In this monthly series, EM brings you tips and tricks from pros and experts who’ve been eating social media marketing for breakfast. So eat up, and check us out on Twitter @eventmarketer and Facebook.com/eventmarketer for more.
This month, EM takes a look at one of the most powerful buzz generation tools in the event marketer’s toolbox—video—and how to maximize its creation and use for its most powerful ally: YouTube. This month’s tipster is Kevin Danaj, coo at MVP Collaborative, a Michigan-based agency that specializes in creating video for and at events.
Online video sharing via YouTube and other popular platforms has become one of the most effective ways to bring attention and traffic to your brand’s live and online activations. The search for the elusive and powerful “viral” video has led some brands to world wide web stardom and many (oh, so many) others to try to replicate the magic to varying degrees of success. (Seriously, if we see one more flash mob…)
Danaj has 20 years of experience in video production and event execution and has traveled around the world producing award-winning videos and events for clients such as Audi, Comcast, Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor Company. And he took some time this month with EM to offer a few tips on how to plan, shoot and propagate videos for maximum effect.
1) Remember the strategy. Though potentially a very powerful one, video is just another tool in the arsenal; one more tactic to help your brand meet its objective. So be very clear on what those objectives are before planning your video content or coverage. If you are just looking for page views or retweets, then aiming at a viral response might make the most sense. But if you’re trying to make something that you can use in brand communications for some significant portion of time, then a more polished, professional video is probably the best choice. As with everything else, let the strategy define the tactics.
2) Encourage snacking. No one watches long videos. If you have a lot of information to communicate online or many quality shots from your event that you want in your video, Danaj recommends making a series of videos instead of one epic piece. Put 10 one-minute-long videos out there, he says, and they will be seen, and even passed along, whereas one 10-minute video will drop all your viewers before you hit the two-minute mark.
3) Don’t hold back. The Internet demands instant gratification, so doling out one video at a time in a series will only make the end of the series a non-starter. No one wants to be teased online. Put ’em all out there at once and you’ve got a chance at getting them in front of more eyeballs.
4) Make sweet sounds. Music can make or break your video. It has to fit your brand, your footage, your message. It is also a legal nightmare, Danaj warns. This is one case where asking for forgiveness instead of permission will (at best) get your video taken down; at worst, it can get you sued for thousands. So watch it. “One of the best ways to get around the copyright problems is to use local bands and local music,” Danaj says. You still have to get permission and give credit, but you usually don’t have to pay for it.
5) Get good footage. A simple rule, but one that is far too frequently forgotten. The best way to ensure that your video will work is to make sure you get the raw material you need when you’re shooting, because once the event is gone, so is the opportunity to get solid content. So, hire professionals (unless, of course, user-generated or amateur content is a key piece of the video strategy). That means, you should have a producer, director of photography and sound and lighting engineers, Danaj says. They know their business, they can help you plan out good shots and camera angles and they can get in one take through good planning the shot you would have missed and the shot that could make your video a viral sensation.
6) Help it along. Ok, so you’ve created the perfect video to meet your brand’s strategic needs. Now what? If this is a piece for internal, or corporate communications use, job’s done. Get to using it. But, how to take your perfect video and make it go viral? You can’t just plop it on YouTube and hope for the best, Danaj says. “Content isn’t necessarily king in viral video,” he says. “You need to get out there and promote it.” Use your existing social media channels and every fan of your brand and employees’ channels to get the word out. Be shameless. Ask for help. The more people you help to see the video, the more likely that it’ll catch on and develop a life of its own. And be patient. Sometimes it takes a while.
When in doubt, refer to #1. Keep asking yourself, do we need a million views or 1,000 qualified leads? That’s the real secret to success. EM