Last month I got all of you thinking about using video to promote your business. We tackled the first elephant in the room – What do I even talk about in my video? Now that we have that squared away, let’s move on to the number two question that comes up:
What Equipment Do I Need To Make Videos For My Business?
This particular piece can easily get out of hand. I am not here to tell you to go out and start spending a lot of money buying equipment that could possibly scare you and therefore prevent you from following through. So let’s just start with the basics, and then move up from there.
- Phones/Mobile Devices: Yes, your smart phone or tablet, as most of you know, is perfectly capable of taking an excellent video. I am a Mac girl, so my experience comes from using an iPhone or an iPad. With all the latest upgrades, especially with the iPhone 7, your phone is VERY capable of taking a high quality video. Once it is on your phone, you can save it or immediately publish it to a social media platform. (We will cover this in more detail in part three.)
- Laptop Built In Camera – if you have a Mac, they already come with a built in “iSight Camera.” You can utilize this to record a video to your desktop which you can then publish multiple places, or to go live on Facebook or YouTube. Simple, easy, and right from the comfort of your desk chair. If you have a PC, models will vary, so check to see if you have one.
- Video Camera – these are the types you can buy at stores or on Amazon. My camera that I use a lot is an Everio, but you can use a multitude of cameras such as an Olympus, Sony, Panasonic or GoPro. Keep in mind you make sure whatever you buy is compatible with the video software you will need to edit your video and get it ready to publish. These cameras start out at $250 and go up from there depending on the features.
- Tripods – If you are using a camera or phone, I definitely recommend getting one of these. No one wants to watch a shaky video. If you are starting small – as I would recommend – you can get a tripod for your iPhone or iPad from caddiebuddy.com. If you have a separate camera, I use the AmazonBasics 60″ Lightweight. It is very versatile and comes with a bag to carry it in.
- Microphones – I find when using my iPhone or iPad a microphone is needed. Especially for videos that are done outside. I recommend the Lavalier Microphone. They are small, lightweight, and work with iPhones, Androids or Windows Smartphones. You simply plug it into the headphone jack and you are ready to go.
If you are doing video from your desktop, my good friend and video guru, Lou Bortone, recommends the Blue Snowball microphone. This is mainly for recording podcasts, or another use would be live videos to YouTube or Facebook.
Do I need any special software to produce these videos now that I have taken them?
Depending on what type of computer you have, chances are you already have the software you need. In my case, I use iMovie which comes standard on every Mac. iMovie allows you to play with the sounds, adjust the brightness, add subtitles, and so on to make your video awesome. If you have a PC, Microsoft has made it difficult for their users since they no longer include Windows Movie Maker. It is possible that your computer may have come with a third party software, but there are so many varieties of movie editing software there are no standards.
I would also encourage you to check out Animoto. Especially if you own a PC. This is a monthly subscription service that is VERY versatile. You can upload pictures, videos, choose your captions, add music and really create a great video that can easily be shared to all your networks with the click of a button. They just last week rolled out new features that include voice-over controls, new customized text controls and more options to create collages and layouts. You can also do a lot of these features with iMovie for free. If you need help with that, fortunately the Apple Store has classes on iMovie that are very inexpensive, and they offer one-on-one training so you can ask as many questions as you want.
Once you become more advanced you can buy more complex video editing software, more advanced cameras, a green screen, you name it. But the reality is – most business owners don’t need all of that. You will do fine just by getting your face and voice out there on a consistent basis while providing good content relevant to your audience.
My advice? Start with your phone and a tripod of choice. From there you can choose to share it to Facebook Live, YouTube Live, or just save it in your phone and then export it to whichever video software you have on your computer.
Got questions? You can contact me here. Good luck and feel free to share your videos with me!
It seems using video to promote your business is all you see anymore when it comes to fresh ideas for marketing. And with good reason. Video is completely exploding. Just the new features of video inside Facebook alone can make your head swim. Video is really escalating your ability to connect with your followers and fans in ways we weren’t even thinking about as little as a year ago. But you cannot ignore the facts:
- Videos have a 135% greater organic reach compared to photos.
