My head is still spinning with ideas, images and stories from the films that I saw during this past weekend’s Lights.Camera.Help. Film Festival here in Austin. Dedicated to helping non-profits and cause-driven organizations tell their stories through film, Lights.Camera.Help. runs the nation’s first film festival solely focused on cause-driven film. I was lucky enough to be able to see causes that ranged from the “tippy taps” needed in India to help prevent transmission of disease and contamination of shared water supplies; to the award-winning “Meet the Digits” from the Ronald McDonald House of Austin; and the very short, very funny, yet very effective “Jolly-Holly dog Celebration” from Best Friends Animal Society. (Disclosure: I’ve had the honor of becoming a board member of this organization this year.)
I was reminded this weekend of the power of film.
Film has the ability to personalize a business, help build or strengthen your brand, share a story, create awareness for a need, illicit emotion, bring about change, and create action. Shawna Butler works with TEDxAustin and told me that she is “profoundly impressed by the medium of film to share a story, and more importantly provide the viewer an opportunity to choose how they can help or what action they want to take.”
As a small business owner, isn’t this something you are trying to do every day? Think about how effective a short video could be on highlighting a special business focus, or punching up blog entry, or highlighting the emotion and activity of an event.
David J. Neff, CEO of Lights.Camera.Help., gave me his top three reasons why film is so important to a small business:
#1: Film is a way for people to see what you do versus reading what you do. Does own a retail store? Consider taking some video at your next fashion show and put it to high energy music you get from creativecommons.org. And then post it to all your communications channels.
#2: Film is a way for people to understand you – not just your product. You don’t need to make your commercial into an art house piece but do something out of the ordinary that is interesting. Our top tip? Make it funny.
#3: Film is Social. People won’t just watch your film if it’s good. They will share it. They will take it and put on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Make sure when you shoot a video that you make it small enough to upload to social media channels and that it’s easy for people to share across all social media platforms.
I think you will see all of David’s points in this film that was produced for TAKE Supply Chain by Weston Norton of Reel Social Media.
Click here to see the video.
Weston adds that not only does film act from an emotional place with your viewers, Web-based video has a technical function as well. It can radically improve seo, site traffic, email campaign click-through rates, and conversion rates–i.e. Web video increases sales, and first movers tend to see the most dramatic results. This function of video could easily be its own blog post!
So, what are you waiting for? Start small – grab your mobile phone, digital camera, Flip or Kodak video camera, or any device that can record. Interview your sales team, talk about a new product or one that needs a spike in sales, video your team at your next volunteer activity and then add a little music and a bit of editing. Throw the finished product up on your blog, post it to Facebook and your YouTube channel. Tweet it out. The ideas are limitless and the reward will be plentiful. Watch out – you could become addicted!
Tell us about your experience with video in the comments below. What have you done? How will you start? What was your ROI?