If the past few years have taught content marketers anything, it’s that consumers love a good brand video. The proof is in the millions of YouTube views, Facebook likes, retweets, and shares that branded films and video series generate online. Brands like GoPro, Dove, IKEA, and Chipotle have acquired a reputation not just for their products, but for the content they produce and the caliber of their Web videos.
There’s value in that. Videos can create an emotional connection between consumer and brand that potential customers will draw from when gauging how they feel about a company’s products. Videos can educate and inform, and they can entertain. Write a compelling brand story that can be conveyed through video, and your followers and fans will talk about it, share it, and remember it. Just ask Kraft Peanut Butter, which has received more than 1.1 million views and close to 10,000 shares on Facebook since launching its new brand video in February.
But does the opportunity to connect with consumers through video exist for every brand? Invariably, the most successful offerings are the product of a major content studio, marketing agency, or mainstream site that brings with it a massive audience of engaged users. Such is the case with Friskies, which partnered with BuzzFeed last summer to produce a series of videos distributed through BuzzFeed‘s YouTube channel to the tune of some 20 million views.
Brands that boast the resources to work in this fashion are at an advantage. But that doesn’t mean small to medium-sized businesses and start-ups can’t leverage video, too. Consider iHost New York, a recently launched concierge company that helps Airbnb, Guesty, and Homeaway hosts keep their New York City short-term rentals ready for occupants. To promote its launch and educate potential customers about its management services, the company introduced a 12-part series of YouTube videos featuring “The Apartments.” In the style of Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” campaign, personified rental properties inform viewers in an entertaining way. iHost New York is currently promoting the videos with Facebook ads as well as through YouTube, Twitter, and its home page.
Cloud-based video creation service Animoto last year reported that 73 percent of U.S. adults are “more likely” to purchase a product or service after watching a video that explains it. Based on its survey data, the company also found that 96 percent of consumers believe videos help them to make purchase decisions online.
A lack of budget doesn’t translate to a lack of opportunity. As you plan your video campaign, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
1. Think Niche.
Create something you know will appeal to your target audience, rather than trying to “go viral.” Are you marketing a retail store? Showcase a line of products through a video on Instagram. Sponsoring an event? Offer a clip for those who can’t be there, while simultaneously giving customers who did attend the opportunity to share it as an advocate for your brand.
— Goose Island Beer Co (@GooseIsland) February 28, 2015
2. Tap Into Popular Culture.
Create for yourself an occasion to piggyback on a pop culture conversation by tying your product to a TV show, book, or film, as Oreo did with Game of Thrones. Surprise your audience with one of these executions (pardon the pun) every month.
3. Stimulate Memories.
Vizy, a digital crowdsourcing video production company that creates content for agencies and brands, advises brands to tell stories that enable fans to relive special moments and memories. “Ever found yourself bursting into tears at the sight of two teenagers in love, or maybe a puppy from the Budweiser adverts searching for his long lost friend, the horse? These stories all tap into emotions we have all experienced before, causing us to relive those happy moments again and again,” says Theo Gulland, the company’s online marketing and acquisition manager.
4. Capture What’s Around You.
Consumers love to go behind-the-scenes. Take a video of your store or factory that they might not otherwise see. If you can promote an upcoming sale or special event in the process, all the better.
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