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HOW TO: Using Video Effectively – Part I

In our last HOW TO post we talked about how to source great content for your website. Today, I want to take it a step further and talk about the power of adding video to your marketing toolkit. Because video can be a massive undertaking, I’m going to divide this post into two parts. In this first section we’ll talk about why video is important to online marketing and share some interesting ways you can use it to increase engagement with your brand. In the second part (to be published later) we’ll focus more on the technical process of creating your video.

Why Create Video?

First, lets talk about why we love video so much. I believe that video is the most personal and engaging method of communication we can offer our customers short of talking to them face to face. As human beings we get sucked into the idea of a good story and nothing helps tell that story better than an effective video segment.

Travels Easily

Video is one of the most easily shareable forms of communication on the web today. Besides the dozen of platforms that will host your videos for free, there are endless social media tools you can use to distribute links to your video content to any number of destinations. Additionally, the “embed” functionality included in most video platforms encourages enthusiasts and brand advocates to incorporate your video work into their personal blog or website content.

Google Loves YouTube

Web video can help give you an advantage in Google natural search over your competitors. Most of us understand that ranking organically for text keywords terms can be near impossible. The competition is simply too extensive in most verticals to reliably expect to land in one of the coveted ten spots on the first page of Google. But, Google has made a point to include video from YouTube in their SERPs where possible.

Take a look at a search I did for the Canon T3i DSLR camera:

The fifth and sixth results are for YouTube clips. The first video result is from CNET - a larger tech brand. The second result is from a smaller video blogger called Digital Rev TV. Creating video reviews helped each company land on the first page of search results for one of the most sought-after DSLR cameras on the market today.

There are obviously no guarantees that creating a YouTube video will land you on the first page of Google, but it will definitely help your chances. Make sure you pay special attention to your tags and create compelling keyword-rich descriptions for each video piece so that you have a better chance of being picked up by Google.

Innovating the Engagement Gap

I’m a big believer in tweaking my process in order to achieve the end results I want. Sometimes things don’t work exactly as you need them to right out of the box. You may need to innovate your workflow a bit to fill in the gaps. With video, the gap that I hear about so often is that beginning point between that initial video view and the endpoint of closing a sale, capturing a lead or extending crucial brand engagement. How do you bring a viewer further into your branded web properties?

Our team here at eBay Partner Network has started doing some interesting things with QR codes. In fact, if you were at BlogWorld Expo in New York, you may have seen our QR code business cards. For those unfamiliar, “QR” stands for “quick response” and it can be read by most smartphones.

One company I’ve noticed that’s doing really interesting things with QR codes is electronics megastore, B&H Photo:

B&H has taken steps to solve the engagement gap with video. The screenshot above is from a product demo of the Nikon CoolPics S9100 camera. A QR code is featured prominently at the beginning and end of their video. The idea is that the viewer will scan that QR code before or after watching the video review and complete the transaction on their mobile device at the B&H website. Has it boosted their sales? I bet it hasn’t hurt.

Obviously, B&H is applying QR code innovation for the improvement of their sales. Our team used it at BlogWorld as a fun way to engage with potential publishers. Can you think of ways that you could use it for your business?

Endless Possibilities

I’ve obviously only scratched the surface with the potential for video in this post. My hope is that this gets you thinking about ways you can use video to tell a better story about your brand that will ultimately lead to increased business through your eBay Partner Network channel. One note – please remember that it is against our terms of service to drive traffic directly to eBay from YouTube or any social media account. Instead, the desired lead path is to migrate users from your social media channels to your website and complete the click to eBay from your domain. This approach not only keeps things within our TOS, it also has a better chance of building a long-term supporter of your brand.

In Part II, we’ll look at how to select the right equipment for your video project and start producing content. In the meantime, I encourage you to share your own experiences in the comments.

HOW TO: Using Twitter to Grow Your Audience

FollowMe As publishers at eBay Partner Network, many of you use websites or blogs as part of your business model. That means you’re constantly thinking about how to increase traffic to those properties and stimulate more engagement with your brand. Today I want to talk to you about how you can accomplish that more effectively using Twitter.

GETTING STARTED

First, if you haven’t already, sign up for a Twitter account. Choose a handle that best represents your brand – for example, if the name of your site is “Fashion Mall,” try to secure @FashionMall as your Twitter handle. Obviously, Twitter’s popularity has made it more difficult to get the exact moniker you want, but try and get it as close as possible.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll want to make sure your profile is complete. Make sure you talk about your brand in a succinct way in the description field, and be sure to include your site URL. You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t do an adequate job filling in these pieces of information leaving potential followers bewildered about who you are and what your business does.

CONTENT IS KING

The type of content you create and share on Twitter is essential to your success. Ideally, the goal is to get people to click on links you’ve shared that bring them back to your website. You accomplish this by creating content of interest on your web properties and distribute those links via your Twitter account. That means you have to make sure there’s a constant flow of new and exciting things happening on your site.

Be careful about using Twitter solely as a megaphone. Your followers want a well-rounded experience in regard to the types of content you share. Make a point to comment on, and share, content you discover from other relevant sources in your industry. So, if you’re an auto site, don’t just link to content from your own blog. Instead, share links from other auto sites and comment on why you think it’s interesting or valuable to your followers. This conveys that you’re interested in building a community, not just shilling your wares all the time.

BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY

Building a substantial community on Twitter can take some time. If you want a genuine, passionate set of followers, there are no shortcuts.

First off, use Twitter’s search function to locate other users that are interested in the same things in which your brand specializes. Follow them. Take a look at their recent Twitter stream and make comments on any tweets you find interesting. Try to offer a unique perspective or add value in some way. Saying “hey, nice tweet” or “yeah, I agree” doesn’t add much to the conversation and just increases the noise level. Over time, the community will notice your participation and will follow you back.

Second, make sure your customers know you’re on Twitter. Make sure that your handle appears on all of your marketing collateral including your homepage, blog and any email communications. This holds true for any other social channels you participate in, including Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr. This lets your base know that you want to interact with them in a variety of ways.

Finally, make sure to nurture your Twitter community. Nothing makes followers lose interest faster than a social media account that is left unattended for long periods of time. Try and make it a priority to find at least one thing to say on Twitter everyday. This will show your growing community that you’re present and engaged.

TERMS OF SERVICE

While we at eBay Partner Network believe in the tremendous impact Twitter can have in growing your business, I want to remind you that it is against our terms of service to drive traffic directly to eBay from your Twitter account. Instead, the desired lead path is for a user to find you on Twitter, click through to your web property and complete the click to eBay from your domain. This approach not only keeps things within our TOS, it also has a better chance of building a long-term supporter of your brand.

I’d love to hear about your experiences using Twitter to build your brand presence. Please leave a comment below.

-Scott