Could your Practice be the next YouTube star?

What’s the best part of an online marketing video? The call to ‘ACTION!’, of course. Lloyd Jones explains all

Firstly, I’d like to say a big ‘hello’ to all readers of Accounting Practice – I’ve recently joined Get Seen Now as Senior Client Relationship Manager and am very glad to have been asked to represent them in these pages.

Further to the article my predecessor Nick Lewis wrote in the last issue about video marketing, I’d like to continue that theme by highlighting some additional things you’ll likely need to think about, before starting your journey into online visual content.

I’m writing this having spent the last few days editing YouTube and Facebook videos for one of our clients, so it’s very fresh in my mind… It may not be the easiest of digital content to create (you have to think about not just the script, but also the technical challenges of its creation) – but it can be an extremely effective form of engagement. According to Cisco, by the year 2021 almost 81% of web traffic will be represented by video!

In addition, videos cause potential clients to spend more time on websites, and are frequently shared more than text and photos among consumers. While there is currently a trend for quirky, homespun mobile video clips, for your purposes you’ll likely be looking for something more professional.

While you’ll get more broadcast-quality results by employing a suitable marketing/PR agency to do this for you (ahem…!), you don’t need to hire a director, or actors – you may even have a star in your midst! Ask around the office – a large proportion of people in your company will already have some level of video skill.

Older generations grew up with videos in their households, thanks to camcorders, VHS/DVD and other pre-smartphone devices – and millennials are well used to documenting large sections of their young lives already via social media.

One of the best things about digital video is that it doesn’t need to be done expensively. At the same time, to think long-term, you’ll likely have to spend some money. If your company has an unused office, convert it into a studio that shows your organisation is serious about using video to promote your services. If an in-house facility is too grand for your needs, discover what you can do with your smartphone/digital camera and a tripod (important: shaky footage is a big no-no).

The finished product doesn’t necessarily need to be fancy – the most compelling element of a successful video is your content. It’s more desirable for you to be authentic than it is to produce a Steven Spielberg blockbuster – the most important thing is to have a story to tell.

Before picking up your camera, write a script – and once you’re happy with the content, time yourself reading it back, then edit. Your script needs to be concise as it can be – the optimum length of an online video is ideally 1-2 minutes. Studies show that concentration levels dip – 5% of viewers will stop watching after 60 seconds, while 60% will stop after the two-minute mark. So keep it short and sweet.

Not only are shorter videos easier to produce, they also eat up less data — making them perfect for mobile viewers on the daily commute, waiting for coffee, or at the office. This could mean they’re also watching it on mute. Before publishing your video, do a quick sound check. Is it engaging with and without audio? Consider using subtitles to reinforce your message – this is an increasingly popular way of engagement.

Be sure to use a well-lit room, and record as many test shots and watch back as you see fit. Don’t release anything until you’re sure you’re happy with the footage. Use the best possible video quality available to your camera or mobile device, the higher resolution the better.

Do some research into which platform would work best for your purpose. YouTube is owned by Google, which means YouTube links don’t do well on Facebook, which in turn owns Instagram. By uploading directly to the platform, your video will look better (with less picture quality compression) and get up to 10 times more organic shares. Also think about which aspect ratio you prefer – square videos take up 78% more social media feed than standard landscape (16:9), so just this simple choice could win you some extra attention.

Including video into your SEO strategy can help you grow – make sure that Google and other search engines can index and find your videos properly.

Animation can also give you that extra ‘wow’ factor – though you likely won’t have this facility. So, for more professional broadcast-quality work than you can do at the office, or even in-depth media training, this is an option that is best explored by a suitable marketing/PR agency, but see what you can do yourself first. You never know, your practice could be the next big YouTube phenomenon!

In the next issue, I’ll be taking an in-depth view into the fast-growing format of podcasts.

• Lloyd Jones is the Senior Client Relationship Manager at Get Seen Now, which has exclusive offers for ICPA members. See our advertisement elsewhere in this issue, or visit the website at www.getseennow.co.uk

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