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How to do video advertising...without the ads

Mark Cersosimo
September 19, 2016 by Mark Cersosimo Staff

Whether you work in tech, food, agriculture, or something more niche, here’s a little secret that more and more businesses are beginning to taking advantage of: videos should be central to your marketing plan (or “video content marketing,” if that’s your preferred term). In this video-centric world we’re currently living in, it’s one of the best ways to create and maintain brand awareness.

The cost of entry to get your business out there is so low. Long gone are the days where you need expensive TV commercials, billboards, radio ads, and more traditional methods, as things increasingly shift to digital. That’s why it’s wise to review your advertising budget for the year, and if possible, commit to making videos — whether you DIY or have the funds to hire a full-time employee, freelancer, or even video-production company.

But once you decide to create some videos, how do you know what it should say, how many to make, where to market it, etc.? Below, I overview some quick tips to keep in mind when you start. And if you’re looking for powerful tools to help you tell your story, Vimeo Business is now here 
— AND we’ve got best practices for of every part of the video workflow with our Video Marketing 101 series

The Faction Collective is in the ski gear business, and has made Staff Pick-worthy short films. Those tens of thousands of views are undeniably driving new business.

What kind of videos should I make?

The key to success is to sell without selling. Create awareness for your brand by putting out videos that are useful to people that are interested in the ecosystem in which your business exists. If you sell chalkboards, put out videos of an artist actually in the process of drawing on your boards. Or maybe you own a shop that offers a wide variety of international beers: a quick, daily taste test or review show would be perfect for you. Do you sell wiring and sockets for lamps? You should be making instructional videos for DIYers. Bottom line, every business can offer something interesting and valuable to your audience.

You can also expand to find something tangentially related to your business that seems shareable. Rather than going for the viral factor, it’s better to take a step back and ask yourself if it’s something someone would want to pass on. Weeks, months, maybe even a year later, if someone is in the market for a chalkboard (or beer or lamps), and they associate your business as an authority in that sphere, then you are the one they’ll turn to.

How should I approach sharing my videos?

First thing’s first, get them online! After you upload it to Vimeo, you can customize the player to include a custom logo, restrict embedding to only specific websites, or if it’s not ready for the public yet, pass around a review page for your co-workers so they can have a look. Once you have it all primed and ready to be shared, it’s time to fold in social media and get it out in the world. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter ... consider your demographics on each website to help determine where your video will perform best. Respect the platform!

Perhaps one of the best ways to promote your videos though is to share it organically. You need to actively engage the communities in which you’re sharing your own videos. Respond to comments, interact with your viewers (and viewers of similar videos), and never ask anyone to check out your stuff unless you feel like it will directly help them solve a problem or answer a question they have. By just engaging in friendly conversation online, most people are curious by nature, will go to look at what you’re making regardless. And if what you’re doing is interesting, they’ll keep watching.

How often should I be making videos?

There’s no magic formula to this. Most brands post at least once on their social channels per day, and as with that, the key is to strike the balance between making fresh things without overwhelming or annoying your audience. Try one or two times a week to start if you’re able, and especially for quicker social videos (like Snapchat), you can increase to daily if you’re able. If you hire a full-time video production person, this shouldn’t be an issue. They don’t have to be big elaborate videos, either. Just keep rolling out videos as frequently as you can and keep it on a schedule. I follow some creators where I know the exact day of the week and time they’ll post, and i’m there waiting for it. Consistency helps grow your audience.

ChefSteps posts cooking tips and tutorials multiple times per week! Consistency is key.

A quick game plan

Let’s walk through a step-by-step game plan of how you could put this into practice. Let’s say you own an artisanal cheese company. Maybe the first move you want to make is to create short one- to two-minute minute recipe videos that are set to music. Because this is focused on helpful, amazing tasting things, you should give your product ample air time — but you don’t need to directly mention it or push a hard sell on anyone. Every Monday/Wednesday/Friday, try to add a brand-new simple recipe video that incorporates your cheese in some way.

As your next step, you could submit these recipe videos to some food blogs. There are hundreds of them out there, some of them extremely popular. Another great place to post them would be Pinterest, where lots of food lovers and parents are looking for daily dinner inspiration.

For the sake of this example, let’s say your cheese company has a retail store in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where locals can come in and shop. A great move would be to hit up bloggers or local news sites from the general area and see if they’d like to share (or even maybe syndicate) your videos. It’s also definitely worth a few hundred dollars to turn these videos into ads on Facebook and target your specific demographic within a 20-mile radius of your shop.

You can also use Twitter to search for people tweeting the word “artisanal cheddar cheese” (or whatever you’re going after) within that same 20-mile radius. Then, respond to and engage with those people as a likeminded person who’s into the same things (which you are!), without mentioning your product or linking them to your videos. Maybe keep a tweet that contains one of your best videos pinned to the top of your Twitter feed so they have something to watch when pop over to your profile out of curiosity. Most importantly, keep adding fresh videos and building up an archive of wonderful things. Even if nobody is watching at first, if you keep at it, you’ll get better and better, and people will take notice.

Now go do it

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p>All of this work is worth it. You have to be patient though: this may not net you any instant short-term gains, but the really long-tail things are incredible wins. In our 2016 world, videos are one of the most effective methods to organically increase passionate customers for your business.

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