You are thinking about creating a little video promoting your business.
Why? Because you know video, especially on social media, is a potent combination of marketing, messaging, and connecting.
Maybe you’ve been in business for a while and you’ve been managing the marketing, the website, and everything else, but you’re tired and frustrated managing it all yourself. You got into business to sell your stuff, not be a creative director and video editor, right? Or maybe your business is brand new and you are excited about the possibilities of launching your business with a strong message and voice.
The next question is how? How do you create a professional, creative, and polished video that shares your business and your vision?
This is one of those times when you need to call in a professional. Just like car selfies and cell phone pictures won’t cut when you need a professional headshot, a DIY video won’t cut it when you want to create a cohesive brand video.
I interviewed internationally-published & award-winning photographer and videographer, Jessica Clark, for this blog post since I’m a fan of her work and her desire to help business owners show up in the best way possible. Jessica and her RedFred Productions team have worked with the Portland Trailblazers, The MOB Nation, OHSU, and Capes & Crowns Foundation among others.
Jessica says it is helpful for business owners to have branding in place as well as a general overall idea of who their audience is before working with her. From there, she works with her clients to fine tune their ideas during story boarding.
What three things should a business owner know about their business before hiring a professional videographer?
“The first piece of launching a video is determining what the goal or purpose of your film will be. Is it story driven? Product or service driven? Do you want to feature testimonials? The next piece is understanding who your audience is. And, finally, how is this video going to represent your brand?
A clear understanding of the overall budget for the project will also help keep the process moving along because we’ll know what does and doesn’t align with your budget.
Why do you think video is so powerful when it comes to telling a business story?
Still images and headshots are like your signature while film gives businesses an opportunity to present your brand in a larger more impactful way.
Media companies, including Facebook, Instagram and even your local news station continue to shift to showcasing more videos because they recognize that video is eye-catching and in-depth information quickly without needing to browse through links and text. Overall, video just has more impact than words or images.
What questions do you find yourself answering over and over?
Similar to photographers who are asked to turn over all images from a photo shoot, videographers get similar questions about the extra and raw footage we shoot.
If we turned over raw footage there would be several camera angles, raw camera movements, no music, no color correction, no white balancing, no post image edits, no music, and audio files that need to be synced with the footage. Editing all those different elements together is the most important aspect of film making, it is where the story telling pieces together.
You might see my team working for four hours or eight hours – while we’re filming with you. But what you don’t see is the 20-40 additional post-production hours it takes to create a fully realized and finished video.
We’re also asked when someone should make a video. I think the best time really depends on your goals and your business model. If you are launching a new business, then a video makes sense because it puts your brand, whether that is a service or a product, front and center. If your business is offering a new product or service, that’s another great time to make a video.
Does the business owner need to appear on video?
Being in the video is not necessarily required for story-driven film models – those are films with story or campaigns, but it is good to put a face and connection with your brand if it is just a quick description of services.
New business launch videos that feature the owner are a terrific way to “break the ice" in introducing yourself to your community. These videos are often interview based and can also include early testimonials from clients.
What if the business itself isn’t interesting or photogenic?
That is why video is so cool! While still images can give your audience a summary of a "boring or ugly" industry, we can use video to give it a bit of excitement. By focusing on testimonials, the history of the business, or even creating more of a story driven film, we can make a “dull” business much more relatable and entertaining.
What do you wish business owners knew about what you do?
We are story tellers, first. A finished video is a collaborative project with the business owner.
Our films are not created from start to finish. We often we start from the middle, sometimes the end, and work backward. In the editing phase we are able to do the real story telling, small shifts and changes can impact video in a major way.
When an initial investment is made into a video, additional "spinoffs" can easily be created with extra footage and an updated interview or idea. This can match the growth of the business, and you end up with your own personalized stock video for your business.
What is the optimal video length for social media reach?
People have short attention spans, so a video that is one to three minutes long is generally the average viewing time for business videos. To keep a video from being too information packed, we can break them down into shorter, more impactful videos.