- Between April and November of 2015, the amount of daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion to 8 billion.
- Videos used in emails lead to 200 – 300% increase in click through rates
- YouTube reports that mobile video consumption rises 100% EVERY year.
- After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy the product they just watched about.
But enough about that. We know we need to do it, but there are several reasons holding most entrepreneurs back.
They don’t know what to talk about. They think it is hard. They think they don’t have time. They don’t know how to begin.
It is time to change that way of thinking. So I have put together a series of articles that will give you the information you need to start chipping away at this beast one step at a time. I have broken this down into three digestible parts so hopefully you won’t feel overwhelmed.
Today we are focusing on Part 1: What do I talk about in my videos?
Think of videos the same as a blog. Brainstorm relevant topics that your customers or clients want to learn more about. Every video should be educating your audience somehow on either how you can help, or giving valuable answers that will help them accomplish something, thereby painting you as the expert. Below is a list of topics to get you started:
- Instructional Videos
This one is always helpful and typically the most sought after on YouTube. I know everyone reading this article has looked up a video on YouTube to learn how to do something. It is the same with what you do for a living. Show people various ways you can help them, or they can help themselves, by doing a quick instructional video.
- Introduce Your Staff
The best way to get people to know, like and trust you is to get in front of them. Introductory videos to yourself and your staff will help people feel like they already know you, hence feeling like they are your friend. People like to do business with their friends.
- Testimonials Of Happy Customers
EVERYONE reads the reviews on something, so why not put a review in video form? Ask one of your raving fans to let you record them giving a testimonial.
- New product announcements
If your business is constantly getting in new merchandise, stop and take a quick 30 second video about the latest and greatest product available at your store! This works great for restaurants too!
- Question & Answer Videos
This one is super easy. It is just you, sitting in front of the camera, answering commonly asked questions. End each of those videos by giving your viewers opportunities to contact you with more questions. This not only helps your viewers, but it really establishes you as the category authority.
My suggestions is to not jump into something that will overwhelm you. Start with doing a quick video once a week. You can either film four videos in one sitting and release them once a week, or you can make the time to sit in front of the camera weekly. Either way, you are delivering great content on a weekly basis that your followers will come to love and expect. The key here is consistency. Decide how often you will do it and stick to it. I promise – the results you will get will be worth it.
So now that a HUGE piece of what holds people back (the whole, “what do I talk about thing”) is out of the way, the next article in my series will be the next big stumbling block: equipment. I will go over simple ways to get you started – that you probably already own.
Are you feeling better about taking on video? If not, give me a shout and we will figure this out together.
Starting in 2009, I took it upon myself to develop a “Business State of the Union.” Our company had been growing since its inception in 1997, and with the way technology was changing all the time I felt I needed to have everything in one place. I needed to have information available to me or to my husband if something were to happen to either one of us. Articles have been written that touch on pieces of what was going through my mind. In fact, there was an article from the NY Daily News about having a social media will.
But it is not just about social media. Think about your entire business. The infrastructure, the access, the passwords, the chain of command. What happens to all of that if something unexpectedly happens to you? Who has access? Where are the passwords?
Setting up your own State of the Union (SOTU) is an essential part of running your business. So let’s go through the basics of what you need to do in order to set up your own personal SOTU.
Step One: Collect all the data.
- Business Systems – what technology do you have in place that is a vital part to running your business? Is it a specific software or database? Who has access? Where are the passwords? Does someone else understand how it works?
- Social Media – As it stands, Facebook will not give you access to your loved one’s account when they pass. They will “memorialize the account” so only confirmed friends can see and still post. Now for most people this may not be that big of a deal, but what if you have a lot of Facebook Ads tied to this account? Pictures? You cannot access this without the name and login. There are types of legislation the will assist in certain cases, but why not avoid it altogether and have your login and password accessible to the person that will need it? This of course also applies to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it. Gather your logins and passwords to all the social media sites you frequent and list them on your SOTU.
- Email – Where is it hosted? What are the passwords? Do you have access to all of the machines, such as home or work laptops, phones, iPads, etc. where you can log on to the email?
