How to create video content that will engage your customers

Why video is suddenly so important

Video has been growing in popularity over the last decade, but a convergence of factors have given it a real boost that make it a stand-out trend for small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in 2017. On the technology side, mobile internet is now capable of streaming video onto smart phones, meaning that after a dip where many people would only watch video on a PC, moving pictures are now ubiquitous. Data plans have also caught up with the new mobile world, and even light users often have enough data to watch video without worrying about their limits.

This is good timing as some sites have started auto-playing videos, so users see the content without deciding to click. This holds true for video advertising as well as other clips. As a result, people are seeing more videos and are becoming more and more used to looking for information in video form. As an example, YouTube is now home to thousands of how-to videos covering everything from eyebrow shaping to engine repairs.

Choosing a topic

Tackling social media with your work hat on can be tricky: OK, drunken selfies are out, sharing pictures of your kid or your cat is out, talking about your lunch is out… so what’s left? The right topic obviously depends on your industry and area of expertise, but here are some areas to brainstorm around:

  • Product demonstrations
  • Product comparisons
  • How-to guides
  • Answering customer questions / FAQs
  • Site or office tours / behind the scenes
  • Interviews with staff or industry leaders
  • Customer testimonials
  • Expert testimonials
  • Video advertising

Location and casting: setting the tone

If your logo could talk, how would it sound? Would it be authoritative, neutral and well spoken or jokey, chipper and enthusiastic? The appropriate tone for your audience is one you’ll use across your brand, from logo to customer emails, and should shine through in your video. The type of atmosphere you intend to create will influence everything from setting to casting to editing. A few examples of how details can add to your message:

  • A video about car repair shot in a mechanic’s workshop → authoritative
  • An ad for shampoo shot near a waterfall → natural product
  • Well dressed, happy, laughing children behind a fence → good school
  • Sad or still children looking through a fence → charity

Television and online video has given rise to a set of shared images and assumptions which you can either tap into or work against but shouldn’t ignore. Every industry will be affected by a different set of images, conventions and assumptions, some positive and some negative. Working against these stereotypes and showing how you stand out can be a powerful way to draw customers.

Get the professionals in

Yes, you can shoot a successful video in your office using only a phone and a desk lamp. If you look on video sharing sites you’ll find hundreds of examples of no-budget videos with a million hits or more.

Unfortunately, while some no-budget videos are a great success, most aren’t and it’s impossible to ensure yours is one of the tiny minority that take off. The truth is that most people, most of the time, prefer to take the easy road. In video terms, this means that people want to watch a clip that’s concise, well-edited, well-lit, with clear sound and a rapid pay off. A professional video photographer and editor can craft this for you. While a complex ad may be expensive to shoot, product demonstrations, reviews, staff interviews and other business-driven videos can be very affordable. In many cases, a single day of shooting can give you up to 10 short videos to post over the coming weeks and months.

Consider using animation

Shooting in Hollywood or Hull is equally cheap when it’s all animated. Whether you want to dress up existing footage or create a piece from scratch, animation provides an excellent way to get exotic destinations, dramatic action and quick changes, usually for a much lower price than the equivalent live shoot. Animation can also be combined with live action video and green screen work to create complex, multi-faceted videos and advertisements.

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