Gini Dietrich

Using the Power of Video

By: Gini Dietrich | October 19, 2010 | 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…video is your best entrée to the online world. In a world where things fly by us at increasingly fast speeds, it’s important to put a face and voice with your e-mail address, Facebook page, Twitter account, and even company URL.

Trust me when I say, at one time I didn’t see the need for video. I would rather read and, mistakenly so, I assumed everyone else preferred that, too. Turns out, most of the population prefers to watch video…especially if it’s something they can have on in the background while they do other work.

According to YouTube, people are watching two billion videos every day and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. But it’s not just on YouTube. More than 41 million people are watching videos on Facebook, with an average watch time of 1:45.

So why aren’t you using video to connect with your customers and prospects? It’s hard? It’s scary? You don’t know how? You don’t have time? You don’t have anything anyone would want to watch?

Well, guess what? I’m going to teach you how to use video to promote your business, build a community, and connect with customers and prospects.

But before we begin, let’s talk briefly about things you can do with video in order to drive traffic.

  • Question of the week: Invite your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, blog readers, or customers to submit questions; then answer one every week via video.
  • Show your product: Instead of telling customers about your product, show them how to use it.
  • Video tutorials: Perhaps your product or service is highly technical. Teach people how to use what you sell.
  • Customer testimonials: Ask your customers to describe what it’s like working with you in a two-minute video.
  • Educate, educate, educate: Find reasons to educate customers about your products or services instead of selling. If you do it right, the education will sell for you.

Once the videos are complete, follow these eight steps (that take less than 15 minutes a day) to promote them online.

1. Create a YouTube channel. It’s as simple as a user ID and password.

2. Get on Facebook. If you don’t already have a Facebook fan page, create one, if only to post your videos until you’re ready to really engage with people there.

3. Buy a Flip camera. They’re $200 and fit in your purse or briefcase. You don’t need a tripod (when I use mine, I typically turn a trash can upside down and place it on that), and you don’t need video expertise. You turn it on, hit the red record button, say what you have to say, upload it to the Web using the handy-dandy USB connection, and voila! You’re finished.

4. While your video is uploading to your YouTube channel, consider what you’ll name it. Think about how people search for your topic. Is your video about a new product you’re launching? Is it in a new category or an existing one? If it’s in an existing one, go to Google and search for the product in the same way that you think your customers and prospects would search. What comes up? Nothing? A lot of junk? Or many, many links? You actually want something that has many links because you can piggyback on what people are already searching for and be included in the search results. Don’t name your video something that is more than 60 characters (including spaces).

5. Still in YouTube, create a description of what people will find when watching your video. This doesn’t need to be more than a couple of sentences. Then tag it with keywords. Click “save changes” and wait for it to finish uploading.

6. Once the video has finished uploading to YouTube, you can do several things. You can take the video link and send it to your current customer database. You can embed the video in a blog like we’ve done on Spin Sucks in the sidebar over there. You can embed the video in your website like we’ve done on the home page of Arment Dietrich. You can promote the video in your newsletter. You can leave it on YouTube and invite people to subscribe to your channel so that anytime you upload a new video, your “fans” see it first. Or you can do all of these things at once so people see it, no matter where they are.

7. Go to your Facebook fan page and upload the video there (using the video camera icon, you can upload directly from your Flip camera hard drive). Write something witty (so people are inclined to watch and comment) to go along with the video, and click “share.”

8. Rinse and repeat.

Once you get YouTube and Facebook set up, you have your Flip camera, and you spend three minutes to learn how to upload directly from the camera’s hard drive, it will take you less than 15 minutes a day to record, upload, and promote.

Yesterday we talked about the trends for next year and, in the comments, some smart people asked about online television and augmented reality. So, the floor is yours. What would you add to this list and how would you incorporate online television and augmented reality?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

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  • adrianag7

    I just bought a flip camera and have been trying to make more videos with it and post them on my web site. Check it out

  • DoctorJones

    You’ve explained how today’s tools make the tactic of shooting and uploading a video super easy, but I’m left with a lot of questions:

    – People are watching a load of video, but what types of video are they watching?
    – How do you make your video look/sound professional? Tutorials I can understand, but watching a talking head isn’t that compelling.
    – How do you get people to find your video beyond what you’ve mentioned?
    – Do you advocate using YouTube’s promoted video feature?
    – What about using Facebook media?
    – Is there an advantage to responding to other videos on YouTube or adding to my favorites or subscribing to channels that are similar?
    – You didn’t mention anything about including links to your blog/site/facebook page on the video’s description. Should you?
    – Any advantages/disadvantages to using Facebook’s video upload vs. embedding YouTube in your Facebook page.
    – Also, any advantage to using TubeMogul to upload to multiple video services at the same time?
    – What about the stats that YouTube gives you? What insights can be gained that will direct the video strategy in the future?

    I’m sure others have similar questions. Hopefully your community can share their experience in the comments.

    • timjahn

      @DoctorJones Having done a bunch of video for clients and on video interview site, I thought I’d share some of my answers for ya.