- Websites – Again, where is it hosted? What are the logins and passwords? How many domain names do you own, and when do they expire? Where did you register them? This is especially true if your livelihood is tied to your brand and website.
- Internet/Back Ups – Gather your logins and passwords to deal with our internet account. Do you know your wireless network password? Do you have a guest account with a password? Do you have a Time Capsule or other back up hard drive that is password protected? You need to know what these are!
- Cell Phone Accounts – Again, having access to logins, passwords, and plan information is vital. It is extremely rare that anyone has a land line any more, so you need to be able to get on the carrier’s website and adjust whatever is necessary.
- iCloud/iTunes – Apple is typically very helpful in retrieving someone’s music if they have passed, but if you have access to these accounts and can relieve a lot of extra work and aggravation.
I could go on and on with the list of different programs, products, services like PayPal, Amazon and various people like lawyers and insurance agents, but you get the idea.
Step 2: Where To Store It
Now that you have all of this technical data in one place, what do you do with it? First, I recommend using an encrypted system to store all of your vital passwords. We use and recommend Passpack. Passpack.com is a password management system that will allow you to manage and organize your passwords, create accounts for family members or team members, and it is all encrypted and secure.
Next, it is time to create the official SOTU: a Word document or Excel spreadsheet that lists the physical location as to where to find your important documents, such as wills, life insurance policies, bank accounts and so on, and then also include your Passpack account information. This document can be as simple or as thorough as you want it to be. Then you find a place to put it.
My husband and I have placed our SOTU onto Dropbox, which is not only accessible to us both, but makes it easy to update the information. I also have a hand written copy that I keep with the wills in a safety deposit box – just because I am anal like that.
Step 3: Update on an annual basis.
For us, that just happens to be every August. Set a date on your calendar – one that you will stick to. It only takes us less than an hour to go over any changes to passwords, business systems, bank accounts, etc. Just a small amount of time can really save you a lot of grief and struggle in the long run.
The SOTU is very personal since everyone utilizes technology and social media in different ways. Honestly – you don’t need to be a business owner to have one. Everyone should. Get your info together and then pick a person in charge.
So how many of you have a SOTU? Am I the only one? Did I get your wheels spinning? What are your thoughts?
They say change is good – and especially for a new year! So, for the first time ever on my blog, I am featuring a guest blogger. Ivan Serrano is a very savvy online marketer and has some great suggestions that he shares below on why you should start paying attention to Google+ and their +Post Ads. With all the changes in the social media space going on right now, it is necessary to stay up to date on what is available to you, the entrepreneur. I feel it is my job to arm you with as much information as I can to help you decide what is right for your budget and your business. While many marketers think Google+ is a social media platform of the past, it’s actually a very powerful tool for your business. In fact, Google+ is changing the way brands interact with their customers online through advertisements.
In 2014, Google launched +Post Ads, a Google+ content advertising tool. This feature enables brands with at least 1,000 followers to advertise their Google+ content. Google+ Post Ads utilize the Google Display Network and enables brands to advertise their Google+ posts, videos, and hangouts throughout the Internet.
So, you’re probably wondering why Google+ Post Ads are important for your brand, right? Well, it gives you the opportunity to reach more customers and build more awareness for your brand. In fact, brands who have advertised their Google+ content have experienced 50 percent more engagement than traditional advertising tactics!
Getting started with +Post Ads is quite simple. All you need is a Google+ page with at least 1,000 followers and valuable content to share with your target audience. Once you accomplish these two things, you’ll be able to launch your first +Post Ad campaign.
Creating a +Post Ad campaign is very easy. First, you’ll create a new AdWords campaign with Google. Next, you’ll create your ad and select an ad group. When you create your ad, make sure you choose the best image size for your post and select the best demographics for your target audience. Finally, you’ll save your advertisement and prepare to respond to engagement. As you can tell, creating a +Post Ad campaign is very simple!
