As consumers comply with stay-at-home requirements while restaurants, bars and theatres close their doors, they are increasingly looking to video content to fill the void. YouTube has reported a 15 percent increase in its website visits and TikTok downloads are skyrocketing. But consumers are not just looking for entertainment: they’re looking for meaningful advice, education and support, in video form. As a result, businesses are turning to video to connect and engage with their customers: barbers are sharing their techniques for home haircuts, yoga instructors are sharing advice on staying healthy and chefs are offering online cooking classes.
Of course, you don’t have to be in the service industry to deliver engaging, valued video content. Across all industries, particularly at this point in time, creating video is helpful and supportive. Think about what your customers want to hear from you – and what you appreciate hearing, yourself. You could explain the steps you’re taking to keep your staff and customers safe; thank your clients for their messages and support; callout companies, communities and individuals that are doing great things; talk about your businesses’ plans for later in the year or share personal insights and stories.
Brushing up on your video creation skills is a good investment of your time. Even before the pandemic, video was becoming more and more popular, with 81 percent of businesses using video as a marketing tool, and mobile video consumption increasing by 100 percent every year. Here are our tips for creating authentic, engaging video content on your smartphone:
1. Make sure you’re seated in a professional setting. Depending on your business, your home office, workshop or studio will be great. It’s fine to show some of your personality in the setting but make sure it’s not too cluttered: you don’t want your audience to be focusing on what’s behind you rather than listening to what you’re saying.
2. Film in a well-lit room, ideally with light coming from in front of you. If you have an extra light such as a table lamp, aim it at the wall behind you. It will reflect from the wall for a more flattering look. Don’t film in front of windows or just your silhouette will be visible. Filming at a white surface – for example, a table – reflects the light for a softer look.
3. Background noises can seem amplified in video, so record yourself at a time that background noise is minimal – pets, children, even garbage trucks reversing outside will spoil your best recording. Sound is more important than footage: your audience will cope with a less-than-perfect vision but if the sound isn’t great, they’ll switch off.
4. Choose solid-colour clothing rather than patterned. Striped button-down shirts, for example, can create a fuzzy effect known as ‘strobing’.
5. Clean the lens and rotate your phone so it’s in the horizontal position.
6. When taking the video, keep your phone at eye-level. Either have someone hold the phone and do the recording, making sure they keep as still as possible or ideally, place your phone on something that keeps it fixed. This will allow for any future recordings you make to be consistent in terms of framing and position. If you do plan to make a few more recordings, it’s worth investing in a basic tripod.
7. Make sure the camera is around 5-8 feet away. Any further and you’ll lose the sound quality.
8. Check your positioning in the frame: you need to be centred, filmed from mid-waist up with plenty of room above your head.
9. Tap on your screen to lock your exposure and focus. Smile, speak slowly and clearly and don’t worry if it’s not perfect. You can always re-record if you’re not happy with it.
10. Finally - share your content. There’s little point in creating compelling content if no-one gets to see it. YouTube is still the first place many people turn to for video content – 79 percent of Internet users say they have a YouTube account - and LinkedIn for professional content. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are also popular channels. Find out where your audiences are, set up a company page and post your video on your company page. You can share from the company page and across your own personal social networks too, and don’t be afraid to share the content several times – just leave a few days in between. Use relevant hashtags to make sure you’re part of the conversation and try to engage with comments. Create a schedule and stick to it. Regular posting at the right cadence for your audience is far more effective than a one-off.