UpCity spotlights the most trustworthy of over 70,000 B2B service providers. For Slow Clap to win the UpCity Local Excellence Award again in 2022 is really exciting for us. We love helping our clients tell their authentic stories.
Here are a couple of things our clients had to say about our partnership in our UpCity reviews:
“Dan and the Slow Clap crew were very professional, conscientious, and worked very hard to deliver a great production under budget and on time. They had to work with some difficult restrictions and they smiled through every adversity. I would highly recommend them.”
Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Consultant
“As someone who has personally worked with Slow Clap during the filming and editing process, they are wonderful to work with. Slow Clap are not just filmmakers, but advocates and storytellers as well. They are invested in helping you tell the best story.”
Casey Tran, Asian Law Caucus
Thanks to all our clients who have chosen us to help tell their stories. It’s your support that has made this award possible and helps us evolve as storytellers. Can’t wait to see you on our next project!
If you or someone you know is interested in making a video, let us know! We’d love to share our knowledge and help you get started. Share your ideas with us here.
Fortunately, we’re here to help with some ideas on how to increase views and watch-throughs of your video content.
To be clear, views are not the only marker of a video’s success. For B2B, the ultimate metric is the sale, which (without tracking) is sometimes hard to quantify. But views are, of course, the first marker that matters. No views means something is broken. And right after views comes watch-through rate. If the audience doesn’t finish your video, something else is broken.
We focus on views and watch-through because they are easily measurable. If you are using YouTube, Wistia, or many other platforms, their analytics will give you this data. And in some cases, you can use that data to identify the problem, and either fix it or do better next time.
So here is Slow Clap’s seven-step strategy to ensure your video gets the engagement it needs to promote sales.
1. The video lives where your audience travels
Let’s return to that comet. If your audience travels in a particular galaxy, and your comet passes through that galaxy, they are more likely to see it. In internet terms, each galaxy is a particular platform, like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Different platformsserve different demographics. It can be a challenge to select the right one. Age, buying patterns, and other factors will matter. YouTube began as a place of authenticity, so selling directly isn’t as common as, say, on LinkedIn.
It doesn’t hurt to use more than one platform. But when you know one works, put most of your promotion efforts there.
And one thing to know: upload your video natively to each platform. LinkedIn, for instance, will penalize your posting’s rank if it links to anything outside of LinkedIn, and other platforms use similar strategies to try to keep users on their platform longer.
How to choose the right platforms:
Hootsuite has a great article on which platforms attract persons of particular demographics. And, interestingly, on what devices they tend to visit those platforms!
Wherever you choose, invest in it, learn how to use it effectively (learning their tags, posting schedule, etc.), and make it yours.
And when you do use more than one platform, you can use hub platforms like Hubspot to compare results and automate posts.
2. The video shows up in Search, Feeds and Ads
On any given platform, there are three ways users will see your video:
As a search result
In their feed, through a recommendation or a follow
Or as a paid ad
You have the most control over #1 and #3, where the common denominator is using the right keywords. These are words that audiences search to find answers to their questions.
Understanding how each platform uses keywords and tags is the key to getting it to show up in searches. That’s not to say you’ll rank first right away – sometimes that’s a matter of promotion and engagement.
But you need to know what words people search so they can find your answer to their problems.
And when running advertisements, you need to know what words describe those audiences. Age range. Profession. Again, these vary by platform.
How to track a keyword’s effectiveness
Preemptively, you can estimate a keyword’s effectiveness in several ways:
After you begin using a keyword, you can track its effectiveness in several ways:
A/B Posts or A/B videos. Create two versions using different keywords, and use that platform’s native analytics tools to see which one gets more views and longer watch times.
Use a tracking platform like Hubspot to specifically follow that keyword.
3. The thumbnail makes your target audience unquenchably curious
Remember back when we had movie theaters, and you’d see movie posters in the lobby? A good poster could turn your head. A great poster made you hunt for the movie’s release date, because you had to see that movie.
Thumbnail images are the images that overlay a video before you hit play. And functionally, they are little movie posters. Through audience selection and good old curiosity, they bring in an audience better than nearly anything.
Here’s how to create a great thumbnail:
Plan ahead. Design the thumbnail during pre-production. The thumbnail imagery and story needs to integrate with the video itself. Don’t improvise later.
