MHInsider strongly encourages readers to follow guidelines provided by local, state, and national authorities (including the CDC) regarding COVID-19 safety procedures.
Prospective manufactured home buyers understand that shelter in place, social distancing, and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts eventually will subside.
Until then, there are a few ways retailers and leasing offices can sustain the interest in available manufactured homes. Among them, broadcasting live virtual open houses that showcase a community or the home.
What follows is a step-by-step guide to assist in setting up and hosting a manufactured home virtual open house.
Many of the tools required by live virtual open houses are readily available. Here are four of them.
A Capable Smartphone
If the smartphone used for your live broadcast is relatively recent — produced within the last couple of years — it should be able to capture a quality video image. This device can be an iPhone from Apple, Pixel from Google, or a similar Android device. Note that an iPhone is required for live tours using FaceTime, a topic that is covered later in this feature.
Strong, Reliable Bandwidth
Many factors can influence the bandwidth needed for a broadcast. That said, a general rule of thumb is to aim for nothing less than 5Mbps.
Ideally, you want about 10Mbps. A site such as Speedtest.net can help you determine your current internet speeds.
A Wireless Mic
Viewers need to be able to hear the host during an open house. Use a wireless mic that clips on to the lapel, for instance. The goal is to allow the host to move without being tethered to the camera.
Apple’s AirPods are one such option many people seem to have already.
Virtual Open House Game Plan
Broadcasting on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, or any other similar platform requires careful planning. If the goal is to sell something, “winging it” won’t cut it.
Hosts must understand where the virtual open house is going to start, how it will progress, community or home features to highlight, and all the detail for each step along the way.
Facebook recommends a live stream of no less than 20 minutes, so there will be plenty of time to cover everything, including Q&A. A test run or two would be helpful in getting the game plan set for your manufactured home virtual open house.
Broadcast Your Manufactured Home Virtual Open House for Guests to See All You Offer
Facebook Live and Apple’s FaceTime are two of today’s most popular live video platforms; the number of Facebook Live viewers in the U.S. has risen by 50% since January 2020, while users make 15-20 million FaceTime calls per day among the 100 million or so iPhone in the U.S.
Instructions for broadcasting manufactured home virtual open houses from both platforms follow.
Android users may consider Google Duo as a FaceTime alternative.
Use Facebook Live for a Manufactured Home Virtual Open House
A virtual open house with Facebook Live allows offices to promote a mobile home to many prospective buyers at the same time.
- Open the Facebook app on your smartphone
- Tap “Live” at the top of the screen
- Allow Facebook to access the device’s microphone and video capabilities
- Tap the camera icon at the top of the screen to switch between selfie and standard modes
- Tap the “Start Live Video” button
A two-person streaming team is ideal, with one person operating the camera (smartphone) and the other person acting as host. A gimbal is recommended to help keep the phone and recorder stable. This will help in creating a smooth video file.
Finally, make sure that the smartphone is in your preferred mode — landscape or portrait — before you begin the Facebook Live broadcast. Modes cannot be switched during filming.
HOW TO PROMOTE A FACEBOOK LIVE TOUR: Promote the Virtual Open House on Facebook Events, as well as any and all other social media platforms, and your website. It may be a good idea to do an email blast to your followers, as well. Once the tour is over, host it on MHVillage for free.
Use FaceTime for a Virtual Mobile Home Open House
FaceTime is a great application for one-on-one virtual mobile home open house.
- Open the FaceTime app on your iPhone
- Tap the “+” icon at the top of the screen
- Enter the client’s name or contact info (if it isn’t already in the device’s contact list)
- Tap the “Video” button
- After a brief introduction, tap the camera icon to switch from selfie mode to standard mode
HOW TO PROMOTE A FACETIME TOUR: During conversations with clients, via email, and in a prominent post on the business website’s home page.
Leverage Your Virtual Open House on MHVillage
MHVillage now provides a way for its customers to upload a Facebook Live video of a virtual open house on our site for presentation to a wider, and audience of manufactured home buyers.
Other recent and relevant articles on MHInsider blog for manufactured housing professionals include 4 Protective Measures to Keep Residents Safe from Coronavirus and Title Company Provides Drive-through Closing for COVID-19 Measures.
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