Podcast Episode 331: Noel Christopher, Sr. VP Renters Warehouse & LinkedIn Live Host
Using Live Broadcasts on Social Media to Drive Traffic to You and Your Projects
Noel Christopher is the Senior Vice President at Renters Warehouse and an absolute expert at utilizing LinkedIn Video. As a LinkedIn Live Host, he's learned all the ins and outs of the platform and has created the perfect marriage between real estate and online video marketing.
Today, Noel and I talk about real estate, video, and LinkedIn Live Video in what I am certain will be a conversation you'll want to listen to multiple times. There is a ton of wisdom in this conversation for anyone interested in real estate development, online marketing, or social media.
What You're Going to Learn
* How did Noel Get Started Using Video for His Real Estate Business?
* Pro Tips for Posting Videos to LinkedIn.
* How to Inspire Your Audience to Engage with Your Video Content
* Why It Is Important That You Use Hashtags on LinkedIn
* Understanding the Tech Behind LinkedIn Live Video
* How Video on LinkedIn Can Impact Your Real Estate Business
* The Difference Between Connectors & Followers on LinkedIn
* And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
How Did You Get Started Using Video for Your Real Estate Business?
Noel: I started personally seeing the benefit of just turning on the camera and recording your thoughts. That was around the same time ... I started that about a year ago, about this exact time; dropping my kids off from school. I would read ... I read a lot. I read a lot about what's going on in the real estate market. I'm trying to become a master of my craft. I would just give my thoughts on commentary- give my commentary on what I would read in news articles about the real estate market.
If you think about this time last year, a lot of people are talking about we're going into a housing crash. Interest rates jumped up a little bit. Days on market started to creep up a little bit, so everybody started beating this drum of a housing recession. So, I started posting daily videos talking about how I don't believe that there's a housing recession or a housing crash, and that I believe lack of supply, lack of inventory, and just the way the market is, there's not going to be one.
I started calling out journalists and publicly calling them out; and driving home from school ordriving home from dropping my kids off at school. This is about the same time LinkedIn started announcing they were going to do a beta for LinkedIn Live-
Adam: Hang on. I'm going to pause you there, because I really want to hear the whole story, but if I don't stop you, I'm going to forget some of these important points, even if I take down notes. At that point where you- what you said was, "I turn on the camera, and I share thoughts." Tell me, what actually is there? You've got this massive microphone in front of you [cross talk]
Noel: For one, it wasn't this camera. It was in my car. This is a little bit ... I still, to this day, sometimes get people comment on, "Yeah, you're recording yourself while you're driving. It's dangerous." I'm like, "Well, I'm talking, so I'm not ..." Anyways, I started turning it on in my car ... My drive home is about 15 minutes, and I would turn on the camera and give my thoughts. One take [cross talk]
Adam: Did you record it, or did you-
Noel: I recorded it.
Adam: You recorded it. Okay.
Noel: I started out just recording my thoughts, and I still do this. When you're thinking about posting content, short-form content should be just short form. It doesn't need to be a shaky camera and you're walking down the street, but it could just be short form - your thoughts; two or three minutes; four minutes, max.
Pro Tips for Posting Videos to LinkedIn
Noel: I would upload a video to LinkedIn, a native video, and it's really important to upload native videos to LinkedIn, the way that the algorithms pull that video. If you're linking anything to outside of the platform, it gets less traction. To understand LinkedIn, it's very important to be consistent.
The reason you want to be consistent is because the faster that people engage with your content, the quicker it moves up into the levels. LinkedIn has about five different levels. You can Google this anywhere, and you'll find it on LinkedIn ... It gets to a level where people at LinkedIn are actually making a decision on where to put your video and how long to keep it in newsfeeds.
That's why when you see something from Bill Gates, and it's from a month ago, and it's got hundreds of thousands of views, and comments, and all that, it's because LinkedIn is pushing that out there. That's actually a decision that somebody makes outside of just an AI algorithm.
It trips that trigger, depending on how fast people like and comment on your video, or your content, period. It was important, and I learned this ... It was important to post a video and then summarize and have some engaging content in the text of the video- I mean the text of the post.
Adam: There's a few things going on. There's the text.
Adam: You upload the video and together with the video, you've got post content with some engaging written text.
Noel: Yes, yes, and I use captions. The difference between using captions and not using captions is about 50-percent engagement of what I see - likes, people commenting; because not everybody can turn on the video; they can watch it. That's why short-form video - two or three minutes - is important.
Adam: So, subtitles is what you mean?
