What is a virtual open house event?
Virtual open houses are a great way to host an online event that is attended by many prospective buyers all from the comfort of their home. If you typically use traditional open house events to promote your listings, we recommend leveraging these remote events during times of social distancing, or when you want to reach people who may not be close enough to the listing to attend in person.
Virtual open houses are typically:
- An online event (e.g. Zoom, Facebook Live) that people can attend virtually
- Scheduled and promoted in advance across various digital channels.
- Casual in nature, with the agent acting as the host.
- Much shorter than an in-person open house. The listing agent begins by giving a tour of the property, then answers live questions that have come in from online attendees. We recommend that you only schedule these live events for 30-60 minutes and emphasize that attendees should join at the event at the start time, rather than a typical open house that lasts between 2-3 hours with attendees jumping in anytime during the event.
How do I set up a virtual open house event?
Boost by HomeSpotter does not have a native open house event tool for you to use, however, we recommend creating your event on Zoom and linking back to it in your Boost ad. You can also use another event service if you choose, but we'll walk you through Zoom and Facebook Events as two options to consider. To learn about the pros and cons of these tools check out our recent blog post here. I you have trouble setting up your open house event, please reach out to the event/meeting service tool you're using directly.
To schedule a live video broadcast via Zoom:
- If you don't already have a Zoom account, sign up for your free meetings account here.
- Once you've created an account, download the Zoom mobile app so you can go live right from your phone and share your video with attendees.
- To schedule a meeting, tap on meetings in the left hand menu once signed into your Zoom dashboard on desktop, and then schedule new meeting.
- You'll be prompted to set the date, time, and duration of your meeting, and asked if you'd like to setup registration. Make sure that registration is required if you'd like to collect the names and email addresses of those who register for your event in Zoom.
- Once your meeting is scheduled, you'll see a link to invite attendees. Copy this link and paste it into Boost check out page that asks for this URL.
6. When it's time to go live, log into your Zoom account and tap on the "Start" button next to your scheduled meeting, and registrants will be able to join you live.
To schedule a Live video broadcast via Facebook Live:
You can also use Facebook events to create a live broadcast to attendees during your scheduled virtual open house, however there are some cons to using this tool vs Zoom.
- Identifying attendees: Facebook Live events will generate attendees, however the platform doesn’t currently identify them. Agents who use Zoom for their virtual open houses can require registration, which means leads are automatically generated and can be easily uploaded into your CRM for follow-up.
- Q&A and live chat: After you've given the property tour, the customary next step in a virtual open house is to open it up to questions. And while Facebook Live’s streaming technology is typically excellent, the comment feature leaves a lot to be desired. In many cases, the comments are delayed for the host by 30 seconds — if they show up at all. Meanwhile, we’ve noticed that Zoom’s chat feature is a lot more reliable. If agents have an assistant or colleague who is willing, they can also deploy them to join via computer and answer the questions directly in the chat — helping to keep the event moving and the attendees satisfied in real time.
- From your News Feed, click Events in the left menu.
- Click + Create Event on the left side.
- Click Create Public Event.
- Fill in the event name, location, date, time and description.
- Click Create. You'll be taken to your event where you can invite guests, upload photos, add a cover photo or video, share posts and edit event details.
- Once your event is created, you'll see a link in your URL bar for the event. Copy this link and paste it into Boost check out page that asks for this URL. You should also share this event on your business page as a post, as well as your personal page.
More details can be found here on Facebook's help center.
7. When it's time to go live, log into your Facebook account and tap you access your business page and tap the option to go live. This will notify all of your event registrants that you're currently live.
What are the best practices for hosting a virtual open house?
Don’t forget that the same goals you have for traditional open houses apply to virtual open houses as well. First, you want to use the virtual open house to generate buyer and seller leads. Second, you want to demonstrate to the home seller that you’re invested in marketing their listing.