How to avoid 10 common business video mistakes

Video and marketing experts share tips on how not to make a business video and what steps organizations should take to ensure people will watch, remember and share their videos.

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Mistake No. 7: Making the video a sales pitch. “This is a pretty common one,” says Tyler Lessard, CMO, Vidyard, a video marketing company. Instead of selling, “your video should entertain and inform your audience and leave them wanting more. A good video will help move a buyer along the customer journey. It doesn't have to close the deal.”

“The number one mistake businesses make is to sell in the video,” says Anita O’Malley, CEO, Leadarati, a social, mobile and digital communications company. “Nothing will get turned off quicker. I tell my clients to give out information that can help their viewers with something that they didn't know before,” she explains. “Add value and offer expert advice. Talk to industry experts in the form of an interview video. Include your contact information at the end. If they want to hear more, they know where to find you.”

“Focus more on telling a story,” advises Tim Ryan, founder & director, TAR Productions, a video production company. “Video provides a unique opportunity to share a narrative in a short timeframe. Take advantage of this through powerful, engaging storytelling. Think about what makes your brand, service [or] product unique and get creative.”

Mistake No. 8: Bad AV production. “A few simple steps to ensure proper lighting, audio and presenter framing can mean the difference between a video that gets views and one that doesn't,” says Ari Bixhorn, senior vice president, Panopto, which provides a video platform for businesses and universities. “In general, you can never have too much light. If your indoor lights aren't bright enough, then take advantage of natural light by facing a window or doing an outdoor shoot.”

And don’t forget about the audio.

“Audio is more important than you think,” says Jayson Schkloven, senior vice president and partner, Merritt Group, a marketing communications firm. “Countless times we've seen beautifully produced videos that sound like they were shot on the tarmac of an airport. Keep in mind that something as simple as a quiet air conditioner can ruin the audio of an entire video,” he points out. So “always make sure you're using an external microphone for interviews and double check the sound before you begin recording. This can go a long way to making sure the audio quality is pristine.” In regard to framing the presenter, if you are using a presenter, “use the ‘rule of thirds,’” says Bixhorn. “Specifically, position the presenter with [his or her] eyes approximately one-third of the way down the frame.”

One way to get around these problems: use a professional videographer or video production team. A good videographer or video production team will “help and guide you in creating great video content on the budget you have,” says Bradley. “They will aid in setting expectations and provide the production value you need to achieve your vision and goals.”

Mistake No. 9: Not making your videos mobile friendly. “One thing businesses may overlook is optimizing their video for mobile,” says Ashley Cisneros, cofounder and director of Communications, Chatter Buzz Media, an integrated marketing agency. “As more consumers view videos through a smartphone, businesses need to create informative, mobile-friendly videos. For example, you can create a connection with your consumer with a simple 1-minute how-to video instead of a 12-minute video about the CEO.”

Mistake No. 10: No promotion or social media strategy. “So you've spent time and money [creating] a killer video. Now what?” asks Bradley. “You cannot just upload it to YouTube and expect thousands of views. You need to support the project by way of a social media strategy, a PR distribution plan, even paid media placement. And you should also create shorter teaser versions of your video to add to your Instagram account, for example, directing traffic to the full-length video.”

“In a recent Animoto study, we found that 84 percent of consumers have ‘liked’ a company video in their Facebook news feed, and nearly half have shared a company video on their own profile,” reports Brad Jefferson, cofounder and CEO, Animoto, a cloud-based video creation company. “Additionally, Socialbakers recently reported that the organic reach of native video on Facebook is more than twice that of photos. Despite this, many businesses still aren’t incorporating video into their social media strategies and, as a result, they’re missing out on priceless word of mouth marketing.”

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