Think about your favorite television show.  What exactly do you like about it?  Chances are, there is some connection made between you and a character, theme, or story; this connection is what makes you keep watching.  The same holds true for online videos, which is why you should be creating them for your small business.  You don’t have to be a professional videographer to shoot an effective video, but there are some tips to follow to make the most out of yours.

  • Keep it brief.  The most effective videos are under two minutes in length.  Even if there is something in your video will draw the viewer in to watch for a longer period of time, the second a person sees that time length bar at the bottom of the screen, he or she is likely to click away for the simple reason that it is too long.  When scouring the internet for information, people want to find that info easily and quickly.  Choose only the important points to highlight your message.  Tip:  Be sure to include a call to action somewhere toward the end of your video which directs the viewer to visit your store or click the link to your website, for example.  This keeps your video in the viewer’s mind before he or she moves on to the next one.
  • Get personal.  Stock footage of products or locations and frames of still photos are generic.  Viewers will make the same assumption about your business.  Instead, record a video that features your real staff, location, and products.  Consider featuring an introductory greeting from you, the owner, and if applicable, candid footage of your staff on the job.  Also, don’t be afraid to use humor; keep it professional, but you definitely want to give your video some personality.
  • Choose a theme.  Your video should have a point.  Are you introducing your business to the world?  Are you featuring an innovative product?  Answering frequently asked questions?  Whatever you choose to do, make sure everything in the video is centered on the theme so as not to lose focus or make your viewers click away.  A great way to plan your video is to write a script before shooting any actual footage.  This will give you a clear plan of action and allow you to see if anything is off-topic before you even begin.
  • Feature tutorials and product demonstrations.  Which is easier: reading about how to cut up a pineapple or watching someone actually do it?  Nowadays, when people want to learn how to do something, they find a video online that physically shows them what they want to learn.  Most people are visual learners and prefer this type of medium anyway.  Furthermore, you are giving the potential customer a glimpse into the user experience, which is extremely important.  People want to know exactly how something works before they buy.  Take advantage of this by using tutorials and demos that work for your business.
  • Use music.  In doing so, you will be able to set the mood for your video and evoke a feeling from the viewer.  Also, music is a perfect way to fill in any gaps of silence between narrations and transitions.  There is a plethora of open content on the web as well as music that is public domain, so copyright infringement will not be an issue.
  • Share your video socially.  Your video does no good if it is not being shared.  Posting it on YouTube is the best place to start.  Make sure you choose a title for your video that will optimize your search results.  Tip:  Search keywords for your video in the YouTube search box to see what comes up.  If it’s something you’d rather not be associated with, then you’ll be able to choose more wisely.  Having effective keywords is more important than ever, especially with people’s increasing reliance on Google Instant, which shows results as you type in your query.  With more and more people using smartphones to search for and view content, Google Instant has become another must-have convenience for most.
  • Preview your video before posting it. Check to make sure that there are no items in the background that may offend, look messy, and that you don’t want others to see. Finally, make sure your video quality is good and reflects well on your business.

By following the suggestions above, your video will already be a cut above most of what is out there right now.  What other tips can you offer for creating an effective video?  Please share them with us below!