You’ve heard it a million times already: as a real estate agent in 2023, you need to have a visual presence on social media. And video is the best way to put yourself out there.
But what if you’re just getting started? Say you’re already willing to face your fear of the camera and put your rookie recording skills on display for the world to see. Or maybe you and the camera are old besties.
If you’re scrambling to reach your income goals for the year, what can you do to accelerate your growth as a video creator? What do veteran video creators know that you don’t (yet)?
Last week, we hosted a webinar with BAM Creator Tom Storey on “YouTube Strategy for Real Estate Agents.”
And among the many valuable takeaways from that webinar—and from the BAMx after-party—were 14 pieces of hard-earned advice for real estate agents just getting started on the platform.
Why you need to get started making videos for YouTube
There’s one question you need to ask yourself as a real estate agent: How visible are you to the market you service?
Because, as Tom Storey put it, “Visibility beats ability.” That’s not to say ability isn’t important because it definitely is.
But you could be the most capable real estate agent in your market and still be struggling to get enough deals this year. Because no one knows you exist. Or no one knows how knowledgeable you are—and what you’re doing on a daily basis to keep getting better.
Without visibility, it won’t really matter how much you know. And you won’t get nearly as many opportunities to grow that knowledge and put it to work.
So, how do you make yourself visible and stay top of mind with your ideal clients on YouTube?
Best Tips for Agents Getting Started on YouTube:
Tom Storey shared 14 of his best tips for real estate agents just starting out as YouTube video creators. And he can tell you, better than most, that it takes discipline and consistency to get the results you want. Slackers need not apply.
In that way, it’s a lot like being a real estate agent. And, if you’ve been in the industry long enough, the first tip shouldn’t come as a surprise.
#1—It’s a slow grind.
Tom Storey and The Broke Agent know this better than most: growing your brand on YouTube is a slow grind. It’s not a quick and easy path to celebrity status. People won’t be pounding on your virtual door and begging you to sell their homes within a week of creating your channel.
Unless, you know, you’re already famous.
One of Tom’s biggest takeaways from The YouTube Formula by Derral Eves is a quote that sums up what we mean by this: “Don’t expect to pull any type of viewership your first year.”
If that didn’t suck all the wind out of your sails, keep reading.
You’ve probably heard this Chinese proverb at least once: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
It’s a bit like that—only, if you go about it the right way, we promise it won’t take 20 years for you to get some serious leads as a real estate agent on YouTube.
#2—Don’t worry about getting all the details right. Just get started.
No one gets all the details right when they’re starting out with something, and YouTube is no exception. The good news is that you don’t need to have it all figured out before you record or even publish your first YouTube video.
We can pretty much guarantee that, as long you keep learning, you’ll look back at your first videos and cringe—hard. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s a good thing. It means you’ve made progress from those first angsty days as a YouTube creator. That’s worth celebrating!
Just don’t let the cringe factor stop you from putting yourself out there and getting seen by your ideal clients. There has to be a study somewhere that proves people are more likely to contact a real estate agent whose first videos made them laugh with horrified pity. Has to be.
#3—Set up a camera/phone that’s always ready to record
You’ve got the perfect idea for a YouTube video, and you want to take action and record it while it’s fresh in your mind. The problem? Now, you’ve got to get your recording equipment all set up, and that takes several minutes—every single time.
Well, it wouldn’t if you set up a camera/phone on a tripod and had your lighting set up ready all the time. Then, it’s just a matter of turning things on and hitting the “Record” button. Easy.
So, if you’ve got a spare camera or a phone you only use for the apps, set it up so it’s ready for you to take advantage when inspiration strikes. It’s a time-saver.
And if your recording setup is ready to go at a moment’s notice, you’re far more likely to create inspired videos on a consistent basis.
#4—Always go for the hook with your titles.
Turns out, even famous names by themselves aren’t enough of a hook to get people consistently tuning in for each episode. So, they switched to titles with compelling hooks, which could include any of the following:
- A question their target audience would want an answer to
- A shocking revelation—phrased as a statement or a question.
- “The #1 ____” or the “only ___ that ____.”
You get it. Give your ideal viewer a reason to watch. Then use your intro to give them a reason to keep watching all the way to the end.
#5—Put your Calendly link in the description and plug it in the first 30 seconds.
Set up a Calendly link (if you haven’t already) to make it easy for potential clients to set up appointments with you after watching your videos.
Include that link in your YouTube video description. And, in the first 30 seconds of your video, plug that link to let your viewers know you look forward to talking to them if they have any questions or want to talk about buying or selling a home.
Typically, Tom will only reference the Calendly link once, unless the video is a longer one. In his Buyer’s Guide video, for example, at around the 25-minute mark, he’ll acknowledge the viewer:
“Hey, by the way, thank you so much for watching so far into the video. If you’re this far in and you’re serious about buying a condo, I just want to let you know you can go to the link in the description and book a time with me right now.”
#6—Keep your outro short and sweet.
Something Tom learned early on with YouTube videos is that when he used music as part of his outro, viewers would bail before the video ended—because they knew the video was officially over at that point.
Turns out, YouTube doesn’t like it when your viewers jump ship before the end. So, the more that happened, the more it hurt the reach of his videos. And that’s why he started making his outros super-short and bailing before the viewer could beat him to the punch.
