There are two questions you should ask yourself while trying to make your video production business work: How are my clients going to find me? And, when they do, what am I going to look like?
We’re not talking about your haircut or that old Nirvana shirt you keep on wearing to business meetings (you should stop that, by the way); we’re talking, of course, about digital marketing and social media communications.
Nowadays, it’s only really a certain older generation of people who would consider using the phone book to hire someone for a task. Whether it’s a plumber or videographer. So, unless you want to be recording golden wedding anniversaries for the rest of your professional days, as we’ve discussed before you should seriously consider focusing your advertisements and publicity on the internet.
Since it’s the first look we normally get from companies, their activities and their – real or even fake – success, social media is without question a key factor to consider while trying to make your business grow.
Thinking Seriously About Social Media
We touched on this in a past post when we discussed everything you need to consider when setting up a website for your video production company, but we never got into the nitty-gritty of social media and why it’s so important to businesses of all kinds. And especially video production companies.
I should mention from the beginning that this post will cover social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yes, video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo can be considered social media, and are hugely important for you as a video professional, but we’ve covered those extensively elsewhere.
This article focuses on social media platforms that are primarily designed for keeping your clients/customers updated on your business through things like status updates.
So with that said, here are three factors that explain why social media should be right at the top of your list:
- Social media is active and current. It shows potential clients what you’re up to in your company and you can update it easily from anywhere.
- Within social media, what you do or what you post is half the matter. The other half is your followers and clients telling you what they like, what they think, and what they would like to share with their friends.
- People are used to managing their contacts with the outside world through profiles, likes and shares, so even for hiring a professional and choosing a company they prefer to do it through this medium.
Almost everybody, from kids to grannies, manage personal social media accounts; and most young professionals have started one or two work social media profiles for their assorted projects.
There are many things you should consider while creating social media profiles for your video production business. Eventually, if your business grows big enough, you’ll be able to hire people to run your social media – someone like a Community Manager (or CM). These are professionals exclusively dedicated to creating and managing your social media accounts.
Yes, this is a real profession and many people choose it as a career: they even have their own Community Manager Appreciation Day!
Normally, a CM is specialized in marketing, advertising or creativity, and ideally they will have good handle of visual editing tools (such as Photoshop), and great writing skills.
Someone who specialises in social media (like a CM) will know how to (and love) to do all of this social media stuff for you. But, in the meantime, while your business is just starting to bloom and you still don’t have the budget, here are some tips that you should consider.
Beyond the foundation stone
As we’ve discussed before, having a website is basic and necessary for any business, and particularly for yours, since it’s the channel through which clients will contact and hire you, and the digital avenue where you are going to show your work.
Your website will be the final destination where all your social media should be pointing to, so make sure it’s solid! As mentioned, we’ve got a detailed article on websites for video businesses, but briefly:
- Your website should be very visually appealing, without being overwhelming.
- You should have a vibrant portfolio section showing off your work.
- You should also have a fun and expressive About Us page that explains who you are in a cool way.
Never forget to include quick and easy access to your webpage from all social media accounts. This will normally be in the “About” or “Description” sections. A good tip for looking professional: register your own domain. That way, your website and email address will appear way more professional than if you use a generic Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo account.
Anything about your business, your industry or your work with clients/customers is ripe for posting on your company’s social media.
But you’ll find some of the most high-interest posts that get the most interaction, shares and likes will be posts that aim to directly help your clients/customers. Anything that’s how-to, instructional or something that solves a problem for your clients is the kind of social media update that gets traction.
With that said, here are a few things you should be posting on your social media accounts:
- Photos of you working on projects – at corporate gigs, commercial sets, out and about filming weddings, etc.
- Informative, this-is-what-we’re-up-to-today posts. Don’t overuse these, and they shouldn’t be ‘what I had for breakfast’ updates that are boring for anyone who isn’t your mother.
- Videos of your work. This is one of the most important and you’ll find these are posts that will get the most likes and shares for you. People love interacting with video, especially when they log into Facebook during lunch on a boring work day.
- Helpful how-to information about your industry, market or clients/customers. Think about what will captivate your market, not just what you find interesting.
- Interactive statuses that get comments. Ask questions. Be open and bold. Ask questions like, “What would you like to see from us?” Or ask specific questions about your industry, “As a bride, what length wedding video would you ideally be looking for?”
- Competitions, Giveaways & Surveys. These will get you great traction with your audience. People love competitions and giveaways. You can do these in conjunction with another company who could supply the prizes. Surveys are great, too – so much information about your audience and potential clients can be gleaned by simply asking questions. Use a site like SurveyMonkey for making easy to use surveys.
You’ll be surprised just how much interaction you can get on your status updates if you ask the right questions and allow your posts to be as market specific as possible.
I plan on covering Competitions, Giveaways & Surveys for video production companies in a future article, so more on that soon.
You are professional, look professional!
Since you’re offering an artistic product (or even if not very artistic, still concerned with aesthetic matters), it’s very important to apply those standards to yourself.
When it’s time for you to design your social media profiles, I often recommend that video professionals hire a designer. That same person, ideally, will design your website, logo, business cards, and other visual identity elements (if we were still in past centuries, he or she would design your letterhead, or your seal ring!)
Obviously, if you have those design skills (along with your video production skills), then you might want to create these elements yourself. However, even if you do have those skills, it’s not always advisable to do everything yourself. Your time is at a premium, so why not hire in someone who specialises in design. This way, you can focus on bringing in business and creating the best videos you can.
If you’re bringing in a freelancer to do the various design tasks, why should the same person do each? Coherence. Visual coherence between the different bits of information you present to your clients shows how professional and well-prepared you are.
