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The promise of video marketing

While YouTube, Vimeo, and other real-time services like Snapchat or Instagram Stories (owned by Facebook) have been enormously popular for consumer social communication, these services are increasingly necessary as marketing tools for business.


Here are some statistics from the two online video giants, YouTube and Facebook:

  • YouTube has more than a billion users—almost one-third of all people on the Internet—and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
  • YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18 to 34- and 18 to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. My take: While other smaller, up-and-coming networks might be in the news more, you want to go to the destination that has paying customers.
  • In 2015, Facebook claimed that it had more than 8 billion video views (some wanted greater definition of what counted as a “view”).
  • Since they started rolling out 360 Videos in News Feed, more than 250,000 360 videos have been uploaded to Facebook.
  • According to Snapchat, more than 100 million people use the video service every day. They are reaching 41 percent of all 18 to 34-year-olds in the United States.

Creating compelling video content with ease

I am in the midst of a pilot project around 360 Video that has me refreshing my online video knowledge (I created a popular YouTube Marketing course for American Express OPEN five years ago). It is amazing to me; there is so much opportunity for the small and midsize business owner to create compelling video content.

The perception is that video marketing takes a lot of time—at least that’s the current thinking I hear from business owners I talk to about it. That does not have to be the case. It boils down to this: Go for a grassroots, home-grown feeling, and just force yourself to give it a try.

Let me share two easy ideas for those who feel they do not have the skills for video:

  1. Video can be as simple as creating a slideshow of existing photographs (yes, not actual video) and adding some background music. Depending on your business, you could do a series of screenshots, (for example, image captures of a website) and walk a customer through your store or showcase different products. There are no rules here; you can let your imagination run wild and think of how you can share with your customers. There are numerous free video editors available for PC, Mac, and mobile devices.
  2. You can use a tool like Animoto’s Marketing Video Builder, which lets you quickly modify videos, making it simple to add captions or text or provide full templates. I recommend this service for those who have been reluctant to give video a try. On the $42 month-to-month professional plan (November 2016 pricing, paid monthly), it is a pretty affordable way to knock out a great product or service video. I have used the service a few times as part of different projects and have been impressed. Check out this terrific case study on the Nu-Era local bakery in West Virginia. Their Facebook page shows almost a quarter of a million views.

In addition to Animoto, there are a range of new video creation tools geared specifically for small business, all of which are inexpensive options. Some examples include: GoAnimatePowtoonSellamationsVideoScribeEvaerEcamm Call Recorder for SkypeGoogle Hangouts on AirCamtasiaScreenFlow, and Wirecast.

I know it can be intimidating to get started, but online video, based on the current market trends, is one of most powerful ways to engage with your customers. If you are telling a genuine story, people will look past a lot of what might be considered video mistakes. Take some small steps, and give online video a try in your next marketing project.