Videos for Your Business

Videos for Business – Uncomfortable yet worth it

Making videos for my business wasn’t something that I’d ever had on my to-do list, though I knew I should take the plunge at some point. So how have I ended up being in 9 videos relating to my business in the past 9 weeks?  Grab a cuppa (you’ll need it, this is a long one) and read on, to find out how it happened, how I improved over that time, and why I now love doing it!

Eleven weeks ago I wrote my first blog and explained that I was finally making the time to do the things in my business that have been on my list for some time now. On the third week of posting one a week, I realised that I hadn’t actually been promoting it anywhere. So who would see it? No-one, unless they happened to see it on my website. It was a classic case of not wanting to put myself ‘out there’, common amongst women in business, not feeling comfortable with shouting about what we do.

 

Was the answer to be even more visible?

Rather than continue to post blogs without anyone reading them, or simply posting on my social media about the ones I’d already posted, I went the whole hog and did a video, of me talking to the camera, about how I’d started blogging. Of course it helped that on that particular day I’d had my hair and make-up done, for a photoshoot with Mikaela Morgan, and having spent the day in front of a camera already, I was feeling pretty comfortable!  My intention was to have a few practice goes, and then post a perfect video with no stumbling over words, great lighting, no funny face pulling… so in the car as I waited to pick my children up from school, I had a practice run with the camera on my phone.

When I watched it back, it wasn’t perfect, but I did say everything I wanted to say (and more, I did ramble a bit), and I decided that if I wanted candid videos that reflected the real me, then I can’t keep re-doing them until they are 100% perfect. That is the exact video that I then posted to my Facebook page.

 

Feeling uncomfortable

It was a great confidence boost to do the first one while I was all made up, I’m not sure I’d have felt there was a right moment to start videoing myself if I didn’t do it then, but in the more recent videos I have become so comfortable that I’m wearing no make-up in some, and don’t give a thought to what my hair looks like. These videos are the real me. I was extremely uncomfortable at first, putting so much of myself on show for others to see.

The reaction to this video introducing my blogs was overwhelming, I had fantastic feedback and any nerves I had about putting myself out there vanished. It opened up several conversations about moving your business forward, and some existing clients wanted my input on a strategy for video for their businesses too.  It turned out to be a great marketing tool, and has brought in enquiries and work from people who had been ‘following’ me anyway, but now felt they wanted to work with me.

 

Adapting them over time

I continued to do a ‘blog teaser’ video to direct people to the new blog each week, mentioning what the topic was and a little bit of chat. From reviewing that statistics on Facebook Insights, I could see that most people stopped viewing the videos by 25 seconds, so I then tried to make sure I put the blog link and topic in the first part of the clip, rather than at the end, to give it more chance of being heard.

The Insights section on your Facebook business page is full of useful information about how your audience is acting, I found it invaluable to see how I should be adapting my videos over time. I could see that most people watched videos with the sound off (why?!), so I began to add subtitles to the videos – there’s no getting away from hearing – or seeing – what I have to say!

There were a number of things that I changed as I posted more and more videos, to improve them and get people to follow through to read my blog that week. But there are aspects that remained the same, even though they are not perfect.

I am the first to admit that the lighting and sound are not great. I don’t use an external microphone and don’t have a ‘professional’ background.  The backgrounds are real, I work in an office in my home, the videos are done around the house (wherever the lighting happened to be good, on most of them), I don’t want to pretend I’m based in a large office with a more corporate background, nor did I want them to all look the same with the same plain background.

 

Use a tripod and a sticky note

The only piece of equipment I use is a tripod (around £7 from Amazon) as I already had it, but I have no special lights or a microphone. You’ll remember I started videos on a whim, so I wasn’t prepared and I haven’t felt I needed them so far. It does mean I have to find somewhere with good light though, which will be harder in the winter months, so maybe I’ll invest in a light then. The other highly technical piece of equipment I use is a sticky note. I write on it the title of my blog, and the main point I want to make in the video, and stick it on the screen to aid me if I go blank.  It also stops me looking at myself on the screen, and reminds me to look into the lens instead.

I wanted my videos to feel real, not staged, so they are recorded very much in the moment. Apart from deciding the main point I want to say, there is no script. I want other mums, running businesses from home around their children, to identify with me through these videos. My sessions are carried out in a conversational tone, and I intended to convey my real self through the videos.

