If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth?
The use of video in our social media platforms presents enormous opportunities and, so far, too many are not taking full advantage of it.
YouTube essentially offers you your own TV channel at no cost. Unlike Facebook, whose user-friendly credentials are questionable, YouTube does a number of things to make your channel easy to use and effective.
Firstly, you don’t really need to host video on your site. You can place them all on YouTube and embed the links into your own website, into Facebook or LinkedIn, or link to them from Twitter. YouTube also deals well with the complexity of various types of video files by converting them to a format people can view on their computer. Your YouTube videos can also be found in searches offering more exposure at no cost to you. Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month. More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major US networks created in 60 years.(1)
There are special features that are quite helpful. For example, if you find a YouTube video you wish to share, but the really good stuff doesn’t start until 3 minutes and 12 seconds into the video, you can set when you want the video to start when someone opens your link (hit the “share” button and then “options”). You can also add text to the video under annotations.
The fight for people’s attention has never been more challenging. Social media has made nearly everyone a “publisher.” We are consuming information at an unprecedented rate. And so much that is distributed is ignored. Video is a tool to grab and capture attention and to tell a story better.
There are some cautions, however. Your video reflects on you. Blurry video, poor audio, harsh lighting and weak graphics send a message, too. The wrong message. Investing in professional help —- producers, videographers, on-camera/voiceover talent — is money well spent for your signature videos (here’s mine, for one example). However, that’s not realistic for all your videos given the need to produce content on an ongoing basis. Video cameras and software are more affordable than ever before. Take advantage of their use. Remember, though, a video is about telling a story, not communicating a bunch of data. So before you prepare a short video (and be sure to keep them short), ask yourself, “What is my story here?” Be yourself, be conversational, and avoid talking heads. Make it as visual as possible. If you do, a video will be worth more than a thousand words. It will move you one step closer to your dream!
The writer is a former TV anchor/producer who now provides insights and training to dramatically improve how people communicate.