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Here at the ranch this week we have gotten 4 inches of rain and even woke up to snow on the ground on Wednesday morning. It's made for some sloppy feedlot pens and not much time with the horses, but what a blessing the moisture has been and it couldn't have had better timing, right in between small grain planting and row crop planting. Calving is near completion! ‪#‎farmfriday‬
 
 
Before you start sharing videos on social media platforms, you should have a plan that helps you achieve your marketing goals.  For example, if your goal is to get more people to download an ebook, you could create a short teaser or how-to video and post the full link to your website landing page.  

It is also important to understand what works best for each platform so that you can build a strategy for each.  Different social platforms come with different marketing strategies.

YouTube
YouTube is huge and the second largest search engine, after Google, which means it’s a great place to be if you want to expand your business ratings in search engines. It is also a great place to build an audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field, which can ultimately lead to increased traffic to your website.

What’s important to remember is that, on YouTube, viewers don’t want to watch ads, they want to watch videos that are useful to them. For this reason, creating a series of How-To videos and otherwise educational videos around your business can be a great way to attract new viewers.  It is also a great place for community development-focused videos like Q&As, contests and giveaways.  The key to building an audience is creating regularly scheduled videos to keep viewers coming back.

Vimeo
Vimeo’s audience requires high-quality videos that are edited and well-produced. The goal is to create video that impresses rather than to show off your skill with a webcam.  Vimeo screams professionalism in the same way that LinkedIn does. If you want to show your business off to people who pay attention to good film production, engage audiences on Vimeo.

Facebook
Facebook is the ideal platform for reaching and engaging with clients and encouraging them to share your content with their friends to help spread the word about your business. Because of the fact that video auto-plays in Facebook’s News Feed, it’s a great way to stand out and grab the attention of your fans as they scroll through recent updates. Additionally, it provides a great opportunity to show off your personality through behind-the-scenes looks into your business.  Facebook now also offers live videos are real-time video posts on Facebook.

Twitter
Twitter is the go-to social network for conversations, and video is a great tool for getting the conversation started. The most popular video hosting platforms, including YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and Animoto, will play directly in the Twitter feed. 

Because of the “right now” nature of tweets, Twitter is a great place for sharing current updates, which means that videos of events and special promos work great here.  Make use of the @ replies and # hashtags to bring your tweets to the attention of influencers and communities for increased engagement.

Vine
If you can keep your video to six seconds, you can upload it to Vine.  Vine is an app owned by Twitter.  Some of the best ways to utilize a Vine video is to show off behind the scene work area or features of any upcoming product that you are planning to launch or maybe giving your audience a sneak peek into an upcoming event.

Instagram
Instagram has a 15 second non-looping video service. It serves as a better advantage over Vine since, Instagram comes with editing capabilities and other features that help you share your posts across different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.  

Instagram works best by using visual media for telling a compelling story about your business. It offers a unique platform to showcase your culture and people in addition to your products and services. The mobile nature of the app lends itself to quickly capturing moments, giving followers a chance to interact with your business in a way that can feel more casual and instantaneous than on other networks.  It is a great place to share company news.

Google+ 
Google Plus is similar to Facebook, but owned by Google, which owns YouTube, so the integration is seamless. You can either upload your own video or link to a YouTube video and it will be embedded right alongside your text.  Google Plus is a great place to network strategically within your circles of interest.  Don’t forget to use #hashtags here as well.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network online, with over 347 million members around the globe. It’s the ideal spot for business to business companies to reach professionals in their industries. Videos can be a nice, authentic way to share company updates, bring life to events and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Snapchat 
Snapchat is growing by leaps and bounds with now more than two billion video views a day.  It’s also one of the only platforms in which you can draw creative on top of the video, making for some awesome Snapchat exclusive artists.  Most importantly, videos have a maximum life of twenty four hours, or less if the users choose to make it so. The urgency to see something before it disappears can be a huge factor. People respond to that urgency.  Gear videos to teens and young adults. It’s one of their main forms of communication.

