Video camera drawing overlaid on taco with text about video.

Why Video Helps Small Business Marketing

You might not think your small business offering lends itself to video, but a variety of new video formats can highlight your product and services with flair and appeal.

As part of a video promotion community (a closed group for pros on Facebook), I’ve recently witnessed the exchange of numerous videos selling everything from nutrition drinks and real estate to novels and art. The novelist’s videos told a story about the book, without spoiling the plot.

In video, key phrases underpin the overall narrative. Remember, you are drawing people in with a glimmer of what your product is. You are not just handing them a product.

As a marketing tool, we are well beyond having a person in a conference room speaking to the camera. This reminds of the time in the early ‘90s when, as an intern, I found myself being called upon to eat tacos on camera in a boardroom. Why? More on that later.

The current crop of video combine still photos, art, music, text and effects to keep eyeballs on the content and are specifically optimized for mobile phone delivery. If the medium is the message, this content is crafted for watching in the palm of one’s hand. Indeed, a lot of social media video is viewed by people sitting in front of other screens, such as their TV or work computer monitors. This is why captioning is helpful; you are still giving content without sound.

Video also adds legitimacy in ways the written word alone might fall short. Now, the viewer feels they have met you, much as if they walked into your storefront.

This can cut another way in that video can appear to reveal who you really are… or are not. An acquaintance told me about someone he assumed did similar work as me. Whoa! Not really, the video showed a slickster doing a selfie video in a garage with a luxury car. The implication being if you buy what I’m selling, you too can rent a luxury car. The bigger problem was the content. I listened and heard nothing specific. Nada.

People watch videos to learn something, see something or feel something. If you can deliver on all three, that’s great. The only way to meaningfully deliver on anything is to be specific. All effective storytelling requires specifics, be it data, descriptions or directions.

If you are selling widgets, show the assembly line. If you sell a service, give some instructions. Most of all, direct the viewers to your store!

People want to see the experience. This brings me to the tacos. The TV news station where I interned was doing a feature story on Mexican food and was waiting on a freelance cameraman to send us video with various shots from a restaurant. We were expecting to see beautiful dishes and décor. Instead, it was a lot of B-roll of drunk people doing shots of tequila. Apparently, the cameraman (also known as a shooter, by the way) put the camera down on the bar and had a great time. This was not the kind of shooter we wanted.

We still needed usable B-roll. A producer sent me and another shooter (without booze) down to Taco Bell to get some footage. We got the boot. But we bought some tacos to go. I thought we could put the tacos down on a table and get some decent Ken Burns-style footage documenting the tacos in all their glory. Unfortunately for me, the producer took it further and insisted the cameraman shoot me eating the tacos. He got a nice tight, close-up shot of me chewing. Why? Because great storytelling puts people in the action. Turns out, the video was so compelling the story went national and some of my college friends were very surprised to see me eating lunch on a major network’s nightly news.Video camera drawing overlaid on taco with text about video.

Not every video is going to garner a huge audience. Just like blogging, if you do videos, do them consistently to build a portfolio. You will improve with each installment. Also, you cannot do something once and expect success. By blogging or posting video on a regular basis, you are informing the internet gods and your customers that you are a reliable, consistent presence.

For more information on video and other digital marketing services provided by Adroit Narratives, please see our services menu.

Graphic about DOs and Don'ts of Social Media

DOs, DON’Ts and WHOs of Social Media for Small Business

Small business owners know they want social media for marketing but, understandably, pose many questions about its efficacy.

They want to make time and spend time on it, but need to be nimble and realize efficacy and a return on investment. A couple of common mistakes include dabbling it and/or using some kind of cookie cutter program. The digital marketing program you devise or choose must be tailored to your specific business. Not just your business sector or category, but your particular company.

Before elaborating on customized content marketing, I’d like to share a few of the DOs, DON’Ts and WHOs of social media.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t just promote your products and services. Instead, promote the idea of great experiences customers can have when shopping with you. Make this easy by telling customer stories, funny anecdotes, and heart-warming testimonials. Avoid simply posting material that commands prospects to simple “buy now.” Position yourself as an expert, a problem solver, a go-to business. Remember, your prospect is in the decision-making process when they land on your post or page, so first you must give them a reason to buy. You must convince them to buy. (Do have that buy now button nearby!)
  • Don’t cut and paste from one social network to another. It looks lazy. Worse, it could cause those comments to be suppressed if bots are checking for copied material.

