How To Use Video To Actively Promote Your Business

Like any dedicated small business owner, you want to promote your business. You have your product. You have determined the price. Once people hear about your great idea, they are going to be beating down the door to get to it… But how do you get that message out there?


That’s it. It’s decided. You are going to make a video to promote and advertise your business. You watch online videos all the time. It can’t be that difficult. Kids are making this stuff!

That’s great! But what does that mean? What will your unique message be? Where will you broadcast your content? Will you make just one video or will you create a whole series of videos?

The questions that arise when considering to utilize video as a marketing tool are many.

To help you through this interim phase, we have outlined a few video types/services to get you started and how best to utilize them.

YouTube Channel (FREE)
More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month make YouTube the obvious choice when it comes to breaking into the social video game. You can reach a huge, regular audience through one channel.
With YouTube you can set up your channel and upload videos. The videos can be long or short but it’s recommended to keep them at around 3 minutes. If you have any video editing or motion graphic skills you can add that in to for creative titles, charts, graphs, or animations. YouTube sees tons of traffic (It is reportedly the #2 search engine). The possibilities are endless. Create one video to introduce customers to your business or create a series to showcase your different products or services.
You can even make money by selling ad space on your videos.
With the addition of Google Hangouts, you can now stream live to the public, much like UStream. This adds huge potential to businesses looking to advertise with video. With Google Hangouts and Hangouts On Air, you literally have your own broadcasting station. You can have real people co-host or co-contribute and they don’t even have to be in the same room (or country for that matter). Those broadcasts are automatically saved to your connected YouTube account and available for sharing. The possibilities of how to best utilize this (free) service are limited only by imagination.

 Vimeo (FREE)
Like YouTube, Vimeo is a full servise video hosting platform. You can upload your video content and present it to the world with ease. There are however, a few major distinctions.
First, Vimeo is AD FREE! While YouTube makes tons of money by partnering with it’s users and selling advertising, Vimeo is a subscription based service. If you want to upload anything over a half of a gigabyte you will have to open up your wallet.
The second major difference is that Vimeo tends to be a more professional setting. There are a lot of filmmakers and graphics designers using Vimeo to showcase their work.

UStream (FREE)
Host your own streaming channel? Why not! UStream gives you a platform to stream live events as they happen. Want to host a live event or conference and broadcast it to customers across the the internet? Want to run an live topical, tutorial or educational show and stream it out to the masses. UStream gives you this capability. Whatever you decide to do, the exciting part is, it’s YOUR show. You create the content. You decide what people see. It’s like having your own personal TV station.

Vine (FREE)
Twitter launched it’s video service about a year ago. With a few simple steps you can register your account and start making videos. ┬áVine has seen a lot of success and there are some really talented Vine makers out there doing everything from comedy to stop-motion animation. There are a couple of catches, although.
First, you have to make the video on your phone. You record your video right through the app itself. There have been some hacks to allow users to upload videos made on a computer, but that takes the fun out of it.
The second catch is that, like Twitter itself, Vines are short and sweet. Vine Videos themselves are only 6 seconds long. Now, this may sound short but it is impressive how much information one can cram into 6 seconds.
The spirit of Vine is that it’s made all on the phone with a few cuts and only lasts 6 seconds. The limitations of the platform are what really allow the creativity to flourish.
Vine is a great way to quickly show a “behind the scenes” video or do “Joke of the Day”. Some people have even been able to do some special effects using nothing but the app.

Instagram Video (FREE)
Instagram Video was Facebook/Instagram’s answer to Vine. It came out about 6 months after Vine and has some interesting advantages.
Instagram videos can be a total of 15 seconds long. This gives you the ability to produce short, to the point, commercials and product or service spotlights. Additionally, it’s not difficult to cut together video from different clips. Just load part of one clip from your phone, then another, and another. This allows you to do simple editing right in your phone.
Another great part about Instagram Video is that because you can load clips from your phone, it is very simple to make a video on you computer (make sure it’s the correct size and format), load them on your phone, and upload them directly into Instagram.
This can be anything and you could even cut multiple clips together to do a product collage.
Best of all, because Instagram Video uses the same app and platform as this already hugely popular photo service, you can ping pong between photos and videos. This makes Instagram more like a multi-media micro-blog than a video service.
AND… you have access to a wide variety of the Instagram filters that everyone loves so much.

I have a feeling that we will see more and more from Snapchat or other photo messaging platforms like it. Although I haven’t personally embraced this “Snapchat thing”, I understand it’s all the rage with youngsters.
The basic idea is that you can send a picture message that only exists for a short period of time. Putting aside any jokes about celebrities being able to get away with texting inappropriate pictures having them automatically deleted before the paparazzi get their hands on them, this app has some huge possibilities.
Businesses could send out time-sensitive deals and coupons that harness the “here and now” mentality. Imagine the sense of urgency that is created when a deal is only around as long as the Snapchat message itself.

I think we will see some really interesting uses for this platform in the coming months.

If you are more confused about which platform to choose to get your brand message out there, you aren’t alone.

2014 is seeing huge support for video in all shapes and sizes and it won’t stop with the services listed above.

The key thing to remember is that people use them all. The go to these sites for different reasons but one fact stands out among all others; The content must be watchable. Businesses who think they only have to put their message on video-blast and the people will start throwing money at them will be very disappointed.
Companies will have to subtly and creatively weave their message into the story so that it is nearly invisible.
People aren’t going to watch a video if the video is only there to sell them something. There are too many good videos out there and too little time to have it wasted. Companies will have to earn the trust of their viewers and through that trust make life long customers… or better yet partners.

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