This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.
Mastering the social media landscape has never been easy for small businesses, especially as this landscape shifts so quickly. By the time one site or application is understood, another pops up to take its place. Couple this fast-paced social environment with technology barriers and flavor-of-the-week trends, and it’s easy to understand why small businesses tend to fall behind.
Video marketing is the elephant in the room when it comes to small business social media. With its many moving pieces – (think: scripts, scenario, scenery), technological barriers to entry, and questionable ROI (both financial and time-wise) – video marketing tends to turn small businesses off before they even bother getting started.
Regardless, video is a huge component of the social landscape as we know it. YouTube alone boasts over one billion unique visitors per month and over 100 hours of video uploaded per minute. Users are watching and sharing videos left and right, and such videos constitute a large chunk of the “viral web” we’ve come to associate with modern social media.
How can small businesses get in on the action?
Small Businesses Meet Small Video
Enter the world of the microvideo, supported by platforms such as Twitter’s Vine and Instagram (partnered with Facebook). Between Vine recently reaching 13 million downloads and Instagram’s user base of over 100 million, it’s no surprise that microvideos have been taking the social sphere by storm over the past few months. The modern microvideo is short in length (6 seconds maximum for Vine, 15 seconds for Instagram), minimalist in nature and tends to favor those who aren’t afraid to think outside the box.
This new, compact video format has the potential to change the game for small businesses when it comes to video marketing. Consider the following.
Microvideo breaks down the technology barrier – Platforms such as Vine and Instagram eliminate the need for editing software or video expertise. All you really need is a smartphone.
Microvideo levels the playing field – Lacking loads of pricey video equipment? No problem. The minimalist nature of microvideo forces marketers to rely on their imagination and creativity rather than a big budget.
Microvideo eliminates the question of ROI – Microvideos are short and sweet. Due to their simplicity, they can be created, edited and uploaded almost instantly. Given such a short process, there’s little need to sweat ROI.
In short, microvideo offers something fresh in the face of a massive world of web video. The question remains; what do microvideos offer microbusinesses?
Should You Climb on the Microvideo Vine?
The short answer? Yes.
It may seem like most businesses aren’t conducive to video marketing. How can a stay-at-home software company create the next viral video? What can a local carpet cleaner possibly do to make a compelling Vine? Relax. Forget about viral sensations and overnight success stories; instead, think about the possibilities.
Consider the fact that videos are shared twelve times more than links and text posts. Furthermore, think about how quickly videos can be digested versus a blog post or article. As a modern small business, it’s your responsibility to cover your bases when it comes to social sharing. Video is a valuable piece of the puzzle and microvideo makes it simple to get on board by thinking small and outside the box.
Beating Director’s Block
So, you want to make a video. Now what?
Writer’s block (or in this case, director’s block) is only natural when it comes to ideas for video marketing. Sure, we all want to create the next viral sensation; however, viral success is something that can’t be forced. Instead of daydreaming, marketers should set realistic expectations and capitalize on their business, skills and our tendency to share. Consider the following two types of video content and how they may translate into microvideos:
Before and After – Before and after results have been a cornerstone of marketing for some time. Given the fact that you have a very, very short amount of time, a quick and easy before and after video can be done in a matter of seconds. For example, a carpet cleaning company could show depict a filthy carpet prior to their services and a spotless one after. There are plenty of possibilities with before and afters (a pet saloon shaping up a shaggy dog, a gym displaying the weight loss results of a member) and chances are your business has the potential for one as well.
Displaying a Skill – Is there something only your business can do that’s worth sharing? Feats of strength? Special talents? Consider this viral video of a supermarket employee cutting a watermelon in 20 seconds. If there’s anything your company does out of the ordinary, feel free to share it with the world. Whether it’s complex coding or installing an air conditioner, what may seem ordinary to your business may be extraordinary to others.
If nothing else, microvideos can be used to quickly update followers on special projects, what your business is up to and simply put your face out there; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
As discussed, microvideos are ideal for SMBs because they don’t require the time or editing costs of traditional video. Furthermore, they level the playing field – a Vine or Instragram application is the same in your hands as it is in the hands of a Google or Apple exec.
But where’s the money?
We often obsess over ROI when it comes to social media. We want data. We want numbers. We want to know “why” and “how” when it comes to making money. At the end of the day, microvideo is less about the financial aspect of social media and more about spreading the word and embracing the sharing nature of today’s users. Videos serve as a piece of content for your business; you may create a video for your business just as you write an article or send out a tweet. The time and thought you put into creating and promoting your content is up to you.
Microvideos don’t require much in the grand scheme of things; therefore, there’s no need to obsess over the ROI. Simply create a video when the opportunity presents itself and share it accordingly. Simply put, microvideos should represent an easy, positive way for your business to put itself out there.
The Bottom Line
Video marketing can be intimidating; however, microvideo platforms such as Vine and Instagram help skeptical or hesitant marketers dive into the practice. Such platforms offer a chance for your business to spread the word and have a bit of fun in the process. If there’s ever been a time for SMBs to capitalize on video marketing, it’s now.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.