***In case you missed it, this is a reprint of the Daily Mail & Register Star's feature on Joel Craig in the Sunday, March 28th issue's special Who's Who In Real Estate Section.
Joel Craig, Real Estate Salesperson at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty spent 2020 ramping up his real estate business. While his office was moving locations from Rhinebeck to Red Hook (the Red Hook office opens this month) he used the time he’d normally spend in the office to be out and about in the Hudson Valley, finding mystery spots and points of interest to share with his growing social media following. At Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty’s 2020 Joel Craig was honored with an International Sterling Society award, given to the top 22% of Coldwell Banker’s nearly 94,000 agents worldwide. Joel credits much of his recent success to his use of social media as a tool for reaching new clients. We chatted with him to discuss the ins and outs of using YouTube and Facebook to talk about the Hudson Valley.
Hi Joel. In preparation for our interview I watched all your YouTube videos. I’m a big fan of the Cider Doughnut review. That was some deadpan doughnut eating! I loved it! I wonder if you could talk about using social media in your real estate business, how long you've been using it and how it has changed your business, if it has.
I started about two years ago by posting on my personal Facebook page, which only reaches your friends and family - which is fun of course, but doesn’t help you reach out to those who don’t know you. I know everyone needs a good cider doughnut recommendation! So I created a business page, and let the content come organically from my experiences helping people move to the Hudson Valley. I've lived here my whole life, and people really want to know what living in the Hudson Valley is like, what there is to do, what there is around. So, I was trying to meet that need to be more than just a Realtor.
Yes, and Hudson Valley lifestyle – My channel is “Hudson Valley Lifestyle and Real Estate”.
I just put in Hudson Valley real estate on the YouTube search, and there you are at the very top.
Yeah, this year is really when it started to take off, I’ve had a lot of new clients who have said, “I saw your video on this topic,” and they reached out to me based on the video. Other people said, “Oh, your video was very informative.” So even if they're not my clients, they recognize the name. People spend so much of their lives on social media, and videos leave a lasting impression.
And how would you compare it to the Facebook posts you do daily?
Well, I share my videos on Facebook, but in addition I'm sharing information, links to things that are going on and real estate-related news. The state of the local real estate market affects every adult’s financial picture – it doesn’t matter if you’re a homeowner, homebuyer or a renter property values affect your housing costs and profits. I’m on top of all that news, so I share it. I also like to highlight the unusual in the Hudson Valley landscape; as I'm driving around, I'll take a picture of something that strikes me as beautiful, funny or quirky and throw it on Facebook.
Do you post all your listings and sold properties online?
Yes, I do. If anything happens in my real estate life, I get it out there. I've got a couple of videos sitting in the hopper on some interesting properties I sold and what buyers are doing with them. I love to watch a transformation, and I think others do too. Plus, if my clients are creating a new business or are going to fix up a home for resale, I want to help them succeed by promoting it.
When you started making these videos and doing these Facebook posts, what kind of advice did you take? Did you look online to see what to do?
Sure! I get information from all over.
I looked up some how-to’s myself as prep for this interview so I could see how you stack up. Some of them have a list of helpful hints, and in one, they waited until Number 9 to say, “use humor”. And I wonder what you think about that?
I think humor is a must, that should be number 2, right behind making your content about the people you’re making it for, not about you. Personally, I have a very dry sense of humor, and I have to be aware of that. You probably saw it in that doughnut video. I don’t try to be “ha-ha funny”, that’s not who I am. It can be hard to get in front of the screen and look natural and then put it out there for the world to see – but I think that the potential clients who watch my videos should come away with an understanding of who I am so they can decide if we would work well together.
I noticed that your company uses 3D tours on many of their listings, do you use them with the videos?
Not so much in my videos, but I have been using them in my listing marketing. The 3D tours we do at CBVGR have been a big help this year in marketing. A lot of people really like them because they can see the house without having to come to the house. They say, “Oh, I walked through the house.” It gives them a feel for the layout. When you look at a bunch of pictures on a website, you can't tell where this room is in relation to that room. The 3D tours solve that problem. People who have taken the 3D tour are basically ready to make an offer on my listings when they come see it – the in-person showing is just like a final quality check.
How much do you rely on the viewership statistics that YouTube and Facebook provide you to decide what you’ll do next on your social channels?
I watch the statistics somewhat, but I don't live or die by them. It’s really a matter of getting out quality content. But I do like to get a sense of what people are looking at, what they’re interested in. Like when they opened the Ashokan Rail Trail, I saw a lot of people interested in that, so I made a video, and that one keeps getting watched over and over again. The statistics also help me to find out where people are coming from, and it's pretty much a mix between New York City and the Northern Jersey area.
We're all so used to liking things and commenting on Facebook, and I see people do comment on your posts, but do they comment on your YouTube videos?
Yes, some do. They've been overwhelmingly positive, you know, just likes or, “Hey, I never knew this.”
And do you always respond to them?
Always, always respond.
That's a big deal in real estate, being responsive.
Yeah, people should be acknowledged! If we put energy out we want to get something back. So, even if I get a negative comment I respond, you know, just, “Hey, I heard you.” Plus, I like talking with people! Sometimes you can turn someone who made a negative comment into someone who trusts you just because you took the time to acknowledge them. I want people to know I’m not just showboating, I’m trying to provide a useful service.
If you’re interested in speaking with Joel about real estate or
have video suggestions, reach out to him at 518-821-6548 (cell)
or at Joel.Craig@villagegreenrealty.com.
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