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Karen Bussone: Invest for success by using video

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At the Illinois Small Business Development Center of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan University (SBDC), we counsel our small business clients constantly that their brand messaging and communication must be concise and to-the-point, because attention spans are – for whatever reason – shrinking.

Well, in the realm of practicing what I preach, I am going to provide you with several “quick hits” about video for your small enterprise: a video bouillabaisse, if you will.

Everybody wants video. Type “How to …..” or “How do I…..” (fill in the blank) into your browser. I bet the first several pages of your results contain links to videos. A recent study shows that someone on the internet is 15 times more likely to be looking at a video than they were just five years ago. More than four out of five people on the internet right now are viewing some kind of a video. (A short one!) The amount of time we spend in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has further-fueled this trend.

Live streaming is all the rage. Consumers have gone to the internet to watch things unfold in real time. There are a number of platforms that will allow you to do-it-yourself stream. Think about giving your customers a peek at what’s going on in your business or at your place.

Video “blogging” provides entertainment and a channel for your marketing. A short “on-demand” piece about an aspect of your enterprise ticks all of the marketing boxes. Why not show your chef preparing your specialty or providing a tip for some complicated bit of food prep? For example, I see the Town of Normal has a fairly regular video blog called “What’s Normal” that illustrates the work of a staff member or elected official.

Video apps provide a new advertising opportunity. I was recently watching a documentary program on the CNN app and during a break I saw a commercial for a local business. Wait, what? Yes! Ask our SBDC Business Advisor, Gabriela, to tell you about (or research) advertising on OTT apps.

You’re going to need to invest in a new media manager. One way or the other, small business proprietors simply must dedicate some resources to video in particular, and more generally in marketing through new media. The strategies and available tools that cutting-edge marketers will be using next year probably don’t even exist right now. Certainly what worked last year is already passe.

It’s all a lot to handle. Why don’t you contact Illinois SBDC of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan University? Let’s talk about the myriad of ways you can use video to get your story out there. How you can find us: www.mcleancosbdc.org

Small Business Saturday is November 27. Plan now to patronize local businesses exclusively that Thanksgiving weekend. Stay safe and well.

Karen Bussone is director of the Small Business Development Center, Illinois Wesleyan University. 

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