Corcoran Group broker, and former theater director, Randy Baruh talks with RisMedia and shares how he leverages video and social media to grow his business.
Randy Baruh is a top real estate agent in NYC focusing on luxury listings. He’s selling homes but not in the traditional way. While Randy’s been in real estate for over a decade, his background is in the entertainment and theater world. He’s utilized the skills he gained from that industry to create a name for himself on social media. And it’s paid off. He has over 21,000 followers on Instagram and over 320,000 on TikTok.
When Randy first started, it was just him, his iPhone, and NYC. He started off doing short tours of the neighborhoods that his listings were located in, spotlighting everything from his favorite bakery, the local date night Italian restaurant, to the unique mom-and-pop shops that add character to their neighborhood. But it wasn't to be a one-man show for long.
It all started in late 2020. Randy had already made some YouTube videos but was wondering how to expand even further. One night, he was flipping through the channels with his wife and they started watching Emily in Paris. And that’s when it hit: he needed an Emily on his team.
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s about a girl from the midwest who gets hired by a marketing firm in Paris to give insight into American trends and tastes. What Randy needed was someone who understood what was trending at the time and who could help with the creation of content. And so he hired his first Social Media Manager and they filmed a TikTok in a $56 million dollar property at the MoMA tower that went viral overnight. But his videos aren't just fun TikTok trends.
Over the past year, his team has expanded to a part-time marketing manager and coordinator, a third-party social media team that helps with filming all the hottest trends, and a videographer who helps with some of the larger content he produces, like his neighborhood tours and his “Real Estate Questions Answered” YouTube series. In fact, one of the short films he shot won the best independent video at the New York Real Estate Video Awards produced by Line City.
These videos showcase his enthusiasm for New York City and its neighborhoods. Because at the end of the day, buyers aren't paying hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars for a box in a building. They’re paying for all the incredible stuff in the neighborhood around it, whether it's Central Park, an amazing hole in the wall or Michelin-star restaurant, or a quirky art gallery.
It’s his background in entertainment and his love of making people happy through the content he creates that makes Randy’s vision for his team unique from other teams at Corcoran and beyond. To them, marketing isn’t just getting people through the door at their weekly open houses. It’s about making people laugh and creating a connection by using their listings and New York City as a medium.
Success isn’t just one viral video after another viral video. And don’t give up if you create something that doesn't take off. One of Randy’s earlier videos was a tour through a $25 million property inspired by the Oculus but it didn't come out exactly as he had imagined. But that didn’t discourage him. Ultimately, he wants to make people happy. With how busy (and crazy) life can get in NYC, he hopes his videos give people a little bit of laughter in their lives. If they come across one of his videos, and smile and be happy, even if they're laughing at him.
To be successful, consistency is the key to the Instagram and TikTok algorithms. You don't want to just post once in a while when you think you have something really good that will go viral. You want to schedule out your content so that you can post on a regular basis. Randy’s team always aims to create a mixture of content across email, print, TikTok, and Instagram during the week and often multiple a day. And it’s paid off. He has a steady referral business from real estate agents all over the country who follow him on different social media channels.
But fear not! Posting consistently doesn’t mean that you have to be filming 24/7. Planning your goals ahead of time can help you utilize your time most efficiently. You can do this by reusing and restructuring your content. The best way to film large projects while also working a full-time job? Plan ahead, then grab a large cup of coffee (or two) and spend a day filming all your content for the next few weeks.
For example, Randy might film a neighborhood blog for Chelsea, spending about five minutes highlighting some of the local attractions and fun places to visit or eat out. He’ll post that longer video on YouTube and link to that video in a blog post on his website. Then, he’ll break that longer video into shorter videos to post on different platforms: a short Instagram reel about Chelsea Market, a fun TikTok of him visiting the High Line, or an Instagram post about the best restaurant to go to on a date night and get a steak. That way, one day of filming can create a dozen of different pieces of content that can be used for months to come.
Making sure that your content is being posted across multiple channels is the important part since each platform has a different format and reaches a different audience.
You can’t post a 5-minute video on TikTok the way you can on YouTube, and while YouTube introduced YouTube shorts recently, the best place to reach people with short-form videos is still TikTok and Instagram Reels and Stories.
And each platform reaches a different audience. When selling luxury homes priced in the multi-millions, TikTok's aren't as relevant when it comes to making sales, since the audience tends to skew younger; but that’s where goofy videos go viral. Alternatively, most of Randy’s followers on Instagram are past and potential clients, as well as fellow real estate agents, so content there is geared more towards sharing and highlighting listings and wins.
Working with a social media strategist is the easiest way to quickly find your “brand” or voice. Randy worked with one who helped him standardize things like fonts, colors, and design so his social media looks uniform across all channels and platforms. But don’t get stuck in a creative hole by being too rigid with your brand. You can still be “on brand” with your brand and add variety. And don’t be afraid to be personable on your account. Not everything has to be multimillion-dollar listings and professionally shot videos. Some of Randy’s most popular videos have been snapshots into his life.
On a family trip to Rome last year, he made fun videos of some of the best pizza places in Rome, the same as he does for the best pizza places in NYC like Table 87, or Juliana's, or Prince Street Pizza.
And because part of selling real estate is selling the neighborhoods and community his listings are in, he includes bits with his family and kids enjoying the neighborhood. After all, seeing your real estate agent genuinely like his neighborhood is a good indication that you’ll like it too.
The biggest lesson he’s learned? TAG EVERYBODY! After all, if someone is gracious enough to let them shoot in their listing, or spend the time to collaborate with you, don't forget to thank them and tag them. Not only is it essential for creating and maintaining good relationships, but can lead to more exposure. If they’re excited about the collaboration and what you created with them, they’re even more likely to share with their followers.
Video (short form and long form) is one of the best ways to reach and relate to an audience in this digital age. But in the end, it doesn't matter how big your team gets, or how many followers you gain on social media, the biggest thing to remember is to stay humble and be grounded throughout it all. After all, making and keeping non-virtual relationships is just as important, if not more, than simply going viral. Click HERE to listen to the full episode.