Many of us know that doing video is an important aspect to our social media strategy, but it just seems so hard and daunting! We may be able to present in front of a big group, but the thought of speaking alone to a camera is… well, scary. We think so because it’s an unknown; we don’t know how to take good video, we worry about needing to edit it etc etc…
Not to fear! It’s easier than you think!
Check the lighting. By a window will most likely give you your best and easiest light.
Check the sound. Do you hear anything in the background? Is there a lot of wind? Is an air conditioner/ furnace blowing? Can you close a door? Audio doesn’t have to be perfect, but many would argue that it’s even more imperative than the video itself! If it makes sense, buy a cheap lav mic to plug into your phone.
Steady… Video devices do not smooth out motion like our eyes and brain combo do when we move our head side to side. If you start waving your phone around while filming, we, the audience, will get sick and probably stop watching. Whether using your hand, a selfie stick or a tripod, just hold still as best as you can.
Hold your arm/tripod/selfie stick slightly above your face, getting your whole face in the shot. You’ve seen it before, when tourists and teenage girls take their selfies, it’s always holding the phone slightly higher than eye level and taking the photo from a downward angle – this gives a more flattering view of yourself than does holding your phone head on or worse, below your chin (can anyone say “double chin”? or in my case, “triple”… )
Now that you’re holding it above you, flip that phone! Unless of course you are doing something live, the conventional way is still to have a horizontal image. The winds ARE changing and it is not a deal breaker if you keep your phone vertical (there is something to be said about the shotgun feel of a vertical video) but on the whole, keep it landscape.
Decent light, decent sound, steady film, landscape and flattering view – can you handle that?
Good! Now go for it! These are 5 super simple techniques to get you STARTED with your video marketing (and you know, you may never even need to move past this!) but the key word here is “started”.
I think it’s okay, because “custom thumbnails” really should have its own blog anyway. So there.
A thumbnail is the image you see a video as when you are scrolling on your screen.
If you’ve spent ANY time on the internet interacting with videos, you might have noticed that sometimes, this cover image NEVER even appears in the video.
Back in the day, this confused me. I’d be waiting for the introduction picture to flash because back in the day, for Youtube anyway, the “custom thumbnails” were just a still that you got to PICK from your video as opposed to something you could upload. But things change and I digress.
The thumbnail is to the book cover what the video is to the book. We all know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” YET, we also know that we tend to DO just that. The same goes with a video.
If you check out the first photo at the very beginning of this blog, which of the two videos would you click on? The first is a still that YouTube gives me as a Thumbnail, the second is a frame of the video that I chose exactly for my funny face, then added some pictures about the topic (Live streaming on Youtube) and a title, so someone has a quick overview on my subject.
If you take notice of the successful videos and videographers/video marketers/vloggers/youtubers etc etc… A majority choose a custom thumbnail.
You have the ability on most platforms to do this.
On the subject of Instagram, for one of my MOST FAVORITE videos I posted, I didn’t realize I could pick a custom still, so I didn’t. And in Instagram, you cannot go back and pick one. I think I missed out on a lot of interaction because, can you see the still it picked?
I should have picked one of these.
It takes a few (sometimes more) minutes to both create a thumbnail, or to pick the correct still from your video, and to upload it, but it is SO worth it in terms of views and engagement.
Wistia, a well-known video host and video marketing company extraordinaire did a study with their videos and an audience unfamiliar with them,
using different thumbnails.
“The Photoshopped thumbnail (hands) and the thumbnail we selected (Jeff) had similar play rates and a 35% improvement in play rate compared to the system-generated one. These two versions also had higher engagement rates than the one with an automatic thumbnail. Total result was an increase in total time watched of 50%.” – Two Thumbnails Up
Wistia has data that putting a little effort into creating a thumbnail or at the very least CHOOSING a still will increase play rates. In this case, they say a total watch time increase of 50%. I don’t know that it’s THAT much, but if so… CRAZY!
Do me a favor, upload custom thumbnails for your marketing videos. KTHX.
If you don’t want to do it as a favor for me, do it for your followers and tribe. They’re missing out on your great content because they’re a bit too hesitant to click on that blurry/out-of-focus/who-knows-what-it-is shot that you have up masquerading as a video.
I’ve included resources below (until I make all of these myself. 😉 ) so you cannot use ignorance as an excuse for not doing it.
To enable custom thumbnails on Youtube: Click here
Two days ago I sat down with Dave Murray, the spirited and passionate co-founder of Mayniax Branding.
This meeting had been preordained for awhile. Everywhere I went I was bombarded with “Oh! Have you met Dave yet?” “You should meet Dave!” “I know this guy Dave…”
Some things in life are just synchronistic, and after forever and an email, I finally looked him up. And. Crazy crazy, but it turns out I DID know who he was because, da-tada-da, I had watched one of his videos.
