spend three times the amount of time watching live videos vs. pre-recorded videos.
“If you’re just doing [Facebook Live] for the first time, it’s going to notify your entire friend list that you’re live for the first time,” says Parker. “And that’s really your opportunity to get out there in front of them.”
The best part about using Facebook Live is that you don’t need any fancy equipment — just a smartphone with a camera and natural light. “You can start with your own live videos and things and just like we did, and I think that you can grow into more professionally produced things over time,” says Parker.
2. Create a calendar and plan your series in advance
Knowing what and when you’re going to create can save you a considerable amount of time.
Each month, the Parker Group’s marketing director makes a calendar with video content plans. Tuesday’s are set aside for #parkergrouplive, usually between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. — that’s when they get the most engagement.
“If we can capture them kind of early to mid-afternoon, it seems to be the most successful,” Parker says.
Although Parker has success with Tuesdays at 11 a.m., know that your mileage may vary. Expect to test different days and times to find your own optimal publishing schedule.
3. Record your videos in batches to save time
To look through the Parker Group’s Facebook Page and see all the videos, you might wonder when they have time to sell real estate. The secret to creating all this content is to record videos in batches.
“For planning those shoots, we try to batch them together as much as possible,” Parker says. They pick a couple days each week and try to make videos the entire day — sometimes as many as four episodes of a series in one day. “It just makes life so much easier … because you have to get back to selling houses at some point.”
4. Be patient and give your series time to find its audience
Video marketing is a long-term game. There’s an element of faith where you need to trust the process and continue to produce content — even if you think it isn’t working. It’s no different from many other real estate marketing tactics.
“Just like anything else — if you’re buying leads or whatever it might be — those first two to three to four months, you’re probably not going to see a ton of return on it,” Parker says.
“It is a leap of faith and it’s an investment, I think, in the future of your company. A lot of people aren’t patient enough to wait and see that return, but if you are, the benefits are much greater.”
5. Crowdsource episode ideas from your followers
In January, when the Parker Group asked their community what local spots to feature on #getlocal, 19 people recommended their favorite small businesses. On your own, you might run out of content ideas. But with help from your followers, you can get ideas to start your new video series or keep it growing.
6. You can get great reach without spending a lot of money
Parker’s video series took off in an organic way, with a lot of natural, community engagement. Likes and shares can help boost the reach of your videos.
But spending some money initially might help you get new followers, especially if you don’t consistently use Facebook for marketing. The good news is that a little bit of money goes a long way.
“Some of [our videos] are paid,” says Parker. “But very minimal, like, like less than $50 in terms of boosting that post to our audience.”
You can understand how your videos perform organically on Facebook from this official article.
7. Keep consistent and don’t give up too soon
Parker points out that even if only 15 people watch one of your videos, that’s 15 people who could become clients or could refer clients to you.
“I think with real estate in general, it’s usually at the point where you feel like you’re working really hard and not making any money that people tend to give up or get out of the industry completely,” says Parker. “And that’s usually about a day or a week or a month before you kind of have that breakthrough and you start to see results from whatever it is that you’re doing. I think consistency really is the key.”
Header Image Source: (The Parker Group / Facebook)