Your thumbnail should answer the questions Who and What. Let your audience know it’s about them or a problem they have. If you are a secure paper-shredding company, plan a visual of an employee buried under documents.
Use human faces where possible. They connote feelings.
But if you can’t use any human faces, consider a simple graphic that explains a relationship.
Words are the last thing you should add. Do as much communication with the visuals as possible. Words should fill in any context you can’t show.
Sketch it, but leave it to a graphic designer or video editor to make the final product.
Brand it. The usual colors, fonts, and other graphic assets.
Test it. Can somebody you know identify who it’s for and what it’s about after looking at it for three seconds? Does it pique their curiosity?
How to track an effective thumbnail:
View count is the primary metric. There are ways to A/B test different thumbnails – you could publish two copies of the same video, but with different thumbnails, and keep the one that performs better.
4. Write a title that can sell on its own
You can’t always depend on a thumbnail. Depending on the platform you’re on, you may not always be able to use one. On LinkedIn, for instance, videos autoplay in the feed, decreasing the utility of a thumbnail.
This headline without the photo would still get clicks.
Or maybe your topic is simply too abstract to explain in an image. If you’re a company that specializes in API’s (Application Programming Interfaces), you could try to show two pieces of software talking to each other in your video thumbnail. Or you could say “we build error-proof APIs” in a text title.
And even if your thumbnail rocks, you should still have a title, or “headline,” that can sell on its own. We use “title” and “headline” interchangeably, though in marketing speak, the “headline” is any piece of media that is seen first.
Great headlines won attention in printing-press pamphlets 300 years ago, and they still work today. A headline is the top text that answers the question, “what’s in it for me?”
If you’re not sure how to do that, write up a script, and evaluate it according to these criteria:
Do the first 10 seconds give a clear clue that this video is about a problem your audience can appreciate?
Once you fully define the problem, is it easy to understand?
Do the music, narrative, and visuals mirror the correct emotion? For example, do they show how frustrating it is finding an enterprise-level password manager?
If you watched just the first 10 seconds of the video, would you want to know more?
How to measure your first 10 seconds:
Use your platform’s Watch-Time or Watch-through metrics. If you’re experiencing a dramatic drop in the first ten seconds, the video should probably be re-edited according to the guidelines above.
6. Cut the fluff.
A problem in any story – be it a book, a film, or news from a chatty friend – is adding story arcs that don’t resolve or don’t matter. For example, you write a script about a pen that can securely and remotely sign contracts. You connect to Thomas Jefferson signing the declaration of independence.
Source: Ad Age
But attention spans are short. Jefferson’s pen better be relevant or your audience will raise their eyebrows at best, and more likely click away.
“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — wholeheartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”
This is best achieved in script revision. Cut, cut, cut as much information as is unnecessary. Cut as many words as you can and achieve the same effect.
Video editing also uses this process – to tell the best story in the fewest shots necessary.
How to track attention:
Use the Watch-statistics. Is there a point far away from the end that drops off? If so, you may be able to edit the video to be shorter and tighter.
7. End the video where it should end.
A strong finish is a predictable finish. Once the story arc is complete – once the problem and solution are fully disclosed – that’s where to stop.
In your call to action, ask only one thing of your audience. Don’t ask them to buy and subscribe. Don’t ask them to sign up for the email list AND don’t forget to check out our webinar. A video should have one CTA, as once it’s done playing, it’s done.
There is one kind of video that can shoehorn multiple CTAS into a one-hour runtime: the 3 A.M. sales video. The kind that accompany “funnel” sales pages that look the same everywhere. The kind that use gimmicks to keep you watching. “But wait, there’s more!”
But we don’t recommend you make one of those. Respect your customer’s intelligence. Respect their understanding of story. Be transparent by using a clear story arc. And end it where it logically ends.
OK, and there is one more exception: funny bloopers. But do run them by some honest (brutally honest) friends to see if they’re actually funny.
How to track a strong ending:
Watch statistics that make it through the end at least 60% of the time are a win.
The Slow Clap Hook ‘Em TLDR; Summary
When you need your audience to watch your content all the way through:
Start with the platforms where your audience spends time
Make it relevant to things they search and read about
Make sure they know it’s relevant in the thumbnail and headline
Make sure they know it’s relevant in the first 10 seconds
Cut all the fluff and extra time. People are busy!
And end where it makes sense to end.
And if you want help – a team to translate your understanding of a topic, process, or industry into compelling content – give us a shout.
