Including video in a small business marketing strategy

Video is becoming more and more prevalent on the internet. It is difficult to visit a personal blog, social media page or commercial website without encountering an embedded YouTube clip or link to Vimeo. This may seem like unnecessary clutter to online marketers, but it actually signals a change that may soon be coming to the world of advertising.

The Center for Media Research reports that Nielsen, which traditionally tracked only television broadcasts and viewership, has begun monitoring and surveying Americans' online video consumption. The organization found that in May 2011, 145 million unique viewers streamed over 15 billion videos in the United States.

Even more interesting is the findings of Borrell & Associates. The research firm projects that in 2012, two out of every five advertising videos uploaded to the internet will be for local companies or small businesses. It will soon be apparent that organizations can't afford to ignore this burgeoning marketing platform. Here are some of the benefits of using video for brand awareness campaigns, particularly for small businesses.

Low cost
The price of a marketing solutions is probably the single most important consideration that small businesses must make when strategizing. After all – large entities can spend their massive budgets on research and production for nearly any kind of campaign, while local companies need to be frugal and prudent. Fortunately, the cost of high definition video is staggeringly low these days. Cameras that capture quality sound and images are very affordable, so the only limitations imposed on a company are what owners and marketers can think of and execute.

Connecting to customers
One of the primary advantages small businesses have over large corporations is the fact that they can forge some kind of personal relationship with consumers. They can introduce themselves as people instead of presenting themselves as monolithic organizations, which gives customers incentive to choose them over a less costly alternative.

Video can be quite honest in its depictions of people, so while flaws might be more apparent, so are local habits that can't be hidden. With video, small businesses can show how connected to a region, city or neighborhood they are.

Give and take
A common means of communication on sites like YouTube, the video response is easy to create and very personal. When small businesses upload videos to their sites or social media pages, they are inviting people to respond. This kind of back and forth dialog not only engages companies with consumers, it also improves the overall message being sent to additional clients. When people see and hear customers who have contacted a company, they may be more likely to enter dialog themselves and become full-fledged customers.

Ancillary benefits
Video may impact brand awareness and marketing, but there are secondary reasons to create this kind of media. Videos will improve search engine optimization because they afford additional opportunities to add keywords in titles and descriptions. Google also looks favorably at sites that are rich in applicable content.

Social media also gives companies the chance to disseminate and share their videos with additional users. Likes, retweets and +1s all extend the range of a single piece of media, so a well-made video can reach a broader audience on Facebook or Twitter.  

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