Chantal: Hey, Jason. Welcome back for part two of our video marketing for fitness professionals series.
Jason: Hi, Chantal.
Chantal: Now, I was pumped after part one, and I hope everyone did their homework and wrote down those 20 topics that they can use to create videos about their business, but today we’re heading into part two. And we’re going to be talking about the common mistakes to avoid when creating videos. Talk us through it.
Jason: Okay, so this is one of my favourite topics. I used to say, “There are no bad videos or no mistakes. Everything is a learning experience.” But I have to say, now having … We’ve, at [Anima 00:00:35], literally studied thousands of videos and have tried all sorts of things and have really seen what works and what doesn’t work. And so I do feel like there are several things that people really should know to get started off on the right foot. So I have eight, either you call them common mistakes or best practises, that I want to share that I think will just, for everyone getting started, or whether you’re actually getting started or trying to figure out how to take your video game to the next level, I think this will be beneficial to everyone out there.
Let’s dive into things. So number one is … I think one common mistake that I see a lot right now is a lot of people are creating videos on their desktop, on their laptop computers, and they’re kind of creating the videos as if people are going to re-watch. Yes, most people are going to be watching these videos on their desktop, but the reality is that everyone should be creating videos with mobile in mind. Something like 85, 90% plus people on Facebook and Instagram is all mobile, are on mobile. And so these videos are being watched on mobile. And so there’s actually two specific things because of this that people should be doing.
So number one is people need to realise that most of these videos are actually not being viewed with the sound on. Most videos are being viewed with the sound off. What that means practically speaking is you should make sure that you’re using text in your videos. It doesn’t mean that you need to avoid having someone talking on the video, but if you do, you can add captions. Facebook allows you to do that, or you can do that in tools like Animoto. But really make sure that as you’re creating your video that you can actually watch it without any sound and it still makes sense, and text is a big part of that. So that’s tip number one.
And related to the mobile viewing experience leads me to tip number two, which is don’t create landscape videos. Create square videos. I know most of us are accustomed to seeing the movie aspect ratio where it’s kind of wider than it is tall, but the reality is, square, and there’s numerous studies on this now, but square really performs much better, especially since most videos are being watched on mobile. And the reason why, and this seems obvious [inaudible 00:03:15].
When you think about it, square videos actually take up 78% more screen space than a landscape video in your newsfeed. So just by the fact that it just takes up that much more space makes it that much more visually effective and really something that you can’t avoid. I’m sure everyone, even movie trailers, everyone is starting to do square videos because they can see the effectiveness of square, especially for mobile. So those first two really have to do about making sure that you’re creating for that mobile experience.
Chantal: I’m just going to jump in there, Jason, because I might just bring everyone’s attention to, of course, Instagram was, correct me if I’m wrong, kind of the founder of that square format or that’s where we started seeing that square format first. And what I love about this movement to … I mean, a lot of the social media marketing experts have been saying for quite a while now that square video is the way to go, but what I love about that is its adaptability across multiple platforms. So the challenge that we’ve had traditionally is if you create that landscape video for Facebook, for example, and then you try and bring it across to Instagram, then it’s going to be out of whack. Whereas if you created it as a square from the get go, then it’s much more adaptable for multiple platforms.
Jason: Yeah, and that’s a great point. That’s actually exactly why we try to emphasise square because the next question that people usually ask is, “Well, what about vertical video?” And I don’t think we’re quite there, but also just the fact that square is just that much more versatile across all the various platforms. So right now, we emphasise square videos. It’s kind of the most versatile and the easiest to create.
Chantal: Great, and I don’t want to lose the fact that that very first point that you made, which I think is so, so important about the fact that most people are viewing their videos without the sound on. I immediately think of myself, and I know I very rarely have the sound on because you’re kind of flicking through or you might be multitasking and looking at a newsfeed at the same time. That means you’re doing something else. So having those captions at the base of your video I think are absolutely such an important point, so thank you for that one. Okay, let’s press on.
Jason: Alright, so tip number three that I have for you guys is … So this is a common mistake I see, which is people, especially new to video, love to save the best for last. If you think about it, it’s kind of what we’re trained to do. When we go see movies and stuff, you’re kind of building a story arc and really that path is usually towards the end of the movie, but on social and with just today’s day and age and attention spans, what we say is, “You have to save the best for first.” And if you think about, especially those first few seconds of a video, so Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, says, “The content of your video has to be thumb-stopping.”
And he means is, as you’re flicking through your newsfeed, people are deciding whether they should stop and watch something or not, but really they’re making decision in not even the first three seconds. If you think about how quickly you scroll through your newsfeed, it’s really that first second or two that they’re making that judgement of if they should stay and watch. So when I say, “Save the best for first,” you have to assume that most people are not going to watch most of your video, sadly enough. This is not like a captive movie theatre audience where you know they’re going to be in their seats at the end of the movie. These are people watching video online and maybe just even a good rule of thumb, no pun intended, is that half the people are not even going to make it through half way through your video, so you really have to make sure that the first few seconds are compelling.