Get to know Darissa a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hello there, and thank you for stopping by! My name is Darissa and I’m Slow Clap’s Production Assistant. I’m from the Bay Area and graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics and a minor in Sociology. With my major, I wanted to gain knowledge that could be applied to the business side of many industries. Soon after, I also became interested in sociology and in finding a way to make a positive impact through my career.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
As a Production Assistant, my role is to support the team especially in the pre-production phase of producing a video. I help with planning the logistics of a shoot, including managing legal documents and researching locations/equipment. Sometimes, I am also a PA on set for our shoots. I may assist with crafty set-up, camera/lighting set-up, and behind-the-scenes photos. Alongside helping with video production, I support company operations, such as marketing, company events planning, general administrative tasks, and anything else our team may need.
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I have general experience in outreach, marketing, and HR. I have helped prepare informational interviews for different organizations, including a start-up social media app for college students and a podcast focused on diversity and social impact in the film industry called Rewriting Hollywood. I was in search of gaining experience as a PA since I was interested in storytelling in media. As I was looking for different opportunities, I was surprised to find a PA position with a company like Slow Clap. I was really excited about finding a company that really cared about different causes and shared values about diversity and fostering an encouraging environment where you are able to learn and grow. Slow Clap tries to partner with community-based organizations to help tell their story. I am so glad to be a part of a team that wants to make an impact and help people through the power of storytelling.
What am I watching?
Since I watch a lot more dramas than films, I think one of my favorite Korean TV dramas is My Mister. Watching it during the pandemic and without spoiling the story, I found My Mister to be very comforting and relatable in emotions to watch. It is a slice-of-life drama that is very understanding of different life experiences and can be encouraging to see how those characters overcome hardships.
In general, I like to spend time with friends and family, especially trying out the new foodie spots in town that we haven’t tried before. I also really enjoy watching movies/dramas and learning languages.
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
As it was one of my first times being on set, I’d have to say that my favorite project is the Judicial Council of California’s Juror Orientation Video. For Slow Clap, it’s one of our larger projects, and I think that’s why I found it exciting. Over at least eight days, we had a crew of about 20 people and over 30 people for talent. I even got to clap the slate! (Check out the BTS photos below!) Seeing behind-the-scenes of how so many different folks could come and work together to create this video was amazing. I had the opportunity to connect and learn from veterans in the industry who were kind and patient in showing me the ropes. I am so grateful that our team kept an eye out for me and guided me throughout my time participating in this project and the many more to come!
Although I haven’t worked on many projects yet, some of my favorite work from Slow Clap also includes:
Slow Clap is proud to announce that, we’ve been included in the 2021 Clutch 1000, a list of the top 1,000 firms worldwide on their B2B service provider platform. This is a huge validation for us, as a boutique San Francisco Bay Area video production company that’s been dedicated to delivering nothing but the best work for our clients since our founding in 2014.
Over the years, positive feedback from clients on Clutch has been our North Star. It’s how we know we’re meeting our mission, to help brands engage with their audiences through authentic video storytelling.
The insights provided by our clients motivate us to continually improve our collaborative and creative processes. Here are a few of our favorite nuggets:
“Slow Clap delivered a high-quality and professional video that mirrored our client’s production requirements. Their creative and orderly approach made each phase seamless, especially our location shooting. Overall, their team met our standards with their cost-efficient and timely deliverables.” – Polly Ikonen at Landis Communications Inc.
“Slow Clap was a team of dynamic storytellers and highly skilled writers. They translated our complex project into a narrative that was easy for the community to understand.” – Reuel Daniels, Community Engagement Manager at Brookfield Properties
“Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally. Professionalism and creativity are hallmarks of their high-quality work.” – Jack Vaughan, Director of Education & Video at Glide
We’re honored that Clutch has recognized us for this global award. A big thanks to all our clients for sharing their unique stories and collaborating with us.
Why these five explainer videos rocked the market.
Thanks to creativity and accessibility, it’s never been easier to introduce a new product with a fresh video.
This entry discusses five of the best explainer videos, the different approaches they use, and how they can help your business.
Type “explainer video” into Google and (ironically) you’ll get a full page of sponsored ads before any explanation of what an explainer video is. So in case you’re wondering, explainer videos are commercials that focus on how a product or business solves a particular problem.
Explainer videos have become a sort of commodity, and for many businesses online, they’re the second thing they purchase, right after a Web site.
