Video is great for a lot of reasons: it's entertaining, scalable, digestible, shareable, and helpful for SEO. But video’s most important superpower is actually quite simple: it reveals the human side of your business.
There was a time when almost any purchase you made, whether commodity or service, required having a conversation with someone. We all know that's changed, and there's something beautiful and oh-so-2013 about being able to sit in your room, at 3 a.m., without pants on, realize your floor is kind of dirty, and comparison-shop on Amazon for the best vacuum cleaner right then and there.
However, the removal of human interaction comes at a cost. In some situations, we crave interpersonal guidance, not to mention the immeasurable things that a human can bring to the table: increased trust, clearer understanding, or a deeper connection to a brand.
Video is so powerful because it lets us be human in a way that scales infinitely with our online marketing. There's no set recipe for using video to build these personal connections, but here are a few of our favorite examples:
Imitating the small storefront experience
A magic trick is a promise to surprise and delight somebody. People are inherently skeptical of those things, and we don't have any idea how the trick is supposed to play out, so video is perfect for showing us that it works. A magic trick is precisely the type of product that benefits from the authenticity of seeing someone use it on video.
MagicTricks.com has incorporated videos into their online store to great effect. You can feel the same kind of rapport with Peter and Jackie Monticup, the owners, that you would if you walked into a physical shop:
Jackie Monticup, MagicTricks.com (@magictrickscom)
Building rapport with on-screen instructors
There are countless resources available online for learning how to speak the ever-more-important language of that computer thing you stare at all day. Here at Wistia, many of the fledgeling programmers have chosen Code School. They've won us over in a few different ways: the gamification appeals to our love for friendly competition, and the information is well-organized into digestible chunks, with quizzes and practice problems to help internalize the lessons.
But one often-overlooked thing that Code School gets right is that they always include the instructor in their videos, rather than just a voice-over. By the time you've finished any of their courses, you feel like you've gotten to know the instructor, and that makes learning all the more pleasant.
The first level of Code School's "Try iOS" video course.
Gregg Pollack, Code School (@greggpollack)
Sharing expertise with a dash of personality
Paul Stoltzfus of lawn care company Wisegrass started using video on a periodic basis to offer tips to his customers. The videos may not be high budget or flashy, but they've proven to be very effective for growing his audience, establishing him not only as an expert in his line of work but also as someone who's friendly and trustworthy, someone who you'd like to work with.
It may seem counterintuitive, but by offering up some of his expertise for free, Paul has helped, not hurt, his business:
Paul Stoltzfus, Wisegrass (@wisegrass)
Leaving a video voicemail
BambooHR's video content spans marketing, sales, and beyond, but one of our favorites that felt appropriate to highlight in this post is their sales team's video voicemails, like the one below:
These single-shot videos, which they send out in addition to regular voicemails and email follow-ups, are a super approachable take on the standard sales call. Even if the verbal content is almost exactly the same as you'd receive in a typical voicemail, seeing a human face makes a massive difference. "Over evolutionary time, the ability to quickly extract information from faces has given us an edge in predicting character and behavior. It helps us to discern who's sick and whom to trust, who's flirtworthy, and who might blow up at a moment's notice … Snap judgments about faces are not fail-safe, but they are far too accurate to ignore," says Psychology Today in "What's in a Face".
By adding a visual component to this first call, BambooHR humanizes the process of lead follow-up and jump-starts a more personal relationship with the person on the other end of the line.
Brenton Williamson, BambooHR (@bleewilliamson)
A refreshingly trustworthy approach to law
Choosing a lawyer is an extremely personal process, and about as far from a "commodity" as you can get. Lawyer Marketing Services, a firm offering marketing services to lawyers, has done a great job harnessing the power of video to add a much-needed element of humanity and trust to lawyers' marketing efforts:
Dominick Montgomery, Lawyer Marketing Services (@lawyermktusa)
We'd imagine that working on these videos helps clients get a better handle on their own messaging and goals, too – a side effect of scripting we've benefitted from here at Wistia as well!
Don't have time to read through the examples right now? That's very internet generation of you. While we totally recommend saving them for later, here's a quick summary of how you can get started with using video to help people feel more of a personal connection to your business:
- Keep your script conversational and write it in your own words.
- Don't be afraid to show your personality.
- Focus on content, not on polish; don't be afraid to show that you're fallible!
- View every video you make as an opportunity to be more human.
- Make video consistently.
- Add a human bumper to your webinar or screencast.
- Freely share your knowledge and expertise.
Who are your favorite on-camera characters? How have you incorporated your personality into your video marketing?