How to Host a Virtual Open House, Part 2

Last week, we showed you how to use Facebook Live to host an interactive, Virtual Open House, so that we can all do our part to practice social distancing.

This week, we’re walking you through using Facebook Events to maximize traffic and generate leads. The key difference is that by creating the event, you are able to push traffic to the Virtual Open House beforehand and have a running guest list, allowing you to not only advertise all week but easily follow up with leads! 

Please note that while you can go live on your personal Facebook page, we strongly recommend you create a Facebook Business page. It’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use a personal profile for commerce, so you run the risk of having your profile deactivated. The benefits of having a Facebook Business page include the ability to schedule out posts in advance, expanded insights/data, and create a more professional feel.

Here’s an article that will walk you through this process. For help, just reach out to Alex Linders, your Digital Marketing Specialist at alex.linders@porchlightgroup.com. 

How to Turn Your Virtual Open House Into an Event

Step 1: Creating a Facebook Event

  • Open your Facebook app, and click the 3 lines in the bottom right corner. 
  • Now click ‘Events,’ then click the blue ‘Create’ button on the left, just below the map. We recommend making the event public so you can easily share it.
  • Click on ‘Event title’ and name it something that’s easy to understand, like “321 Main St. Virtual Open House.” 
  • Click on the camera icon to add a photo to your event page. A photo of the home or its interior would be perfect. 
  • For the ‘Add Details’ section you can: 
    • Go with something as simple as “Join me for a Virtual Open House as I walk through 321 Main St and answer any questions you have about this beautiful two-bedroom condo in downtown Denver!” 
    • Get more elaborate and personal like: “Stay home and continue social distancing while touring this beautiful two-bedroom condo in downtown Denver! How many times will I accidentally drop my phone? Will I trip up the stairs? Your guess is as good as mine—join me and let’s find out!” 
    • You can also just copy and paste the home’s description and special features, so people know more about the home and how it might fit their needs.
  • Finally, if you are using a business page to create this event, click on ‘Co-hosts’ and type in PorchLight. Choose our page from the list, and we’ll be automatically notified of your event and can add it to our company Facebook page!

Step 2: Promote Frequently & Enthusiastically

Share the event on your page, encourage your followers and other agents to share it, ask the sellers to share it on their own page, send a few emails out, etc. With just about everyone at home right now, social media traffic is skyrocketing, so take advantage of it. Here’s how: 

  • You can click the ‘More’ button when you’re in the event, then click ‘Copy Link’ which can then be put anywhere from a Facebook status to an email. 
  • You can also click on the ‘Share’ button which gives you the option to copy the link, post directly on your business or personal page, add the event to your Story, share the event via Facebook Messenger, invite contacts from your friends list and more.
  • Remember to send this link to marketing@porchlightgroup.com—we’d love to help you promote the event. 

Step 3: Post Updates & Create Buzz

Engage people using the ‘Discussion’ area of your Facebook Event before the Open House. Post the link of your listing on PorchLight’s website to give everyone the specifics they want to know about the house, then encourage them to suggest specific aspects of the home they’d like to see more of when you go live. You can also post photos of the house, ask people to invite their friends, etc. Keep your event in front of them by posting every other day up until the Open House. 

Step 4: Host Your Virtual Open House

When the time finally arrives, go to the event and click “Say something…” as if you were going to post a status, then click “Live Video.” This will open the forward camera—but don’t panic, it won’t start recording until you press the “Start Live Video” button. 

Pro-tip: To find the best lighting, slowly turn in a 360-degree circle until you find a lighting angle that’s most flattering for you. Typically, that’s facing the window or light source, so start there and try to keep lighting in mind as you make your way through a home.

Make sure you add a description before you start going live that says something along the lines of, “Post a comment if you have any questions about the home, and I’ll answer them as I see them.” so people know that you’ll interact with them along the way. From there, do your thing and have fun. 

Want to go the extra mile with your pre-registered attendees? Incorporate this with a virtual happy hour! You can even go do a no-contact drop-off of beverages for everyone before the Open House. Talk about maximizing social distancing while still keeping your business going strong!

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