ECommerce Video

Getting started with Video

If you were to ask me about the top 3 ways to market today, my answer is video, video, video.  Yes, it’s that important.  Despite the fact that you are reading this right now, more people watch video than read.  While there are different types of video content, the main focus of this post is product and how-to videos. So, how do you get started?  Here are some common questions most people have:

What kind of camera do I need?

The best camera is the one you have.  If you have a DSLR, great.  If you’re like the rest of us, the camera we have is our smartphone.  These cameras continue to improve and you can get great results just by shooting video with your smartphone.

What other equipment do I need?

If you’re shooting video for IG stories or short clips, your phone is really all you need.  Beyond this, I highly recommend getting a tripod.  No matter how still you try and hold a camera, the image will shake.  I can tell you from personal experience. You can easily pick up a tripod for less than $30 at Walmart.  With a tripod, you will also need a camera mount.  The one I use is from RetiCAM

What about lighting?

When you’re first starting out, use what you have.  And that means, shoot close to a window.  Sunlight is the most powerful light on earth and can be effective for video.

While I happen to be showing a section of window in this pic to demonstrate the concept, you can frame your video without showing the window. As you can see, the sunlight from the window creates some favorable light.

If you decide to shoot indoors without great sunlight, you’ll need a lighting system.  When I started shopping for these, I was shocked that they weren’t more expensive.  You can find a studio lighting set-up for $200 to $300.  Some sources to look at include LA Shop and Jet. I picked up my set-up as a kit that included 3 lights and a backdrop for around $200 and I’ve seen kits that are even priced lower.

What if I’m shooting in a noisy place?

Every year, there is a trade show that I attend for my industry and I like to do interviews while I’m there.  The place is super noisy with people chattering.  To solve this, I picked up a wireless microphone set up.  It does wonders.  I use a basic set up from Azden.  It was less than $200 for both a handheld mic and a lavalier mic that clips on to my collar.  The lav mic creates a more muffled sound, so if I’m in a controlled area that is quiet, I stick with the microphone on my phone. It would be useful if I was the only speaker in a video. For interviews, the handheld mic works great. It only picks up sounds within inches of the surface and blocks out the noise of the room.

What about editing?

When I first started, I used the Windows video software since it was already on my computer.  If you’re a Mac user, your computer will have iMovie.  iMovie is great.  On the PC, the Windows program is okay, but when I was ready to step up, I purchased Movavi Software.  It’s around $60 and allows for more detailed editing.

If you prefer to do everything on your phone, there are several apps available.  A few to mention include Movavi Clips,Videoshop, Splice, and InShot. The apps shown here are free or available for a minimal charge.  I prefer to edit on my computer, but I’ll be exploring these further so that I can get videos posted faster on the occasions when I’m away from my office.

Editing will allow you to put several clips together and add music or voiceovers.

How do you get the video from your phone to your computer?

I’m a huge fan of Dropbox.  If you haven’t heard of it or used it, Dropbox is a system that allows you to store your files in the cloud.  That means that you can login to Dropbox from any computer in the world and see your files.  I have the Dropbox App on my phone.  When I want to upload videos to Dropbox, I simply open the app, push the plus sign to add files and then select the videos from my phone.  The upload process can take some time depending on the length of your videos and how many you are trying to upload at one time.

What if I don’t want to be in videos?

I hear this a lot.  And honestly, I didn’t really want to be in videos at first either.  I was afraid that people would ridicule me.  Here’s a dose of truth.  For those of you who don’t know, I run a business selling racecar parts online. Yes, I’m a girl who has never even changed her own oil and I sell racecar parts.  On top of it, most of the videos I do are tech related. And my audience is 93% men.  So here I am, a slightly overweight woman over 40 talking about race cars.  In some of them, no one told me my hair was doing something crazy. These videos have thousands of views.  And yet, there is not even one snarky comment about me, my appearance, or my ability.  Relax.  The world is far more accepting than we think in our heads.  If the information you present is good, no one will care about that stuff we obsess over.

