Social Media Breakfast Madison
Carrie Highman

Carrie Highman

Let’s face it, it’s the age of video, and unless you are incorporating video into your online communications your message is likely to be pushed aside in favor of one from someone who is making it happen visually.

Three Madison area video experts made that very clear at Social Media Breakfast Madison Wednesday as they not only shared their insights on the need for embracing video but their tips on how and when to do it.

“It’s the future,” said Jenna Atkinson of GC Studios, adding that a recent study predicts that by 2017, 74 percent of all Internet traffic will be video. “Are you going to get on the train or are you going to be left behind?”

Jenna presented a lot of statistics to back it up, including:

  • 62 percent of all Google Universal Searches include videos. “Do people want to read the manual or do they want to watch a quick video?” she asked.
  • Video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results.
  • Video has 41 percent higher click-through rate than plain text.

But she also realizes that there are barriers to implementing video, especially for small businesses and organizations. The three main reasons people say they might shy away from producing videos, she said, are:

  • They believe it is too expensive.
  • It takes too much time.
  • It may not turn out well.

While all those are legitimate concerns, they can be overcome, Jenna said. Her company, GC Studios, for example brands itself as a middle-ground video provider, somewhere between your iPhone video and a high-end professional video that could cost thousands of dollars. Yes, she said, you can have a good quality video produced for a couple hundred bucks.

Carrie Highman of Dream Lens Media said that once you decide to make a video, there are three essential steps to follow:

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself:
    1. What purpose will this video serve your company?”
    2. What online platform are you planning on using?
    3. What action do you want the viewer to take?
  2. Define your audience. Narrow down where they live online, compare and contrast the different types of media they interact with and consume. Look at your competitors and other pages your target audience engages with. Identify their style. For example, do they like humor? Determine what style of video will impact them most, such as quick images or more detail.
  3. Hash out the logistics.
    1. Decide on a length. Jenna said 59 percent of viewers watch a video to completion that is under one minute. However, REI posts seven or eight minute videos that get lots of interaction because the videos are tailored to that targeted audience. Not sure what your audience will like? Run two versions of your video and analyze the viewer response rate.
    2. Determine the style of the video that best suits your audience.
    3. Identify a location or locations for shooting the video.
    4. Set up a timeline and make sure you give yourself enough time to develop a quality product.
    5. Develop an outline for points you want covered. Sometimes clients want complete control over every word in the video. It’s better to work off an outline to ensure you get your message across without it having a canned feel.

Like Jenna, Carrie said video is vital for success in today’s marketplace but emphasized the need to produce a quality product. Sixty four percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it, she said, but 62 percent of consumers are more likely to have a negative view of a brand that publishes a poor quality video. “You don’t want to be part of that group,” she said.

Natalie Hinckley of Hinckley Productions talked about the power of live streaming, which she said is “its ability to unite an online community at a single point in time.”

Online streaming, she said, has three main components:

  • The video production itself.
  • A good Internet connection.
  • Distribution (how are people going to see it, YouTube, periscope, ustream, etc.).

In planning a live stream, there are a lot of things to consider, Natalie said, including:

  • Will it be free to view or will you charge a fee?
  • Will you include ads or sponsors?
  • What type of branding will be incorporated; do you want your logo on it?
  • What level of quality are you shooting for?
  • Do you want to drive people to your website or to a platform?
  • What is your targeted viewership – 5 people or 25,000?
  • What is your budget?

Natalie talked about how she produced live streams over four days from the 2014 Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, Texas, which included 72 games and reached 20,000 IP addresses. It was financed by a combination of audience pay-per-view and ad sponsors. The live streams included chat rolls, allowing viewers to interact with each other as well as the announcers.

That’s one example, but what else might a person live stream? Conferences, speakers, panels, concerts, and performances are just a few examples, Natalie said.

All three presenters said brands that make use of quality video are taken more seriously by consumers. And there are many options for how you use video.

Jenna said each form of video has its place.

If you have the money and you’re seeking a certain level of credibility, it might be worth it for your business or organization to finance a very professional high-end video product, she said. But if you’re a small organization and your purpose is just to bring attention to a small event, or your message is very time sensitive, shooting video on an iPhone might be adequate.

Jenna said a good place to start is to create an introductory video on the About Us page on your website. From there, you can expand to testimonials and videos showcasing your products or perhaps focused on answering common questions about your product, business or organization.

Jenna offered these tips for making your video watchable:

  • Look into the camera like you’re talking directly to a person. “The camera is your person,” she said.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Be authentic.
  • Smile, be personable.
  • Use your hands.
  • End with a call to action. This can be very simple such as “Subscribe to our channel,” but only have one call to action.

But before you even start, she said, create an outline for how you’re going about the project:

  • Evaluate your current marketing strategy and goals.
  • Consider how you can integrate a variety of video marketing.
  • Determine video marketing goals.
  • Allocate a budget.
  • Decide on your first three videos and schedule their shoot date and release date.
  • Create a video content calendar.
  • Make it happen!

“Any strategy in business takes time,” Jenna said, and not every video you make is going to be a viral one.

“Strive for progress, not perfection,” she said. “Don’t compare your step one to their step one thousand.”

Bill HurleyWritten by , (@billhurleymedia / / Editor, writer, social media strategist, website developer, digital publisher.

Photos by Paulius Musteikis

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Photos by Paulius Musteikis