Menu

Do Real Estate Photographers Provide Assistance to Agents with Advertising Their Listings?

October 30th, 2018

Jack in Florida asks:

Do other real estate photographers provide assistance to agents to help with advertising their listings through social media – Facebook, YouTube, etc.? Do you think that this is a viable service to consider?

I’m sure there are some real estate photographers that provide a service to Realtors to help with advertising listings on social media and even upload photos to the local MLS but I wouldn’t recommend providing that kind of service.

This is the kind of thing that agents should do themselves or have a part-time assistant who works closely with them do in their office because whoever is doing it needs to have the agent’s passwords and be in constant contact with them. I don’t think it’s well suited to be done by a photographer.

If you want to expand your real estate photography services I think there are much better ways to do that than advertising agents listings.

What do readers think? Is this something others are doing?

Share this

9 Responses to “Do Real Estate Photographers Provide Assistance to Agents with Advertising Their Listings?”

  • I know a photographer that’s been loading many of his clients photos onto the MLS for years. He tells me he’s actually happy doing it because the correct size gets loaded in the correct order and it takes him literally 2 or 3 minutes max to do it. He says some of the tech-challenged agents love him for it (some of those agents being pretty heavy heavy-hitters btw). He’s never once -ever- mentioned a name to me or, he says 😉 anyone else. I guess I’d agree with him it’s no big deal…

  • I do this all the time. Not the upload to the MLS thing, but running ad campaigns on Facebook and Google ad words and AdWerx and as an alternate to YouTube I host their videos.

    As the field gets crowded with photographers I decided long time ago to evolve into kind of a mini agency offering full web site builds, mini web landing page builds, facebook page builds, facebook ad campaign builds and management, google adwords builds and management and adwerx builds and management. We also do brochure creation and run email campaigns. And then we share the statistics with them and show them how to use this as a listing winning tool.

    Yes it is worth it. Agents are technically challenged. With our position we tell them we create great visual assets (photos and videos) and then we provide superior presentation platforms for the display of those assets they just paid for and then we book and run social media campaigns to drive people to those display platforms. It is effective and a select group of agents love it. Those are top agents BTW.

    Now as to why you should do this… The more “paid for” (never do it for free) value you add to your services the more difficult it is for that agent to replace you. You become part of their team and their workflow. You are no longer a commodity providing photographer. You are a marketing consultant. These services while not high priced are high margin, there is no travel, there is no cost (ad costs billed directly to agents CC), there is no additional equipment cost, after you learn the ropes you make $100 an hour for your time involved.

    When I build an agent mini site (they pay for) I charge to put their listings up there ($25) that listing become the landing page for their ad campaigns. That listing is stunning compared to the compressed crap on Zillow or their agencies “Personal Realtor web page” I then charge to run the campaign or they can do that themselves. For agents that I do this for my revenue per engagement has doubled while my time in the engagement has only increased by perhaps 30%.

    I am currently building a presentation showing how much more effective properly configured FaceBook “Page Boosts” are over post cards. The thing is all these campaigns required nice branded landing pages and we just so happen to provide those and host them on our web space. All very efficient.

    One other thing I might add. I’m 71 years old and will be leaving this business in a year or so. If a if a one man show Photographer leaves the business the business closes with him. He is the value. When you leave a mini agency I described the agency is still of value if you have the right partners. That agency has value. It lives on and you can still profit from it.

  • As a free service, I post the images on my website, and link to that from my business facebook page. This method allows me to show my images on Facebook without allowing downloads. I also link from the my FB page to the client’s FB page, and also to the MLS listing page if possible.
    The client reaction has been bland to positive, depending on the client. If they already have a lot of avenues for web presence, they don’t seem to mind my putting the images on my FB page. If they are solo or just getting started, they seem to love it. In any case, it lets me show followers of my FB page what I’m up to, while providing added value to the client.
    By the way, I’ve heard that our local MLS may be allowing photographers to load directly to MLS soon.

  • I don’t think we should be posting from our business social media accounts only because of not wanting to show bias. I think that’s crossing a fine line.

    I think providing a servicing of posting to their social media (there are tons of back end tools that link up to Lightroom) accounts is a great idea. There is a company called Soci that allows you to manage client social media accounts without having to keep their password information. It’s a great add on if you want some more revenue.

    As far as mls posting, that’s illegal where we are.

  • Personally, I don’t right now but I definitely see this as being something I will offer in the near future. As markets change and competition get’s larger I feel that this is a great way to separate yourself from your peers. It also can be *very* lucrative. I know of one REP who is doing $10k+ a month *just* on social media marketing. If I’m not mistaken they run a tiered service. XX posts/month for $XXX.

  • I used to provide many of these services. In my small market, my thinking was I could expand my gross by adding services that I was already doing for my non-real estate clients to my RE clients. And it worked for a number of years. I would built and maintain a website for one, create property sites on TourBuzz for all (this I still doe), help some by designing their flyers, for one I handled their print advertising, for some, sending chosen HiRes images to magazines since most realtors seemed to send the LoRes ones I supply for MLS (I send them both but they forget or even forget to download both Zip folders). Most of these clients are of older generations while my younger clients grew up with the Internet and prefer to handle their own internet and print work.

    But as soon as I started adding in drone and video shooting to my business model, I found having to change my mental focus from photography to website design, print work with InDesign, print deadlines, uploading videos to my client’s Vimeo accounts etc. started to conflict with the mental focus on my photo/video work. Most of this work was done with my best and largest client who as mentioned above relied on me to handl all his photo/advertising work so he could just get on with what he does best and know that deadlines would be met. It was very difficult when I had to tell him that I could not continue to handle anything but photography and video for him. I still get all his work, but it did change the core relationship.

    I suggested an excellent graphic designer who I knew would do a good job for him but he went with someone else who has caused him problems which does not improve his disposition. Like Frank above, although I have him beat by one year, I don’t see myself doing this work more than a couple of years more, and simply don’t have the ability to multi task any more although to be honest I have never been a multi tasker ever. I have had to gain a number of skill sets through economic necessity rather than choice. Having worked for many fine graphic designers and ad agencies over my career, I was able to absorbe enough of what they do to be able to offer a semblance of that to my clients that they have been happy with. I considered these additional offerings as “value added” to my core photography business.

    So frankly it has to be a personal decision as to whether you offer additional services to your clients. Much will depend on whether you have the skill sets necessary. Whether you have the time. If you want to take on an employee or two if you are actually too busy to do it all yourself. If you have too much down time and want to fill it with, as Frank said, simply hourly charges with no on site expenses all close to your kitchen and refrigerator. But unless you do a lot of it, you may also find some software fees can be more than it is worth like $19.99 monthly for InDesign. I used my CS4 version until now with Apple OS upgrades it is no longer supported.

    So many factors to consider whether this would be good for your business model and market. But if it does, it certainly can make your clients more dependent on you and thus less likely to try out other photographers especially for those clients who are challenged by today’s Internet marketing. Indeed some are challenged by uploading to MLS and don’t know they can add a link to the TourBuzz property site on MLS.

  • I agree with most above comments, except that here in the northern Illinois MLS we have a special account for photographers. So, I can upload the MLS photos and a link to my virtual tour for agents (Don’t need to use agent’s login). This lets me do this even when their listing is in draft form, so all is in place when they change status to “Active”.

  • Hi Jack,
    Depends on your cost of doing business and if you have the available time – completely personal decision. For example, I market all listings on 4 social media platforms. I take time each week to build my network by friending buyer’s agents in LA, Orange County, Washington state and others that typically buy here to give the listing a greater marketing footprint. I include this service in my rates. Two things I would suggest is to post VIDEOS/VIRTUAL TOURS/WEBLINK not individual photos and to watermark anything posted online. I tag the brokerage and agent, include the MLS# and the agent’s phone number so it’s evident that I’m not selling the property. Hope this helps.

  • Michael Allen – that is such a forward thinking proposition from your local MLS – sure would desire something like that to happen down-under.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply