It is clear to everyone that online video is a powerful medium. The question is, how can small businesses take advantage of online video in order to foster growth?
Here are some interesting facts about online video: Over 100 hours of video are uploaded to the video sharing website YouTube every hour. In the U.S., YouTube reaches more adults than cable television.
About 40% of YouTube viewing time happens via mobile devices.
Often the most obvious application of online video is to market a product or service. I was recently on a website that featured the owner explaining the core of his business through the use of a short online video. He communicated effectively, promoting his company, its services and values. Other short videos can show the benefits and features of products, can demonstrate a product in action, or can allow customers to share their experience of a product or service.
Short “how to” videos can be an effective way to offer support and assistance to your customers. A variety of businesses could use these. They can also reduce the burden on call centre volumes.
Simple videos showing how to install a new tap or how to fillet a fish with your new knife are popular with users and can help resolve issues before they arise. Furthermore, this helps increase the usage and the brand equity through creating satisfied, well-supported customers.
The growth in YouTube’s popularity and the amount of time spent on such a site while viewing a wide variety of content makes it an ideal advertising platform. Small businesses have two options – they can provide text adverts that appear at the bottom of the video while it plays.
Those with larger budgets can produce a video advert that plays before other YouTube videos. With both of these, it is possible for small businesses to start with a small budget and control where and when their adverts are displayed, in order to target specific audiences and demographics.
Sharing useful videos with related information will allow you to position yourself as an expert in your field. Think about a video by a usability company that details steps to improve your online conversion rate, or DIY tips from a hardware store. These immediately give a small business a platform to show skills and expertise to potential clients while building credibility.
Businesses that share appropriate and topical videos – whether it’s their own or clips they’ve stumbled across – on Facebook or LinkedIn can gain traction in the market, positioning them as key influences in their sphere.
Online video is growing and the opportunities for small business to embrace the medium become more accessible as the technology develops and production costs reduce. Small businesses willing to take the first steps are likely to reap the biggest rewards.
- Paul Hobden is the head of small business at MWEB.