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Can Video Help Build Your Business?

August 17, 2010 - 4 Comments

Video Reaches the Masses!

The quick answer is yes!  The example that comes to mind is Gary Vaynerchuck who grew his family business from a $4 million operation to over $60 million in just 4 years.  He went from running a family business to being a celebrity in the wine world seemingly overnight.  It would be illogical to try to make the case that his use of online video was the only reason for his success, but it was a huge part.

Gary (I hope he doesn’t mind if I call him Gary) used a daily video blog to build a relationship with customers.  His approach was nothing like the existing wine community, Gary wasn’t afraid to show personality and eschewed traditional wine community tradition and vocabulary.  His show, called Wine Library TV is reported to have 90,000 viewers by Wikipedia; the Wine Library TV Facebook page has over 32,000 fans and over 850,000 people are following him on Twitter.  His online success lead him to write a New York Times Bestseller, Crush It and make several broadcast television appearances.  All of this translates to revenue.

But why are people watching him?  Because he’s using social media to make a personal connection with his customers.  He combines his expertise with personality.  His in-your-face style is genuine passion that he’s sharing with other people.

Lots of companies are growing because they are using video in their business.  Have you ever watched a “Will it Blend” by BlendTec founder and CEO Tom Dickenson? If you haven’t, you should– it’s funny (think vuvuzula meets blender).  His video channel has 101 videos uploaded and over 130 MILLION views.  I don’t know his revenue, but I do believe as a marketer that there’s no way he would have reached 130 million potential buyers with a lower marketing budget.

For more examples of business leaders using video read this article on American Express Open Forum

You may be asking “How do I start with Video?” Well thanks for asking because I have some thoughts.  I’ve been creating video for 11 years at Cisco and a few years before that (but I”m not going to give an exact count so you can’t guess my age!)

  1. Be Yourself! Don”t try to be what you think your customers want, be who you are.  Would you imagine that a video on pairing wine with breakfast cereal would have over 400 comments?  Wine spectator didn’t and Gary won.  Allow your personality to come through and talk about your passion.  Your customers want to know you and they want to do business with someone they trust.
  2. Keep it Brief! The most highly viewed videos I’ve done were 90 seconds.  At 3 minutes it doesn’t matter how relevant your content is, people’s attention spans start to wane.  I can talk for hours about anything I’m passionate about, unfortunately only my mom and my dog will listen that long.  Stick very strictly to a specific point.  Draft an outline of what you want to communicate but don”t script yourself; speak from your heart.
  3. Practice and Edit! You don’t have to shoot an expensive video, but you have to get it right.  It”s perfectly fine to use a low cost solution as long as your content is good.
  4. Check Quality! For your viewers bad sound quality or distracting framing is maddening.  Be your own critic; ask yourself if you can hear well and see well.  Would you watch this video?  Would you tell your friends to watch it?
  5. Use a Reliable Platform! If you are going to host your video on your site make sure your technology can handle it.  Nobody wants to sit and look at a download bar they want to see the video.

Want to learn more?  Cisco TechWise TV has an entire show dedicated to the topic:  Mastering the New Change Agent.

Are you using video?

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  1. I agree, if you are uncomfortable in front of the camera find someone else, discomfort may come across as lack of knowledge.  Great points!

  2. Oh yeah I forgot. You can also get somebody else to read it out for you if you don't want to talk yourself. Bottom line - you can outsource the whole thing.

  3. To the previous commenter, being camera shy doesn't have to be a problem. There are numerous solutions :

    1. Talk over a powerpoint presentation and record that.

    2. For a small fee you can get an automated animated version of yourself to talk.

    Both of these can even get better results!


    In any case, video is so powerful as it engages sight, sound and the intellect.

  4. I definitely agree that video does help any businesses to develop into becoming very successful.  There are many artists that have become celebrities over night by just posting a video on the various directories and have signed record deals.


    Now only if I wasn't so camera shy...