MAKE GREAT SOCIAL VIDEOS
Social video can boost both your company’s brand awareness and its sales
LAST YEAR, INDIANAPOLIS-BASED building-restoration company Hays + Sons had a website and a Facebook and Twitter presence, but it tended to get lost amid a horde of competitors. Then tornadoes hit Kokomo, Indiana, and the company decided the time was right to try social video. A Facebook clip documenting the tornado damage has clocked 9,500 views on Facebook—extraordinary for a local business in an industry not known for its “clickability”—and, says co-founder Mark Hays, “it helped us communicate our message from the customer’s point of view. It sets us apart from our competition when the user is trying to pick between companies.” Facebook generates an average of eight billion video views per day, and YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. Yet only around half of small-business owners have made a video, social or otherwise, in the past year. That opens the field for companies like Hays + Sons. “In our industry, you’ve got everything from corporations like us to two dudes and a truck,” says Chris Novotney, the company’s director of business development. “Now when people go online and search, our videos pull up. It increased our sales.” Joining the video vanguard is surprisingly easy. Use these tips to start shooting. —ETELKA LEHOCZKY
KNOW THYSELF, KNOW THY VIDEO
Have a strategy before you shoot. If nobody in your industry is doing video, keep your budget low and your approach down to earth. At Des Plaines, Illinois–based payment-technology provider Integrity Payment Systems, founder and CEO Mike Ponder records straight-to-camera recruitment segments for potential salespeople with a Canon DSLR and a lapel mike. “Having my office as the backdrop personalizes it,” says Ponder, whose top video has gotten 1,200 Facebook views and helped recruit 60 new sales staffers last year. Your view counts may be modest if you’re in a specialized industry like Integrity’s, but video can have a big impact with highly targeted audiences. When Fortville, Indiana–based Thursday Pools began posting 360- degree videos made by local agency Media Fuel, “it was the first time we’d heard dealers saying, ‘This is something I’m going to show my customers,’ ” co-founder Bill Khamis says.
PICK YOUR PRICE POINT
Video can have almost any budget these days. At the bottom end, you can shoot with your phone. “Users see the authen-
ticity in it and they can really engage with it,” says Miami marketer David Verjano. If your competition already has a video presence or you’re trying to establish your brand, a high-end approach can set you apart. Ice Mule Coolers, based in St. Augustine Beach, Florida, spent $11,500 on the atmospheric clip “Bring the Party” and two shorter videos, limiting its shoot to one day to keep costs down. “Our video has garnered more than half a million impressions at a cost of 5 cents per view,” says marketing manager Guy Barnhart. “Since creating it, web sales are 10 times what they were.”
BE QUICK ABOUT IT
Short videos are good videos. “There’s nothing better than capturing moments of passion in 90 seconds or less,” says Jorge Rodriguez, founder of Fort Worth–based contractor Alliance Reconstruction, whose videos have gotten more than 11,000 Facebook views. “I introduce myself, introduce different parts of the company. They want to know who the owner of this company is.” The visuals don’t have to be elaborate. In February, South Florida restaurant chain Pincho Factory saw the power of social video when a bare-bones clip of its burgers grilling made it onto the Food Network’s Facebook feed. It got more than 180,000 views and produced “a spike at all the stores in sales of the burger they saw us cooking,” says co-founder and CMO Otto Othman. Such basic content is surprisingly effective. It “gives people a peek behind the curtain and makes a company a little more authentic,” says Chris Kelley of V2 Marketing Communications. “It’s almost mesmerizing to watch some of this stuff.”
VIDEO TO GO Whether you spend a lot or a little, your social video can put your company and brand in the public eye faster and with more impact than almost any other form of homegrown marketing.