Noel: Yes, subtitles. That's important. I do that in Camtasia, and I burn them in, so I don't have to upload the ... I upload them in, I burn them in, and then I can use that video anywhere I want. I would also put this video on YouTube, and Facebook, sometimes, but just to get some extra reach; but really, my focus is LinkedIn, because that's where I'm engaging in business to business.
I consistently do that with a mix of text-only posts and video posts. Some weeks, I'll do two or three video posts; some weeks, I'll do one. It just depends on how busy I am. I try not to let it bog me down too much. That's why I keep the videos short, and I do minimal production. You don't want them to be overproduced or underproduced - the shaky video and all that. That's really important, so I continue to do that today.
For example, this weekend, I recorded three videos on my drive to go ... I had to go drive and pick up something for my daughter an hour away for her to go to ski camp. On that drive, I'm thinking a lot, so I started posting some different videos. Then, I had my whole weeks’ worthof content. I started doing that consistently back about a year ago, so I started getting great traction. LinkedIn has just been exploding with this, and video is a big thing that they focus on.
How To Inspire Your Audience to Engage with Your Video Content
Adam: You get this thing up on ... You create a nice video [cross talk] That's great to hear that; using the same tool that I do, as well. It's fabulous. You put it up. You put in some content- some post content; written content.
Two questions. One, is there any way at all that you stimulate comments? In other words, when I spoke to Yonah Weiss a couple weeks ago, he said the best thing is to put a CTA actually in the first comment; comment on your own video.
Adam: Do you use CTAs, and then, do you use something that triggers comments by commenting on your own vids or anything?
Noel: I ask questions. If I'm linking to a external post, I only put that link in the comments because it just gets better traction with LinkedIn because again, anything you're asking people to go outside of the platform is going to get pushed down.
I try to make sure that if somebody comments on my post, I immediately engage with them, and I catch them. They comment. I am ... It drives my wife crazy sometimes because she's like, "What are you doing?" I'm like, "Look, I've got to engage with people."
This is- my job is to engage, or my goal is to engage with as many people as possible because maybe like yourself, or maybe not, my target audience, my target customer, if you want to even say that, is anybody who's a professional that might be an investor, a real estate investor.
Why It's Important to Use Hashtags On Linkedin
Noel: One thing, one kind of pro tip that I've learned on LinkedIn - if you are posting interesting content, or commenting on interesting [comment], hashtag yourself. If you go to LinkedIn right now, and you want to find ... You go to my profile, and you go under activity and look at posts, it's going to be this mishmash of things.
Everything I do that's relevant; if I'm having an interesting conversation with somebody, I'll hashtag myself; or you can even post that comment as a post. But I'll hashtag myself, so when somebody hashtags Noel Christopher, they can see all of the interactions that I've had that isn't just a random like, and a random comment saying, "Hey, great post."
It's something, when I'm engaging, I always hashtag myself. That's a pro tip there, and it works really, really well because LinkedIn hasn't figured out how to put people's content in a nice box for other people to consume. It's very just one at a time.
Adam: Okay. Let me understand the distinction there. If I go to your posts, you've got posts and articles. If I look at everything, I'll see everything in one place. This is different, right?
Noel: Yes. This is different because I hashtag- I don't hashtag every single comment that I make or even posts, sometimes. I try to hashtag the relevant. The way LinkedIn does it, when you go to log onto somebody's page, it's a little bit- it's kind of hard to digest that, but if you hashtag Noel Christopher, everything shows up. Then, I also hashtag real estate. I hashtag a couple other different things, but I really focus on my own. It makes it where you can easily see what I'm doing in real time and what I'm interacting with, and it's just-
Adam: This also is the stuff that's important that is kind of standard-
Noel: Important, yeah.
Adam: You want to see what's really important that I look at, run the hashtag.
Noel: Every once in a while, I'll pull a post and say, "Wanna see what I've been up to the last week? Click on this," and I'll just do #NoelChristopher. It's a clickable link on LinkedIn, and you click on it, and everything comes up.
Understanding The Tech Behind LinkedIn Live Video
Noel: With LinkedIn Live, it's interesting because it's Microsoft. Microsoft owns LinkedIn. They're a little bit behind, as far as the quality of like Facebook live-streaming and the quality of what we're doing here. Because, right now, this is a one-on-one conversation. You're recording it locally or even in the cloud, and then it's going to be a little bit higher quality.
