Every day, people watch billions of videos.
TechCrunch reports that 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every day, Bloomberg reports that 10 billion videos are viewed on Snapchat every day, and videos on Instagram and Twitter are climbing rapidly in popularity.
Twitter even started to show view counts on their videos as businesses look for more detailed metrics.
We saw the increasing popularity of video more than a year ago when we wrote:
For SMBs and entrepreneurs, video content will be especially important in 2017, according to Roberto Blake, a YouTuber focused on teaching people how to leverage the platform:
“In the context of YouTube you will see more people take advantage of YouTube Live now that Hangouts on Air has been retired. Another trend you will see this year is serialized content. Whether they be produced and formatted shows, such as the AskGaryVee Show, or Docu Series like CreativeSpaces TV from Sara Dietschy, serial content in the form of series have a disproportionate amount of value as opposed to one-off videos, and content creators and companies are starting to take note of this.”
Blake believes that smart SMBs and startups will ask influencers to help tackle video marketing.
Since then, videos have grown even more in popularity. In fact, CISCO found that online videos will make up over 81% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
This is not surprising.
People love videos, including videos created by businesses.
Customers and prospective customers prefer videos over all other forms of content, as Hubspot Research discovered recently:
This means that there’s a good chance that a high percentage of your customers or target audience is watching videos.
It also means you have many opportunities to create many types of videos as part of your content marketing campaigns. For example, you can create:
- product or service demonstration videos
- videos for your brand (showing vision, products, services, etc.)
- interviews with experts (including from your own company)
- videos from events (conferences, discussions, etc.)
- explainer videos (showing how something works)
- case studies and customer testimonials
- live videos (such as when you do presentations at your company)
You can even invite your customers to create videos about your company or its products or services, as we explained previously:
One way to generate video content is by inspiring consumers to create their own. 44 percent of millennials are willing to promote brands on social media and other platforms. Try using an incentive or rewards system to get video reviews and other user-generated content from your followers, and be sure to leave virtual feedback on any content being created.
For most small businesses and startups, video marketing is tricky and more complicated than developing written content. Video marketing is time-consuming, potentially expensive, and requires a different skill set than other forms of content marketing.
For small businesses, startups, and busy companies, this makes videos feel impossible.
Even maintaining a basic Snapchat account can take up too much time for a company juggling many roles with few people.
Fortunately, with modern, easy-to-use tools and free or low-cost stock videos, even the smallest businesses can leverage video marketing as part of their overall content marketing efforts.
Some young businesses can leverage videos into billion-dollar exits! Dollar Shave Club, for example, gained a huge following with their funny short videos about their shaving products. Here’s an example:
Here are 8 proven strategies for making video marketing easier for any small business or startup.
KISS stands for “keep it stupid simple.” As we previously wrote:
Keep it stupid simple. Thematically, visually, organizationally – it is critical that your messaging be clear, concise and to the point. Don’t waste words, don’t waste imagery, and most importantly don’t waste your audience’s time.
Simplicity is vital to video marketing, especially for small businesses and startups.
It’s easy to get caught up in details like grand lighting setups or fancy editing.
If you’re just starting out, stick to the basics. The rest you can work out once your video strategy is more established.
This means that you don’t need to invest in a DSLR camera and rig or ring lights right away.
Use your iPhone, and video editing software that comes with your computer.
There’s nothing wrong with using iMovie (or even shooting 1 take videos) in your first pieces.
You don’t even need to create fancy production sets. You can use existing networks, like Facebook Live, for your video marketing efforts. For more about this, read 22 Ways Brands Can Use Facebook Live Video to Drive Business.
Many companies over-invest in video technology, only to find out that this overcomplicates the process and causes them to give up.
Basically, focus on understandability and efficiency.
If the audience can see and hear you, you’re golden.
Quality is still important – but it certainly doesn’t have to be Oscar-worthy with your first video.
