Using multimedia to bridge the gap between individuals and teams

by Evi Arthur

Alin Schubert, Nathan Wilks and Ashley Donat

Although the consensus among the experts seems to be that real estate agents won’t ever be able to be replaced by technology, there is no denying that the internet is becoming an increasingly important part of real estate marketing. Whether it be through social media, streaming video or simply a business website, the decision of how to present your business online is a vital one.

But for team leaders and brokerages, one important choice regarding business exposure is often at the forefront of decision-making in the marketing realm: Should we be promoting individual agents or the larger brand?

In some ways, Bridge International is the perfect case study for this question. Founders Ashley Donat and Nathan Wilks started the brokerage with the focus of helping their agents to grow their individual businesses and networks by providing them with online marketing and video content. “We focus individually on each agent — on their marketing plans, where they like to work — and then we help amplify that through marketing and video,” Donat said. “The videos highlight something personable about each and every one of us.”

Wilks noted that their social media channels — particularly Instagram, Facebook and Youtube — are an especially important part of their overall marketing plan due to the nature of the content. “We really get involved in video,” he said. “We think that’s where the industry is going.”

Then last November, Bridge International joined Compass Chicago, and Donat and Wilks went from being business owners to team leaders. The move meant less paperwork and accounting, but rather than taking the opportunity to focus on building the team brand within Compass, they doubled down on their individualistic approach and devoted even more time to focusing on their agents. “We think of ourselves as the type of people who want everyone around us to be their best,” Wilks said.

Unlike most other teams, Bridge International has an in-house multimedia director, Nick Flandro, who works one-on-one to help agents grow their online presences and create and distribute original videos about themselves. The group has a YouTube channel dedicated to creative and original videos ranging from agent profiles to lighthearted announcement videos to a series of webinars on topics such as disequilibrium and seasonality. But the videos that highlight individual agents are in some ways the most important. “Profile videos get our agents out to the consumer,” Wilks said, adding that the format is worth the extra effort because the larger brand gets better engagement than they would with traditional posts. “We’ve gotten more interaction off of our videos than any other posts on our website and social media.”

Now that Bridge International has moved to a larger brand in Compass, the agent profile videos are proving a way for the team’s associates to stand out among their peers. Donat noted that oftentimes other Compass agents will approach Bridge’s agents and compliment new videos they’ve seen.

Alin Schubert, an agent on the Bridge International team, agreed, adding that the increased exposure to other real estate professionals has helped her get more transactions closed. “Networking with all those people is really how you get commercial business done,” she said.

The group’s focus on video marketing has significantly shaped the team’s plans for next year, too. “Adding our multimedia division and learning how to create such awesome original content will really help going into 2020,” Donat said.

Looking at the remaining time left to meet 2019 goals, Schubert recommended other agents take advantage of the slow times on the market to build up business. “Make sure the right systems are in place for when things go wrong,” she said.

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