Courtesy navigation

How to use video to promote your business

How to use video to promote your businessHave you thought about creating videos to promote your business? Video can boost your search engine rankings and is an effective way to increase customer engagement. But how do you go about making a video? Sarah Orchard investigates

In the US, YouTube accounts for around 18% of all downstream internet traffic (that’s data that goes from a source to a computer).

That’s impressive. But perhaps even more impressive is YouTube’s status as the world’s second biggest internet search engine. It receives more searches than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and other search engines.

My point - because I'm not just singing the praises of YouTube - is that video has become a hugely powerful medium. Dig past the plethora of cute kittens, TV clips and skateboard accidents, and you'll find businesses everywhere are incorporating video into their marketing strategies.

The power of video

Here's an example. A friend of mine decided it was time to buy a new tent. She intended to buy one that was reasonably priced, but found herself veering towards the Outwell brand. It meant going over budget but she soon figured out how to persuade her other half.

How? She showed him Outwell's website and played him the videos so that he could understand why it was worth paying more.

Outwell is a great example of a business that really understands what information customers want and how to communicate it.

Video is known as rich media content and it can boost customer engagement, increase the time spent on a site and help convert sales. Used cleverly and with a purpose, video can transform your website into a dynamic interactive site that will attract repeat visits.

And it’s not just YouTube. Video is available via many different platforms and services. These include:

  • Vine. Part of Twitter, Vine allows you to create and share super-short (six-second) videos. Brands often use it to share intriguing clips through social media.
  • Vimeo. This video sharing site is similar to YouTube, although tends to feature more professionally-produced, arty clips and recordings.

Most video services allow their users to discover your videos via their own websites and apps. You can also usually embed videos on your own website - and often in other locations, such as your tweets, Facebook pages and so on.

But what can I put in my videos?

How you use video will depend on your type of business and the services or products you offer.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Show off a product. If you sell a physical product, video is a powerful way to give people a sense of what the product is actually like, how it feels and what it’s made of. For instance, if you sell furniture, a video can help convey its build quality.
  • Explain how to do something. ‘How to’ videos are a good way to give people some useful information, while also reminding them of your product. For instance, if you sell car shampoo, you could create a video explaining the best way to wash a car.
  • Bring testimonials for life. Many companies use written testimonials on their websites. But you can create more interest and authenticity if you interview people or invite customers to upload videos of them using your products.
  • Upload new videos regularly. Building a regular audience for your videos isn’t easy, but can give your business prospects a big boost. Create new videos regularly and encourage people to subscribe via your YouTube channel.
  • Add a personal touch. Welcome visitors to your site, introduce your staff or film a ‘day in the life’. This type of content will add personality and bring your business to life. This could help someone decide they'd like to do business with ‘people like that’.
  • Incorporate music. You can buy sound clips from websites like Shutterstock, iStockPhoto and Ricall, which offers well-known songs by popular artists and emerging acts, ready for use by small businesses and non-profit organisations.
  • Share industry expertise. You can use video to provide commentary on industry news, or to offer detailed information about your industry. This can help build your reputation and can form a key plank of any your business public relations efforts.

This is just scratching the surface, of course. You can use video in any way you choose. And as shooting, editing and sharing video is much easier and cheaper than ever, you can try different things to see what works for you.

How easy is it to create video?

Making a video is no longer the preserve of professionals and nor is it a costly exercise.

Having said that, professionals can produce sophisticated, polished videos from around £250 each. This can be a worthwhile investment for high profile projects, although with a little time and effort you can get great results by doing it yourself.

There are many online services and pieces of free software that make it easy to upload, embed and share video content. For instance:

  • Animoto helps you make and share videos online. It’s super-easy to use and can create videos that look highly professional.
  • Microsoft’s video editing software, Windows Movie Maker, is straightforward and can produce good results. It’s included with some versions of Windows or can be downloaded for free.
  • If you have a Mac, iMovie lets you combine clips to create videos you can share. Again, it’s free - if it’s not already on your Mac, you can download it.
  • Adobe Voice is a free iPad app that makes creating animated videos trivial. It includes a library of images and sounds you can use in your videos.
  • Magisto lets you combine videos and photos into interesting clips to share online. You can choose a theme and add music - it’s easy to use but offers relatively basic features.

You can shoot video with virtually any digital camera or smart phone, although it may be worth spending up to a couple of hundred pounds on a dedicated video camera. Think about what sort of video you want to shoot.

For instance, if you plan to interview customers, consider a model with a connection for a separate microphone, so you can record the interview clearly. If you want to shoot action sequences, a rugged model like a GoPro might be a better choice.

Make sure your video gets found

Once you’ve created your video, consider uploading it to as many video sharing websites as possible, including YouTube and Vimeo. You may also be able to add video to your listings in online directories.

Make sure you add interesting titles and clear descriptions to your videos, to give them the best chance of getting found and viewed. Finally, encourage viewers to share and embed your video so they spread it for you.

More on this topic: