In our recent marketing shifts series, we explored the significant shifts we are experiencing in the world of video production and marketing. We thought it was worth a deeper dive into the bigger picture behind video marketing and so we decided to dedicate one more post to the topic.  

An industry that was once reserved for the pros is now open to anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection.

The rise in demand for online video content, especially on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, continues to perpetuate this shift, giving more urgency to the need for brands to make video content available in a variety of scalable and searchable formats.

We work with nonprofits and small businesses and are frequently asked, “How do I know when I need to invest in professional video production services versus attempting to incorporate video into my marketing strategy on my own?” In part two of our marketing shift series, we offer guidance with smaller brands and nonprofit organizations in mind, to help you discern between these two options. We also offer insight into the power and popularity of live video and how to incorporate this emerging medium into your digital marketing strategy.

Here are some basic yet fundamental considerations that can help you discern the “if, when, what kind, and how” behind your video marketing goals.  

1. Consider Your Audience – Talk to Your Personas

Your video marketing strategy needs to be one part of a larger overarching marketing strategy which should already include details on target market research and ideal customers/personas that will make this an easy call. If you do not have a full fledged marketing strategy in place, we advise that you pause the video considerations and take a step back to develop an overall marketing strategy before diving into the minutia of vehicles and tactics. (BTW we can help with that if you’re interested).

Having well researched personas in place helps facilitate a line of communication that will yield higher impact results.

For example, if your brand caters primarily to seniors you may find that heavy investing in live, social media drive content is ineffective because that is not where your persona goes to make purchasing decisions. This persona may very likely place a higher value on production quality and dismiss the amateur video content as childish and not take your message seriously.

On the other hand, if your brand caters to retired seniors who invest heavily in vacations and travel, you may find great benefit in creating online videos dedicated to vacation and travel topics that pertain specifically to the retired persona. It would be up to you how heavily you want to invest in production at this point, but given the statistics on baby boomer expectations and purchasing decisions, it would likely be wise to invest more heavily in professional productions on the front end and sprinkle in more casual videos as you build credibility and your audience grows — particularly if your strategy creates space for user or community generated content to be published and shared on your platforms. Whichever format and approach you choose, a clear and concrete understanding of your personas will help you know if, when, and how to incorporate video content into your marketing strategy.  

2. Consider Your Budget – Don’t Depend Only On Dollars to Decide

When we talk about video production, it’s true that you get what you pay for. High end studios will always produce a quality of product that cannot be matched by a point and shoot approach. And we are not just talking about equipment here. The professionals running the studios have extensive training, experience, and expertise with the intricacies of video and/or film production. They can speak the language and execute the vision in a way the layman’s tools and abilities can’t compete with. There is a time and place for high quality brand videos and these cannot be replicated on your personal PC. It would be akin to hiring a master carpenter to build your dream home or trusting your neighbor’s kid who just finished his junior year wood working class. The end results will not be the same.

But we also understand that some brands simply don’t have the budget to afford a high level of production services. Should your budget determine whether or not you add video to your marketing toolkit? We think that there is room for both approaches and can help you determine how to effectively produce and publish videos that will underscore your brand personality and promise. Again, these considerations should be filtered through an overarching marketing strategy, but if you do want to jump into video content and lack the budget dollars to create polished brand videos, one way you can get started is focusing on the level of social media videos that promote user and community created content.

Basically, give your brand loyalists and personas who are already actual customers an opportunity to create and post their videos to your channels. This grassroots approach to video content can further your reach in organic ways that you may not be able to accomplish on your own. There are actually many great and inexpensive benefits to this approach. For example, this article highlights seven major brands who opened the door for user generated content while saving big bucks on production (and actors/models) while building loyalty with customers and new audience who feel connected to the emotional “human” side of the brand. As you can see, the bigger picture marketing strategy and goals must be in place to help you decide if big money needs to be spent or if you can find creative ways around bolstering your communication channels with user generated video content.

3. Consider Live Video Alternatives – Give Them a Peek Behind the Curtain

Your brand has an interesting story to tell — using live video to tell your story may return better results than professionally produced videos. Now, what qualifies as interesting and newsworthy has become quite variable because of social media, as this Forbes article points out, social media users love the immediacy of a live experience. What’s happening with live video, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, is that immediate, real-time opportunities for engagement have a high value impact over a passive approach. If you can pull the audience into your live action, they will be hooked by the anticipation and increasing tension behind what happens next. It’s the same kind of mentality we see with reality television. People love watching the raw, unscripted lives of strangers. Don’t think they won’t be drawn to the same format if you can give them an exclusive and exciting peek behind your brand’s curtain.

To be clear, we are not saying go out and create your own reality tv channel, although some brands have done this with some success. What we do want you to consider is this: if you don’t have budget for high quality brand films, don’t try to recreate the brand film approach with your iPhone. Instead, look for ways to use live videos to engage customers and consumers on a personal and emotional level by giving them an insider perspective on your products and services.

We hope that this look into shifts in video has helped you think through ways your brand can leverage this medium to further your reach and gain new customers. If you’re still not sure which direction to go with video, we’d love to help with that. Reach out and let us know your questions and we can begin working together to come up with a video solution that makes sense for your audience within your budget.

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