Video is hot, video is cool, and nowadays video is pretty darn easy. So easy, in fact, that it’s become a bit of an expectation that businesses use video to explain concepts, introduce the team, and showcase customer success stories.
Much is made about the outrageous viral videos that spring up occasionally and cause instant buzz for the sponsoring organizations, and while an instant video hit can lead to some great exposure, it’s the everyday utilitarian uses that most businesses should focus on for long term value and exposure.
Video allows you to display the face, voice and personality behind the brand and makes connecting with prospective customers much easier. And online video use isn’t just a lead generation and awareness medium. Video is a great customer service tool and referral tool as well.
You can use video to:
1. Create screencast videos that demonstrate step by step operating instructions
2. Feature real life customers using your products and services
3. Record a series of quick tips to point out advanced features
4. Archive a video introduction of each of your sales folks for instant online introductions
5. Get your customers involved in converting and training new customers
6. Promote each of your strategic referral partners
7. Sprinkle customer testimonials throughout your web site
Bring your business customers together for an appreciation party and hire a film crew to shoot success story video during the event. This is a great way to create community and grab a bunch of video content at the same time.
While a professional video service might make your like a little easier, you don’t need to take this path for many of the basic online video needs.
Camera - Portable video cameras, such as the FlipHD or inexpensive models from makers such as Canon do a great job. If you plan to shoot interviews you might look for a camera that has an external microphone jack so you can put a mic on your guest.
Editing – PCs and Macs both come with free video editing software – iMovie for the Mac and MovieMaker for the PC. Both work well, but you might also decide to upgrade to something more powerful such as Adobe Premier.
The heavy lifting – Hosting and streaming the video online used to be the hardest part of the puzzle, but since sites such as Blip.tv, Viddler and YouTube came along this piece is solved. Simply choose a service, upload your video and let the service convert it, host it, stream it, and even give you code for the player to embed on your site.
Optimization – Since search engines are doing their utmost to deliver the best content possible, videos are showing up in lots of searches these days. Whatever service you upload your videos on make certain that you fully describe and tag the video to help search engines understand the content. It can also be helpful to place complete text descriptions of the content on the actual web pages where you embed your videos.
Promotion – In some cases you will want to promote your video so that many people view them. One of the best video promotion tools is a service called TubeMogul. With a single video upload Tube Mogul distributes your video to multiple video hosting sites and return complete analytics on the views and clickthroughs.
Now is the time to get your feet wet using video. After you get your feet wet with your first series of “ready for prime time” videos you might even want to consider taking the next step and creating your very own live or recorded web tv show on the new breed of video services such a Ustream.
Image credit: Giorgio Montazeri