The LinkedIn Live, they have several partners that they work with. Nowadays, you can apply to be in LinkedIn Live; fill out an application. They will either let you in or not let you in. I think they're letting more and more people in as it goes by. Then, you have to use a third-party company that is a streaming company.
There's several. I use Socialive, and it allows me to livestream out to several different platforms. You can do Twitter Periscope; you can do YouTube; you can do Twitch; you can do a LinkedIn, Facebook, several others ... [RTMP], I think, which is ... You can post it live on your website ifyou wanted. There's a lot of different things you can do.
I keep it pretty simple. I do LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. I haven't really- I'm a little behind. I haven't really focused on my YouTube channel, but I'm putting a lot of content on there. At some point, I'm going to go and have somebody organize that for me because it's all there; all my content is there. Also, my short-form videos, every week or so, I go in to make sure I upload all my short-form videos to YouTube, because it's an easy place to go. It's by no means built out for myself, but it's a good place.
What happens is, with LinkedIn Live, you're recording to one server - that's the company; Socialive, in my case - and then that company's putting it out to the different platforms. You're not having to stream the bandwidth to all these different platforms. They do it for you.
If you go watch some of my first videos, there were all kinds of things that were happening. Sometimes, all of a sudden, my guests would cut out from their sound. I could hear them, but the recording couldn't hear them. I have one LinkedIn Live where it's me talking to you, and going, "Yeah, I agree ..." and commenting on what you were saying, but nobody can hear you. I had somewhere I clicked the wrong button, and it cut me out for a few minutes, or I put up a graphics, and it cut me out. There are all kinds of things that happen [cross talk]
Adam: Well, you and I got killed halfway through the blooming thing, last week.
Noel: We got killed halfway through because Chrome crashed; my Chrome browser crashed [cross talk]
Adam: I just thought that you were ... We were just about to start headbanging about the market, and I had a feeling that you decided, "Nah, I'm not gonna talk to him about that."
Noel: I was just getting interesting. Yeah, there's all kinds of technical difficulties, but being able to put your immediate thoughts out live, and having no filter, and nobody to stop you is liberating, and it's great, and it's interesting, because we could do a show where we have four guests on, and we could have a true debate if we wanted [cross talk]
Adam: You could do that on LinkedIn? You could have multiple guests?
Noel: Yes. I think I can have up to four or five, including myself; four or five people. I think five; I think I can have four guests. You can even produce it; have somebody producing for you; graphics ... You can bring in- you can add other video into it. There's a lot to it. I keep it pretty simple, but I sometimes will add in graphics, or I can add in a video, or you can have a ... You can really produce it. You can keep it simple. I'm kind of growing - how I'm growing myself - growing with that.
Adam: What kind of support, Noel, do they give you, in terms of tech? Do they help you with suggestions and best practices, or, once you're in ...?
Noel: They do. They do a little bit. I've had a couple of calls with LinkedIn, and they've given me some ideas. Some of that is you want them to be longer than shorter; at least 20, or 30 minutes, or longer, because you need people to engage, and people are going to engage at different times. Less about what they call metadata - less about how to be successful on LinkedIn and more about what you're doing in your daily business [cross talk] I mean, look, you've been on LinkedIn. I would probably say 70 percent of what I see on LinkedIn is people telling you how to be more successful on LinkedIn [cross talk] It gets a little old-
Adam: It's funny because I was just thinking that now. That's entirely this conversation, actually-
Noel: Which is okay ... Which is okay, because [cross talk] because our audience wants to see it-
Adam: Yeah, and it's a new avenue, as well, right? The live- It's totally brand new.
How Video On LinkedIn Can Impact Your Real Estate Business
Adam: So, what kind of results, tell me ... You said it's a lot of work you put in. It's a lot of fun. I really enjoy doing it with you, Noel, and you do it all the time. You're very regular. Tell me, what are you seeing? How is it impacting your business, which, at the end of the day, is [cross talk]
Noel: There's two parts. Depends what you're doing. There's business development, and there's brand building - building your personal brand. It depends. I'm always building my personal brand. The more I'm out there, the more I'm talking intelligently and engaging, the more it builds my personal brand. With that comes the business development.
I'm not out there going, "Hey, contact me, and I'll help you sell your portfolio!" I am saying, "Hey, this is my challenge. This is what I'm trying to do today ..." I've talked a lot about due diligence issues in the last week, and I've gotten business from that because people have said, "Oh, that makes sense what you said about due diligence. I want to introduce you to somebody, or I'm interested in working with you."
