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Building your brand: why video matters

Video can be a powerful and effective business tool, but it’s still underused by many SMEs. Here’s how to harness its power to build your brand.

Last updated: 27 Jun 2019 7 min read

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The advantages of video are compelling: it’s has been shown to be significantly more effective than static posts and pictures for gaining reach and building engagement. Recent research from HubSpot suggests 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service through video, while another study found that 82% of consumer internet traffic is expected to be video by 2020.

“Channels like Facebook and Instagram are now focusing on prioritising the visibility of video content,” says Laura Sutherland, director of Glasgow-based PR consultancy Aura. “Videos are also a preferred option for viewing on a mobile rather than having to scroll and read. As a result, video boosts conversions and sales. It’s a cost-effective tactic with a good return on investment. Google loves videos, too, so it will be a great tool for search.”

Entrepreneur, author and podcast host Rob Moore makes extensive use of video to build his brand and communicate key messages. He believes it creates more trust online because people can connect on a deeper level than through text or voice alone.

“Using video helps followers, fans and potential clients see behind the scenes, connect with you remotely, get to know you at a distance and in their own time and comfort until they feel ready to engage or buy,” he says.

Ways to use video

Moore uses video on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn, and for webinars and global ‘life streams’, where he shares aspects of his daily life with viewers.

“I use video daily to connect online,” he says. “It can be used via virtually all free social media channels. You can showcase your personality and products; document and diary your journey; build and engage your following and a community; reach people on the other side of the world; and build friendships and long-standing clients.”

Laura Tomkinson, a videographer at Venn Digital, a digital agency based in Manchester, agrees that live streaming on social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to use video.

“Product launches, webinars, seminars, topical content, and performances could all be livestreamed,” she says. “However, it’s important to viewers that the video quality is of a high standard, as 23% of customers who’ve been presented with a poor-quality video will hesitate to buy from that brand.”

A helpful way to plan your video output is to divide it into three categories. Mike Sedgwick, director at boutique production company By This River, explains: “These categories are: aspirational – glossy, hearts and minds material; belonging – getting your team onscreen for thought-leadership material; and collateral – accumulating a media archive of sales features or company proof points,” he says.

Key challenges – and how to overcome them

Business mentor and mindset coach Ruth Kudzi says a key challenge for many business owners is a lack of confidence with video.

“They can build this by practising and being consistent,” she says. “Mapping out what you will speak about first can also help with nerves, as can following a specific structure.”

Sutherland adds that storyboarding what you’ll be saying and doing will improve the quality of your content.

“The cost of equipment is often feared, but don’t worry; I shoot most of my videos on my iPhone,” she adds. “I have a plug-in mic and a tripod, which are portable and inexpensive.”

Sedgwick agrees that equipment doesn’t need to be costly. “People can be nervous about budgets, and big commitments – but the world of video has never been more accessible and democratic,” he says. “You may not be able to go for the aspirational content just now, but you can start on the collateral with just a phone and a free video editing app. That might be what you need to start building that footprint.”

When it comes to personal branding, he finds that people sometimes struggle with how to present themselves on camera.

“It’s really about authenticity and being yourself,” he says. “It’s easy to say, but not necessarily easy to do when there’s a camera and some lights pointing at you. It’s good to start practising whenever you can – and get honest feedback.”

Another challenge is ensuring your video is the correct length and shape for your chosen platform: a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work. For example, a video for your website homepage may be longer and in landscape format, whereas a video for Instagram should be snappy, and you may prefer a square format to maximise on-screen space. Often a little editing is a simple solution.

“One of the best ways to boost value in post-production is to output a variety of content from the original footage,” says William Leach, content creator for corporate video production company Five on a Bike. “A simple tip is to produce various pieces of platform-specific content which is optimised for both the audience and the delivery platform.”

Getting to grips with video: 10 tips for beginners

  1. Think about your overall communications strategy: “Take time to think through your strategy and what you want your video to do,” says Sedgwick.
  2. Start simple: Use the camera in the palm of your hand. “Film someone in your team or volunteer to be filmed yourself and start becoming familiar with things like framing, lighting, and sound,” says Sedgwick.
  3. Pre-record and edit a video: Using Facebook for a live video can be a good start, but if this seems daunting you can pre-record a video and edit it natively in your phone. “Start with one minute or short-form content, and as you build your confidence and knowledge, you can extend the time and the reach of where you share,” says Moore.
  4. Take tips from YouTube videos on how to storyboard, shoot and edit a video: “Watch videos similar to the one you’d like to produce and make notes on style, captions, music, editing and so on,” says Sutherland.
  5. Keep things honest: “The more human you can make the video, the more people will enjoy it,” says Sutherland.
  6. Take care with sound and lighting: “The quality of these is important,” says Sutherland. “Avoid shadows on faces, muffled noises, background noises and so on. Think of the venue you’ll be using and how you can make the best of the light, space and sound.” Kudzi adds that you should ensure the background is consistent with your brand.
  7. Get permission to use your chosen soundtrack: “Facebook, for example, won’t allow you to post an edit using a pop soundtrack unless you have permission and have paid the Performing Rights Society,” says Victoria Larder, co-founder of London events company PAVE. “If you can’t afford to pay PRS, get your editor to use a cool track from a music library.”
  8. Don’t expect people to watch to the end: “Tell the best bits of the story upfront, in case people only stay with you briefly,” says Larder.
  9. Keep all the raw footage: “In the future you might want to create a new edit,” says Larder.
  10. Share your video regularly – and don’t be afraid to re-post it and use it in different ways: “Make your video easy to find and people will watch it; think about including it in email campaigns, email footers, articles and so on,” says Leach.
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