DOs:

  • In social media profiles, video uploads and Pinterest posts (Pins), DO fill out descriptions. This is where you pump in the key words people search for when looking where to buy. Write this content with some thought. Anything sloppy, even a goof, reflects on that business.
  • Do make videos of your business. People deciding whether to visit or make an appointment will be more inclined if they feel acquainted online. Put your most personable people in the video. Ask. It might not be who you think.
  • Do make infographics. People eat this up. You know you do too. Make sure the dimensions are user-friendly. Colorful designs are eye-catching and make reading fun. They stay in people’s minds, like a mental map to your business. Moreover, some social networks (ahem, Facebook) appear to give more reach (a wider audience) to posts with videos or pretty image files.

WHOs

Too many chefs in the broth? Appoint a point person. You need a traffic cop. Marketing is not anything goes. Make sure if you have a SEO team and a social media team, they are connected.

How does social media relate to SEO (search engine optimization)? See YouTube, Google+, Twitter and Periscope. I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I did a basic Google keyword search for a concept I wanted to promote for a client, using simple search terms, and the client’s YouTube video I posted to Google+ showed up. I tried to replicate that search result the next day to no avail. There is no silver bullet there.

Still, you need to stay in the game. You need to keep posting. Social platforms are search engines. Think about Pinterest. People use it to search for things they want to buy. In turn, Pinterest collections also show up in Google searches. Twitter is used as a search engine. It’s not just about web browser searches. This search engine game is dynamic so there is no easy answer. If you are already creating social media content to showcase your business on specific platforms, you may find a knock-on benefit elsewhere.

Again, your social media content coordinator should know your SEO/website team. They should be on the same page. Each time you delegate something to someone somewhere without coordination, you could be diluting your messaging. Worse, too many things could result in contradictions and be counterproductive

Get with the Program

Social media is not an experiment. Stop treating it like one. It’s always people who tried this or that who complain it doesn’t work. Like anything else, you got to be in it to win it.

Be Systematic

Choose which social media channels you want to be on. Plan a calendar week by week, month by month, of what topics you are going to stay on.

Decide what mix of blogs and videos you want to use for content marketing. Plot those out on a calendar.

How many times to post?

  • Facebook: Daily, ideally. Honestly, it seems that buying FB ads is really the way for business pages to get further reach. You’ll need a mix of original content and ads.
  • YouTube: daily, weekly, depends on your ability to produce. Just be consistent.
  • Twitter: 5 to 10 times a day (Don’t be one of those 500Xday accounts)
  • LinkedIn: 2-5 times a week. If you have a company page, at least one a week.
  • Google+: 3-10 times per week
  • Pinterest: 5-10 per day
  • Instagram: 1-5 times per day

My program

I am a coordinator. My program works best when the business owner and I can chat at least once a week. I should also be engaged with the website person and anyone involved with any aspect of digital marketing.

Sometimes, there are so many wheels spinning they may not be engaging at the same speed or in the same direction. I’ve seen situations where people didn’t realize a Google Adwords campaign was on autopilot and not  aligned with current marketing campaigns or business objectives. I’ve seen a Facebook page being run by an agency that formerly administered business’ website and the business owner had no idea who was making the posts.

There are a lot of outsourced content and social media marketers that never step foot in a business or know anyone who works there. By contrast, I learn as much as I can from the people inside a business to tell their company story to the marketplace.

I am hands on and will need input from them so that the marketing content is true to their business. It needs to be written and crafted in keeping with their company culture.

We will devise a program to run for a minimum of three months. We’ll determine what mix of blogs and video will be used to raise the company profile and make it more findable in searches. Moreover, when that business is found, the story is fun, educational and interesting. You need to actually be saying something interesting.

For some, I’ll write 2 or 4 blogs a month. Or edit 4-5 blogs. Or write 2 blogs and produce 2 videos. Or 4-5 videos a month, etc. All the while, I will be engaging on the social media accounts. After three months, we may revise the mix and add or subject things. The longer the arrangement, the better I get to know the business as the coordinator. This is the next best thing to have an internal marketing department that represents your business.

For more information, contact Katharine Fraser of Adroit Narratives.