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Lights, camera, action!

Michael O'Connor, PR & Marketing expert from Grey Sergeant, explains how you can make your business more human by vlogging and live streaming.

Michael O'Connor, PR & Marketing expert from Grey Sergeant, explains how you can make your business more human by vlogging and live streaming.

Now has never been a better time to start thinking about promoting your business and products through video. Vlogging (video blogging) has really taken o in the last few years with so many video platforms available. Facebook has certainly taken it seriously - its algorithms allow more of your followers to see your video than they would a text or image post that you upload. They've also launched Facebook Live.

Everyone enjoys watching videos (six billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every month). And, everyone likes to share videos, with 92 per cent of mobile viewers sharing videos with others. That's why vlogging is a great way to get your product or business news out there quickly and they don't take much effort to create.
It's just you, or someone in your business, talking or demonstrating a product to a camera. Another reason that vlogging is popular is that's its effortless for your viewers too. People want information quickly and watching a video is always going to be quicker than reading a block of text.
Studies have found that by 2017, 74 per cent of all internet traffic will be video, which could increase year after year so, by starting to vlog now, your business can get ahead of the game. A recent survey also discovered that 68 per cent of marketers feel that video is essential for their business. Video, like everything else in this industry, will evolve, and by setting yourself up as a company that vlogs, you have the chance to become an innovator in this field.
You also need to be aware of what it can do for your search rankings. If people love something, then it's highly likely that SEO loves it too. The goal of a search engine is to present users with exactly what it is they're looking for. And, in recent years, more and more people have been searching for videos. So much so that 62 per cent of all Google Universal searches now include video content. This means that by creating video clips, you have a greater chance of ranking higher in search results, leading to better business leads.

Vlogging is perfect for craft businesses. Research shows that education and inspiration are two of the key things that crafters want from a business as well as great products. That's why craft TV channels like the Craft Channel and Hochanda do so well - they've the ability to demonstrate the products they're selling and provide the viewer with the inspiration and knowledge they desire. You have the opportunity to demonstrate how your new product works, promote an exciting new range you've just launched, interview a craft celebrity - it's even ideal for 'Frequently Asked Questions'. Another key benefit is that it makes your business human, it gives you a richer dialogue with your customer - the more human your company is, the more trustworthy you'll appear, and the more customers you'll gain.

Lets start with the video. Obviously this is what the customer is going to see so make sure you really plan what you're going to film. Perhaps sketch out a story board with your introduction, the message or demo and the call to action (where to buy, etc). Think about the environment where you will shoot - if it's a demonstration then make it look like a craft room or somewhere that relates to the product. If it's a message then make it relaxed and friendly.
A smartphone will work to film the video but a digital camera will catch more light and better sound. Try and get as much natural light as possible. If you're thinking of doing clips on a regular basis than it would be wise to invest in some lighting. The final thing will be a bit of editing - adding an intro frame with title and then an end frame with contact details. Apps like iMovie are great for this. Be as creative and natural as you can - like talking to an old friend.

So you've made your video, now what? Well you'll need to upload it to a social platform and YouTube is still the king of video. You can create your own business channel, include playlists specific to your content and get followers to subscribe to your channel. You can then embed the video into your company blog, your website and promote through other social channels (Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin).
I'd advise that you upload your video straight to Facebook, this will give you greater reach to your Facebook follower base. All of these platforms allow you to analyse the performance of your video - see how many people watched or shared it, who clicked through to your website and which social platform worked best. Use this information to make your next Vlog even better.

I finally wanted to touch base with you on the new boys on the block and that is live streaming video. You now have the opportunity to video live to your audience at anytime and anywhere.
Facebook Live and Periscope (owned by Twitter and an app you'll need to download to your smartphone) are the two leaders. Facebook Live is available through your Facebook business page and is great way to start to film - your followers have instant access. It also saves the video to your newsfeed.
Periscope works in the same way but you'll need to tweet your followers to let them know you'll be filming - again it will save to your Twitter page.
Live streaming is great if you're at an event, on the factory floor or in the manufacturing process - it shows the behind-the-scenes of your business to your customers, which in turn makes you more personable as a business, which in turn drives more sales and better retention.

Michael O'Connor is a partner at Grey Sergeant specialising in marketing communications and PR in the craft and hobby industry. Grey Sergeant provides strategic advice, planning and promotes businesses through media relations, social media, digital marketing and events. For more information, get in contact with michael.oconnor@greysergeant.com.

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