We would love to hear what strategies you have used to share video on social media?  Stay tuned next week we will discuss how to measure your social media success.
 
 
Here on the ranch it's been a productive week - we have gotten some much needed rain and the pastures are starting to green up! We are still calving. We've had the guys here from Precision Ag Solutions getting the corn planter ready for the field and had our new sprayer arrive. Ready, set - Farm! ‪#‎FarmFriday‬
 
 
There’s no doubt that videos are everywhere these days. Even the most seemingly uninteresting subject has a video.  With today’s technology, creating professional video is actually easier than you think.

If you are an Apple disciple like I am you can easily do it all on your Apple device.  The newest versions of the MacBook, iPad, and iPhone have a built in movie making app called iMovie where you can film 1080p, HD-quality videos and edit them.

I also use my DSLR cameras to film videos with both my Nikkon D5100 and my Cannon EOS Rebel.

There is nothing more distracting than a shaky video so before you start filming make sure you have a method of holding your iPhone, iPad, camera, or other smart phone steady.

I use a standard tripod that can be used with both of my cameras and if filming on my iPad I use a Makayama’s tripod mount.  You can also purchase tripod ready attachments for your iPhone or other smart phone.

Next your video needs great audio.  Viewers will watch a video even if the production isn’t great, as long as the video is interesting and they can hear the audio clearly. 

Don’t rely on the built in microphones on your devices, especially when filming outside or in noisy locations.  Living here in South Dakota the wind seems to blow constantly and can be very distracting on video.

Invest in a high-quality microphone that you can plug into your computer, phone, or iPad.  There are many options out there and your best bet is to do as much research as possible.  I use a lapel mic that I wish I would have done more research on and I also use my Sony digital recorder that I also use for magazine interviews.  I have also used another iPhone directly above my subject’s head and created a simple voice memo.

If you are filming indoors, create a space that will give you control over the lighting and noise to prevent creating a distracting film.  

Set up a dark solid colored backdrop with seamless paper from a photography supply store or with fabric.  Light colors can lead to nasty glare and reflections.

Filming with overhead lights can create nasty shadows on your subject’s face. You don’t need anything fancy.  I use the heat lamps we also use to keep newborn farm animals warm in the spring with a soft white 60 watt bulb or a flood light if I need more intensity.  I have also used our shop work lamps, but they tend to be very intense and often have to be pointed to a wall to let the light bounce off of.  Both of these can be purchased at your local hardware store.  Caution, they both can also get very hot.

The same principle applies to filming outside avoid filming at noon when the sun is directly overhead.  Early morning or evening is usually the best times, two to three hours after sunrise or before sunset.  A cloudy day is also good because the light is diffused as it comes through the clouds.

When filming inside control the sound by shooting in a room that has furniture in it to avoid your film sounding like you shot it in a tin can.  You can also deaden the room by hanging blankets on the wall.  Also, make sure you turn off the ventilation system in the room your filming in.

Now it’s time to create your video.  This is assuming you have developed a plan for your film, including - a purpose, a theme, and a target audience.  Otherwise, you risk wasting time and effort into something that could have been a successful online venture.  

It is well worth your time to do a little investigating. Thousands of videos are uploaded every day – and that’s only on YouTube. You want to stand out above the noise. So the first thing you need to do is research. What videos are your followers interested in? What have they watched recently? What kinds of videos are your competitors making? Spend a bit of time to get inspiration from what’s already working well.

Most videos that make it big contain real elements taken from everyday life. Tiny struggles, funny moments, valuable glimpses – these make content easy to relate to. The most effective way to make videos go viral is to add a human touch.  Make it entertaining, witty, emotional, informative, or insightful.  The trick is to create a video that can stand alone, but also hooks your viewer, investing them in your larger story.

Write out a script, which will keep your film production process organized and your message clear and concise.  Keep your focus narrow, covering too much information can be overwhelming for both you and the viewer.  Make sure you read your script out loud and rephrase anything that sounds awkward or doesn’t flow nicely.  Make sure to end your videos with a call-to-action and an opportunity to create conversation.

