I have heard at many workshops and networking events of the opportunities there are for small businesses to use videos of themselves to promote their personality, knowledge, unique selling points and their working environment in a far more creative and colourful way than one dimensional words or images.
There has been a notable shift over the past few years from using written content like blogs to using video content such as vlogs and live video. One of the key reasons is that with new technology, and the prolific growth of YouTube in the past five years or so, we now have the opportunity to use this medium literally at our finger tips.
When I’ve suggested to small business owners that they look into video marketing I’m often met with a look of horror at the thought of creating a video, let alone being on camera. That means that video usually ends up at the bottom of the to-do list.
I’m hoping that reading this article should put video back on your radar.
Why use video for your business?
If a picture is worth 1,000 words then according to McQuivey’s Forrester study ‘How Video Will Take Over the World’, a video is worth 1.8 million words. Thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. There is no better way to communicate the personality behind your brand other than visually.
First impressions and trust are formed on the following basis; 55% is our body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% of the impression we formulate is down to words alone. This shows how video can be more personal and effective in building trust than using text alone.
It has often been commented that the best way for small businesses to differentiate themselves from the ‘big boys’ is to create a brand personality which engages you with your target audience and creates trust. Video allows you to do this by giving potential customers a chance to engage with you as a person or team.
A good way to do this is by using live video on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. They give you the ability to stream a video live from your location which can be very effective in generating engagement with your audience and show your personality.
One of the best aspects is the interactive nature of live video so that you can communicate directly with your followers.
Then there’s the sheer numbers. YouTube has over one billion active users. That’s more than any other channel apart from Facebook. There are plenty of guides on how to set up a YouTube account for your business and there is huge potential for you to access a global audience and get in front of potential customers.
Thanks to the report by Dreamglow it’s clear that people favour watching a video over reading text when presented with the choice and that consumers are directly influenced by video over the products and services they buy. Taken with the fact that YouTube gives businesses access to a global audience and the potential is massive.
Creating a video for your business
What is equally interesting from the report is that the type and quality of the video also makes a difference to its success. It’s not good enough to put out any old thing with the hope of resonating with your audience.
Back in 2012, the US razor subscription service Dollar Shave Club put out an incredible launch video on YouTube that immediately went viral. That doesn’t mean that you will replicate this level of success though of course it’s always possible with the right product and video.
The first step to creating your own video will be to clearly understand your branding and who you are looking to resonate with. If you are selling a professional service to a corporate market, you will want to ensure you present a professional image. If you are selling a more unique product or service, you may want to be more quirky and creative.
Creating your own video can be easily achieved on a budget. Streaming live videos on social media is as easy as taking your smartphone out of your pocket and hitting record. You don’t need to have a high production value on a video of this type and if anything it may seem more spontaneous if it’s done cheaply.
It may be a different story if you want a promotional video on your homepage highlighting your products or services. You may be able to still use your smartphone or camera if you film it carefully but this type of video will require more planning and thought.
Most decent smartphones will allow you to do some minor video editing on them though for a more professional production you may need to invest in specialist equipment and software unless you hire someone to do it for you.
Here’s some tips if you are going to create a video yourself:
- Decide on a backdrop – the setting will create an impression, so choose wisely.
- Dress in a way appropriate to your target market.
- Be aware of lighting levels and if you are filming outside, ensure the light is behind the camera.
- Look straight into the camera and imagine you are speaking directly with your viewers.
- Use the words ‘I’ and ‘you’ to keep it conversational rather than an impersonal sales pitch.
- Devise a script if that makes you feel more confident, but at the same time, try and let your personality come over.
- Body language and tone of voice send out a greater first impression than words alone so practice until you are happy with the way you project your image.
- Ask a friend or family member (someone you can relax and be yourself with) to video you.
Where to place your videos
You have a number of different places you can share your videos and often it will depend on the type of video you produce as to where you are going to put it. Remember to listen to your audience and get feedback through analytics and direct interaction as to what types of content they prefer to view.
If you owned a restaurant for example you may create recipe videos whereas a barber might give tips on hair styling or review the latest hair care products. You can always watch other business YouTube channels to get some inspiration as to what types of videos might work for your audience.
The three main places you are likely to share your videos are your social media channels, YouTube and your own website. In some cases you may share them in multiple places. Live videos are likely to be reserved for your social media channels but ‘how to’ videos, ‘behind the scenes’ or promotional content could be shared on all three.
Sharing on YouTube and social media can get you an enormous reach to get in front of your target audience and customers. Engagement is all important on social media so video content is more likely to be viewed and interacted with, putting you ahead of your competition.
Video content can also be a great way to improve your search engine ranking as it’s more likely to be viewed and shared. Used on a landing page, it can be effective at increasing conversions whether that’s signing up to a newsletter, sending an enquiry or making a purchase. If you want an SEO benefit make sure that you embed the video on your own site rather than uploading to YouTube.
Video doesn’t have to be complicated or scary and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started. Decide on the types of videos you want to share and then take some time to practice before you step into the limelight.
As people watch more online, it’s likely that video content will become even more important for businesses over the next few years. It can be a very effective way of engaging with your audience and promoting your products and services.
Have you tried creating videos for your business? It would be great to hear what tips you can share about getting started.