I started "producing" my own videos when I was 8 years old. From the time my sister and I were deemed old enough to hold the family camera without breaking it, we were hooked on the wonders of video. Back then, polished videos were still a luxury. I never would have guessed that consumer-level cameras would soon fit in my pocket, or that video would become such a powerful piece of my own business.
I recently got together with my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Ariane Fisher, co-founder of the crowdsourced, cloud-based Storymix Media, to brainstorm a few of our favourite ways to use video to save time, pump up marketing and improve business practices:
1. Use video to train new staff. Most of our staff works remotely, so we don't always have the luxury of sitting down with new team members to walk them through training. Instead, we use Camtasia, a screen recording software, to record ourselves walking through our processes step-by-step. When new team members start, we have a dozen videos that they can watch. These videos don't have to be perfect and polished, as long as you can get your point across.
2. Use quick video tutorials to help clients understand complex topics. Most of our clients have hectic schedules, so we often use Camtasia to record short screen recordings in place of web conferencing. We simply send them links to private videos that walk them through specific concepts, and they can watch the videos on their own schedules. "Video tutorials are a great way to provide value to your existing clients," says Fisher. "At Storymix, we use video tutorials to help clients get creative with our product and use it in ways they hadn't considered."
3. Use video to bring testimonials to life. A written testimonial is a powerful marketing tool, but a video testimonial is even more credible. "Testimonial videos seem more authentic to prospective clients than written reviews," says Fisher. "They don't have to be daunting or intrusive; they can be filmed in the comfort of your client's home using their webcam. You can schedule a phone call with them after delivering your product or completing your service. Talk with them for a few minutes about what they enjoyed most. Then ask them to hit record on their webcam and keep speaking with them in an interview style."
4. Create a short value proposition video for your website. Your value proposition is your promise to potential customers. Use a video on your website to quickly and clearly explain the benefits of what you're offering. As Fisher puts it, "Explainer videos are super hot and a quick way to explain your value props to prospective clients. You can hire high-end professional services, or even go the DIY route and create your own explainer video using your existing footage and a voiceover with a USB mic." Check out an example from her company on YouTube.
5. Use video to make yourself more visible in search engines. YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. "Google owns YouTube and places higher value on inbound links from their own platform," says Fisher.Whether you're using video to communicate among your own team members or to complement your marketing, the most important thing is that you set aside time to jump in and start experimenting with it. Video is becoming a powerful part of modern business—if you're not using it, you're missing out on endless opportunities.
Allie Siarto is the co-founder of Loudpixel, a social analytics company focused on social media monitoring, insights, measurement and infographics. She also runs a project called Entretrip, a co-traveling experience for location independent entrepreneurs, and a digital marketing innovation podcast called The Apt Marketer.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.