It’s not rude if you’re delivering value literally up until the last five seconds of your video. It’s just learning how to play by YouTube’s rules.
#7—Don’t stop filming every time you make a mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes—in videos as in most other things. If anything, minor mistakes, stutters, and accidental mispronunciations just make you more human and relatable. Who even pronounces February the way it’s spelled, anymore? The spelling is ridiculous (and this is coming from a writer born in that month).
If you stop filming every time you make a mistake, trip over a syllable (SO easy!), or forget what you were saying, you’ll have a heck of a time finishing even one video, let alone cranking out a steady supply for your viewers. Let go of perfection, and keep filming.
You’ll learn as you go, and you’ll get better at making these videos, but you’ll still make mistakes. Don’t let it slow you down.
Besides, there’s a thing called editing. If you say something that doesn’t belong in the video, you can cut that bit out. Or your video editor can do that for you.
Just another reason good editors are worth (more than) their weight in gold.
#8—You don’t need the best gear to get started (upgrade as you go).
You don’t need to have all the high-end, top-of-the-line recording studio gear to get started making high-quality videos for your YouTube audience. Thank goodness, right?
If you’ve got a camera—or even a phone with a decent camera—you can start creating videos. If you don’t have good lighting equipment (or any), try recording outdoors. Plenty of video creators record themselves walking down a street in their neighborhood or standing in a place where there’s only a remote possibility of being mugged or having things thrown at them.
If you’re still keen to learn what equipment Tom Storey recommends, he shares exactly what he uses in the BAMx After-Party at the 30:10 mark—as well as in his BAMx course: “Lights, Camera, Leads.” If you haven’t yet, sign up for these assets, plus a lot more—BAMx is the best value in the real estate industry.
While Tom does have excellent taste with video equipment, he’ll be the first to tell you he didn’t start out with the best—and you don’t need it to create high-value content.
He would tell you exactly what we’re saying here: just get started. You can always upgrade as you go.
#9—Don’t use ads to grow your channel.
Since the question of monetizing your YouTube channel is bound to come up, allow us to recommend not using YouTube ads to grow your channel. As Tom pointed out, ads bring retention down since people are more likely to bail before the end of your video.
What you can do is, if you launch your first few videos, and one of them is a long-form guide with a lot of value for your ideal client, you can then go into Google Ads and promote that video.
You can also run a video on a Facebook ad as a squeeze page with a title like, “Here are 5 things you need to know before you move to [whatever] market.” Viewers click on it, subscribe to your email list, you send them the video, and you can then also direct them to other content.
But don’t run ads to boost the views of your YouTube videos. From our experience, it might boost views for one or more of your videos, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into more likes or subscribers.
Focus on creating videos your viewers will want to watch all the way through. Don’t give them any reason to pause the video, change tabs, and never return. It’s a thing people do—not that I would know anything about that.
#10—DO create a video trailer.
Give your channel its own video introduction by creating a trailer video for anyone new to your content. Let them know what they can expect, and give them a taste of your knowledge and your personality.
Find a way to make your real estate brand stand out as exceptional in some way. And make that an easy takeaway from your trailer—without actually bragging about it. If you’ve ever had an English teacher remind you to “show, don’t tell,” they were right.
[Right about that, anyway—not about garbage rules like, “Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.” I will go to my grave defying that one.]
You can also take a page out of Tom’s book and collab with a well-known real estate brand in your market:
#11—Don’t be afraid to beg (nicely) for subs.
You can’t afford to be subtle when it comes to asking your viewers to subscribe. You can beg them—in a chill, totally professional way:
“If you’re enjoying this content, please drop us a like and subscribe to our channel. And don’t forget to click on the bell, too, so you get notifications whenever we post something new. I promise it’ll be worth your time!”
You can also make a joke out of it. And, if you have a nemesis on YouTube (real or fake), use that. Rivalries work!
#12—Don’t be afraid to niche down to your (smaller) local market.
One of our BAMx members asked, during the After-Party, whether he should focus on his smaller local market or on the larger city half an hour away.
As Tom said, speaking from experience, you can get great results by focusing on your smaller local market compared to that bigger one 30 minutes or so from your door.
Because, while you most likely will have fewer subscribers, those subs will be far more invested in your content than someone living in a big city and subscribing to multiple real estate YouTube channels that are competing with each other for leads.
This is one of those cases where less can definitely be more.
#13—Monetizing and using the Community tab
If you’re wondering how to monetize your YouTube channel, you’ll need to get to 1,000 subscribers and to rack up at least 4,000 hours of watch time.
Reaching those numbers will unlock the Community tab on your YouTube profile, which allows you to ask questions, post quizzes, and share other videos you’re in.
Tom has found this to be an effective way to engage with your viewers, giving them more of a reason to subscribe and recommend your channel to others.
#14—“Steal my videos!”
Tom openly encouraged webinar attendees and BAMx members to “steal” his videos. By that, he means, go ahead and use what he’s learned to create similar videos for your own market.
That said, we’re not saying you should just cover Tom’s face with yours, sub your market’s name for his, and call it good.
Put some thought and effort into it. But don’t be afraid to learn from a YouTube G.O.A.T. like Tom Storey when he’s sharing strategies that have worked so well for him.
Not a single tip described here is a Hail Mary. It’s all tested and proven effective. So, steal the ideas behind his videos.
Just don’t just straight-up copy them.