Best Time to Use Video for Your Business? Now!
The right time for video marketing is now. Video is hot across most social channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and, yes, even on LinkedIn. If you’re not putting out some form of video content, you may be missing a huge opportunity for brand awareness of your business.
Video marketing is essentially another way for you and your business to create and distribute meaningful, relevant content about what you do or about the widget you sell. It’s another distribution channel where you can educate your target audience (e.g. ideal client) about you and your services. And video can be faster and easier than traditional types of content marketing such as blogging.
There are many video content types: vlogs (video blogs), video presentations, interviews, tutorials, product reviews or demos, live stream recordings, video testimonials from clients or even a video ad if you’re considering any form of video advertising.
One of the primary types, which businesses and organizations use most, are explainer videos. Explainer videos do just that; they explain about a product or service you offer.
The type of video I primarily produce are interview videos. This is a sweet spot for me as I was originally a journalist (turned public relations professional) in the early years of my career. I was either reporting on or writing feature stories. Feature stories encompass telling a story and that’s my area of focus. (No pun intended.)
If you’ve never done any kind of video before, starting with an interview format is a great way to begin and build your confidence on camera at the same time. It’s not just you, solo, in front of the camera, it’s two (or more) of you having a conversation. You get to look at each other and chat vs. looking directly into the camera. That, alone, should make your comfort level rise.
Plus, I’ve discovered – anecdotally, that is – that my audience enjoys my interviews. I seem to get more social engagement with interviews vs. when I do a video solo. While my own videos do well, they’re usually an explainer or how-to type video and features something specific. The interview, however, has a completely different dynamic.
I happen to be in my comfort zone in the role of interviewer since it comes naturally for me. I always prepare for an interview with three main points I want to hit on during the conversation. Depending on the answer from my guest to the first question, I may completely go “off-script” and not include the other two questions as I want to dig deeper into their reply to the first question. That takes active listening and a gut instinct.
All too often I see people head into an interview with prepared questions (which is still the best way to plan, prepare, and show up, by the way) and miss an opportunity to ask more probing questions to an interesting answer the guest may have provided.
Sometimes, however, the guest may just answer the question and you move on to the rest of the questions you prepared. That’s totally fine, too. But it’s even better to create a conversation; a dialogue. And that’s why your video audience will stay interested because they enjoy the conversation and listening to two people share their expertise in an informal way.
While many people are now producing podcasts, I had considered jumping on the podcast bandwagon, too. A podcast is a major commitment and one I don’t feel I have the bandwidth for at this point. So, I decided to do something a bit different and in the same vain as a podcast, I decided to create a webcast called “Coffee with Kate.”
My show doesn’t have a formal, set schedule, like a podcast would, and I don’t have to work to get subscribers and all the other hoops one has to jump through in Podcastland.
When I have an opportunity to interview a colleague, client, or industry expert, I’ll grab that moment when it presents itself, and schedule it at my guests’ convenience. Recently, I traveled on business to a client’s offices in Virginia, and had requested a video interview with the company’s president in advance.
Between my two presentations, I sat down with my guest for 10 minutes and interviewed him about some marketing strategies he was incorporating for his team around LinkedIn engagement. (The topic of my presentations for his team.)
I’d prepared for the interview in advance and knew what I’d ask him onsite. And, after he answered the first question in an in-depth, thoughtful manner, I kept on that angle and went further with it. His insights led us to him talking about his volunteer work, too, which had an alignment with his company. We uncovered some real value nuggets in that short time. I produced an 8-minute video interview, uploaded it to LinkedIn, and within less than 24 hours already had over 500 views! (This proves that content is, indeed, still king!)
Obviously, your topic and approach are key. The way you seed it in your social media posts or complementary blogs is critical. You want to tease it to your audience, so it piques their interest and they feel compelled to hit the ‘play’ button. This is true of all content we produce whether written, videotaped, or posted on social channels. Hook your reader in with valuable, meaningful content they want to see or read.
When people consider the channels to distribute their video content, they mostly think of Facebook, YouTube, and - more recently – Instagram TV (IGTV). LinkedIn is not often thought of as a primary channel to distribute video content, but I can tell you, it’s worth it.
Video on LinkedIn is super hot right now. In fact, LinkedIn – while, admittedly, late to the video game – is beta testing LinkedIn Live. (Think: equivalent to Facebook Live.) LinkedIn Live will be just that, live streaming video but it’s focus will be on business and professional content. Since that is the whole point of the LinkedIn platform in the first place.
LinkedIn rolled out its native video app (on mobile) in the fall of 2017 so video there is still relatively young. The native video just lets you use the LinkedIn app to record a video (no longer than 10 minutes per their limits) and have it upload to your profile. (Quick tip: I find the video in the app pretty buggy and recommend using video on your phone and then uploading it to your profile as a video file.)
People seem to resonate with video on the LinkedIn platform. In fact, according to Tim Peterson’s blog on Marketing Land, LinkedIn says that “when people see a video on LinkedIn, they are 20 times more likely to share it with their connections than any other type of LinkedIn post.”
In fact, there’s a host of marketing statistics about video across the Internet. Here are some highlights:
• Video is the best performing content on Facebook
• 81% of businesses use video (Infographic Journal)
• 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on any of their devices (Statista, 2018)
What is most interesting is that you don’t even need a big budget or lots of equipment to create decent, quality videos. That said, it’s still worth a small investment to put out the best videos your budget will allow beyond just your smartphone.
While video capability and quality on a smartphone is really good, you can take some affordable steps to invest in a few pieces of equipment to make it that much better, especially if video is going to become a primary part of your content marketing efforts.
If you’re going to produce video tips, explainer videos or any videos, which may only be 1-3 minutes in length, then using a decent webcam on your computer or laptop is worth the investment. I find that my Facetime camera built into my MacBook Air laptop is of very high quality.
You’ll also need decent lighting, put some thoughtful effort into creating a background, and invest in a quality microphone so your audio can be as good as possible. People can forgive so-so or low-quality video, but they can’t forgive crappy audio. If it’s hard to hear or low quality, your viewers won’t stay tuned-in.
I won’t get into video editing software here as that’s another topic altogether and it completely depends on your level of interest, learning curve bandwidth and practicality. I know enough basics to do it myself but when something really matters, I hire a video editor.
As you can see there is a lot to know but it’s nowhere near as convoluted, expensive, and cumbersome as it used to be even 5-10 years ago. You can produce great video right from your smartphone.
Do you produce any kind of video in your business? What topics have you covered?