Getting Started: Best Practices for Online Video Marketing

Expert says length of video, content, and SEO make a big difference in conversion rates

Shooting video to promote your small business isn't as hard as it seems (Image: File)

When it comes to mobile phone usage, 27% of African Americans watch video on their phones compared to 20% of all adults and 15% of whites, according to the Pew Internet Technology Use by People of Color Survey. And while only 56% of whites use social media video platforms, 73% of blacks and 84% of Latinos do the same. Yet, anecdotal evidence suggests that black-owned companies are not using online video to promote their small businesses?

Derrick Guest, co-owner and CEO of video marketing company Griot’s Roll Film Production and Services, Inc., advises that the time to use video for marketing and adverting is more important now than ever before because we are now competing in a global economy.“African-American small businesses haven’t utilized online video for the same reasons most small businesses don’t incorporate marketing and advertising,” says Guest. “They are busy running their day-to-day business, and marketing for them is not seen as a necessity to running a business. So if we aren’t clear to our customer why we are the right choice, this could spell trouble for our business.”

Guest provides small business owners tips to begin using video for marketing and advertising purposes:

Don’t fall prey to the common mistakes

“Well let’s start with their shooting techniques. I’ve seen videos with poor lighting and sound. You don’t have to be Spike Lee in order to make a great video that will show off your business brand and your company’s story. I see a lot of videos that are too long. People are very busy these days so you want to get your message across quickly. Three minutes or less  is the rule to live by. Lastly, I see too many videos that don’t give a call to action. In other words, they don’t tell the viewer what they want them to do. For example, a good video will tell the viewer to visit their website, call them, email them, or tweet about them, etc.”

Research and invest in the necessary tools

“Purchase a camera that is user friendly or one that doesn’t need a whole lot of lighting to get a great shot. Also, make sure you have a camera with a great on-broad microphone so it will pick up great audio” advises Guest.  “I would suggest that novice videographers go into a professional camera store and ask the salesperson for their recommendations. You can also download free software like Camstudio, which records screen activity from the Windows desktop into standard AVI movie files. It is an ideal tool for creating software demonstrations and active presentations. If you want something more sophisticated, you can purchase  Camtasia Studio, which is professional editing software priced under $300. It will help you keep your video short.

When posting video online, keep it SEO friendly

“The more exposure you get on the internet the higher your ranking will be on a  search engine. Search engine optimization will increase your chances of ranking higher. That means using the right  keywords, tags,  titles, and descriptions.  When uploading a video online, most video sites like YouTube, Viddler , and  Blip.tv will ask you for this information when uploading a video to their site.”

“You want to use keywords that people would use when searching for your product or service,” adds Guest. “The rule of thumb would be to use general terms. For example, if you own a pet grooming business you may want to use terms like ‘pet grooming,’ ‘doggie daycare,’ or ‘animal grooming.’ Also use terms that are a part of current events, and share the video with influencers in your particular industry. Most people will have no problem sharing your content as well.

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