      >> People are watching a load of video, but what types of video are they watching?
      People are watching what interests them. Sounds cliche and unhelpful, but it’s key. For example, I’m one of the only guys in the world who doesn’t care for sports. So you won’t find me watching any sports videos online.

      >> How do you make your video look/sound professional? Tutorials I can understand, but watching a talking head isn’t that compelling.
      This requires knowledge and time. When I first started making videos back in the day, they didn’t look or sound very good. But with a lot of practice and learning, they got much better. As for talking heads, people care more about good content than they do amazing video quality. (and I hate admitting that, because I’m a video guy, so I care about good quality!)

      >> Also, any advantage to using TubeMogul to upload to multiple video services at the same time?
      TubeMogul is a GREAT one-stop shop service that I would highly recommend. Upload your video once and distribute to all sorts of relevant communities.

      >> You didn’t mention anything about including links to your blog/site/facebook page on the video’s description. Should you?
      Personally, I think you should. Visitors to the video on the respective video site (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) may want to learn more about you and click through to your site. Definitely can’t hurt.

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  • I’ve really been mulling over the idea of using video on my blog and such…but I always feel like I have work up the courage to do so! I’d hate to put out some goofy product with terrible video quality! Ha ha!

    I think I’ll follow this guideline and give it a shot later this month, thanks for sharing!

    • GiniDietrich

      @JMattHicks Do it! Do it! Do it! When my team finally talked me into doing it, I was wearing a hat (bad hair day) and decided just to do it. Now people look for me to something crazy. I’ve even done videos in my cycling clothes. Take the plunge!

  • Marijean

    I remember when I posted my first video and you said, isn’t it great! Keep doing it! And I have . . . and you’re right, of course. This is a post I’ll share with my blogging team – taking the plunge into that first video can be hard but you very clearly lay out the benefits and how easy it can be. Thanks for the ongoing encouragement, Gini.

    • GiniDietrich

      @Marijean The funny thing is that I really fought video, too. Now people EXPECT it (and also for me to do something dorky). We have to remember not everyone learns the same way and a lot of people are visual.

  • DamianDayton

    great stuff Gini.

    Video watching takes up more bandwidth than any other activity on the web. This suggests that it is the most used thing, but by it’s very nature watching one video takes orders of magnitude more bandwidth than reading something.

    Now could you convince people that once in a while it is worth while to hire a professional for their video? *winking emoticon*

    My biggest suggestion for first timers filming themselves is to use indirect sunlight as your source. You will look healthier and brighter.

    I know one photographer who does headshots for models and actors and she does 90% of her shots in a garage with the door open. Cheap cameras struggle in low light, but do great in well lit areas.

    • timjahn

      @DamianDayton This is a very important point you bring up. Good light is key. Most pocket consumer cameras nowadays (Flips, Kodaks, iPhone 4s, etc.) are horrible in low light conditions. Turn on as many lights in the room or open all the windows and let that sunshine in for better looking video.

  • DamianDayton

    One more thing:

    Consider YouTube, Vimeo and the like as Social Media sites, not just places to put content. While you can do just that, they have their own superstars, culture and ways to connect via commenting and video responses. Embedding video in Facebook makes it easy to show your friends, but embedding a youtube video in Facebook makes it live in two platforms. You tube is also more searchable, and easier to track. (though Vimeo has higher quality).

    Consider VideoPress if you want Youtube-like functionality, but want greater control of privacy.

    • GiniDietrich

      @DamianDayton Great tips! Thank you so much!!

    • timjahn

      @DamianDayton Great point! Each of these sites is a community of their own. For example, Vimeo is home to many independent filmmakers and creatives who love to watch each others work and help each other out. If you’re a company looking to sell mops, Vimeo probably isn’t the place for your videos.

    • DamianDayton

      @timjahn Also consider other communities like Vodpod, Devour and PopScreen. which I don’t know much about yet.

      One other point. I have heard services like Tube Mogul can actually get you blacklisted from google’s searches or at least tossed to the bottom. I don;t know if it is true though, and would like to do further research on the matter.

  • Harechevy

    Even though I usually like to comment instead of self promote on blogs we had a cool story regarding a Flip video and how it directly tied to a sale I just purchased a Kodak Zi8 instead of another Flip because of the external mic capabilities but still like the Flips for other reasons. You can find both of these in older models that still work awesome for $100. We are now requiring our sales staff to do walk around videos of a vehicle to send to prospects when we get a lead.

    Chris Theisen
    Director of Digital Communications
    Hare Chevrolet

  • InteractBill

    I have seen the flip camera mostly at family outings and for fun. The price is sure right but for business I worry about background noise and echo sounds! Are there cameras out there with lap mics, without paying much bigger bucks?

  • timjahn

    @InteractBill Check out the Kodak Zi8. It’s the same price point as the Flip, same pocket style camera, and has an external mic input. It also shoots higher quality video than the Flip, so all around better deal!

  • InteractBill

    Thanks timjahn, checked out this weekend at Staples, looks like Amazon has the best price at $120. the video on Kodak very helpful

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