Last week, align5 Films President, Pat Taggart, presented to the Philadelphia Entrepreneurs’ Organization on just how easy it can be to create KILLER video content to engage and attract employees and customers.
“Let’s say we all walked out into the streets of West Chester, and we asked 20 people to give us two minutes of their time,” Pat said. “And then we gave them a choice. You can either read for those two minutes or watch a video. I’d bet a thousand, ten-thousand, whatever I can borrow, that more than half of those people would say, ‘Watch.’“
“Those people - they’re your employees and they’re your customers. Now think about how you communicate with them.”
In front of the large crowd at align.Space, Pat shared ideas that every business owner can use to start creating engaging videos with little to no overhead. People still tend to think that there’s a massive barrier to entry if they want to get started, namely that it’s either it’s too complicated or too expensive. But cell phones are powerful video production tools, and a competent tripod, light and microphone can take the quality to the next level for roughly a $100 investment.
Another barrier that’s arguably harder to get over is how self-conscious we are about our looks and voice on camera. But as Pat astutely pointed out, “the way you look on video (unless it’s lit poorly) is exactly the way you look. We’re just super self-conscious. If you don’t want to put yourself on video, but you’ll take face-to-face meetings all you’re doing is limiting your exposure.”
Below are five examples of how businesses can easily differentiate themselves with video.
It’s important to let visitors know that other people have used, liked, and now recommend your business. A testimonials section on your website is the standard way to showcase that info. But even the most dazzling of recommendations can sound hollow or even made up. Video testimonials, on the other hand can provide an additional level of authenticity.
Pat prefers having the customer look off-camera (interview style) so that your visitor takes on the role of third-party observer. A testimonial where someone is looking directly into the camera’s lens can make the viewer feel like they’re being sold to.
Using music underneath the testimonials depends on the company and the product/service. When creating testimonials for align5 advisors, an align.Space affiliate company that works with growth companies to maximize value through M&A transactions, Pat chose to not add a score so that the final product didn’t feel manipulative. Conversely, for Heiler Painitng, Pat included music to complement the visuals of home transformations.
Lastly, Pat strongly discourages two things when making testimonials. First, don’t coach your customer’s response. “When you prep them too much, you get things that feel very stiff. I always feel that if you don’t do too much prep, you’re probably going to miss out on 10 percent of the story, but the 90% that you get is going to feel so much more authentic.” And second, do not trade services for testimonials. Focus on the customers that really love what you do/did for them and say, “hey, we want to start highlighting some of our great customer relations. And, honestly, when I thought about it you were the first one that came to mind. Would you mind if we sent somebody out to your office for 15 minutes to ask you a couple of questions about why this has worked out?”
For leaders finding themselves spread out between a number of locations or if you are looking to avoid the thousand-word “weekly update”email, a weekly video update can be great for staying connected with their employees. These simple “selfie style” cell phone videos are completely free, more engaging than emails, and help you connect with employees by giving them a glimpse into your personal life.
One of Pat’s biggest pointers that can apply to all of these videos – ditch the idea that you need to be perfect. “How many times when you try to record yourself do you hit stop because you stumbled over a word?....That’s life. Our video communication needs to mimic how we talk in real life. Unless you really mess up, just let it go.”
Customer Welcome or Thank You
If you’re looking to wow your customers, think about creating “Thank You” or “Welcome” videos. If you want to go the extra mile, think about personalizing these by adding their name in the introductory greeting. But, there’s no reason you need to stop there.
How time-consuming can it be writing explanatory emails? A video response where you address these questions can be easier and will differentiate you by providing a unique customer experience. Joe Awe, CEO of TechBldrs who attended the workshop, recommends using BombBomb.com. It seamlessly integrates with your email provider and allows you to quickly send out video responses from your laptop.
When Pat worked for Stericycle, he was tasked with releasing the company’s quarterly newsletter. By turning the end product into a news show, he was able to increase the engagement rate by 600%. The biggest kicker? Producing the show actually took less effort than the old written version did.
We as human beings like stories, but we especially like crazy stories.
Tick Pick was able to convert a PR nightmare into a crazy story that they were able to leverage to their benefit with an engaging video.Could this have been a written out into a blog post? Sure. Would it have gotten over 600,000 views and surpassed a commercial of theirs starring Rick Flair? I doubt it.
First – unless you already have a professional camera use your phone. It won’t work well in poorly lit or nighttime conditions, but other than that your phone is more than capable of getting you started.
“People will always forgive less than perfect video quality, they will not forgive bad sound. If they hit play on your video and hear bad sound, they are gone.” So, before you invest in a high-end camera, Pat recommends you buy this $12microphone from Amazon that you can plug into your phone. Aside from that find a place to record away from any refrigerator, AC, or HVAC noise.
Pat also recommends investing in a tripod and a basic soft light, but neither of these need to be expensive. There are a ton of affordable accessories out there that can elevate your phone’s footage. Of course, if you are looking for a professional, sound-proof area to record a video, align.Space has a fully equipped studio for members and non-members.
From a camera operator’s perspective, Pat also has a five tips:
- Be mindful of not having too much space above your subject’s head.
- Make sure the viewer can tell they have shoulders. (No floating heads)
- Position the camera at eye-level or higher.
- Make your subject is the brightest thing in frame.
- To keep your subject as the main point of focus, have your background be simple and still.
Pat encouraged the group to create genuine content, not traditional corporate videos. “You know how you’re making a corporate video? When people wear suits that don’t normally wear suits, and there’s a choreographed handshake. Anytime you’re faking handshakes you’re probably on the wrong road.” Also, find a way to mix heart and humor in your videos. Lastly, tell your underdog story. “If you’ve made it this far and have a functional business that started from nothing, you’re an underdog. “Where you’ve come from will always be more interesting than where you’re at.”
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