Part of the reason for their growth is the rise of technology companies. Technology allows us to solve problems we didn’t know we had – but it also creates more problems to be solved.
But they’re also popular because they’re accessible. They can be animated, live-action, or just a talking head. Prices range from $100 on Fiverr to seven figures with major agencies like Sandwich.
But the other reason for their growth is that they work. They don’t even have to be great – just good. But if you’re going to learn how to create an explainer video, you may as well learn from the best.
So today we’ll show you five of our favorites and break down their tactics into simple riffs that anyone can rock.
GitHub’s most epic explainer – created in San Francisco by yours truly (Slow Clap) – uses an emotional story to introduce the problem: a boy with musical dreams is held back by his immobile hand.
Enter heroic big sister, who plays to her strength in coding by developing a robotic hand. But there’s a twist – it’s too much for her to achieve alone. So she sends her plans out to the universe via GitHub, which enables dreamers and tinkerers and coders everywhere to work together.
GitHub is a development platform with a world-famous Open Source community. As they put it, “Small experiments, inspired inventions, and the software everyone depends on—the code you write on GitHub can reach one codebase or millions.”
Using collective effort, big sister and a variety of heroes send machines to Mars, work on engines in virtual reality, and ultimately empower little brother to become a master pianist.
The story is emotionally powerful, while the explanation is clearer than the lens of the hubble telescope: you know exactly who it’s for, and how massive its potential really is.
How to copy it
Come up with a powerful, emotional story. Or hire a writer to help you develop that idea. Then hire a top-notch production team to make it come to life down to the last detail.
Made by the aforementioned Sandwich agency, the Airtable explainer video puts a different twist on tackling collaborative projects: it’s told through the eyes of kids.
The kids are making a movie. And each one has big personality: a sassy director, a precocious writer, and so on. But the challenge they face is how to synchronize all of their creativity, which is visually represented as they sit in a sea of marker-drawn storyboards.
The solution is the AirTable app, which implies that it’s so easy a kid could use it – without losing a speck of their innate personality or creativity.
This explainer works because it grabs and holds your attention. The kids are sassy and perfect, the colors pop, the production is sharp, and the point is simple.
How to copy it
Hire a comedian or a script writer with comedic chops. Riff on ideas until something consistently gets laughs. Then, hire a professional production team like Slow Clap that regularly works with actors.
Created in 2013, What Is Hubspot is an early example of the animated explainer boom. But it’s a champion of the era, and if you’re considering an animated explainer, study this one.
Hubspot begins with the problem: marketing has changed. It’s not the cold-calling era anymore – a data-driven digital presence is now the best path to new sales. But because that means managing dozens of platforms, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
The solution is one marketing platform that connects you to every other platform and provides metrics on their effectiveness.
This video works so well for three reasons. First, the script is crystal clear. It’s easy to follow no matter who you are, or how much you know about marketing.
Second, the visuals are simple and intuitive. The subject of every segment moves to the center of the screen. There are no fancy patterns or distracting backgrounds. It’s the animated equivalent of a close-up, and it’s perfectly framed.
Third, the voice-over is crystal clear. The narrator is matter-of-fact, approachable, and yet compelling enough to convince the audience that this is a real problem, but the solution is also real – and within reach.
How to copy this approach
Start with the leanest script you can make. Hire a copywriter with video experience to help, if possible.
Then look for a video production company with animation experience – or just a specialized animation company.
Find out: Have they tackled tough subjects effectively in other work? You may have to lean on them to creatively provide context with visuals, so their previous work must speak for itself.
Also spend some time choosing the right voiceover artist. Not all of them can provide the right tone to match the problem and solution. And keep in mind, more than anything, the tone of the voiceover must be one that is appealing to your audience.
When closing home loans, mortgage brokers often lose significant time in the title underwriting process. The process is over a century old, and still uses much of the same snail-paced paperwork that requires dozens of signatures and long meetings.
So what if software could make that dramatically easier and faster?
States Title’s software can create legally-correct signable title forms with an 80% accuracy rate. It also informs the broker if it can’t hit that accuracy rate, letting them seek help from a title company when necessary.
So how do you explain something so abstract?
Slow Clap tackled the challenge with simple animations. Visually, millions of data points converge into one document – which is something software is made to do, better than humans. That software then does the other thing it’s best at: repeating the process as much as requested.
