Video Marketing: DYI or Take it to a Pro?

One of my top rules of successful marketing is, “Just because you can do it yourself does not mean you should do it yourself.” Creating and posting online videos seems rather straightforward and doesn’t necessarily require heavy lifting.

So why not do it yourself? Because a badly executed streamed video can hurt your brand as much as any other badly executed marketing. And time poorly spent is unrecoverable.

Let’s take at look at five clusters of decisions you need to make to successfully use video as a social media marketing tool.

Audience

A ridiculous percentage of web and social media marketing responds better to the needs of the brand than the needs of its prospective customers. Always remember that you are not your friends/followers/connections. Put yourself in their heads to determine why they are visiting your media platform and what will motivate them to share.

Know where your audience spends time on social media. If possible, make your content available directly on those platforms; if not, eliminate as much friction as possible from the process of getting to your content.

Promote your video content across your other marketing efforts. Writing, “Visit our channel on YouTube” in your email signature is not promotion.

Content

Speaking to an audience “though” a camera is not the same as presenting face-to-face. Having your messages crafted for the medium by a skilled writer can make all the difference between a hit and a fail.

An experienced presenter can also differentiate your video. On the other hand, personality-based presentations may be recommended if focusing on one or more of your brand’s key staff is part of your overall marketing strategy. (Or if you want to include a user endorsement.) Unless these people are telegenic, assist them by providing a coach or director.

Quality

Dolly Parton once quipped that it cost her lots of money to look cheap. Quality is as much a matter of attention to details as it is expense.

Social media marketing is most successful when brands are authentic. Using a more homemade (and less costly) approach for many of its presentations has made Cisco – a behemoth brand – more accessible. Conversely, startup brands can differentiate themselves from the pack by cranking up the quality of their productions, even a little bit. As long as the brand is not falsely represented to the viewers.

In terms of production, post production and posting services, buy the highest values you can afford. Today’s YouTube clip may be next Thursday’s investor briefing. Here’s where professional advice on where to shoot (in front of a green screen to drop-in backgrounds in production?), what gear to use (a Flip or a rented pro camera with a pro cameraman?) and other factors will prevent later regrets.

Quantification

How important is it to you to know who’s watching your video marketing, how they got to the content and whether they’re watching it to the end? Knowing these things may make it worthwhile for you to use services that offer these metrics. This is especially true if you’re creating videos intended to have a long shelf-life, such as a series for training.

Control

For the most part, social media asks brands to relinquish control of their messages. Some brands are concerned that loss of control of their video content can compromise quality and effectiveness. Carefully consider your content hosting channel if you want your videos to be “wrapped” in your branding, seek comment moderation and/or hope to limit redistribution.

A final consideration – appropriate to all of your marketing efforts – is time. Unless you are a YouTube brand, should you be spending time producing videos (or any number of other marketing activities) when you’ve got a brand to build? Even if you’re the guy who lost the coin toss and is responsible for marketing, can you afford the time away from higher-order activities?

A bunch of the ideas for this post were sparked by a presentation by Gilbert B. Hammer at The New York Open Coffee Club Meetup.

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