And so when I say save the best for first, it’s whatever that best thing is. Is it that image, that video clip, that message? And I’ll give you a specific example, not necessarily in the fitness industry, but when you think about those recipe videos, what they’ll start with is what that end product looks like, that cake or that muffin or whatever. And then they step back and they go through the process of the ingredients and how to make it. But they kind of start with that most attention-grabbing or that most visually appealing picture of video clip, and then they kind of back up and go into the video.
Sometimes, when you see these videos that are like home renovations or whatever, they show what the final renovation looks like and then they quickly go into, “This is what we started with.” And you’re just kind of immediately hooked and you want to see how they got from point A to point B. So just think about what is it in your video that you think is the most attention-grabbing and try to start with that because your goal is to get them to stop and watch your video for more than just the first few seconds.
Chantal: Great tip.
Jason: Alright, so tip number four of eight is this is something else that I see often, which can be a bit painful, which is the tip here is don’t try to be funny, unless you really, really know that you’re funny, don’t try to be funny. Strive for authenticity. Again and again, I emphasise that authenticity is more important than hilarity. I actually used to, before Animoto, my previous life, was a TV producer for MTV and Comedy Central. I worked on a lot of comedy stuff. And comedy is really, really hard. You see the stuff on TV, these are ads that people hire creative ad agencies for. They usually spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to get right.
And even them, like you think about Superbowl commercials or the hit rate of stuff on Saturday Night Live, these people who are comedy professionals, not everything they create is necessarily funny. So I typically encourage people to not try to do stuff that’s funny. Just stick to what’s genuinely you. And if you prioritise authenticity over everything else, ultimately, especially in the fitness industry, that’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking for, “Who do I want to build this relationship with? What fitness professional? What gym, why trainer am I looking to build a relationship with?” There might be some fitness professionals whose point of differentiation is their comedy chops or hilarity, but I bet that most probably choose to differentiate themselves on something else, so don’t be funny unless you really, really know you’re funny.
Chantal: And Jason, I think that really speaks back to our discussion in part one of this series when we were talking about being relatable as well to people and connecting with our prospects. And as we discussed in part one, it’s really about being yourself. You’ve got a lot more chance of being able to truly connect with your prospects and your customers than if you’re trying to be something that you’re not …
Jason: Exactly. Exactly. So next tip, and you had asked this in our first part and I saved it for this session, but you asked, “What’s the right length of video.” So this is an interesting question because I get asked it a lot, and I think really the honest answer is it depends, but I would say more often than not, the videos that we see are often longer than they need to be. So I think one good rule of thumb is less is more. So while I don’t think there’s necessarily a certain number of seconds or minutes that you should be striving for, look at your video and say, “Hey, where …” Just with that lens again of people on their mobile devices. They are very attention-limited, and so every second counts. If you just think in your head, “Every second counts,” and how can you make your video as second-by-second as valuable as possible, then I think you won’t go wrong.
In general, it really kind of depends on the content of the video. If you are delivering a piece, some content, or a message, or an exercise video, something that you know that your audience is really going to find valuable, they will definitely watch for three, four, five minutes, however long you need to. But you have to be pretty convinced that what it is that you’re delivering is going to be valuable to them. I’d say in general on Facebook, if you’re just looking to try to start capturing interest in an audience, just start with something short and sweet, under a minute or under 30 seconds. There are even videos today that are 10, 15-second videos. If length of video is at all a deterrent to getting started, it shouldn’t be because you could literally even take a one-sentence message and turn that into a video and get started that way. But the high-level comment here is don’t worry about the exact length of the video. Just think every second counts. Less is more, and most important above all of that is just making sure that what you have to say is something that you really, genuinely believe that your audience is going to care about.
Chantal: Jason, I just wanted to share with you one of the challenges that we have with marketing the show, and that is how do we … Because it’s an audio medium, how do we give people an insight into the content within the show when you’re trying to appeal to someone that maybe doesn’t have their volume on on their social media, as they’re flicking through their newsfeed? So one of the ways that we have used videos in the past, and I actually used Animoto to do this, was I would grab a quote from one of our guests in the show and overlay that quote onto a video and run that quote with kind of the video going in the background. So in other words, people were able to see a sentence or something from the podcast itself as a bit of a teaser, and that worked well for us to generate comments and likes on our social media pages because I think it gave people a quick little insight. Enough that it then lets them know, “Oh, this is an interview that I actually want to listen to the whole thing or tune into the whole thing.”
So the reason I mention that is I could see for a fitness business or for a personal trainer, that similarly they could perhaps use a part of a testimonial from a client or something that was said during a class that really demonstrates that feeling that is captured during an exercise session with a trainer and utilise that in a short form video.