I didn’t connect the words “Dave Murray” when people would say it, with the energetic red accessory sporting person that I had seen online. But after making the connection, you wanna know what I did?
I watched more of his videos!
I got a good look-see at what this self-proclaimed “gutsy” guy was all about. I listened to his thoughts and his advice and I learned that he was my kind-of people. What I really learned, though, was that I DID wanna meet this guy.
I’m sharing this with you for two reasons.
1. What I got out of watching his videos told me a heck of a lot more about him than if I were to have just browsed his Facebook posts or only read his blogs. I learned that I liked his energy, and liked what he had to say. PLUS, the fact that he HAD videos told me things about him as well (that he’s up with the times and he values all of the benefits that video brings). What a deal! I got to hear his voice, see his face, and learn what he had to say all before he knew anything about me. Can you imagine what it would be like if your potential customers got to fall in love with you (or at least make that first step. ;-P) before they even met you? Can you imagine fewer headaches because you don’t have to explain something over and over again because the person who is chatting with you now has already watched the video(s), knows you don’t do XYZ and self-selected herself in as your client? Or the client who wanted XYZ, saw that you don’t do that and self-selected himself OUT, creating more time and space for you to focus on your true client?
If I had watched Dave’s videos and thought, “eh, we’re not a good fit,” I could have saved us both the hour and a half of a meeting plus transportation time. But I saw his videos and thought, “I HAVE to meet this guy.”
The power of video.
2. Plug for Dave, Mayniax and Branding. I haven’t talked much about branding on this blog, as I know my personal brand is a work in progress. But it IS important! Who you are in your business NEEDS to be conveyed in everything. Especially when you move into the video realm. If you’re a fun person to work with in business, why would you act reserved and staunch in a video? The same goes for vice versa. If your business focuses on a male audience, why would you make videos about a female concern? If your brand is you wearing striking red sunglasses and a brilliant tie, why would you NOT include that in the video?
Dave is a master at the branding. He’s got a branding firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and as you can see, he’s figured out a way to OWN Google,
be known and get remembered.
That’s what we want. Who are you as a company? Are you representing that consistently to the point where you are KNOWN? Then a little visual trigger or set of words will get someone thinking back to you?
When people are thinking of us, they are thinking of ways they can use us, or when that person they know expresses a need, the connections abound.
When you are clear and your message is clear, your videos and other marketing become clear. Then the path toward your ideal clients become clear as well.
If you have a Business Fan page on Facebook, (I’m glaring at you because you better!) have you messed with your custom URL? Basically your URL or Username is what comes after the www.Facebook.com/ part to let the computer know which page we’re looking at. Especially if you’re going to put your link somewhere for people to see it and type it in it’s important to have a custom URL to make it easy and pretty. No one wants to see or type in Facebook.com/wszYlk3jyp2. Just watch this video and change your link to whatever you’d like! (as long as it’s available of course. 😉 )
Okay, so you’ve done the hard work of taking and editing a video and are now going to post it. Do that, but also consider doing these five additional add-ons.
Consider adding Closed Captions/Subtitles
Not only do you broaden the audience of people who can watch your videos to those who are deaf and perhaps those that can only read English, but, statistics show there is more engagement with subtitled videos. Facebook reports that a captioned video increases view time by 12%. Not only that, but Facebook also reports that 85% of videos are viewed without sound. For a bit of extra effort, there is a surefire way to increase your video’s engagement. Especially when Facebook autoplays videos without sound.
You can add subtitles automatically through both Facebook and YouTube, but there are also programs to allow you to create SRT files and upload them. To add subtitles to Facebook videos, click here. To Youtube, click here. Alternatively, you can add them straight to your video project as text titles.
Consider making your video a Featured Video
On your website, on your Facebook, on your YouTube… you can create a Featured Video that will be highlighted for people to watch first. If you are creating an introduction video to your company, telling an important brand story, or just want your current video to be seen longer, make it a featured video so it doesn’t get lost in your newsfeed or buried in your multitudes of 10 second videos or Lives of you eating pizza.
Consider creating a Call to Action
I’m probably kicking a dead horse, but, calls to action work. A call to action tells the watcher what to do next. Should they watch X video? Should they subscribe? Should they share? Should they tell a friend who ___? Should they visit your website? What is their next step. Often, telling someone what they should do prompts them to do it because it’s easy and requires no thinking beyond, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”
This could be a simple line in the description of your video “Check out our website for more awesome stuff!” or, if you’ve decided to add it before uploading, it could be an easy end of video screen with text saying “Subscribe!” . If you do want more than that I would recommend baking the CTA into your video (with audio or something visual) is a good idea. So is a hyperlink overlay, see next item.
