Whether your e-tail operation is well established or just getting off the ground, it’s a well-nigh act of self-sabotage to opt out of the rich sights and sounds of video hosts such as Vimeo, Vine, YouTube, and Instagram. Although the parameters of these providers vary, they all offer the possibility of snappy, commanding messages that are easy to embed on your point-of-sale site or social media page. The format and strategy you choose, however, depends on the nature of your product and service and the resources at your command. Here are a few ways to use online video to get your brand noticed:
In-depth product description
Sometimes the best way to get your product across is through a no-frills demo. The shoe and clothing mega-site Zappos, for example, has seen significant spike in e-tailing that feature simple video demonstrations of products—and that’s for a relatively uncomplicated product like shoes. For a more abstract service such as the discount deals website Groupon, on the other hand, translating a process into easy-to-digest animation can be an invaluable way of letting customers know what your product is in the first place. Note how in a matter of moments, Groupon uses Vimeo to clearly identify how it works, but more importantly, that it’s a way to save.
Obviously, such videos by nature lend themselves to a long form presentation—YouTube over Vine—and are geared toward disseminating information as much as commanding eyeball-time. Furthermore, using a company’s actual staff tends to bring across a level of authenticity that actors won’t provide (again, Zappos has done well with this angle). In this way, customers feel like they’re getting a recommendation from a real person rather than a blatant pitch.
Behind the Scenes
In cases in which you’re reaching out to potential customers who already follow you via social media, it’s a safer bet that said people already have an elevated interest in your brand. Leaning on the personality of people behind the company and telling the operation’s story through vivacious sound and image bytes takes full advantage of this interest. You make your audience feel as though they’re part of the brand experience, and can even do double-duty as a product demo, as Stila achieved with a series of Fashion Week Vines.
For similar reasons, if your company hosts promotional events, capturing their energy with Instagram or Vine clips are also alluring. The rapid cutting of these host sites are by definition dynamic and eye-catching, and their elliptical quality can leave viewers with a “wish I were there” feeling, a tactic successfully exploited by Virgin Mobile’s bumping DJ parties.
If your number one goal is to garner attention from new potential customers, the flash and dazzle of Vine or Instagram is the way to go. Indeed, short-form video lends itself to getting people to stand up and take notice of a brand rather than providing detailed information.
Obviously, the visual assault tactic can manifest in an array of forms contingent on the image you want to convey, not to mention the advertising budget in question. On the one hand, Samsung’s basketball Vines are a standard-bearer for what can be done with imagination and a crack animation team, putting the image of cellphones front and center and synergizing with a popular (and visually explosive) sport—all in a resounding memorable way.
Obviously, not everyone has the means to go head-to-head with Samsung here, but you don’t need to. Consider the recent strategy used by Old Spice in a series of amusing clips. In a few cryptic seconds, the video maker achieves brand recognition in an intriguingly opaque way that extends the conversation. And not only does the amateurishly no-budget production value slash costs, but it also imbues a slap-dash charm.
Affirmation from satisfied customers is worth its weight in gold, so posting video testimonials of your product’s excellence is a great way to establish trust. Here, the more organic the better, so linking existing clips made by a truly spirited consumer on his or her own webpage can function as a muscular Yelp! review.
Admittedly, that might be a tall order, so solicitation of user-generated clips may be necessary. For this, there’s nothing better than contest calls for clever Instagram or YouTube videos featuring your product.
As we have gathered, the budget and ambitions of marketing-driven videos can be drastically different and should be tailored to your capabilities and demands. On the one hand, studies have shown that as a rule, people respond more positively to videos crafted by a professional third party source. On the other, the above suggestions offer very cost-effective ways of getting your brand across; note that there are providers to help you maximize this task. In the end, however, clear vision, clever presentations, and an organically-cultivated connection with customers can outdo big-budget bonanzas.
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