Online Video Marketing 101

Online video is wildly popular. In May, people in the U.S. watched more than 14.6 billion videos online. There's every reason for dealerships to fully embrace online video marketing. Getting Started Because video-sharing websites are both video platforms and social networks, a good online video marketing strategy should incorporate the social aspects of video. Making friends, building a list of subscribers,

Online video is wildly popular. In May, people in the U.S. watched more than 14.6 billion videos online.

There's every reason for dealerships to fully embrace online video marketing.

Getting Started

Because video-sharing websites are both video platforms and social networks, a good online video marketing strategy should incorporate the social aspects of video.

Making friends, building a list of subscribers, and commenting on other user profiles, etc., are an important group of tasks. YouTube, for example, integrates easily with Twitter and Facebook, increasing the possibility of using online video to build many relationships.

Here are some suggested marketing goals for dealerships:

  1. Concentrate on relationships and total views. Video views don't generate sales, relationships do. Therefore, views aren't the only metric dealers should monitor. Friends, channel subscribers, and video comments should all be tracked as well. No easy tools track these metrics, so you'll have to keep track them on your own.
  2. Contributions should not be limited to uploads. Video-sharing sites allow dealers to develop relationships without constantly uploading videos. Subscribing to interesting or relevant video channels, commenting on videos, and making friends are great ways to build your presence.
  3. Keep automated videos separate. Many dealerships use services that automatically create classified videos with still photos and voice-overs. Distribute these using a separate account.

The Quality Debate

Some experts advocate using only professional-quality video but, consumers are open to watching low-quality video.

Much like a green pea salesperson can lead the board despite lack of experience or polish, a low-quality video can perform well, too. Why? Green peas and low-quality videos are authentic.

Does this mean your dealership should completely ignore video quality? Of course not. But before you decide to invest in costly video production, consider the consumer's expectations.

Pure marketing messages — much like TV commercials — must be as professional as possible. However, Steven Spielberg doesn't need to produce helpful, informative videos that address a small aspect of your business, such as how to set the clock on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Producing Your Own Online Video

Here's what you need to get started:

  • Camera. Try the Flip series of High Definition (HD) camcorders.
  • Tripod. Perfectly steady is needed for good quality video. So get a tripod.
  • Lighting. A simple desk lamp can improve quality. Even better is a basic lighting kit from the photo store.
  • Sound. Most video cameras include an internal microphone. You need to get close for the mike to work correctly.
  • Editing. Dedicated video editing software is best, but you don't need it to get started because many cameras come with their own editing tools. Consider using a free service, TubeMogul.com, to manage uploads.

General Production Tips

Basic tips that will help make your videos “pop.”

  • Long, steady shots are boring. Cut between different shots every three to five seconds.
  • Videos don't have to be long to be effective. In fact, short is usually best.
  • Beginners often assume that they can edit out problems later, but it's best to get it right while you're shooting.
  • IzzyVideo.com has great tutorials.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Finally, be sure to ask permission before showing customers and their vehicles in your videos.

Jason Lancaster is an auto-industry veteran and Internet-marketing expert. As founder of Spork Marketing, he helps dealers nationwide to increase visibility and sales. He is at www.sporkmarketing.com.

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