To say I’m passionate about inbound is an understatement. Whether it’s creating inbound marketing content, enabling my inbound sales team, delighting customers or building new relationships in the community, HubSpot and Vidyard have become two essential tools in my marketing stack.

Video has really always been a part of my life. My mother’s a photographer and was always capturing some moment of our family life on film or video. Back in the summer of 2015, video started coming up more and more in my inbound marketing discussions. It seems that at every conference or webinar I attended folks were preaching the gospel of video. And rightfully so. We began dabbling in it ourselves as a team. We even hired a company to produce a couple of videos to summarize some research we produced and found it to be an obvious way to summarize complex information.

When I was introduced to Vidyard and one-to-one video, the penny dropped

In the fall of 2015, I happened to meet up with someone from Vidyard at an event. We’d been talking about using video more seriously for inbound at the company where I worked at the time. It was during that discussion that I was introduced to the concept of using video to build one-to-one connections. That’s when the penny dropped for me. I could immediately see how video, purposely-created to speak to an individual, could provide that missing personal connection so essential for establishing rapport.

As one of my friends, Marcus Murphy from DigitalMarketer, recently said to me, ‘Everyone says cold calling is dead. But it’s really thoughtless outreach that’s dead.’ Marketing has become a rich and technical thing. We just have too many resources at our fingertips to do thoughtless outreach. When you use video—when someone can see your face, hear your voice—trust grows. Plus, you’re probably not going to create a whole personalized video message to someone without doing at least a little research beforehand.

After that Vidyard conversation, I started using GoVideo almost immediately, mostly for internal communication. It was handy for walking my team through processes, for sales enablement, and for creating alignment. I also began chatting with people in my company to get them to buy into video, and presented Vidyard as an option. We did a trial. We put one video on the website and tracked its performance.

Then I joined IMPACT. Here, everyone was very excited about video’s potential. We were already doing a ton of marketing videos and live video but hadn’t really tapped into the 1:1 videos. It didn’t take long though! In short, from the moment our team got its hands on GoVideo, the company embraced video as an engagement tactic and along with it, the Vidyard platform. 

We use everything Vidyard has to offer. We upload webinar recordings to the platform. We create videos for our landing pages. We use it for webinar promotion and for follow-ups. Recently we were promoting an upcoming live event where we were giving away a certain type of TV/computer mount. I happened to have one, so I did a GoVideo at home while hanging out with my dog. The thumbnail is a shot of me petting her head. Am I above bribery with puppies? Nope, I’m not. I mean hey, it worked. The thumbnail matters, people!

Creating a higher level of engagement with video

As the Director of Audience Engagement and Community for IMPACT, I’m responsible for managing communications between the company and our audience, from their first touch through their entire lifecycle as a prospect, partner and/or customer, in both directions. I’m passionate about maintaining a high level of engagement in a way that faithfully reflects IMPACT’s vision and values.

I’m sure others who do a similar job feel the same, but it’s easy to feel a bit limited by the options when you are managing a community. You have Facebook, Slack, and maybe an extranet, but that’s about it online. Video is a way to bring an entirely new element into your community-building strategy while conveying emotion and tone, something that is very important when building trust and authenticity. It is also virtually impossible to duplicate in any other medium.

In our community, we use Zoom to host a weekly hangout and host a Facebook Live show every other week, and every month I push out an email update with a rundown of activities over the last month. I now incorporate video into that email, summarizing the news in 60 seconds or less. When people reach out to me with questions or concerns, I try now to always respond using video. It allows me to share more about myself and I find it builds engagement and trust.

Here are just a couple examples of these outreach videos:

When you are building an online community, people can be harsh. They’ll hide behind the screen and say things they wouldn’t if they were speaking to you face-to-face. With video, we’re all a bit more vulnerable on camera. It creates a bond like no other, and I find it brings a level of civility, respect, and decorum to community conversations.

I’d love to see more of our community using video as a means of communicating, so I’m leading the way with Vidyard’s help. Video sets the tone. It tells people you can trust me and that I’m real and vulnerable. It reminds them that there’s a real human being out there. Our community members respond warmly to it and I really believe you can see that they behave differently as a result.

In closing I’ll leave you with five tips when incorporating video into your inbound activities:

  1. Test, test, and test again – I love to say that “best practices are test practices.” Your video message needs to work for your community and for your industry. One size does not fit all. It’s likely your first video won’t be a home run. Or if it is, the next one might be a flop. Try different formats, approaches, and lengths. Play with it and find your groove.
  2. Start with a smile – I mean, who wants to click on a thumbnail of a grumpy face? A calm face and a smile might establish the right tone for your video. A grin and a wave works too! It not only invites people to listen to your message, it helps you in recording your video by setting yourself up to have a positive attitude and setting the right tone. It says to others, I’m here to help. I’m here to educate.
  3. Pay attention to the basics of video composition – it’s not rocket science, but good lighting and good sound matter. This doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production, but remember to turn on a light (crazy, I know), and use a good headset or microphone.
  4. Pick an interesting background – a cool background can add a lot to your message and set your video up for success. Backgrounds I’ve played with include the Chicago skyline, a flower garden, the layers of glass that divide our working space. Consider using a background or props that relate to your message. Remember when I used my dog to promote a TV?  When our community hit 3,000 members, I recorded a video on top of our building overlooking the city because I wanted to literally “shout our news from the rooftop.”
  5. Use video when you are celebrating numbers and milestones – speaking of shouting good news from the rooftops, video conveys emotion like no other. Numbers in print are just…numbers. So if you are hitting a big milestone for your business (or your community), consider using a video to tell the world of your accomplishment. When HubSpot hit 15,000 users, they shot a video of them dumping 15,000 orange ping pong balls over the balcony in their office. Between the concept, the footage, and the music – it still gives me goosebumps to watch.

Stephanie Casstevens