Posted: Thu 26th Aug 2021
Creating video content for your business may feel like another task to add to your to-do list, but approach it strategically and it can become a seamless part of your working life.
A recent survey from Wyzowl revealed that people watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week, an increase of 52% in the last two years. What’s more, 86% of people would like to see more videos from brands.
But what does this mean for small businesses? And how can you harness this appetite for video content in your marketing efforts?
We’ve put together some simple steps to follow if you’re new to video, with advice from other founders who are using video content successfully.
Do it yourself
You don’t need to pay an external company to create effective videos. With the right blend of creativity and authenticity, homemade videos can resonate better with customers, especially if you’re using them on social media.
Look at formats that show the real side of your business, like behind-the-scenes videos or packing up products.
Kath Senior, owner of eco glitter brand EcoStardust, explains that most of her company’s videos have been made in-house.
“You really don’t need a big budget and can easily make videos yourself. It can take a bit of trial and error, but as long as they’re interesting they will do well.
“We simply record clips on our phone and then use Adobe Premiere Rush to edit them. Phones have such amazing cameras in them now and there are loads of websites or videos with hints and tips.”
Don’t be apologetic about making videos yourself. Use different functions in your smartphone like fast forward video and think about how these can be used to create short social media videos with impact.
Start with small investments
There’s no need to buy lots of professional kit to get started, but a few wise investments will make a difference. Do some research into each of the following areas to see if a small purchase could pay off:
Use an app like Filmic Pro to improve the capabilities of your smartphone camera when filming on your smartphone.
Adobe Premiere Rush is a very useful editing app.
If you don’t want to invest, try GoPro Quik, a free app which has simple editing tools and can sync your videos to music.
A shaky camera can be forgiven on many DIY social videos, but if you’re planning to do explainer videos or interviews, investing in a phone tripod will give you a more professional finish.
Sound can make or break a video. A small investment of £20 to £60 for a personal mic (also called a lavalier mic) is money well spent if you’re planning videos with talking in them. If you don’t want to purchase mics, use background music and captions instead.
If you’re filming yourself or other people, it will pay to buy some lighting. A ring light is a simple way to even out the light on people’s faces – you can buy a simple kit for less than £100.
Create original content
What are your passion points and areas of expertise? Make this your starting point for ideas so that your content is authentic and true to you.
Lucy Cardwell, owner of Lucky Cloud Skincare, has benefited from the video features on Instagram, like Reels, Stories and IGTV. These features have opened up new opportunities for her business to engage directly with customers.
“We’re an online business creating very tactile skincare products, so my customers don’t get an opportunity to interact with our products before they buy them.
“Running demonstrations on IGTV has been really successful at showing the products in use. Seeing how our soaps lather up on film is so much more effective than reading a review, and after posting videos like this we’ve seen a direct impact on sales.”
Types of video content to create
Creating short videos doesn’t need to be time consuming once you’re set up and into the rhythm of filming them. Consider your average working week and pinpoint aspects of your business that could easily be captured on video.
Use these examples of different video formats to help spark some ideas:
How-to videos. These are especially suitable if you have an area of expertise. From professional services (‘How to set up your bookkeeping’) to practical advice (‘How to change your car tyre’) and even products (‘How to apply eye make-up’), there are endless ways to make this work, whatever your business.
Product guides and demos. Illustrating how your products work may seem obvious to you, but it’s one of the most sought-after types of content. Online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos reported a 30% increase in sales on product pages using video demos.
Unboxing. Another easy way to showcase your products with very little effort. Simply film someone unpackaging your products and using them for the first time. You can do this with influencers in your industry, staff or customers.
Testimonials. Speak to your clients and customers about how they rate your products and services for short testimonial videos. This is a useful tool for pitches, events and seminars.
Behind the scenes. Your customers and clients love getting an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. EcoStardust created a simple walkaround of their business premises to celebrate Independents’ Day and filmed a behind-the-scenes video at one of their photo shoots, for example.
Make it personal and go live
Live videos may seem daunting at first, but they are one of the best ways to connect directly with customers in real time. And their popularity is rocketing – the intimacy created by live videos was a huge attraction during lockdown. During March and April 2020, the live video industry reported 45% growth in hours watched.
Small businesses can use this format in a wide range of situations – think about a short live film at an event or a Q&A session with an expert within your business.
This is a format that Lucy Cardwell has focused on, talking directly to her customers about how to use her products.
“Recording on camera doesn’t come naturally to me and it felt terrifying at first. To start with, I practised multiple times and set up the camera in different angles until I was happy. You have to push through the discomfort until you feel more confident.”
Kath Senior agrees that it can be difficult to go in front of the camera, but believes her audience expects to see the face behind the brand.
“We plan to do more videos showing the team behind the brand. We’re hoping to help people connect with us as humans and find out more about what we do and why. It’s about having a more personal relationship and hopefully building brand loyalty.”
Develop a multi-purpose content strategy
Be strategic about the videos you’re making and plan out content that can be reused across different marketing channels.
This is an approach that Lucy Cardwell is adopting after realising that the product demonstrations she created for Instagram can be edited and added to the product pages on her website.
“I’m now considering all my videos from two points of view before I film: how they will work on Instagram and how they will work on the website, so they can have a purpose in both places and reach a wider audience.”