Web Videos for Small Business

One of the many things Ryder and I are passionate about is helping small local businesses. Granted, we do have a personal stake in these kinds of businesses, but small local businesses provide more than employment. They create community, and are often more concerned with sustainable practices than larger companies. Here is our advice to small businesses that are looking to use online video as a way to promote themselves:

Don’t make a web commercial: A few people you know may watch it, but no one wants to share a video that reeks of advertising with their friends. A web video needs to be informative and fun, but not in a preachy or sales-y way.

Position yourself as an expert: Customers, clients, patrons all want to have confidence in the company or organization they are dealing with. Recognizable brands are often favoured because in general people know what to expect from them. In order to rise above larger companies advertising budgets to win the hearts and minds of potential customers, you need to show them that you can deliver more in a better way. (Notice I didn’t say you have to be cheaper. It is insane for a small business to try and compete with a larger corporation on price. You won’t win, and you might go bankrupt.)

Don’t ask–give: Instead of asking your audience to buy from you, give your audience something valuable. Whether you teach your viewer a new technique, or give them insight into a common problem your customers face, it is important to give before you can expect to receive.

Make sense: Your web video needs to be somehow related to your actual business. For example: A restaurant or catering company could make mini cooking show type videos where the head chef (or a charismatic member of the culinary team) teaches viewers how to make a complex or exciting dish. A few viewers may try to make the dish at home, but many more will be enticed by the delicious looking dish and the chef’s skill to visit the restaurant, or set up a meeting with the catering company.

Style it: It is important to remember that many, if not the majority, of your video views will come from mobile devices like smart phones and tablets  (over 50% of views on YouTube come from mobile devices, compared to 40% in 2013 and just 6% in 2011). What does that mean for you? Since most people will be seeing your video on a small screen having more (and closer) close-up shots is important – shoot too wide and no one will be able to tell what they are looking at. Not to mention Instagram & Facebook.

Schedule it: A series of videos will work better at drawing attention to your organization both immediately and over the long term. The best way to deal with this is to shoot several videos at the same time, have them all edited, then stagger your release dates at a frequency which will give you time to step away from making videos and focus on your actual business before returning to shoot another series of videos. Once you’ve set your release schedule (weekly/bi-weekly/monthly etc.) stick to it – including the day of the week and time that you release your videos. Regularity shows that you are serious about sharing your knowledge and over time it will make it much easier for you to build a loyal following.

Make a high quality video: All of my previous tips are completely irrelevant if your video screams “amateur hour”. A noisy, under-lit image will make people click away. I’m not saying that a quick, natural, and truly spontaneous Vine or other smart phone video has no place in your marketing plan (THEY DO) but for a flagship series of videos, you need something polished and easy to watch.

Contact Us for a free consultation.