Did you know that over 4 billion videos are viewed on Youtube every day? I probably contribute to a good 40-50% of those views, seeing that I don’t really do the whole “going outside” thing that often. Sun is overrated.
Needless to say, we as a human race seem to really enjoy watching videos on the Internet – and businesses have been very aware of this for some time now.
However, think to yourself, out of all those Youtube clips you’ve watched online – particularly those meant to market a brand, company, or promotional campaign – how many of them did you just HAVE to share with your friends? I’ve found myself keeping rather quiet in this regard.
The overwhelming majority of branded online content I am exposed to is unoriginal dribble –made either on an “I really don’t care” budget, or with lots of financial backing but zero creative concern – which is even worse when you consider how online video outlets like Youtube are already severely over-saturated with more awful material than a Carrot Top show.
If you want your videos to stand out – they don’t have to been stellar, high-budget studio productions – they just can’t be shlock. They might be free to the consumer – but poorly produced video can be the difference between someone choosing to follow you online, or moving right along to the next guy.
Without further ado, I present to you five simple tips that will not only make your video content more “social” (i.e. share-worthy) – but will undoubtedly improve the integrity and value of your brand as a whole. These tips won’t necessarily make any of your videos go “viral” – but they will certainly improve audience engagement and brand appreciation – which is ultimately far more important.
1) Invest in “decent” recording equipment.
Believe me, I understand how costly producing a single two-minute video can be. And in a poor economic climate like the one we currently face – video expenses don’t often make the cut within a business’s budget. But as I have said, you aren’t trying to shoot the next Transformers flick – you just need your content to display some modest professionalism – and at the very least it has to stand out above the average Joe’s home movie collection. On Youtube, the bar for production value is not set as high as you might think.
But remember, if I am going to share YOUR content on Facebook, Twitter, etc it is going to take residency on MY social platform, so it immediately becomes a reflection of my own personal “brand.” Therefore my interest in posting something that is overly flawed in its aesthetic is increasingly limited.
There are amazing HD video camcorders you can purchase refurbished for less than $200. It is worth it – I assure you. But for those of you that are really not kidding when you say you’re on a budget (i.e. no budget) – there is still a solution to help you stand out in the crowd that will run you less than thirty bones!
Ladies and gents I present to you the Edutige iMicrophone Voice Recorder – a miniature audio recorder for your smartphone. I have seen this little beauty in action and I can’t stress enough how much of an improvement it makes on video content from a mobile device. Most smartphones already shoot beautiful HD video (heck, the iPhone 4s has image stabilization!) – but there is no denying that the internal microphones are noticeably weak and lacking in any clarity. This little device will significantly boost the audio recording capabilities of your phone and give you just the right amount of professional edge to reflect the value of your content, and better persuade me to share your productions on my network.
2) Less is FAR more!
For better or for worse – we are digesting our content in smaller and smaller allotments. It’s no surprise that Viddy, the new mobile start-up that allows users to upload videos NO LONGER THAN 15 SECONDS in duration, has been the recent #1 mobile app on iTunes, and with 16 million users, adds 500,000 new ones each day! And these videos are being SHARED more frequently as well.
Here is an idea – if you want to create some video content for your business – try capturing about 20 minutes of footage. Now take that raw material and edit it down into ten digestible 1-2 minute “episodes.” You can release these intermittently throughout the course of a couple months for your viewers to pick and choose at their discretion. Certain videos will resonate with certain people, others will not – but the fact that you are providing an option of content will lead to more shares as you are expanding to a wider circle of likes and interests.
3) Have an “emotional direction.”
There is a huge difference between telling me about your business in words versus showing me your business on camera. It’s important to remember that video is far more sensory than text. You’re not making a PowerPoint presentation, you’re creating something far more relatable – something human.
And in the fleeting time frame you have to nab your audience’s attention online, you are more likely to absorb your viewer emotionally with a video than any other medium.
This is where creativity comes into play. And although pop culture might suggest otherwise, being creative does not always mean being the loudest or craziest person in the room. In online video, creativity simply means your content has a voice that is both unique and valuable to listen to – maybe not to everyone, but certainly to your brand’s target audience. If you can tap into the humanity of your message (versus resorting to on-screen text and dry voiceovers) you will undoubtedly build a stronger relationship with the viewer.
4) If you create a call to action – be specific!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a video conclude with either the “host” character or some random voiceover asking the viewer to “Let us know what you thought of the video! Leave a reply in the comments section!” – only to see that comments section left emptier than the seats at a Carrot Top show (I don’t know why I have it out for this guy today…)
Yes, calls to action in videos are an amazing way to engage your audience – but you can’t be lazy about it. If you ask your viewers a question it must be more substantial than “what do you think about the video you just saw” – that’s what the “like” & “dislike” buttons on Youtube are for!
If you ask your audience a genuine, descriptive question meant to spark an active communication thread, you will find that your viewers are more responsive to your inquiry, and are more likely to incorporate their friends and followers as well – as long as the conversation is intriguing and relevant.
5) Teach me something I don’t already know – or wouldn’t be able to find out from your website’s “About” page.
If the theme of your video is “check out our website” or “come to our establishment” – then congratulations, you have successfully just wasted your time making this piece of content when you could have more easily posted a URL link to your homepage or Google Maps address.
Use video as an opportunity to do something your website simply can not provide. This is your opportunity to show the personality of your business – give it vitality.
Sometimes the most crucial element to being a more “social” business is the ability to act off-script and let your consumer into a world that would otherwise be concealed from the public. Let your video content be that openness and transparency your audience is looking for. Teach us something. We are hungry.