The future of marketing is video: Five tips for small businesses

Michael Venn, entrepreneur and founder of app development company, Duplia Ltd, has seen firsthand just how powerful video can be for a brand. His newest venture, social media video app, Frames, allows friends to collaborate on shared video projects.

video social mediaHere’s what he’s learned about video, and how small businesses can use it to their best advantage.

It’s no secret that video is growing fast – it’s estimated that by 2017, 74% of all consumer internet traffic will be video content. Consumers are spending more and more time watching videos. YouTube alone has experienced a 50% increase in viewing year-over-year.

This surge in video is due to it being the preferred medium of millennials – the generation born between the years 1980 and 2000. This age group consumes more video content than any other demographic. Any brand looking to target millennials should be using video in their communications – it’s simply the best way to reach this target audience.

Of course, it’s not just millennials who are into videos. As a communication channel, it’s consistently successful: 65% of adults will watch at least three quarters of a video. Likewise, in a survey of worldwide marketers, 52% named video as the channel with the best ROI.

Video may be the future, but it doesn’t have to be scary. I learned a lot about video while working on our new app, Frames. If your small business is interested in incorporating video into your marketing strategy, here are a few tips to get you started…

1. Set some objectives

I’m not talking about KPIs – they’re a bit stuffy and old-fashioned. What I mean is, don’t just jump into producing a marketing video for the sake of it. Identify who you want to target, what you want this video to communicate, and what you want viewers to do after watching the video.

The more specific you can be here, the better. For example, we identified that the target audience for Frames is millennials. Specifically, those between 18-24 years old. Our target audience is into technology, and is always looking for the next big trend. The perfect Frames user would spend a lot of time communicating with their friends via their smartphone, and might even be an aspiring vlogger.

Knowing our audience allows us to create videos they’ll be more likely to engage with, in turn increasing potential ROI.

2. High quality video is essential

While working on Frames, and our first social network app, Tagstr, I quickly saw that consumers have very high standards! That’s by no means a bad thing; it just means you have to work harder to give customers what they want.

It’s not just me that thinks so, either. In a study of 750 US adults, around 75% of respondents said they would endure low quality video for just four minutes before quitting. The same research found that once a video had been interrupted, 40% would either try to find the video on a different platform (redirecting potential traffic from your site elsewhere), or give up on the video altogether.

Either way, it’s a clear sign that if you want to use video for your business, you have to do it well.

3. Keep it short

The whole point of video is that it’s an easy way of communicating – your prospective customer doesn’t have to do any work to absorb your brand messaging. The success of the Vine app (six second videos played on a loop) shows that users are interested in short, bite-sized chunks of content.

When working on Frames, we found that while users want to be able to collaborate with their friends on videos, they don’t want these videos to be very long. The maximum length for a Frames clip is one minute (unless two friends collaborate, of course). Users have busy lives, and short attention spans. Lengthy videos will turn them off almost as much as a white paper!

Snackable content is the best way to keep your customers engaged. In their recent State of The Media Report, Oolaya found that 95% of the most popular digital videos of 2015 were less than 5 minutes long.

4. Make it personal

A successful video is one that’s watched and shared many times. The more eyes on your videos, the greater the chances of your brand being absorbed and remembered.

When you consider marketing videos that have ‘gone viral’, there’s always something a bit different about them. They might be funny, heartwarming, or shocking, but something that will catch the viewers’ attention.

Before you start, make sure you have your brand voice nailed. This is what will help your business’s videos stand out from your competitors.

With Frames, we worked hard to create a brand personality that our users would connect with. In all our communications, we aim to be vibrant, youthful, and even a bit cheeky. The Frames niche is its collaborative aspect, so we like to emphasise what makes us different from our competitors. Of course, it has to be genuine. Our users are smart, and they won’t respond well to artifice or fakery from a brand.

5. Promote your video

While your own YouTube channel is the sensible place to host your marketing video, where many brands fall down is by not publishing it somewhere else as well.

Just like press coverage and blog posts, your marketing video should be shared across all your comms channels. We created a video about the Frames video app, and we’ve posted it on our website and social media, and included it in PR outreach.

Unless you’re a regular vlogger, YouTube channels simply don’t get the same traction as social media, so you have to share your content to get seen!

Frames-landscapeFor businesses willing to put in the effort, video is unparalleled in its ability to effectively communicate with customers. A final thought – 93% of marketers are already using video in their strategies. They can’t all be wrong!

By Michael Venn, Frames founder