We’re living in a constant state of information overload. Consumers of all ages share memes instead of reading news articles, and watch short online clips instead of full TV episodes. Major retailers and brands know this and spend big marketing bucks to take advantage of these habits.
Video is the best example of this trend. It’s not just for 30-second TV commercials anymore. From Dunkin’ Donuts, to the Tough Mudder race series, to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, recognizable brands are now dedicating resources to create short, shareable videos and live streams.
But there’s good news – there are some quick and easy “hacks” that small businesses can use to get their share of attention and customers. You don’t need to hire a huge production team to create entertaining video content to promote your business. Here are five tips for using video to grow your business on a small budget and with little experience.
- Your phone is your friend. If you’re part of the majority of Americans today, you probably own a smartphone. Many shoot high-quality video, and with free downloadable tools you can use to easily make edits. Your video doesn’t need to look like a Hollywood blockbuster. Consumers today appreciate scrappiness and originality – that’s probably why many of your customers stay loyal to you as a business owner.
- Utilize apps. If you or one of your employees can follow basic instructions and has a decent eye for a good video shot or image, there’s no reason you can’t teach yourselves some amateur video editing skills. Fortunately, there are several useful video editing apps for your smartphone or tablet. Check out: iMovie for iOS, PowerDirector for Android and LumaFusion for iOS. Adobe lso offers a number of its creative apps on mobile.
- Keep it short and shareable. Think about when you scroll through your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter feed in your spare time. You skim so quickly it’s amazing you’re not a master speed reader at this point. How often do you watch a video all the way through that is longer than three minutes? Probably rarely. You and your customers are similar in this sense. Aim to keep your videos between 10 and 30 seconds so you don’t lose their attention. Test it – if people just watched the first ten seconds of your video, would it be clear what you are offering or asking them to do? If you’re waiting to make the offer or the ask until the end, move it up.
- Tell a “story.” Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are all competing for our “stories.” These are short clips or stills that disappear after 24 hours or so (the tech industry calls this “ephemeral messaging”). Check out your big brand competitors on any of these channels – it’s likely they’re using stories to show customers using their products, advertising flash sales, and encouraging fan engagement. If you don’t have time to invest into longer-form video, go for the short and sweet stories. Play around with it – it isn’t permanent, after all. And if you need some tips on social media in general, let us help.
- Make it relatable with a friendly face (or five!). Your customers probably have a sense of your personality and your business’ – make sure your video is authentic to that image and gives people a window into who you are. Are you quirky and irreverent like this Atlanta-based animal shelter? Take a cue from their cat commercial. And always remember that customers most trust someone like them – video testimonials are a great way to put current and future customers at ease with doing business with you.