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5 Ways to Use Video to Connect With Customers

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video-view-finderYou’ve probably noticed the surge in online video. It’s being touted as the hottest content marketing trend, Harlem Shake videos have saturated the Web and it makes us all wonder if more video isn’t just what we need to stand out.

But there’s a difference in seeing the power of video and truly using video to push your brand further and make it more connected.

I sit in a lot of conversations about online video. It’s not only something I’m particularly interested in, but it’s something my agency considers a core and beloved part of our marketing mix. So I’ll admit, sometimes when I hear the current conversation about video I get a little stabby. Because while marketers are starting to understand how great video is, they’re not truly using it.

It’s time to push your video marketing to the max. Sure, video is a great vehicle for those unboxings, the product views, and your customer testimonials, but that’s not all video is capable of.

Below are five different ways to use video.

1. To Recognized Your Audience

Have you heard of Vsnap? If not, it’s a tool that allows you to record short video messages to share with your audience. The company views these video snapshots as a way for businesses to feel and act more human. And you know what? Vsnap actually practices what they preach.

  • Every time someone follows Vsnap on Twitter, community manager Trish Fontanilla sends them a video recognizing them and saying thanks.
  • When one of their community members tweeted they were having a bad day, Trish sent him a video message to cheer him up.
  • (If someone is chatting about them on Twitter, Trish will hop into the conversation and say hello when it’s appropriate, of course).

She’s actually become a little Internet Famous simply by using video to connect with the company’s friends and users. These videos may only take :30-:60 to create, but they show users Vsnap thinks they matter.

Using video for customer support or just to say “thanks” may not be scalable or appropriate for every business, but when can you use video to be more human?

Maybe it’s a video sent at the end of an event you’ve hosted where you thank people for attending and invite them to keep in contact. Maybe it’s a video message when someone completes their first order. Or their 10th. Or after they’ve left an impactful blog comment. Look for opportunities to be human.

2. To Provoke

I could pen a 10,000 word manifesto about the effects of childhood bullying. I could cite stats, share personal stories, and recount the number of tears I’ve shed as a result of people hurting my feelings. But you know what? It wouldn’t be nearly as impactful as this anti-bullying poem video created by Shane Koyczan. You wouldn’t feel my pain the way you feel his when you watch that video. The story wouldn’t stay with you as long.

That’s the power of video to provoke. They’re visceral. They make people feel and experience things words on a page cannot.

What messages are you putting out there that might be best suited for video than other medium? Where could your message be more thought provoking, more entertaining, more emotional?

3. To Tell a Story

We’re in an age of storytelling. Where customers want to know not only what you did, but how you did it, why you did it, and who helped you do it. They want the story. Why not tell that story through video?

  • Use video to introduce your team and its values, to share “behind the scenes” footage, and to visually stimulate your audience.
  • Create mini-stories around your product or service’s key features to focus on your key messaging points and highlight important benefits.
  • Show how that campaign came to life, how the character was designed, or where the concept came from by documenting your company process and how you work.

We’re seeing a lot of companies use video as a way of telling their brand story. Why? Because it works. The same way the “extra footage” holds people in theaters longer, the extra footage around your brand keeps your brand engaging and interesting.

4. To Simplify Ideas

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to see something before I truly understand it. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you explaining what it is your product or service does, but I won’t fully grasp it until I see it in action.

That’s what video does.

For those of us in complicated industries (i.e., anything involving the Web or technology), using video to simplify concepts can make the difference between someone understanding what it is you’re all about and them walking away confused.

For example, what’s more confusing than the healthcare industry? Almost nothing. That’s why Stay Smart, Stay Healthy uses whiteboard videos to explain difficult concepts and make them easier for their consumers to grasp.

That video accomplishes what no amount of written words could. It makes healthcare understandable to the average person.

Or maybe it isn’t your industry that’s confusing, but your business. Maybe you’re a cloud-based company or you do something that most people aren’t comfortable or familiar with just yet. By using a video to simplify your company message/purpose, you help people feel less intimidated by what you have to offer. They don’t see the jargon, they only see the benefit. They see you.

5. To Entertain

Rather than dedicate resources to creating sales videos, why not create something your audience will not only enjoy watching, but will want to share? Our consumer’s time has always been valuable, but in a world where attention spans are shorter than ever, creating video that entertains while it informs (or just entertains) ensures your brand stands in a user’s mind and that you’re leaving them with a positive brand impression.

Why did Harlem Dance videos go viral? Because they were short, they were fun, and they included a formula that didn’t require a huge time investment.

Your audience loves video. They love to consume it, to share, and to be part of it. How are you using video in your marketing?


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