Creative commons image by microbiologybytes (flickr).

Creative commons image by microbiologybytes (flickr).

You’ve probably heard that video marketing is the next big thing for businesses, and maybe you’re wondering whether it would be a good strategy for you. What would you make your videos about? Since video appeals to so many people, there are definitely ways for you to take advantage of the craze and develop a name for yourself on YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat or one of the other many platforms that support videos. Here are some tips on making the most of the opportunity, no matter what type of business you have.

How-To Videos

Chances are great that there’s something that you, as the owner of your business, know how to do that the average layperson does not. This might be using one of your products most effectively, if you sell products. It might be DIY-ing a solution to a problem that many of your customers approach you with. It might even be somewhat unrelated to the service you provide, but still something that your clients need to know how to do. You could create a how-to video that will not only bring viewers to your website (or YouTube channel or Facebook page), but will also increase your authority. All you need is someone to record you doing whatever it is you’re teaching your viewers how to do while narrating it so people can follow along at home. As a bonus, you could type up the process and include it in the video description.

Demonstrations

If you have a product or products, why not demonstrate how to use them on-screen? This can be more effective than an instruction manual for those who are more kinetically inclined and less likely to follow written instructions. It can also minimize the need for you to be constantly answering troubleshooting questions; if your customers can see what they’re doing wrong because the video is showing them how to do it right, they’re less likely toA� have trouble that would necessitate a phone call or visit. This can also be a great sales piece, as people who watch your video will see how simple and easy your product is to use.

Expert Interviews

Sure, you’re the expert on your niche, but your customers might have questions about products or services that are complementary to yours. Try interviewing local experts about what they do, too. This brings interest to your channel and makes you a friend outside of your own industry. Maybe he or she would be willing to interview you for their blog, website or video channel, too.

Whiteboard Explanation

Do you want to explain the science behind your product or service? Drawing it out on a whiteboard (you can use an actual dry-erase board and dry-erase markers) can help your viewers understand what you’re talking about. This type of video marketing is also a great idea if you want to discuss the history of your business or the different types of products or services available from your business.

Simple Entertainment

Once you have a video channel set up, keeping it lively by interspersing informative information with some entertaining stories or company-produced music videos or holiday greetings can be a great way to keep interest in your channel alive. Have fun with it! (But do remember to be appropriate and sensitive to your viewers by staying away from political or other types of controversial topics.)

Convinced yet? Video marketing can be a boon to your business if you have some ideas on how to create a good handful of videos for your chosen platform. With any luck, they’ll get passed around and you’ll see an increase in your bottom line.

 


Social Media
Social Media

Creative Commons image by Jason Howle

We recently talked a bit about using social media as part of your marketing strategy. We went over the biggest sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Today wea��ll be discussing some of the sites that you might not have thought of.

It is important to remember that this is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it a list of sites that you must use. When youa��re developing your social media strategy, ita��s very important to pick and choose only the sites that you have time to keep up with and that will work well with your industry and your target clients.

Google+

You might find that many of your social contacts prefer other sites, namely Facebook, to Google+. Instead of thinking of this site as a replacement for Facebook, however, understand that it has some different features.

First, ita��s connected to the rest of your Google account. This means that if you have a Gmail account, your connections will be able to see when youa��re online and will be able to share things with you. Google+ is also geared more toward professionals than Facebook is, so therea��s a better chance that your clients, colleagues and customers will want to add you in their Circles.

Ita��s worth noting that if you are uploading images to Google+, they will be saved with high resolution, which is unlike the images saved on other social media sites. If you already have a Google account (and leta��s face it: you probably do!), using Google+ might make sense.

Tumblr

If you are marketing to a younger (under 35) crowd, you may want to look into the social blogging site called Tumblr. In general, Tumblr users are college students or younger adults who might not be in the midst of the mortgage-spouse-kids years quite yet. You can post images, write up content or share other peoplea��s material from their Tumblr sites. Depending on your a�?perfect customer,a�? this might be a site worth considering.

Vine

Have you always wanted to produce videos that were six seconds long? Well, this is the point of the free app called Vine. You might be surprised at how much creativity you can pack into just a few seconds. You can show your followers how to do something using the stop-motion feature, say (or sing!) your tag line, tell a quick joke, or whatever you want. You can read more about some of the reasons to consider this app, as well as see some cool examples, here.

YouTube

Video marketing is projected to see some impressive growth over the next several years. Why? Ita��s easy, it appeals to people who dona��t have the attention span or time to dedicate to reading an article, and it has the potential to engage people more than a two-dimensional website can. As a member of YouTube, you can also comment on other peoplea��s videos and gain a following. Conduct your own webinar or answer FAQs on your video. The possibilities are endless!

Flickr

If your business depends on quality images, Flickr is an excellent site to consider using. Not only are images stored at full resolution, but theya��re easy for others to find and view. You can save the photos in such a way as to prevent unauthorized downloading, or you can put them up under a Creative Commons license, which allows others to use (and, if you allow it, modify) your images for their own websites. Imagine finding your photos on an informative site owned by someone else!

Remember, setting up social media accounts is only the first step. Once you have decided which sites are best for you to concentrate on, the more difficult part comes along: engaging with your followers. We will be talking more about that soon!