Why the big ‘hoo-haa’ about using Video in Your Business… and What’s Possible with an Idea, an iPhone and Four Hours?

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Why the big ‘hoo-haa’ about using Video in Your Business… and What’s Possible with an Idea, an iPhone and Four Hours?

I woke up on the morning of 27th December 2018 with an idea. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself… it’s just that it was only 3 am and after spending Christmas night sleeping on a couch, being disturbed by a sick baby and a grumbling dog, my festive cheer had taken a nose dive, and I wasn’t best pleased that my brain had decided to disrupt another night of slumber!

I tried to ignore it and get back to sleep but my brain wasn’t having any of it. It was buzzing with the possibility of creating a video to use as an advert for a special offer we’d put together for our company launch, based on a film I’d watched on Christmas Eve. I started writing the script and planning the storyboard out in my head, but I knew it would have to be done quickly and I wasn’t sure we’d have the time…and that’s when the doubt started creeping in. I’ve talked myself out of many ideas, but I just felt this would work… so I focused on my new mantra of taking ‘imperfect action’ and as soon as the clock hit a reasonable hour, I went to tell my partner about my crazy idea…

But let me back up a bit before I tell you what happened, because I want to talk to you about video first.

I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like everywhere I turn someone is shouting about using video in marketing. If you have found some quiet corner of the planet and haven’t yet heard about why you should use video in your business… here are the headlines.

  • Shed loads of people are watching videos every day (75 million in the US & 82% of Twitter Users).
  • We’ve all got the attention span of a gnat and video can get the message over more easily than text, AND create an emotional connection using storytelling through the sound and images…which is why 95% of the message is retained using video versus 10% when reading text.
  • It can massively increase engagement for your marketing:
    • 1200% more shares on social media for video compared to text & image combined
    • 33% more interaction on Facebook
    • You get a 13% increase in your email click through rate if you use the word ‘video’ in your subject line
  • It gets you more sales:
    • 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded video and 57% say it gives them more confidence to purchase online
    • There’s an 80% increase in’ landing page conversions
    • 51% of marketing professionals say video gets you the best ROI

(Sources – www.impactbnd.com & www.dreamgrow.com)

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a convert, (and with those stats IMHO you’d be stupid not to be), in fact helping clients with video content is one of the services we offer… but my concern is that with all the ‘hoo-haa’ two things can happen.

Firstly, you can rush into making videos without considering the best way to use it strategically for your content and business, or secondly, you can feel so overwhelmed by the whole thing that you ignore it while feeling constantly nagged at by your brain in the background telling you that you “should do video or you’ll be missing out” … (which makes you resent it even more!)

So… I want to give you five tips for using video in your marketing, so you get it right for your business and you don’t feel overwhelmed…

1) Choose the right type of video for your target audience and purpose:

There are at least 15 types of video you could choose to do, but each type has a different strategic intention, so you need to decide who your target audience is and the purpose of the video before you rush off with your camera.

There are three umbrella categories for videos:

  • Raising Awareness– These generally go to an audience with little awareness of you or the problem you solve, and they are typically short with high entertainment value to grab and keep attention.
  • Engagement– The aim of these is to get a reaction and they can be provocative in order to start to attract your ‘tribe’ and start to repel those who you don’t want to work with.
  • Education– These are to teach your viewers something, and you will hear terms like ‘explainer’ video in this category.

These are just a rule of thumb though as I have seen videos by brands like ‘Dollar Shave Club’ and ‘Squatty Potty’ that manage to cover all of these categories in one video.

If you are not sure about your target customer, then you will get some help in clarifying this with me here (scroll down to the ‘Your target customer’s pain post on this page).

If you want to find out more about the different types of videos you could use then click here for some great content on this from ‘uscreen’.

2) Make your video mobile friendly

Nearly 50% of all videos are watched on a mobile device, so you must make sure you create your content with this in mind. Here are the key things you need to be aware of:

  • Load time & Size– because mobiles have lower bandwidth, (and we all have little patience for slow technology) you need to make sure you use a platform to host your video that can detect and dynamically respond to mobile bandwidth and also screen size, such as Wistia, Vimeo and YouTube.
  • Sound quality– needs to be awesome and clear as mobile devices have low quality speakers that can distort the audio when playing it at full volume.
  • Text– mobiles have teeny tiny screens, and text can be really hard to read, (especially if middle age has kicked in and your arms aren’t long enough to stop things being blurry), so make sure you use large text!
  • Thumbnail – choose a thumbnail for your video that will be easy to see on mobiles too, for example an iPhone is 640px wide and a large monitor at 1920px wide.

