Websites and Apps
In our multimedia age dominated by social media, streaming sites and apps, it’s vital for any business to have a strong presence online. Now, more than ever, it seems the best way to do this is with fun and informative videos.
Apart from increasing traffic to your website, high-quality videos will help build your brand and captivate an audience of new and returning customers. “Videos allow you to demonstrate your expertise, which will set you apart from the competition and give you a chance to attract your ideal client”, explains Zara Elliott, director of Blush Academy, which runs online courses that teach salon owners how to create video content.
And the stats don’t lie: “Websites that include videos have on average an extra two minutes’ dwell time compared to sites which don’t, according to data from HighQ, while websites with videos are 53 times more likely to be featured on the first page of a Google search, research by Visually found”, explains Danielle Riaz, head of video at website building platform Wix.com.
But what kind of content works well and how easy is it to get to grips with filming and editing? The pros share their eight top tips.
1. The smartphone vs camera debate
Creating video content doesn’t have to cost the earth. Whether you decide to invest in a high -tech camera or just use your smartphone for recording, both have the specifications to give you a professional-looking finish. “A camera will be of higher quality, but if you’re on a tight budget then shooting a great video on a smartphone is achievable”, says Riaz.
However, if you’re using your iPhone or Android phone for filming, it’s worth investing in a steady cam grip. “When you hold something for a long period of time, your hand shakes. Even though a lot of smartphones have steady cam technology built in, it’s worth investing in a holder to give you more control”, says PB’s web producer Alex Herrera, who films and edits content for the Professional Beauty website. “Most steady cam holders cost under £50 on Amazon.”
2. What to shoot
Agreeing to create videos is one thing, but knowing what type of content to put out there, and what will appeal to your clients, is another. “The three videos that every beauty business needs are the ones that will help you gain trust, so an introduction to your business, a short and sweet ‘meet the team’ and client testimonials”, explains Riaz.
Demos of new treatments and tutorials are good as they educate clients about the services and products you offer, or you can do a series of “one-minute posture and skincare tip videos, keeping people up to date with the latest beauty news”, says Elliott.
When setting up client testimonials, offer your top customers an incentive for sharing their opinion about your business on film, such as a gift voucher, and ask them to sign a waiver saying they agree to appear in your marketing materials. “Client testimonials are great as they come across as authentic”, adds Elliott.
3. Why you need to plan
Planning is crucial. It makes sure your message is on point – whether the goal is to increase your brand awareness or generate sales for a new treatment – and that you don’t waste unnecessary time. “Think about what you want to achieve and what action you want people to take when they watch it so you don’t miss out key points”, explains Elliott.
Your videos should also have a beginning, middle and end, as confidence coach Sue Carruthers, who works with Elliott on the online courses at Blush Academy, explains: “The beginning is where you hook the customer, making it clear what it is they’re going to get from watching; the middle is the explanation; and the end is the action you’re asking them to take next – whether that’s signing up to your newsletter or booking in for a treatment.”
However, don’t spend too much time working out the finer details because that’s when the content can become stilted. “When you over script things it comes across as unnatural or extremely corporate and that’s not the feel you want to get across”, says Herrera.
4. Keeping an eye on time
This is one of the most crucial aspects. If your video is too long you’ll lose the attention of your audience; too short and you won’t get your message across. “The average person’s attention span is eight seconds”, explains Riaz. “The shorter your content is, the more likely people will watch it all the way through. A minute and a half is enough time to tell your brand story.”
However, for social media, short and sweet is better. “Your videos should be 60 seconds or less because people just aren’t expecting long form” says Herrera. “However, if the message you want to get across isn’t achievable in that time, for example a make-up tutorial, then break it down into a series of one minute videos and post them separately. If clients like what they see, they’ll seek out the full tutorial on your YouTube account.”
5. Using the right equipment
“Lighting and audio are the most important elements in any video. The viewer needs to be able to clearly see and hear what’s going on with minimal distraction”, explains Riaz. Our experts advise investing in either a standalone light or a halo light that clips onto your smartphone to illuminate your environment, especially as treatment rooms tend to be dark by nature.
They also agree that a clip-on mic is a must. “For around £10 on Amazon you can get one that runs straight into the headphone jack in your smartphone. It improves the overall sound on your video and stops it reverberating off the walls, eliminating any echoes”, explains Herrera. You also want the salon to be as quiet as possible when filming, so shooting outside of business hours is best.
6. Thinking about body language
It seems obvious, but how you present yourself on camera will reflect how your brand is perceived. “You want to come across on screen as you would do in salon with one of your customers – sitting upright, straight shouldered and talking with authority, not slouched back in a chair or hunched forward”, explains Herrera.
If you’re nervous, rehearse a few times beforehand to see what you need to work on. “Most people freeze up slightly when on film, but there are a few things you can do to calm your nerves”, says Carruthers.
“Whether you’re seated or standing, keep your feet flat on the floor as this will make you feel more confident and grounded, speak slowly and clearly, and talk to someone standing next to the camera, instead of straight to the camera itself, as speaking to a person rather than a piece of equipment will make you relax more.”
7. How to become an editing whizz
There are tons of free resources online that’ll teach you the basics of video editing – from beginner’s guides on YouTube to free product trials from software providers, which will allow you time to see if the programme is right for your business.
“Most laptops come with video-editing software built in – Apple Macs have iMovie and Microsoft computers have Movie Maker – and both are really easy to get to grips with”, says Elliott. “You can even book yourself in for a free training session at any Apple store to help you use its software.” When ready to unveil your videos to clients, make sure you’ve set up a YouTube account for your business to host them on. “YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and most visited site after Google and Facebook. Plus, almost five billion videos are watched on it every day”, explains Carruthers.
Loading your videos onto the site will also give you embed codes, so you can easily put the content onto your website, as well as share codes, so you can push them out via your social media channels.
8. How to track the results
Creating videos is great but you need to track the impact the content makes in terms of sales and online engagement. To convert videos into a quantifiable return on investment, look at the metrics – view count, click-through rates and shares – and react to what they’re saying.
“Say you’re a salon in a small, rural town and you release three videos; one gets 500 views and the other two get 50 each. Look at what was different about the one with the high view number. Was it the content? The length? The offer within it?”, says Herrera. “Identify what was unique about it and then duplicate it in future videos.”
But views aren’t always the best indication of how successful a video is, you also need to include an action in each one that you can track. “If you’re doing a demo of a new treatment, quote an offer code that clients need to mention when booking because that’s something tangible and exclusive to the video that you can measure”, says Elliott.
And don’t forget, the more eyes you put your video in front of the more success you’ll have. Embed all your videos on your website, blog and newsletters, and share them across all your social platforms.