The way I speak in the videos is very much how I speak in real life, what you see is what you get and if you met me in real life after watching the videos and said I wasn’t what you expected, I’d be disappointed. I want it to feel like I’m talking to you over a cup of tea, not presenting to you.

Though I had some feedback that they were not serious enough, too informal etc, if I’m honest the feedback was from people who are not my ideal client. I take that advice and file it away in the ‘will bear that in mind…’ box (much like unsolicited advice from people you barely know when you have a newborn baby). It wasn’t them I was intending to attract anyway, and actually the videos opened up conversations with ladies who I’d never spoken with before, and were exactly my ideal client, so I class that as a win.

 

Aaaand ACTION!

I could spend ages re-shooting the videos to get them perfect, or editing them to cut out the not so great bits, but that wouldn’t be a great use of my time. I have a rule that I do a maximum of three takes, and put out the best (or least worst) one. What you get to see is one take straight through, I don’t cut anything out of the middle, and I only trim the beginning and end. A few of them, including the very first, are from the first and only take. And I found the more videos I did, the more comfortable I was with making mistakes and just carrying on. The only one spliced in the middle was about working from home, filmed in my bedroom and cut while I transitioned from ‘in bed’ to camera facing (it is work related, honest!). Only once did I do more than three takes, to see how long it would take to get it ‘perfect’, I had to give up after nearly an hour (for a clip of less than a minute!) as I drove myself mad making the same mistakes in the same places.

Even though many are one take wonders, I decided against posting them as Facebook Live videos. I’ve seen many people doing these that start having connection issues and it freezes or drops out, and also I ramble a LOT usually so if it’s recorded at least I can trim the start and finish if I needed to.

Also, because they are recorded, I can schedule them for posting at the best times for my page on Facebook – another useful piece of information you can get from Facebook Insights.

 

Will I ever do a serious video?

There will be a time that I record a set of videos that do all look and feel similar, with proper equipment, scripts and a more professional tone, for online training courses for example where familiarity and consistency help with the purpose, but I didn’t feel that applied here. And I’ve been asked if I’ll extend my videos to create full vlogs instead of short clips, but I know my limitations and unless heavily scripted (or I find a way of reading it on autocue without it being obvious), I know they won’t be as concise as I’d like and you’d all fall asleep from the rambling before I got to the end.

 

You can see all the videos so far on my YouTube channel and in the interests of keeping it real, here’s my latest one made up of the outtakes and bits that made me giggle from the previous ones (exactly why I shouldn’t stream them live!).

 

So what did I learn?

Shorter is better

My first video while reaching over 1,000 people and viewed by 40% of them was on the long side for a promotional video at 1 minute and 15 seconds. I launched off with enthusiasm, but in hindsight tried to cram too many thoughts into one take and as a result hesitated a bit too much. Although the feedback was overwhelmingly positive with lots of my Facebook fans liking and commenting on the post, I think new contacts would not have been quite so forgiving, but everyone has to start somewhere! My latest videos are around 30-40 seconds long.

Captions are desirable

I soon realised that most Facebook users stick with the default setting of sound off. Amongst my watching audience only 15% to 30% have the sound switched on – interesting that this figure varies across posts. The lower figure is in line with many publishers’ statistics. So I decided that I really needed to add captions to my video posts. My Working from home the right way video is narrated using inexpensive editing software iSkySoft. In my blog teasers I now add the full transcript, but in the BizTips4Mums video clips I just included key statements. Both approaches seem to be effective.

Humour is welcomed

There may be some businesses where humour might be considered inappropriate, but my audience appreciates my slightly cheeky take on business. The Why work from home video is a perfect example that showcases my brand personality. It’s good to be authentic. As a small business owner you are what differentiates you from other suppliers.

Early call to action

Inevitably not all viewers watch to the end, so its important that during those first few seconds you get the primary purpose of the video across. I now share the subject and the URL of my blog much earlier in the clip. Always keep sight of your end goal – is the video for fun, information or promotion?

 

As the Social Examiner puts it in its Top 5 Facebook Video Statistics for 2016 “If you are not using video in your social media marketing yet, you should be.” So go on give it a try.

 

If you would like to move your business forward by trying videos or blogging, book a free call with me and let’s have a chat about what you do, what you would like to achieve and work out the best way you can achieve this.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips, advice and support for women in business.