Consider adding annotations to your videos in YouTube
If you’ve ever watched a video on Youtube and as the speaker is mentioning something you should check out, a popup appears in the video, you’ve experienced an annotation or overlay. This is done in the YouTube Video Manager section and can be a great way to create calls to action, where you give an EASY “where to go next” option (literally, all they have to do is CLICK). Whether to your featured video, to subscribe to you, promote your website or sponsor another channel, this form of Call to Action is a great one.
Additionally, you can choose to highlight what you are saying in the middle of a video. If you are mentioning a product you sell in the video, consier linking to the product right then and there so if someone feels inclined, they can explore.
While some may subscribe to the “add it all in bulk, get it out there” mentality, I much prefer creating in bulk, and then choosing when I want to release. This is also a good option if you find yourself uploading your video at 3 am. While some insomniacs might see your video, it’s possible that by the time the rest of the world goes to look, it might be lost in a sea of other content.
Alternatively, if you do like to get it up in bulk, you can use Buffer to share at your leisure.
Buffer is a great way to do this if you use YouTube to post your videos, but then share them out to Twitter or Linked-in. With Buffer (or Hootsuite or many others) you can post them NOW, but not share them on to your other sites until you choose.
Take note, if you are doing it this way, I would recommend not sharing to Facebook as the Youtube shared videos do not get as many hits as the organically uploaded to Facebook videos. This is partly because Facebook ranks their own videos better, and that Facebook videos autoplay causing more people to watch.
(Update 03/30/17 I should have added this to this post, ag! But it is now its own post. Check out “Adding a Custom Thumbnail” here.)
We’re over a week into 2017, how are we all doing on our New Year’s Resolutions? For me, I’ve meditated 7 out of the 8 days in 2017. I tell ya, that one day is going to haunt me as I round out 2017 with 364 days of meditation, but whatever. It’s not about beating ourselves up over our mistakes, it’s about resolving to do better, and doing so. Then taking pride in our victories.
Really, I don’t care what your specific resolutions are for this year. What I really want out of you is COMMITMENT. Are you committed to what you do? If you are, I want to SEE it. I want to FEEL it. I want to enjoy the side effects of it radiating off of you.
If you are not… why not?
I went to an improv comedy club the other day. And those actors were onstage to entertain us, having no idea what they would say or do, because it was all on the spot. Those actors had to COMMIT to what they were doing. If they were in a skit, they were IN the skit. If they were using a voice, that WAS their voice. If they were wearing a persona, that was THEM. Anything less and they would fall out, leading to THE END. They had to commit to this crazy fictional story, or this skit of gibberish or this nonsensical rap because anything less and they would inevitably falter and putter in front of a live audience.
Sometimes I think we are stuck in the limbo between giving up, and fully commiting. To give up for the actors would be to decline to participate. To be commited was to say crazy stuff and cause laughter in the audience. To be on the fence, though, would be them questioning, mid-sentence, their actions. It would be getting stage fright by allowing the fears of “What if I’m not funny?” or “What if the audience doesn’t get this joke?” or “What if I don’t know what to say?” to cause their minds to go blank and their insecurites to rear. I can say this from experience. I was in an improv group and I quit. I was not commited. I would find myself in the limbo while practicing, and the failures of not performing only drove the insecurities higher. Because I didn’t commit, I didn’t succeed and I quit.
Commiting would have been throwing caution to the wind, and knowing I was okay even if I did something stupid, which inevitably, would have made that outcome less likely.
Committing is being Wile E Coyote and NOT stopping to look down below.
Committing is being the one, not with the most talent, but who’s giving it all he’s got, and when that’s gone finds more.
Committing is deciding to throw your whole heart into your endeavor and not tolerating the thought that your goal is unreachable.
Committing is putting all of your eggs in one basket because that basket is the best and you believe in it.
Be commited to your product. Be commited to your service. Be commited to your company. This will show through in your marketing. This is what will bring you success. We want to see and emulate the people who are in love with what they do. We want to buy from the people who are so passionate about what they have to sell that it’s infectious. We want what you’re on.
When we see that you are wishy-washy about your ‘thing’ we are not as inspired to drink your Kool-Aid. If we get the impression that you don’t really care about your profession, or are unsure of your offering’s true value, we won’t buy it.
This year, choose to be COMMITTED to yourself. If you cannot choose to be committed, then quit, or figure out how to choose. We make no progress sitting on the fence. Pick your side and walk it.
It doesn’t matter which platform for social media you choose to be on. Just pick one, and COMMIT to it. The Jack of all trades is the master of none. When you feel like you have reached your limit with your chosen platform, THEN start adding to your platform portfolio.
Do your videos, but really DO your videos. Be all in. No second guessing. Once the decision is made, do it. Once the video is filmed, post it.
Confidence. Conviction. and Commitment. This is what I want from you in 2017.