Small Business Video: Life After the Flip
Many small businesses were dismayed when Cisco Systems acquired and then shut down the company that produced the popular Flip video camera.
Some are wondering if they now need to obtain -- and learn to use -- a "real" digital video camera. Or should they be shopping for a Flip replacement? And is there anything out there that's equally easy to use?
Real Is In
Relax. Although it's certainly true that online video is a great way to enhance the Web presence of your business -- and almost a necessity these days -- there's a very good chance you already have everything you need.
The good news is that overproducing is out, and straight-from-the-source is in. This is not just true of video; the social Web revolution is about real contributions from real people winning over slick content, flashy ads and murky algorithms. Businesses now have more options than ever to generate compelling content their customers will watch.
Here are some of the many uses of videos online:
Company mission and vision:
Put a human face on your brand, and introduce your company and its mission in your own words.
How-tos and instructional videos:
Show your product in action and demonstrate why it's the best.
Customer testimonials, reviews and action shots:
Build authentic credibility through the people who love your brand the most: your customers!
Hiring and interviewing:
Get to know your employee candidates by asking them to submit short videos about themselves and why they should get to work with you.
What do all these uses have in common?
They're about real people, authentic communication and breaking down barriers between companies and consumers. You don't need any special camera equipment to achieve authenticity. In fact, slightly grainy, slightly shaky or otherwise unpolished video can enhance the immediacy of your message (think The Blair Witch Project).
Put That Smartphone to Good Use
Most of us carry everything we need to capture a great video right in our pockets. Is your happy customer in tears as she picks up her finished custom wedding dress? You can capture it all with your smartphone. No need to worry about specs: Any smartphone currently on the market will give you good enough video quality to create a compelling online video.
Or ask your fans to submit a video using their computer webcams. It works: Our clients use our platform to gather tons of wonderful, usable videos from their customers. And people love to watch them. Visitors to our clients' websites generally watch nine videos in a row.
Even how-tos and instructional videos, which are typically created with professional crews and long hours of editing, can be immensely popular and effective when produced on the cheap. Michelle Phan parlayed her webcam-produced makeup tutorials on YouTube into around 8 million views and a contract to represent the high-end cosmetics brand Lancome.
So embrace the age of authentic, inexpensive videos produced using equipment you already own. It has never been easier to create compelling content, and the impact on your business could be gigantic.
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