While shooting your footage, remember that we live in a widescreen world.  Don’t shoot vertical video with your phone or iPad, the film will look bad on your website, television, computer and your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Also, avoid using the iPhone’s built in camera zoom.  Your phone doesn’t zoom optically it only enlarges the picture digitally and will pixelate your video.  Your phone will automatically focus and expose your shot, which is great for photos but can complicate video quality and creating jittery footage.  To prevent this, use your phones exposure focus lock.

When filming with your phone or iPad remember that you are filming with a fixed lens.  In order to get a wider shot indoors or in a small space you will need to purchase a clip-on lens adapter.  There are several models available in a wide variety of price ranges.  Again, I would suggest you do your research.

There’s no need to worry when it comes to editing, there are plenty of free resources online.  If you are not using Apple devices you can edit your videos online on YouTube, WeVideo, Loopster, Magisto, PowToon, Wideo, Weavly, Kaltura, Mixmoov, Shotdip, or Video Toolbox.

Editing is what makes a video look professional. Standard streaming capabilities are such now that video for social can have exceptional production value. 

There are many apps available to edit video on your iPhone, but editing it on your computer will give you more professional results.

If you are using iMovie, plug your phone or iPad into your computer and drop your footage into iMovie.  You can easily add music or other special effects.

It can get tedious for viewers to watch the same static shot of you or someone else standing in front of the camera and talking. You can add stock video or images to help break up the monotony of the video, illustrate a point or create a memorable scene. Websites like Video Blocks and Shutterstock can help you create those types of effects.  Pricing can get expensive, so make sure you shop around multiple stock video sites for the best rates and options.

I also personally use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos which is also very user friendly.  

The product suggestions in this article are based on my personal experience. I’m not affiliated with any of these brands or products, and I’m not officially endorsing or suggesting you should purchase them over something else.

Your video length is incredibly important. When focusing on social media, “long” means anything over 15 seconds.  Videos longer than that can’t make it onto Instagram, Vine or Snapchat in their entirety. Don’t get carried away, however. Remember, the definition of long in this case is “greater than 15 seconds.” Best practices still dictate to keep video content as short as possible. 

Use YouTube or Vimeo for longer videos including short films, documentaries, and tutorials. On average, videos spanning three to ten minutes are best because they can be comfortably viewed on mobile or desktop devices.

Social media networks including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest require shorter videos.  Keep videos somewhere between six seconds to two minutes for maximum effectiveness (do take note of the different time limits for these social media platforms).

In my opinion making shorter videos are, in fact, more challenging thanks to time constraints. This is where creativity and resourcefulness play a huge role.

Don’t forget that on social media, sharing is everything.  Professional, strategic, on-brand content is only as good as its reach.  Your video is only valuable if people see it and share it. Make your video content shareable by adding links to post your content to viewers’ networks. More importantly, craft content that is innately shareable.

Anticipate questions that your users/followers will have, and create content that answers them. Identify trending topics relevant to your industry, and publish content that puts your voice in charge of the conversation. Encourage your viewers to interact with your content and even participate in the creative process.

What do you think?  Have you used video to humanize and market yourself or your business?  Are there other video related tools, tips, or tricks not mentioned here that you can’t live without?  If so, please share in the comments!

Next week we will discuss how to create and implement a video social media strategy.

 
 
Most elements of communication have moved in the digital direction. Video creation is no longer the complicated process it once was and offers big benefits in marketing your business.

The statistics don’t lie.  YouTube receives more than 4 billion views every day.  In addition, 78% of people watch videos every week, 55% of people watch videos online everyday.  Social media posts with videos in them boost view by 48%, and visual content on Facebook specifically increases engagement by 65%.  More than 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.  This means more people seeing your content and going to your website just by adding a video.

All major search engines give a lot of value to videos.  Your video will rank higher every time than an article on the same subject.  YouTube is also the second largest search engine next to Google.

