So­cial video can boost both your com­pany’s brand aware­ness and its sales

Inc. (USA) - - FRONT PAGE -

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


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.


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.”


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.

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