LinkedIn is no longer an online resume or job board, anymore. It is engaging with people. I think what's driven more engagement, and building more brand that got more business, is me going and engaging with people. Then, they go back and watch my videos. It's less of somebody who sees my video right when I post it. It's more of I comment on ...
This is how we started talking. I saw something that you engaged in. You had an insightful ... I don't even remember what it was. You had an insightful comment on somebody else's post. That caused me to go look at what you do. I started commenting on your posts because I saw some other insightful things. That caused you to look back at me, and then, we started talking to each other. If we were a customer-client situation, we would probably be doing business together.
Adam: Right. I'm going to make an intro for you, so-
Noel: Exactly. You're going to make an intro for me, and it could lead to all kinds of things or not [cross talk] It all depends. I hope that this isn't totally new to people, but by just making an intro to me, it could go absolutely nowhere. You've now put yourself in a level where I want to help you. This is the way the world works. It's less building this brand and having somebody come and buying from you. It's engaging with somebody; commenting on their content is almost the same as referring them to somebody.
Adam: It's interesting, isn't it, because when you start to give value, it's a psychological reaction that everybody has-
Noel: It's giving value.
Adam: -yeah. It's that you derive a lot of benefit from somebody, and they're putting out all this interesting, valuable content. You have a desire, actually, to reciprocate in some way [cross talk] If they ask you, "Buy my stuff!" or it's more subtle if it's more a kind of business B2B type of relationship, you're definitely more inclined to respond.
Noel: It's the same thing I talk about with networking. We have these conferences we go to, and we have some salespeople that'll come. They'll come to me and say, "I hear you're the master at this. How are we gonna ... I'm gonna talk to every person in the room." And I'm like, "I'm not gonna talk to every person in the room ..." I'm going to find a couple of interesting people; have engaging, meaningful conversations with them. Then, all of a sudden, they're introducing me to people. I don't have to go meet all these people. They're introducing me.
It's the same thing. We could talk and not have any kind of an engaging, or meaningful conversation, and you're not going to be really interested in being an advocate for me. But once you have something engaging happening and creating that value by stimulating their intellect just a little bit - saying something meaningful, engaging and not being salesy - then you’re going to start having all of these advocates for you that are bringing you business. That's how you build referral business.
The Difference Between Connections & Followers On LinkedIn
Adam: Here's a question I have about LinkedIn that has been gnawing at me since we started talking. I'm interested to know - especially with the LinkedIn Live, and the impact that you've had doing that show - first of all, how many connections do you have, and how relevant do you think that is to the impact that you have?
Noel: When LinkedIn started, I was very much more picky about my connections. I see this on ... People post all the time, and they may brag about their connections, and they hit their limit, and say, "Click Follow." Some people are saying, "How can you be connected with that many people?" Now, it is a social media network. It is about reach.
I have about 13,000 connections; 95 percent of them are in the real estate world, in one form or another; a lot heavily weightedin Chicago because I was there for 20 years. I have a big reach in Chicago. When I look at my posts, Chicago gets the highest. Now it's starting to even out because I'm location-neutral. I have about 13,000 posts.
I have started - and this is another pro tip - when you get to too many - I think 30,000 is your limit - it kind of really messes you up because you may want to add some very relevant people, and you've added a bunch of irrelevant people. Sorry, but maybe some people that are not as relevant. But they have a feature on LinkedIn, where you can go in your settings ... Right now, on my LinkedIn, instead of, on my page, saying "Connect with me," it says, "Follow." What I do, and you can position the Follow much more prominently ... I don't know if I can-
Adam: Yeah, I actually just had to switch to Follow, one of my clients. For the last year, we've been doing a lot of social media, a lot of LinkedIn work, and he was getting too many invitations. He said, "I can't deal with it anymore."
Noel: Exactly. So, what can happen then is that you get a notification when somebody follows you, and then you can look at it and decide if it's somebody you want to connect with and have a connection. You can have as many followers as you want. So, I've switched that over, and I'm seeing followers ... I'm actually getting more people follow me than would try to connect with me.
Adam: That's interesting.
Noel: Because it's simple. You press a button and you're followed. When you do a connection, you have that should you do an introduction? Should you just connect with them? Is there value? What are you doing? Why are you connecting? All of those things. Following people pings them. They can look at you and go, "Oh ..." It's kind of like it's giving them a little hello. You're following them. They can go look at your content. They can decide to connect with you if they like or not. Now I've got about 20,000 followers and 13,000 connections. I turned on following when I had 10,000 connections, and that's the ratio that I've seen.
Adam: That's interesting. How much time, Noel?
Noel: One year.