Last week I downloaded the Periscope app and I've been playing with it ever since.
If you haven't heard of Periscope yet, it is a live streaming app. Which means what you say is being broadcast as you say it. Periscope is owned by Twitter (in fact, they liked it so much they bought it before it was even released!) Since it is owned by Twitter, you need a Twitter account to sign up.
When watching a Periscope video, you can tap the screen to make little hearts appear (which means you like it). You can also interact with the person streaming by asking questions. Which, in a way, makes it much more immediate and conversational than even Twitter.
The "trick" with Periscope is that it disappears from the app after 24 hours. You can save your own "Scope" to your camera roll when you are finished. When you do this, the hearts and interactive conversation aspects disappear and the video will look just like any other video. You can also use katch.me to save all of your scopes in one place. Mine are saved at www.katch.me/gmontoyapdx
There are similar apps and methods for live streaming. Google Hangouts and Meerkat are probably the two biggest names out there, but Periscope seems to be rapidly eclipsing them.
How it works
Once you are signed up, you'll see some different options:
The television icon shows recently finished "Scopes" by people you follow.
The globe icon lets you see what is live streaming now. You can see it as little numbers above countries or as a list.
To make your own periscope, tap the little Periscope icon. It pops up a window where you can caption your video. This is where a good, clear title and hashtags will help your 'Scope be found. Unlike other video apps, with Periscope you film vertically rather than horizontally. UPDATE 9/14/15: Periscope now allows you to film either way.
The final people icon along the bottom allows you to explore both people you already follow on Twitter (who have also joined Periscope) as well as popular Periscope users.
In the upper right corner, there is a single person icon - this is your own user information.
The periscope system has the camera default to the back camera, so you'll need to double tap the screen to turn it around once you start filming (which is weird to me and I need to work on my flipping skills). I've seen some users write the title of their 'Scope on a piece of paper and begin by filming that. I think that is very clever and gives a much better "cover" image than a floor or room.
As you broadcast people can join you. When I did my first quick Periscope, I honestly didn't think anyone would join me, so that was unexpected! The more you do it, the more you'll get the hang of it. I'm up to seven now and I feel much more confident than I did the first time. I'm still getting the hang of talking and reading and responding all in the same breath.
You have the option of pinpointing your general area or removing that information. I had a few troll issues when my area was pinpointed, but removing my location solved that issue. UPDATE 9/14/15: The general area comes within a few blocks of your location, so you may prefer to turn off the location option when you are at home.
Once you are done, you can save the video to your phone's camera roll. You can also share the link to your Periscope. But, here is the trick - your video will disappear from the app/online in 24 hours (it is like a self destruct envelope from Mission Impossible!!)
Periscope is a live streaming app, so it is a bit of a data hog. You might want to make sure you are connected to wi-fi before recording or viewing scopes to avoid using all of your monthly data at once.
Why bother with Periscope?
It is kinda fun and has some neat things going for it:
You can save and re-purpose the video to YouTube or Facebook or Instagram. Even your blog. It is your content.
It is neat to connect with people and take a look at what is happening in the world *right now* Fair warning - sometimes it is someone's dog staring at the camera or someone filming a street sign.
Depending on your business, it might make sense to use Periscope to stream a live event, offer a promo, or give video sneak peeks.
You can make the videos appear for only some people - offering a class or workshop? You can do it via Periscope or use it as add on support.
Super fast & easy to setup - so if you are in the "I'd do videos, but I don't have the right equipment" camp - that excuse doesn't work anymore!
Do you really need yet another social media platform to stress about?
But if you are comfortable in front of the camera (or want to practice), this could be a fun way to do it AND make new connections.
Is this going to flame out in three months? Totally possible - especially since Facebook is making noises about offering something similar. On the other hand, Periscope is growing like crazy and everyone seems to be curious about how it works and what it can do for them.
Who is this for?
Active Twitter users will likely get the most out of it since there is an option to auto-tweet a message when you are on Periscope.
I'm @gmontoyapdx if you want to follow me.
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.