Herman Chan’s “claim to fame” stems from his hit videoblog, Habitat For Hermanity, which in one year amassed over 12,000 combined followers on Twitter and Facebook. Samantha McLean spoke to Herman to learn why video marketing, combined with a strong dose of humour, is the way to a modern day consumer’s heart.
Herman Chan is a Real Estate Agent by trade, but his claim to fame is that his hit video blog “Habitat for Hermanity” has in one year amassed over 12,000 combined followers on Twitter and Facebook. Samantha McLean spoke to Herman to get some of his best video marketing and blogging tips for Sold magazine readers.
Herman, we are here to talk about video marketing today, but I’m told you are, in fact, a Real Estate Agent? That’s what they tell me too! (Laughs). Actually my whole family is in real estate.I went to UC Berkley in California, I didn’t study real estate because that’s not something you can “study” in US, and I was a communications major. But when I graduated I guess I couldn’t fight that family gene, just gravitated back towards real estate! I’ve been doing it for about seven or eight years now, so it’s been close to a decade almost.Although, I always tell my clients that I started in real estate, “when I was knee-high to a pig’s eye”, because I attended most of mum’s open houses on the weekends.I was the little kid doing my homework in the corner.
Why do you choose video as your preferred method of marketing property?
I actually thought video was something fun to do.And it just latched onto the public consciousness, and people in the real estate business.As a medium, it has really taken off. It’s taken a while due to various reasons, but as of May, research shows approximately 83% of Americans have viewed video within the month, so that’s phenomenally high.Now with the advent of cell phones, smart phones and the Internet just getting cheaper and faster, it’s only going to get more and more prevalent.And I just think people are really open to the idea of receiving information through this form.
To be honest – I get bored really easily as well! When I look at my key strengths as a sales person I really rely on my personality – I’m not a numbers person, so I don’t do stats!!And some people do “blah” all the time about stats and sales records and all that stuff.
But when I video-blog, I know that people will watch my videos for months, and then I’ll get a call saying, “Oh, I’ve been watching you for a while”, and I know that by the time they call me, they already want to work with me, because they feel as though they know me.That’s the beauty.I don’t have to waste all this time and money other forms of advertising – because I know when a potential customer phones me they kind of already feel like I’m their friend in some ways.
There is a wide spectrum of people who watch me too. I get housewives watching me, and real estate agents who watch me, and whether or not they convert into sales is not my main goal, and I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong. If they don’t get any leads in a month, they stop. They’re not doing it for the right reason I don’t think.
Do you use any print or any other advertising, or just video?
I don’t have to do any print advertising at all except for my business card. I’m more into saving trees. (I mean I went to Berkley, I’m sorry, save a tree!)
I think most people are online nowadays. We live in a very suspicious culture now, we’re all jaded, and when people see the old-school way of “telling” instead of “showing”, – I think people get a little turned off frankly, especially younger people.And of course you can get around that with like websites; but things like blogging, tweeting, Facebooking. All those things, in my opinion, help remove that barrier of cynicism that consumers have, because allegedly they’re all about authenticity and being who you are.Those things ultimately get people on your side to want to work with you.
Do you need to spend big money on Video for it to be effective?
I used to spend heaps of time and money when I first started, I was booking out studio time, and green screen time and I was spending a small fortune.But these days with my new IPhone, I just shoot everything on it, and I edit on it too.I mean really you don’t need a lot of money and it keeps you more nimble and it cuts your costs down.
I think with the popularity ofYouTube – and all these “amateur-ey” – and I say that in a complimentary way – people doing video, I think that style resonates with consumers now, because it feels authentic and not so “staged” so to speak.
So you actually shoot the video on the iPhone and edit it on the same device?
There’s an App called iMovie, which is like $5 US so you can just add music, you can splice your clips together, it’s pretty amazing.I was very much a Blackberry person until very recently.
OK, so we don’t need to make a “big production” out of it; but give us some of your best tips?
Well, it’s just like photography, – you want to have some standards, basically.You don’t want to have a baby crying in the background, you don’t want to have all your clutter and bathroom or pictures where the photographer is in the mirror themselves.I mean just standards people, standards!Keep your video very short; people have such short attention spans.I think some agents – especially “over-achievers” – go overboard and they ramble on and on, about stuff they can because they can.So two to three minutes tops.