The video closes with a powerful question: “Can you afford to underwrite the old-fashioned way?” It declares an inevitable change in the industry but simultaneously invites you to adapt it to your advantage.
How to copy it
States Title depends on the creative use of visual metaphor. Find an animation or production studio that has tackled really tough abstract concepts. Work with them on a script, and then let them handle the rest.
Razor blades are overpriced. Dollar Shave Club is a direct to consumer brand, possibly the first to get big. That’s still boring though. So instead of focusing just on the price difference, Dollar Shave Club chose to mock their competitors and the absurdity of overpaying for thin strips of metal.
Easily one of the most well-known explainer videos, Dollar Shave Club’s epic breakthrough in the market was created by its founder Michael Dubin. It uses humor at its best, lining up joke after joke. And the miracle is, all of them flow together.
How to copy it
Humor is prized in modern culture, but it’s eternally tough to pull off. Therefore if you don’t have somebody who regularly gets a crowd laughing, we suggest hiring a comedian to help you write the video and act in it. That’s essentially what Dubin did.
But the other character in this video is the setting itself – a warehouse full of gags. To pull off both the staging and the filming, hire a professional video team so that the final product looks and feels like a funny commercial.
How an explainer video can help your business
Explainer videos can answer more questions about your product – and select your audience – faster than any other media.
To that end, you should consider adding them in the following locations:
On your Web site, either on the front page or a specific product page
On LinkedIn, in your company business page
As a Facebook business page banner video
On any platforms that you use, within your business profile and as a schedule post
For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 1.5 million businesses that visit their site.
Each year, UpCity analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!
We at Slow Clap Productions produce authentic, entertaining, and meaningful content to capture the attention of any target audience. We approach every project with a collaborative mindset and involve our clients every step of the way.
Jen Gadus, Vice President of Product & Design at UpCity, had this to say about Slow Clap Productions:
“Slow Clap Productions uses innovative storytelling techniques to create truly entertaining and moving content that resonates with large audiences. Their clients can depend on them to create content that is engaging, innovative, and powerful. Congratulations on the 2021 Local Excellence Award.”
This recognition has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:
“Dan and the Slow Clap crew were very professional, conscientious, and worked very hard to deliver a great production under budget and on time. They had to work with some difficult restrictions and they smiled through every adversity. I would highly recommend them.” – Mark Hornung
“Once we selected SlowClap, they took us through their process. We shared with them our expectations, walked through the brief in more detail, and explained the logistics (timeline) which was tight. Once we were on the same page, Slow Clap put together an execution plan. Slow Clap utilized internal and external research to decide on questions for each interviewee – they then performed a pre-interview to get initial plot points for the video. From there, SlowClap developed a creative brief (acts of the video, questions, shot list, etc) for our review. We worked hand in hand with Slow Clap to get the logistics right. They performed the interviews, determined the best shots, and shot the video. Once they had all the footage, they edited together a first draft. We worked with them to get to a final video that everyone was happy with.” – Dan Sutton
Thank you to UpCity for this award, and thank you to all of our clients who have helped make it possible. We look forward to the opportunity for continued partnerships and are excited for what’s to come!
Get to know Beijo a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hi everyone! My name is Beijo, and I am Slow Clap’s Associate Producer. I am a video producer and content creator born and raised in the Bay Area. I attended the University of California, Davis earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema and Digital Media. I am passionate about authentic storytelling and representation on screen. I’m excited to dive into the projects here at Slow Clap!
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I’m the Associate Producer, and my role is to help manage the client projects and handle logistics for production from start to finish. I have always loved film and video, especially, the art of authentic storytelling through documentary-style film. I believe that each creative person has their own unique specialty in this industry. I happen to love the logistics of production and being able to oversee a set. Though I do enjoy the occasional camera operating or editing, my joy is working behind the scenes as a producer.
What’s your experience in video production?
I produced my first short film in high school and then the rest was history. I’m kidding! My first professional film set experience was being a production assistant on an independent featured film set in 2015. It was a great experience working with over 100+ professionals in a fast-paced environment. After graduating from university, I interned at BAYCAT, a non-profit video production studio in San Francisco, and they really empowered me to become a Media Producer and taught me the ropes of the industry. I then produced marketing video campaigns for a small apparel company in the Bay Area before joining the Slow Clap team.
