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.
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.
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