These days, there are many?ways to share your stories with the world and video might be the single most powerful. For example, there seems to be a sort of reversal going on at Facebook: Photo Posts which used to be a huge driver are now scoring low organic reaches. Socialbakers data research shows that photo posts on Facebook brand pages now have the lowest average organic reach. The average video post is seen more than twice as often.
So,it is clear, the future belongs to video and it’s incumbent upon you to use it- whether you have a big budget or a small one. All companies no matter how tiny must think about how they can activate consumers via video.
Years ago, you would have to hire an expensive film crew to shoot anything, but these days, people are shooting nicely produced high definition video with small cameras or even their smart phones. As with all stories, write a great script and shoot and edit it well and you can really help the brand and increase sales.
However, with every video, there is also the chance for epic failure. Bad video can live forever online and do untold damage to your brand. So be careful here. In the end, it’s up to you to focus on what you can control, and that means the script, for starters.
It all starts with the script. What story are you trying to tell and how can you bring it to life on video?
Let me give you another example of how I took a small company through this whole systematic process and ended up with a great script and video. Here’s the whole story:
- Signature origin story: Figure out what the primary, main, signature story is for your company or product. Is it the story of your founder? Is it a values story or a product differentiation story?
- Specific product benefits: How can you use a story to show the audience specific product benefits that differentiate you?
- Differentiator: What do you do different?
- Core principles, goals and values: What are they for you?
- Product or company personality: Who are you and how does your story reflect this?
- Company voice: What is yours?
- Who are our competitors?
- Brand Identity: At its care, what is it?
How to Create Videos that Engage Customers
Okay, so now, how do you translate all this info into a video that can connect and engage consumers and potentially go viral? Well, if you have good stories to tell, people will respond to them. Be careful of being too self-promotional. Be honest and be entertaining. The HD video technology on your smart phone will do if you can’t afford a real film crew. Spend time on the script and make sure you get someone on camera who is comfortable talking. Shoot it and sorry, but there are no excuses not to create video. Just take the time to make sure the script and performance are well done. If you can’t get an editor, you can even shoot it in one take and thus, no need for an editor.
So, you are ready to make a video, but you are not confident on how to proceed. Well, I usually recommend doing at least one little video for each of my groups of videos (Typologies). So that would mean one short film of each of the following:? an origin story video, an info story video, a value story video and a vision story.
Make your videos short and sweet
The operative word here is short. This is something you will want people to share and post and send to their friends. And they do not have the patience for a long video with too much information. The key with videos is always to be short, sweet, and to the point. Always err on the side of too short vs. too long.
Stay focused on the story – promoting yourself can backfire
And the other issue to always be concerned with is a potential backlash when you reveal your brand at the end of the video. If you are making a commercial, so be it, but if it seems like your video is done for socially conscious reasons and then at the end, your brand is revealed, that revelation can undermine all that has been presented beforehand. Consumers might now see the entire video as content designed and created merely to sell product. As a result, they can feel tricked and betrayed. And an angry consumer can outright reject your message or even actively try to badmouth and hurt your brand.
Educate. Inform. Entertain.
So, the creation of branded content is a mighty tricky proposition. Consumers will accept sponsored videos, but if they feel like the info in the video is merely there to deceive them into buying something, your video can work against you. So, you have a choice, either make it clear from the beginning of the video who you are and what you are up to and/or at the end be subtle and don’t try to sell anything.
The video must play as educational and socially conscious. If consumers are so inspired, they can go to your website and get more info about what you do, so make sure you put a link to your website at the end of the video.
Scripting vs. Improvisation
I am a scriptwriter by training, so I script everything, but if you are creating video content with people who are not trained actors, you might be better off doing more of what I’d call a guided improv, rather than a true scripted performance. I say this because if you guide the on-camera talent and prod them with questions, you might be able to get what you want from them on video without forcing your stars to follow a script and, as a result, sound, well, scripted and false.
Whether to use a script or not, in the end, is a judgment call on your part, but look at the goal of the video and that talent involved and make an informed choice that leads to the most natural performance while still giving you the content you need. In the end, video, unlike film, is inexpensive to shoot take after take, so do as many takes as necessary to get what you need for the editing room and the final cut. Now, go out there and make some great videos that have the potential to go viral. (Videos can be posted both on your site as well as on Youtube and also on aggregate sites such as Upworthy or Buzzfeed or other sites depending on the nature of the site and your video.)