Jason: Yeah. That’s an excellent suggestion. Actually, something else that you do that I’ll call out is a great tip is if it’s a longer video and if you kind of provide a rundown of what the different topics are and even the time that different topics are being hit, that gives people a chance of understanding if it’s longer what they’re getting into. And if they don’t care about all the topics, they can skip the parts they do and you minimise the risk of people just stopping to watch the video if they start to lose interest along the way.
Jason: One other related topic … Oh sorry, one other related tip is if it’s something short, and this all goes into that spirit of managing people’s expectations before they start watching a video, if they know that what they’re about to watch is, say, 60 seconds or two minutes or three minutes, people are much, much more likely to continue watching because they know what they’re getting into. So for example, if you’re trying to show a certain technique or a certain method or a certain anything, if you say, “I’m about to give you a 60-second overview of how to do XYZ,” or, “I’m about to give you a three-minute tutorial on how you can accomplish this or that,” people will be much more [inaudible 00:15:26] because you’ve set their expectations upfront.
Chantal: Great. Love that. Love that tip. [crosstalk 00:15:31] up to? What number are we up to?
Jason: We’re at number six. We have a few more.
Chantal: [crosstalk 00:15:35]
Jason: Okay, so this is related. This one’s pretty straightforward. This is don’t … And I see this a lot, which is don’t try to cram in too many different topics into one video. And if anything, try to make each video focused on one topic. And it can be one minute, two minutes. They don’t have to be long, but try to separate your videos into singular topics. In part because when they read that and the subject or that video, that’s what they expect to watch and that’s what the video should cover. So don’t try to cover four or five different kind of miscellaneous topics that don’t relate in one video. Really separate it out into distinct subjects or topics.
Chantal: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Go on.
Jason: Alright. Two more. Number seven is, so this is an important one. Don’t just think about your prospects or about trying to win new customers. Think about your existing customer base. Your customers, your clients are your loyal clients because of a reason, for a reason. And if you’re thinking about them and what’s made you successful with them, that will help draw more people who are like them into your fold. It’s also important too because video is not just a way to just attract new clients or new business or new customers, it’s also a way to keep your existing community, your existing customers, your existing clients engaged and loyal. And even more than that, oftentimes, we kind of alluded to this earlier, that oftentimes it’s your existing customer base, or we call them your super fans, that are part of your marketing vehicle.
So when they’re excited about what you’re doing or they’re sharing your content or they’re talking about you, that’s just more wind in your sails and you’re just really leveraging your existing client base. So when you’re coming up with this content or your message, this is not just about winning new customers. Think about content or messages that’s really going to resonate with your existing customer base, that’s going to keep them engaged, keep them sharing your videos, and keep them loyal to you.
Alright, so last but not least, number eight. And this is a big one, especially for folks that are getting started. Don’t overthink or over-perfect. These are videos on social, right? So it’s probably, in terms of how perfect you should be thinking about, it’s somewhere between a Tweet and like a blog post or something. There are other types of videos that you may want to kind of work more on, like if it’s going to be a video for your home page or something else that’s really going to have a much longer shelf life or something that’s going to be a lot more important or evergreen, you can work on perfecting those videos. But for videos on social, don’t overthink it. The advice that we try to give is put videos out there. Learn from what’s working. Learn from what’s not working and just be willing to try things.
And in fact, it’s amazing the number of times where we, here at Animoto, we work so hard on making a video super-produced and look really great and everything. And it’s actually the videos that sometimes we’re just experimenting with or that we spend much less time on that do well with our community and our audience. And I think that part of it is that people are really drawn to that authenticity that sometimes comes through. So sometimes we like to say, “Just embrace those imperfections.” If you stumble on your words a little bit or the doorbell rings and the UPS person comes in, just own it.
Those are all those moments of real world that people like to be a part of, so don’t overthink. Don’t over-perfect. Just create a lot of videos and you’ll quickly see what’s working, and you’re going to get that direct feedback. People are going to say, “Oh, I loved that video when that happened,” or, “I saw you in this video,” or, “That video was really …” And so you’re going to hear that feedback and you’re going to hear it in the numbers too. So don’t overthink. Don’t over-perfect. Just create videos regularly and you’re going to get good at this really quickly.
Chantal: Yeah. I think that’s a really important point to remember. So Jason, we’ve covered a lot in today’s episode. Do you have some homework for the listeners today?
Jason: So the last piece of homework we gave was come up with 20 video ideas, video topics that you can create videos for. So if it’s not obvious in this episode, we’re trying to really get you to create your first video. So hopefully you’re already inspired to do that, but hopefully we’ve given you some very, very practical tips of things that you can do to make sure your first video or your first few videos are great. So I would love to see you take one of those ideas that you’re most excited about, take some of these tips and best practises that we’ve shared, and create a video.
Chantal: I love it! And you know what I’m going to say is if you do that, and you will do that, when you do that, then post it on your page and #FBP family so that we can jump on and check out what you created on the back of this video marketing series and Jason’s advice. So absolutely loved today’s episode, Jason. Thank you for the home, and I look forward to chatting to you about part three of our video marketing for fitness professionals series.
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