2. Create a plan.
Before you start recording your video(s), build a simple plan so that you can focus your efforts. Here are some questions for you to ask/answer as you build your plan:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your goal with the video?
- Where will you publish the video?
- When must the video be ready?
- What content must be in the video?
- How will you measure success?
Once you’ve answered those questions, write a rough script for your video. You can outline or bullet-point the key points and order them in the order you want to cover them in the video.
Let me illustrate with an example.
Crowdspring wanted to reach more customers and prospective customers looking for custom, professional logo design for their business.
We’ve written lots of good, quality content about logo design and branding in our small business marketing blog, but we’ve also published many videos on this topic. Among those videos, we made “How to Create The Perfect Logo For Your Business”:
3. Hire an intern.
If you are ready to take a bigger plunge into video marketing, hiring an intern, particularly one experienced with video, can help.
You can hire paid or unpaid interns, and chances are they’ll already be well versed in video production – whether it’s fancier videos or social media shorts on Snapchat.
Look for millennials or Gen Z students in their late teens and early twenties. They’ve grown up with video, and many of them are studying it through film or media communications majors. They’ll love the experience, and you’ll save time and money.
If you have a college or university nearby, contact their film/video department and see if they can recommend someone.
4. Keep a media library.
Take video at important events, conferences, meetings, product releases, etc. Set aside a day to film some customers or take 5 minutes and film yourself.
Either way, having a library of extra footage is helpful, especially if you’re interested in bigger video marketing projects.
Your media library will give you video marketing ideas and will also help support your various video projects.
5. Use stock footage for parts of your b-roll.
Unless you’re creating a live video or you just want to be a talking head (it’s okay – we do it!), you’ll want to have some b-roll.
B-roll is footage that plays during a voiceover so that the visuals change. Maybe it’s someone talking to customers, or someone writing on a whiteboard. But if it could be something like a street or a beach, there are lots of sites that have free stock videos at your disposal.
6. Repurpose videos.
Your existing content can usually be used more than once.
If you’re making a YouTube video, you can edit part of it to make a shorter version for Instagram and Facebook.
You can also edit old videos to make them relevant to your current marketing efforts or trends today.
When creating new content, always think about the future and how you might be able to use that content in other ways.
7. Don’t obsess about video length.
5% of viewers will stop watching a video after one minute.
So every second you spend worrying about the last 3 minutes of your 10-minute video is probably time wasted.
Instead, focus on creating short, high-quality content.
Video platforms like Snapchat are popular because of this. Shoot for one-minute videos if they’re quick demos, and up to 5 minutes if you’re explaining a topic.
Anything more than that might not be worth your energy (note: we’ve found that longer-form videos of 5 minutes or more tend to do better on YouTube).
Remember to tell a story in your script (and video). After all, storytelling is the secret to content marketing success:
Marketing is storytelling. Stories help shape beliefs and also help people remember the things you want them to remember. Authentic and compelling stories help build a brand.
8. Connect your video to an existing campaign.
Too often, companies try to make their video content entirely different from their written content marketing strategy.
This screams inconsistency and distracts from the main message.
Instead, use video to enhance your existing efforts so that it can support your brand strategy.
For example, when crowdspring partnered with AliExpress a few months ago, we created a short video about that partnership:
Also, you can easily turn your blog posts into video posts.
We do this a lot on the crowdspring YouTube channel. It helps us publish video content at a faster pace, and the ideas are already there.
Plus, by using video, we can reach people who might not regularly read our blog.
Here’s an example where we took a blog post about using science to improve marketing and created a video:
If you get into video marketing, focus on creating videos that make sense for your business.
The video should feel like it belongs in your content marketing arsenal. Sometimes, this means rebranding in order to stay modern.
While you consider how to approach video marketing for your business, we’ll leave you with this:
76.5% of marketers and small business owners who have used video marketing said it had a direct and positive impact on their business, according to a recent Animoto survey
Like all trends, the question is when and how your business will tackle videos. With these tips, hopefully, it’ll be a little easier.
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