3) Choose the right length:

Whilst I’m going to make some recommendations here based on my research and experience, this is also a little bit ‘suck it and see’ … as there is no one size fits all answer, (did you see what I did there!)

Pretty much all social media platforms now support video of varying lengths, but just because it’s possible to put a feature length video of your product’s technical specifications on a platform, it’s probably not the best idea. One of the main reasons is because, (as I’ve mentioned already), our attention spans are declining rapidly…check out this infographic to see how video length affects drop off rates:

Image by Wave based on research by Wistia

We always use these as our rule of thumb based on advertising rules, results of work we’ve done for clients and our own marketing experience:

  • Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feed posts between 30-60 seconds
  • Linked In feed posts 1-2 minutes
  • Website home page intro videos 2-3 minutes
  • You Tube / Website Explainer Videos 2-5 minutes
  • Corporate in-house engagement video 1-2 minutes
  • Live Video lengths will vary depending on what you are doing and whether it’s a ‘pop on’ bit of content to share a tip or document something that’s happened, versus a Q&A session or teaching vid.

The bottom line is that videos up to 2 minutes in length get the best engagement, but if you want a really in-depth look at video lengths then check out this blog post from ‘Socially Sorted’ here.

4) Add in subtitles to maximise engagement:

Having established that a massive chunk of your audience is watching video content on their mobile, (and potentially costing their Mother a fortune by going over their data allowance… (quick tip – make sure your kids have budget control on)), then it stands to reason that many of them won’t be in a position to have the sound on. This could be because they’re in the loo at work, in a noisy place, or on public transport, (although that one doesn’t stop everyone) … or they just can’t be arsed to turn the volume on until they think your video is worth expending the energy to lift their finger to the screen!

All that being said…make sure you get subtitles put on!!

You can get this done very cheaply on places like Fiverr, where you can get one person to transcribe the video and another person to put the subtitles on. Or, if you have the time you can do it yourself by creating and uploading an SRT file with the video to YouTube or Facebook, or your video platform of choice.

5) Recognise that content is more important than production value:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the content is more important than production value for your video, (well except by companies trying to flog expensive video creation services…with the exception of the Harmon Brothers who can genuinely claim a good ROI on the $500k investment you need to get them to do your 3-minute video).

In fact, according to HubSpot research in 2018, “consumers and customers actually prefer lower quality, “authentic” video over high quality video that seems artificial and inauthentic.”

This means that a worry about production quality shouldn’t stop you from using video in your marketing… which is a good place to pick up what happened after I told my business partner Emma about my 3am idea…

Emma thought it was great and we decided to go ahead and try to get it done and here’s what happened.

We were both had a family Christmas commitment in the morning but managed to get a local pub lined up to use as a location. (Big shout out to The Crown Inn at Broad Hinton, near Swindon in the UK… they do awesome food, check them out at www.thecrownatbroadhinton.com if you’re a local!)

We roped in Emma’s Dad to be ‘the Landlord’ and briefed him on his role and then picked up some A3 cards to use in the filming.

We decided to use just an iPhone (8 plus version), and a tripod to film, and we managed to get over to the location by 2.30pm after filling other commitments.

We filmed the same scene from three different angles, got a couple of location shots and then went into editing in iMovie. (We didn’t have to worry about audio on this one, but we would have just used a lavaliere mike into an iPhone if we’d have needed it.) We got some royalty free music from www.hooksounds.com and then put it all together.

In total it took us just over four hours and cost us our time, and £15 for the cards and marker.

And here is the finished video…

And now let me share the organic results that we got using this video…

Here’s LinkedIn:

In one week we got five times the amount of views that we normally get for our posts, (see the 527 above this one), and the amount of people that viewed my profile went up over 1200%.

We also put the video on our brand new Facebook Page – which had at the time about 20 followers, and these are the results we got on there:

Just on organic reach we got 671 views and 4 shares, which from 20 people is not bad.

We were chuffed with these results and it shows what’s possible with little time and budget and a great idea.

So, now that you know:

  • why video is so critical in your marketing content mix,
  • the key things to think about when creating video content
  • and that it doesn’t need to cost the earth

I hope that whether you have a go personally, (or you use a company like us to help you), you go out and start using video stories to grab and engage your target customer in the coming year!

By Sarah Archer

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