My kids are hooked on YouTube. Even my husband is on YouTube almost every night. Turns out my family is not alone. YouTube, the leading Internet-based video distribution platform, gets over 1 billion unique visitors per month. People are watching a staggering 6 billion hours of YouTube videos every 30 days — which is almost one hour for every person on Earth. Not surprisingly, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network, according to Nielsen ratings, and not all of them are watching Grumpy Cat videos.
Video can be a powerful vehicle for getting a company’s message in front of a receptive audience. But it can be difficult for small business owners to know how to use video effectively.
To learn more about video, I turned to Lisa Marie Latino, executive producer at Long Shot Productions. Her Fairfield, NJ, based company is a full service television production firm that works with corporate and small businesses.
Why should business owners add video to their marketing mix?
Lisa Marie: Video tells a more vibrant story and can bring your message to life. When you use a video clip on your website, for example, your site visitors gets to know your business on a deeper level. People have short attention spans and video gets them to the main point of your story more quickly.
Video is also so much more affordable than putting an ad in a magazine. With video, there’s a more immediate call to action – and people will really take action.
What are some ways businesses are using video today?
Lisa Marie: I interviewed Kevin Harrington, chairman and founder of TV Goods Inc. – the “As Seen on TV” folks – about how video contributes to business success today. As Kevin says, video gives you the ability to demonstrate the benefits of your product, the before and after, and the customer or expert testimonial. (Lisa’s interview with Kevin is here: http://youtu.be/nSRCECqSdTw.)
At Long Shot, we’ve done viral marketing videos for clients, plus interviews, product launches, training videos, messages from the CEO, and customer testimonials. I’ve had clients kick off conventions with video. Any marketing campaign can easily have a video component.
I think every company should have a video on their homepage that explains how they help customers. And for all those bios posted on your website, consider adding a video component. Such videos can help your site visitors get to know your company employees in a more personal way.
How can a business owner get a video made?
Lisa Marie: The easiest thing to do is record video with your iPhone or other mobile device. But this isn’t professional and can reflect poorly on your company’s brand image. You wouldn’t publish a poorly worded article, so you shouldn’t produce a low quality video.
You might be tempted to call a local university and ask for a student to do your video. The tradeoff here is that you may get a free or low-cost video, but the student is focused on school and your video is typically not their first priority.
My advice: Invest in getting your video produced professionally. A expert videographer will think critically about your business and knows how to tell a great story with visuals. It’s like the rest of your marketing: you’re better off working with an expert.
What are some tips for creating a video that engages the audience?
Lisa Marie: Start by mapping out your expectations from start to finish. What do you want the video to accomplish? What look and feel do you want the video to have? And so on.
Then you must find a video company that “gets” you. You must have an environment of collaboration, patience and mutual respect with your videographer.
What else makes a successful video? A stellar script. You need to allow time to develop a good script and have a good shoot. Typically I spend a lot of time coaching clients through script development, and before and during the shoot. I know it can be intimidating to speak on camera. But the beauty of this is it’s not a live event. You can control it – if you mess up, you can always shoot the video again.
What other advice would you give to someone who is considering video?
Lisa Marie: It’s easy to produce a video, but it has to be marketed effectively to produce the results you want. Your marketing team needs to have a plan to promote your video to help people find your company. You have to put your video in front of them; don’t wait for them to come to you!
Your marketers need to focus on social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever your audiences are – to actively promote your video. And share your video content with bloggers – they always need good content.
Have you used video in your company’s marketing mix? Share your experiences in the Comments section.