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posted: 1/29/2017 1:00 AM

Use video to boost social media marketing

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Sue Kirchner says we probably don't need to rethink the social media we use -- assuming, of course, the social media that are part of our individual marketing strategies are the social media our customers use.

That's basically good news. Kirchner is president of Brand Strong Marketing Inc., Palatine; her belief that most of us who own small businesses won't have to learn the ins-and-outs of new social media platforms is comforting.

She adds, however, that we might want to rethink our social-media-as-a-marketing-tool strategy.

Warning: Kirchner is big on video, although for good reason. Whether your particular business centers on selling widgets, consulting services, dental implants, shoes or practically anything else, "Video can influence where people shop," Kirchner says.

The good news is that you, maybe with a friend, probably can put together a web-quality video on your own.

Assuming you have a camera (that's what phones are for these days), "It's not hard to do," Kirchner says. "You need a tripod, light source and good microphone -- all of which you should be able to get for less than $100."

Here's Kirchner's process, much of which is basic marketing enhanced by video:

• Know what action you want people to take. Buy on your website? Call for your consulting advice? Visit your bricks-and-mortar store?

• Figure out your story. Who are you? How is your business (or product or service) different?

What's the best way to communicate your differences?

"You need to show rather than tell what your advantages are," Kirchner says. "Don't tell me how fast your production line is. Show me."

Show how your widgets travel along the line. Show your seamstress carefully fitting a bridesmaid's dress. Show your plumbing crew stopping a cascade of water.

"Think creatively," Kirchner says. "Social media use today is about capturing attention" -- which you likely can do best with video.

• You likely should be part of the video. If, however, you're uncomfortable on camera, Kirchner has ways to divert the attention from you.

For example, Kirchner suggests structuring the video so you appear only at the beginning, with the content switching to that production line or the results your landscaping crew has turned out -- even if the results part of the video are still photos.

Another approach: "Do an interview, with a friend asking questions," Kirchner suggests. Most videos should top out at no more than 60 seconds, Kirchner says, but as you're planning keep in mind that a longer initial video can be edited into shorter segments -- a production strategy that has the benefit of creating several videos from one effort.

Upload your video to YouTube, where untold numbers can watch. Ask your customers -- and prospects -- whether they've seen you yet on YouTube -- and explain how they can watch. Show it on Facebook Live. Use the same video, or a portion, on your website.

© 2017 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Listen to Jim's Business Owners' Pod Talk at www.kendallcom.com/podcast.

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