Almost everyone has heard the old expression “a picture is worth more than a thousand words.” While cliché, this statement is one that is undeniably true. With a picture, you can immediately process an entire scene. The setting, the people, their emotions, and more can all be processed and recognized in a fraction of a second—a quality picture can easily detail what might take ten or more pages in writing to describe. With the value of pictures, especially in the age of social media, the increasing use of visual media on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is something that is certainly far from surprising.
Assuming that a picture is something that is truly worth more than a thousand words, this naturally begs the question: would a thousand pictures be worth more than a million words? In short, it seems, the answer just might be yes.
Video content, essentially, is a medium that relays thousands of pictures to the viewer in a very short amount of time. By playing out and telling a carefully crafted story over an additional dimension—time—video is easily the richest and densest variation of content currently available. When additional details—such as sounds, links to follow-up videos, and comment sections designated for interactions with others—are incorporated into the video, the content itself can become even richer.
While many businesses hesitate to create video content, especially on their social media pages, choosing to exclude this valuable type of content can have deleterious effects on your digital presence. In the real estate syndication space, having hard figures in hand (such as projected returns) is something that always has been, and still is, incredibly important. But now that we are deeply entrenched in the digital era, it has become abundantly clear that facts and figures along will not be enough—your firm will need a medium that can help establish and deepen a relationship with prospective investors to make these figures come to life. This reality has become especially apparent in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, where many enterprises are realizing that digital media might be the only “interaction” they ever have with a prospective investor.
No decision, since the rise of human consciousness, has ever been made in complete isolation. When a person chooses to do something—whether walk down the street or invest in a budding real estate venture—they are not only choosing to do that specific thing, but they are also choosing to not do every other possible alternative. Every second, every dollar, and every decision we make—whether we care to admit it or not—is a standalone act that is definitively unique.
With many different real estate ventures to choose from, it becomes clear that a firm hoping to raise funds will not only need to convince the target audience that investing in real estate is generally a good idea, but they will also need to convince them that they should choose their specific firm. If a firm cannot distinguish themselves from the many different alternatives available, there is no reason to believe that many investors will take any sort of action.
Firms shy away from creating video content for many different reasons. Video, when compared to other types of media, is seen to be relatively expensive to create (it isn’t), relatively complicated (it’s not), and requires some additional effort (not really). Some sponsors who want to remain the face of their business may not be comfortable appearing on camera and that is perfectly natural. This should not preclude them from making videos however, because it is entirely feasible to create compelling, highly personalized videos using software that can convert audio tracks into video at the press of a button.
While a resistance to using video to promote a project or company is an entirely rational reaction to adopting this new way of raising capital for commercial real estate, the market has already spoken. More than 5 billion videos are viewed on YouTube every single day—this is an average of roughly two videos per day for every internet-using person in the world. A firm that tries to make excuses for not participating in this space, ultimately, will be doing little more than trying to justify their inaction and will fall behind their more forward-thinking competitors.
If the video production needs to be outsourced, if your firm needs to expand your marketing team, or even if you need to add a small line item to your capital formation budget, the necessity of video content can still not be overlooked. Video, which provides more information per second than any other medium, is one of the surest ways a company to establish itself as a thought leader and for that firm to reach new prospects and raise more equity capital. Because of the crowdfunding revolution, expanding your reach to wider audiences has become more essential than ever before.
Perhaps most importantly of all, videos help add a sense of “humanness” to a firm. With the elements of sound, time, and authentic interaction, a firm can evolve from being a few hard facts and figures on paper to a real entity that investors can get to know, like and trust – the three core elements of any capital raise. This sense of humanity, as enterprises around the world are quickly discovering, is something that is more valuable than whatever money can buy. Video, without a doubt, is no longer optional—it must be at the heart of every capital raising campaign.
Adam Gower Ph.D. is an authority in content marketing and online communications for real estate syndicators raising capital. He has more than 30 years and $1.5 billion of transactional experience in commercial real estate finance and investment. Today he builds best of class digital marketing platforms for private clients so they can raise more capital online and provides online courses for those who want to do it themselves – all at GowerCrowd.com. See Dr. Gower’s YouTube Channel here and learn more about the power of video in capital raising here.