Here are some easy to implement tips for your business to integrate video into your marketing strategies:
  1. Potential customers or employees are going to go to your website to find out more information about you.  Often, websites undervalue their most important online real estate, as well as the time of those who visit their website, by having websites that are too wordy.  Tell your story by creating a short one to two minute video to explain who you are, what you do and why your business matters to your clients to put on your homepage of your website.  Video often can explain what your company does in a clear, concise and personable format, setting the perfect foundation for lengthier in-person conversations.
  2. E-mails with a video have a 53% higher click to open rate.  Even a 30 second video shot from your mobile phone can make a huge impact on getting people to read your e-mails.
  3. Use a video  posted on social media to promote your blog, e-book, white paper, or other content you’ve created.  Create a video that is not just promotional but also educational.
  4. Live stream events, podcasts, or start discussions.  Share thoughts you have about developments in your industry and get immediate feedback from you social media audience.
  5. Create video interviews or web series.  You might interview an expert or thought leader in your industry.  Or create a regular series in which your company answers frequently asked questions.  You can even syndicate the audio on iTunes and use the video on your blog reaching more people in multiple formats.
  6. A video review of your products can show things to the viewer that simply cannot be conveyed in writing.
  7. Use videos to guide your website visitors to different sections of you website making the experience similar to visiting an actual store. 



Video can turn heads and is a key component that shouldn’t be ignored.  Now, take these tips and apply them to your own business, considering how you might utilize video geared toward your specific market. Use video to breathe life into your products. Try something new. Have fun. Explore.  If you would like some assistance in starting your video marketing campaign, then consider putting Agri-Marketing Solutions to work for you.  Below you will see a video we produced for Plus One Manufacturing.

We would love to hear from you!  How have you used video to promote your business?

Stay tuned next week for how to easily create videos to market your business.

 
 
A lot of people work hard in their business, but in today's competitive business world, you have to work hard on your business as well.

Where do you start to transform your business from mediocre to great?  One of the best ways you can transform your business is by upgrading your website.  If your website is not a functioning system that is digitizing your brand, building customer relationships and working as a powerful marketing tool, it’s time for an upgrade. 

Most business websites are not ready for a mobile world, nor have been designed with ROI in mind. Don’t let your business be part of the massive disconnect between you and your customers due to poorly designed, under-performing websites.  

I have recently upgraded Plus One Manufacturing, Inc. website and the difference is night and day.  Their old website was not user friendly and your customers bad online experience negatively affects your bottom line.  These statistics prove it:
  • Over 75% of web users decide whether to do business or not with a company based on how its online presence looks.
  • 90% of customers go to a company’s website first, before calling or emailing.
  • 48% of people feel frustrated if a company doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website, and 52% are less likely to engage with companies that have no mobile presence at all, according to Google.
  • 80% of consumers say they are more likely to consider products and services from brands they follow on social media, it is clear you have to make social media a key component of your website.
Picture
Plus One Manufacturing, Inc. old website.
Agri-Marketing Solutions can help you get the most from your company’s web investment and transform your current website into a real powerhouse that helps you expand profitability, achieve organizational objectives and boost your marketing and sales efforts for the mobile world. 

We can help you:
  • Aligning your online presence to your business goals.
  • Design a responsive website that will ensure that your company’s information displays correctly no matter the device it’s viewed on with a fluid design, easy navigation structure, search and filtering options for larger sites.
  • Develop a website that will grow with you, allowing you to incorporate the technologies you need, when you need them without having to start from scratch every time you want to add something new.
  • Assist you with a social media marketing plan and integrate social media on your website for user interaction.
  • Develop a custom design to fit the personality of your brand.
  • Enhanced the visual imagery of your website with good quality pictures and illustrations, giving your site a complete hi-end look.  
  • Showcase your products to meet your client’s expectations.
Picture
Plus One Manufacturing, Inc. new website.
 

    Author Jennifer Archibald

    Reflections of life and lessons learned in the fields of marketing and agriculture.  A place to shout from the roof tops our clients success and keep you up to date on industry trends.

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