On another note, sometimes you may want to have videos without people or you may want to do a slideshow video.  In that case, I’ve been using an app called Ripl.  I really like it so far.  It’s easy to use and includes several useful templates.  I’ve also experimented with Adobe Spark.  Some people swear by this one, but it’s not nearly as easy to use as Ripl, in my opinion.  In either case, there are free versions of each of these in the App store.

Now that I have video, what do I do now?

Post your video everywhere.  If you don’t have a YouTube channel yet, create one and post it to your channel.  Post the video on your Facebook page.  If you have a website, embed the video into a product page or blog post.  To post on your Instagram feed, your video will need to be under 1 minute.  If it isn’t, you may be able to cut it down and post a section of it with a link in your bio to the full version.

While you’re posting, ask yourself what you want viewers to do.  Do you just want them to watch the video? Do you want them to sign up for your email newsletter? Buy a product? Contact you? Visit your website? Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) in the post.

Here’s an example of a Facebook video post.  In this case, you’ll notice that the text includes a brief description, the manufacturer is tagged, and there is a link to the product as the CTA. By adding the comment, “Feel free to SHARE or tag a friend,” it encourages viewers to spread the video so that it can achieve better reach.

What are some of the best ways to get more people to see my video?

Something that really helps is captions and a transcript.  On Facebook, videos autoplay with no sound.  If you have captions, people can still enjoy your video even if their sound is off.  Captions also give you an opportunity to hook a potential viewer who otherwise would have scrolled on by.

Facebook has an amazing tool for Business Pages.  When you upload a video, you can select the Edit button in the Video Library and select Generate Captions.  You will then be able to see and edit captions for your video.  Fair warning—there is a lot of editing.  Or at least there is with me.  However, it is still far better than me trying to do this on my own.  As I like to say, it is always easier to edit than it is to create.

For a transcript, which is a written version of what is said in the video, there are a couple of ways to do this.  If you’ve gone through the caption process above, copy each line of caption and paste it into a Word document.  If you haven’t captioned your video, the easiest thing I’ve found is to use the service Rev.com.  They are a transcription service that only charges $1 per minute of audio or video.  Just try and transcribe your own video once and you’ll truly appreciate how amazingly cheap it is to send it to them.  And no frustration.  They’re also fast and you’ll have your transcription within hours.  Now the transcriptions aren’t always exactly perfect, so you may need to do some slight editing, especially if there are technical terms used.  But 5 minutes of editing beats hours of transcribing any day.

Once you have your transcription, copy and paste it into the video description on your YouTube video.  If you’ve added the video to your blog, add the transcription there also.  Your transcription will likely contain some of the key terms that users would search for, so it makes it easier for Google to find your content.

Captions and transcriptions are based on promoting organically for free.  If your call to action is something that will make you money, you may want to consider paying to advertise.  That is a topic for another day, but something very simple is to hit the Boost button on Facebook.  Spend a few dollars and see what happens.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and that they help you get started with producing videos for your business.  I’m including some links for the products and services mentioned here.  Note that I’m not affiliated with any of these companies and am not promoting them for profit.  These are items and services that I’ve personally used.  There are lots of options out there. I urge you to explore, have fun, and most of all, get started with producing videos.

Resources:

Phone mount
RetiCAM

Lighting Systems
Jet.com
LAShop

Microphone
Azden Pro Shop

Video Editing
Movavi

Cloud
Dropbox

Video Apps
Ripl
Adobe Spark
Videoshop
Movavi Clips
Splice
InShot

Social Channels
YouTube
Facebook
Instagram

Transcription Service
Rev.com

Founder of Ecomm Coach. I’m obsessed with digital marketing and social media. I also like baking cupcakes and hanging out on Instagram. Connect with me.
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About the author

Kate Dillon

Founder of Ecomm Coach. I'm obsessed with digital marketing and social media. I also like baking cupcakes and hanging out on Instagram. Connect with me.

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