So keep in mind for both your website and your social media that you use appropriate and coherent design for all your platforms: profile picture on Facebook, Twitter (et al), cover image, favicon, backgrounds, and any other space where you can place an image. Also, don’t forget to insert your watermarked logo on every video or picture you post (just like we do right here on Filmmaking Lifestyle).
We live in the future, use its features!
People are always looking ahead, and that’s cool. But, right now, we’re living in some pretty heady and far-fetched times. Especially if you went back in time 30 (or even 10!) years ago; people wouldn’t believe the information we have at our fingertips, the behind-the-scenes access to businesses and the dynamic way it’s all brought together using social media platforms.
Social media is designed for right now, but its power and potential is built for the future. Ensure that you make use of it, as well as keep abreast of changes and improvements.
The people working for Facebook (or any of your other favorite social media platforms) are not only thinking about your 13-year-old cousin and her mall pictures; they’re thinking business. That’s why they have developed many tools that can be used for improving your social media activity and keeping track of it.
A good example is Facebook’s “Insights” section. Using this tool available for Facebook Pages (not personal profiles), you can view your business’ Facebook statistics: amount, gender and location of people who follow you, daily, weekly and monthly “likes”, post reach and much more. It can even tell you how many times and for how long your videos were watched. And it shows all of this data in well-presented graphs.
So don’t miss your chance and make the most out of free tools like this. They were made for you, and they can give you an accurate idea of what’s going on in your client’s heads.
As well as tools like “Insights”, you’ll also have the option to pay for advertising. If you can spare some marketing dollars, we would totally recommend you give paid ads a go. Unlike traditional adverts (on TV, newspapers, signage, etc.), social media adverts are very flexible with the amount of money you can choose to pay, and still assure you a vast reach within your chosen audience.
You can also manage that investment through the time it lasts, and track the efficiency and reach in real time – something that even multi-million dollar television companies couldn’t do before the advent of the internet! This infographic from Social Ads Tool explains just how broad the Facebook audience is:
But the most important aspect of Facebook ads, and the thing that’s really put this kind of online advertising on the map, is the extremely detailed targeting of these ads. As we’ve discussed before, great businesses learn to niche down and target a specific type of customer or client.
With Facebook ads, businesses have a huge amount of information to target their ads with (it’s been accruing on the platform for years in the profiles of all its millions upon millions of users!) The information that users put on their Facebook profiles allows them to be targeted by businesses for ads that appeal to them.
Never before has their been a time when a business can target potential customers so exactly. Just one example, if you’re a wedding videographer, you can choose to run a Facebook ad in your local region and target female users who have got engaged in the last six months. If that sounds crazy to you, it’s just one example of the extreme targeting tools within Facebook – wait till you see it in detail!
As well as all this, you can also access publishing tools, where you can do things like schedule your posts, but we’ll get to that in a bit…
Here’s an example of a vibrant Facebook page from FX Media that is both inviting and welcoming (great warm colours here):
The description/About section on FX Media’s FB page:
Here’s an example of how Atmotion post videos to their Facebook page:
Once you’ve started it, keep it alive
So you were overtaken with the busyness of life and you didn’t log into your company’s Facebook Page for over a week: your latest Vimeo post is three month old and half of the people who follow you on Twitter don’t even actively maintain an account anymore!
You’re letting your social media communications go, which means your followers don’t get to see your updates. If you’re not ‘top of mind,’ then you’re relegated to a distant memory. If you’re getting leads and traction from your social media efforts, you can expect them to slip.
It seems so obvious, but worth mentioning here: it’s fundamental that you keep your social media active. There’s no point is splurging out on a few weeks of hardcore activity, only to drift off and lose interest by week four. Like anything, social media progress is incremental. You won’t be an overnight success, but if you keep at it consistently, you’ll see positive returns.
With that said, you have to know the number one rule of social media management: build a schedule!
- Set dates and respect them.
- Work out what the best times are for posting. You can determine this by which day of the week and which hour of the day your potential clients will be surfing the net. You can find this kind of information (and more) in the “Insights” section of your Facebook Business page.
- Make sure you don’t publish too much nor too little, because the first can bring people to exhaustion and the second to disinterest.
One of the gems of social media’s new features is the possibility to create scheduled posts. You write what you want to write, or set photos to upload on a certain date, and then your social media platform will auto-magically publish it on the date and time you choose.
So that means you can post from your account whether you’re working on a shoot, sleeping, or on a night out with friends.
You can do all that within Facebook (and other social media platforms) right out of the box. However, if you want to kick your social media posting up a level, there are a couple of premium apps you don’t get that help you auto-post, as well as give you status update ideas, images to use, and even let you know what’s currently going viral.
Keep your friends close…
… And your enemies closer.
Okay, other production companies aren’t your “enemy,” but we do advise that you research and follow other companies that do the same things as you. Not only can you see what they’re doing and take inspiration, you can also see what’s missing in their offerings and potentially fill the gap in the market.
Look at what your competitors are doing: analyze these strategies and decide how you can improve them for your own enterprise. If you’re diligent enough, you can survey the market from the comfort of your home. Work out what other people are doing and then do better.
Also, being in touch with your competitors is great networking and can result in cooperation and association… or you could end up making good friends – you already know you have something in common!
Be special, feel special, look special
If you’re committing to your video production company, and you’re confident it can work and be profitable, that means you believe you can bring something unique to your clients.
Always try to stand out for those things that make you special.
The truth is that building a thorough brand identity requires a lot of effort, but it might end up being a key to your success. Knowing who you are and what you want to look like are not random or spur-of-the-moment decisions. You should put great thought into how you present yourself to your audience.
If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to like it, share it, comment, tweet it and link it! We wish you the best with your blooming video production company.