Attention: Selfie sticks are not just for selfies!
I recently sponsored the weekly Sonoma Valley Marketing Meeting on Thursday Mornings for NorBAR (North Bay Association of Realtors) for the month of March. As part of that, I put out a jar to collect business cards, getting real estate agents signed up for my mailing list. I pulled a card for one lucky member to receive a bottle of Buena Vista’s “Sheriff.” Congratulations Brooks Rumph of First American Title!
Four other cards drawn received a selfie stick. I would say that many in the room, a majority, are 30-60 years old. Did I hand them out because I think this is a “selfie” crowd? No, I did not. My hope was to get them thinking outside the box and more about promoting their listings on social media.
That said, in 2014, Gary Vaynerchuck shouted to the world:
“The fastest growing demo on Instagram is 40- to 60-year-olds who are taking selfies…
So, the next time you try to play the ‘my demo isn’t on social’ card, you need to stop and actually confront the reality of the situation which is that we are living through the ‘youthification’ of our society.”
If you don’t speak his shorthand, demo=demographics, and what he’s saying is that if ages 40 to 60 are your bread and butter, you’re naïve to think they’re not on social media.
According to SproutSocial, photos with faces receive 38% more likes on Instagram. Those aren’t necessarily selfies, but it does help the argument. Also, it is a great reminder to stop exclusively posting photos of houses! (Don’t worry, I’ll keep reminding you all!)
Before we get into how to use a selfie stick as a Realtor® beyond the obvious “selfie,” here is a little background of this popular monopod.
What is a “selfie stick?”
The English Oxford Living Dictionaries define the “Selfie Stick” as:
“A device in the form of a rod on which a camera or smartphone may be mounted, enabling the person holding it to take a photograph of themselves from a greater distance than if holding the camera or smartphone in their hand.”
History of the “Selfie”
The Oxford Dictionaries made “selfie” word of the year in 2013. Can you believe that’s already 5 years ago? At that time, TechTimes says Oxford credits first use of the word to an Australian man who posted a blurry photo of himself claiming the blur was “because it was a selfie, not because he was drunk.”
Unaware that this form of photography would ever have a name, I can remember using my 110-camera in middle school to take photographs of myself in the early ‘80s. All the way through college and heavy SLR Cameras, I still toted myself to be the “Queen of Self Portraits.” That’s what they were at that time: “Self Portraits.”
I still carry around cameras to this day as my preferred method of photography. In fact, as my daughter was running around an Easter egg hunt yesterday, she paused to hand me a headband with a little feather adorned top hat saying, “This is totally you.” I, of course, put it on and took a selfie, but not with my phone; old school. You have to know how to point and where to look!
Things to remember before using that stick
Before using your selfie stick, here are some things to remember:
- Before using your selfie stick in a public location, check their rules first. For example, I witnessed a professional vlogger trying to get some footage of herself on an iPhone one a selfie stick and an iRig mic in Downtown Disney. Security was quick to put a halt to that!
Many museums, amusement parks, and government locations have put a ban on those 3-foot long poles as they can be dangerous in a crowd or cause damage to precious artworks. Be proactive and know the rules before your
For another example, Chateau De Versailles and Britain’s National Gallery have selfie stick rules to “protect artworks and other visitors.” But, with 7.5 million tourists per year (as of 2015), they may still use them to take photos in the park and gardens surrounding the palace.
- If using the poles to extend your phone, you will need to use either a timer, a Bluetooth shutter release, or a stick with a built-in cord (the cord plugs into where you would plug in your headphones).
- The back facing camera (opposite from screen side) on most phones is significantly better than the front facing camera typically used to take selfies. Whenever possible, use that camera. Also, the flash is rarely found on the front facing side, so remember this if the light is an issue.
If you’re not in the frame, no problem. Watch the screen. But there are some selfie sticks that come equipped with a mirror, or you could jerry-rig one yourself. Alternatively, if time isn’t an issue, take one using the screen to plan and test the shot, then flip the phone around and repeat what worked.
- While your phone is pretty secure on that selfie stick, remember Murphy’s Law. If you’re going to take a photo extending your camera over the Grand Canyon, don’t be mad if your phone lands in the Grand Canyon. Nothing is 100% secure so weigh the pros of that photo with the cons.
- The farther you extend your stick, the more chance of blur you may get. Consider this especially if using the cabled stick. Just pushing the button will give create a motion which may create a blur. A quick fix for that is to use a timer or Bluetooth trigger.
Top 5 un-selfie uses for a real estate agents selfie stick
While I do love a good selfie and love the selfie stick for taking overall area shots and group photos, there are other uses for the selfie stick besides, well, selfies… especially for realtors. Let’s dive in.
- Home Tours-Preview Tours- Exclusive Tours
Have you tried walking through a house taking a video that you hope to send to a client or upload to social media? Have you ever noticed that the angles don’t quite allow you to give an accurate view of the home by just holding the phone or camera in front of you by simply walking through?
Use that selfie stick to get up high or down low and get the angle that shows the room in the best light! Sometimes at eye level, you just can’t see the whole room. But, say, for example, you stretch that phone up into the ceiling corner where the walls meet, how much of the room can you see now? Experiment and see what works for each individual property!
- Video Stabilization
While there are some apps that can help the stability of video as you shoot, another great way to do that on your own is to take the phone out of your hands and use the selfie stick un-extended. It will relax your hand and arm while taking a lot of the shake away from using your hands to hold the camera.
Alternatively, if you are going to stand in one place, use the selfie stick as a monopod. Extend it to the ground to keep stable while shooting a video or Facebook Live!
- Property Exams
Need to see what’s in the gutters but don’t have a ladder? Want to find out what’s behind the refrigerator and you’re all alone? Use the selfie stick to get over, under, and around things. For some, you may need to use the flash side of your phone, but experiment and find out where your client is hiding the cobwebs!
Or maybe you are that friendly agent who stops by after a sale and ends up helping with a stereo installation or a computer set up. Use that stick to be your eyes behind the system helping you to see where that port or plug can be reached.
- Crowd Shots
Want to show how popular your Twilight Tour is? Are you throwing a company party and everyone is there? Get that phone up in the air and get some crowd shots! Show an overview and let clients know that they are missing exciting buying opportunities or that your brokerage is the place to work!
- The less expensive drone
Similar to crowd shots, get your phone up in the air, but this time mimic the actions of a drone! The higher you can get on the building, the better the view. “Fly” in on the features of that vineyard or get above the pool.
The selfie stick is a great tool and you shouldn’t limit yourself to selfies even if you are a part of the selfie generation. Get out there and experiment! If you’ve got another way you love to use your selfie stick for real estate, please let me know in the comments below!
 Vaynerchuk, Gary. (2014, ?). The Fastest Growing Demographic on Instagram May Shock You. Gary Vaynerchuck. Web. https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/the-fastest-growing-demographic-on-instagram-may-shock-you/
 Osman, Maddy. (2018, Feb 12). 18 Instagram Stats Every Marketer Should Know for 2018. Sprout Social. Web. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-stats/
 English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Web. (2018 Apr 2). https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/selfie_stick
 Keating, Lauren. (2015, Apr 22). The History of the Selfie Stick. TechTimes. Web. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/47738/20150422/history-selfie-stick%C2%A0.htm
 Assoiated Press. (2015, Mar 12). Selfie sticks banned at many attractions worldwide. SFGate. Web. https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Selfie-sticks-banned-at-many-attractions-worldwide-6128778.php