Google is changing the way brands advertise their business online. Instead of focusing on product promotion, +Post Ads focus on content promotion. To learn more about +Post Ads and how to create one, check out the infographic below:
So this has been a very interesting year in social media. It seems that no matter how much we try, we are never able to keep up with all the changes and how to’s. Believe me. I do this for a living and it is a lot to take in many days. So I thought I would stop the crazy train and offer some advice to my fellow entrepreneurs based on what I have personally seen on my own accounts, as well as the accounts I manage for my clients. Keep in mind, my thoughts here are based on what I have observed with the testing and measuring I have been doing this year.
1. Facebook – you now have to pay to play, so quit whining.
I know, I know. A lot of people are really ticked off that their organic engagement is down. But in their efforts to provide your wall with content that YOU want to see, they are constantly playing with their algorithm. Facebook was free, and still is, but the days of great engagement stats being free are over. That being said, there are many low cost options available to you that are very beneficial when done correctly. For instance, I HIGHLY recommend boosting your posts. You can do this as cheap as $5.00 for one day if you want. The key to this working effectively is to boost a post that leads your target back to your website. So for example, let’s say you are putting out a holiday gift buying guide. You would put that on your blog or website, write a post about it on Facebook with the link to that blog attached, and then boost that post. You can spend any amount you want and choose to run it for one day or three days. This is very effective when you are trying to draw attention to your blog and website – which should ALWAYS be your goal. Why? Because you don’t own Facebook. You don’t own any platform. But you do own your website and email database. So utilize social media for what it is. A social website. Educate and interact with your followers and lead them back to your website.
2. Should you use a third party posting system, like Hootsuite?
In my opinion, yes. Anything that you can do to be able to post to multiple environments to save time is a good thing. There has been some talk over the years that Facebook does not give as much reach to posts that come from 3rd party apps, but I show no evidence of this being the case. I personally have been testing this theory recently with my posts, as well as my clients. Engagement and the amount of people that have seen the posts are the same. I even checked this out with some industry leaders in Social Media – and they have confirmed this information as well. Hootsuite Pro is really nice because they give you detailed reports on how all your accounts are doing on a weekly basis, and have a very helpful staff. The Pro account is not free, but the cost is very minimal.
3. Pictures – they will always steal the show.
So the big questions is always, what should I post? What will get shared the most? My answer is to think about what you personally would share with others. Everyone loves fun pictures. Pictures that make us laugh, pictures that inspire us with great images or uplifting quotes, these are the types of things that get shared. Once again I will state: social media is meant to be SOCIAL. So filling up your wall with too much “buy from me” posts or posts that are very educational and relevant, but boring, will not help your message get spread. You HAVE to sprinkle in the humor. I know a lot of you have trouble with this since you want your page to look professional. Trust me – you can be professional and funny at the same time. The key is knowing your audience. Really study what people are liking and commenting on. Tech tip on photos: I have heard a rumor that pictures shared in the .png format are often shown by Facebook more. Still researching if this is true, but feel free to try it and let me know how it works for you! Also – make your own quotes by using a free service called PicMonkey.com. Own your thoughts before you put them out there!
4. Is social media really necessary?
Absolutely. The key is knowing which platform your target market is using. It is safe to say that most people use Facebook, but if you are targeting the younger generation they are typically found on Twitter and Instagram. So spend the time doing the research and surveying your target market. Where do they hang out? Where do they like to get their information? And if you are overwhelmed with it all, you basically have two options in my opinion.
1: Pick one platform and rock at it. Really put a lot of time and effort into that platform and utilize it to its fullest extent. Don’t worry about being plastered everywhere. If you are choosing the platform your target frequents the most, and using that platform to lead them back to your website, then you are doing the right thing. Remember, always lead them back to where you have the control.
2. Hire some help. I know the thought of hiring someone to do this for you can be scary, but having a professional help you is worth its weight in gold. This person should be using social media, your website and blog, and your email newsletters together to send out your clear and concise message. All of these things should be working together to market your business and produce a professional image online. It is necessary and if you cannot keep up with it yourself, then it is time to pony up. (That is a direct quote from a fellow entrepreneur I know.)
I am always on the lookout for more tips to share. When I come across some more, I will be sure to let you know, so follow me on my Facebook page or Twitter account. I also invite your questions in the comments below. Let’s make 2015 a great year!