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Telling Your Brand’s Story via Video — Seven Practical Tips for Great Storytelling in the Social Space

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An increasing number of brands are using video to tell their stories online. Social media has unleashed online marketing potential for digital storytelling, and video is the richest way to do so. Your target audience is not accessible and you can reach them by first creating video content that will appeal to them and secondly by putting it in front of them. Like most things worth doing, there is a right and a wrong way to do this. I am here to tell you how to make your video storytelling more effective.

I see a lot of good video storytelling out there in the social sphere, but, unfortunately, I see more bad. Of the great content I do find, often times it is adrift in a sea of digital noise, with little support from the brand to ensure that it is viewed and shared by their target audience.

So let’s focus on what makes for good video storytelling for a brand: good content + good promotion.

Here are seven high level guidelines to follow when using video to tell a brand’s story as well as taking it a step farther and ensuring that it is viewed by the right audience via social media.

1. Commit to a campaign — What you are about to embark on is an “initiative”, not a project or a campaign. An initiative doesn’t play by the same rules as a campaign. It doesn’t start up, and then stop, on some pre-destined timeline crafted in a conference room. An initiative is ongoing. It’s essential. It’s a part of the brand, not an ad for it. Which leads us to my next point…

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2. Be in it for the long run — Think long term and aim to build an audience over time. Your brand will always need a face and it will always need to show the world that face. This is a long-term opportunity to build an audience around your stories. Every time someone subscribes to your YouTube channel, they are asking to be kept informed. If you are still counting email list subscribers and not counting your YouTube subscribers, you are missing out on one of the biggest communications opportunity on the Internet.

3. Start small and grow — Begin with a small investment and increase and expand your investment in the initiative over time as you learn what’s working. Also, expect ROI in the early stages to come in the form of lessons, not in the form of sales. Is it possible you’ll immediately reap the benefits of increased sales? Sure. Is it likely? Probably not. However the first year’s learnings allow you to budget and plan for year two with a level of confidence that you may not have today.

4. Start now — The quicker you start the initiative, the faster you’ll learn what works. That means the faster you can get to cold hard cash as ROI on the investment. The first step is to find out what works for you, and what it’s worthto you.

5. Be you — Don’t expect that what works for others will work for you. Every brand is different, and every brand has different goals and needs. Each brand also has a different way to get there. Don’t compare your results to that of other companies or competitors. Concentrate on your goals and needs and the steps needed to make strides towards them.

6. Apply learnings — Once you’ve created your video content, it’s time to wash, rinse, and repeat, so to speak. Deploy your video content, promote it, test it, report on it, learn from your findings, and repeat the whole process. Apply what you learn to the next cycle of content. Repeat. Refine. Repeat.

7. Promote — Always spend at least as much of your budget promoting your video content as you spend creating it. You need the right people to see it in order to have true impact. That’s how any initiative succeeds. There are a slew of highly effective tools to target your audience, whether on YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, Stumbleupon, or any appropriate social forum. Do not make great content and then let it disappear into a void. There’s a lot of noise out there. You need to be loud enough — and smartly targeted enough — to be heard.

Telling your story in video isn’t much different than telling it on a company blog or throughout your other social channels. However, video storytelling isdifferent than advertising. In order to be affective, there must be more strategy involved in your initiative than brainstorming a good campaign idea, making an ad, and posting the content on YouTube.

This post orginally appeared in the Bulldog Reporter - The leading source of PR Views, News and Tools.

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