What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
As a Media Producer, I enjoy being able to work on projects that capture stories focused on real lives and people. I saw that Slow Clap’s philosophy and work reflected the same values that I have towards storytelling and then it just made sense! Slow Clap has wonderful partnerships with great companies and organizations that desire this type of authentic storytelling – and it’s so powerful! These are the stories that I want to tell and be part of. There are so many good videos that Slow Clap has produced! Some of my favorites are Earl’s Story and Thi Bui’s story.
Being a Bay Area native, there’s something about the story that hits home for me. It has a good mix of humor and heartfelt moments. And Mont is my favorite character! I definitely recommend you watch it.
I have so many hobbies! I enjoy photography, yoga, hiking, biking, dancing, and I recently became a plant mom! So my home office is now filled with plants. Haha!
Lastly,favorite project you’ve worked on?
My favorite project I’ve worked on would be for The Port of San Francisco’s PortTV episode! Check out the whole series.
Big data, 360 video and more: a preview of the biggest video trends of 2021
This is an overview of what’s new in video in 2021, what continues to improve from 2020, and how to use each rising technology.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps brands like GitHub, Blue Shield of California, and Capital One use video to its full potential.
2021 feels like the year of the comeback, but in video, it’s been an uninterrupted campaign of internet domination. While marketers continue to shout, “brands must use video today or risk everything!”, video marketing itself is not risky. Because in 2020, people consumed a ton of video, and data gives us a great picture into what will continue to work in 2021.
This means you have more data than ever to create the right video for your favorite audience. But here’s the twist: 2021 may be the year to let others tell your brand’s story, and get better results. And not only are influencers bringing audiences into familiar company – more brands will bring audiences into their world using relatively new technology, including one that used to just be for people who “gotta catch ‘em all.”
Here’s how that will look.
Artificial Intelligence will improve audience matching
In 2021, “big data” will continue to improve video effectiveness by showing targeted videos to the right audience.
With more consumer data available every second, algorithms can increasingly predict which videos will garner more likes, subscribes, and sales.
This is already the strategy for YouTube and Facebook ads – but how about emails, popups, or celebrities who show up in a 360-degree virtual space?
Create demographic tiers based on variables native to your audience
Create A/B versions of videos or CTA landing pages and see how they compare
But influencer marketing remains more trusted
Influencer marketing is still on an upward trend. With ads everywhere – and soon to appear in immersive 3D worlds (more on that later) – advertisement fatigue is massive.
But humans continue to know, like, and trust each other – even online. We also value authority. And that’s where everyday people become influencers – by being likeable and knowledgeable.
YouTube changed the face of video, from entertainment to news to yes, even marketing. It’s possible to learn to fix your own car, build your own computer, and know which boots will last the longest – thanks to helpful video content.
But the hard-to-replicate element is trust. Humans value free and helpful information, and they really value it from other humans who act, look, and think like them. And in this age, they earn more credibility if they have nothing to gain by sharing that information.
The future of credibility may be in “brand advocacy,” where ordinary (but trusted!) people make videos about your products and services. Their opinions are the difference between being the giant evil corporation and the community business people know and trust.
HOW TO USE IT
Make it easy for influencers to test and review your products and services
Offer partnerships with influencers
Don’t ask those influencers to exclusively use your products and services – they will lose their trust with the audience
Virtual conferences become a weekly event
Just as live streams are the influencer’s sold-out concert, virtual conferences are multiplying. You’ve probably been to at least one. A virtual trade show. A Q&A session with an expert. A discussion group.
But even in live streams, it’s good to step away from talking heads when you simply have to “show” your audience what you can do for them. Last year, Slow Clap made a testimonial video for Slack Frontiers 2020, showing the audience how fast and effortlessly they can both gain momentum and pivot with the right communication platform.
We also helped with Adobe MAX 2020, creating a fast and fun showcase of creatives empowered by Adobe – while staying focused on how accessible creative work is for anyone, anywhere.
HOW TO USE VIRTUAL CONFERENCES:
Choose a theme based on what’s trending in your industry
Build attendance with a full-fledged campaign
Protect the event with a great video and tech team
Bring in well-known experts as keynote speakers
Repurpose great talks and Q&As as content after the event
360-degree video grows more accessible
360 video is where the audience can move through and look in any direction. And like The Matrix, sometimes you just have to see it to understand what it means:
Virtual events: feel like you’re there with the live attendees
Movie promotion: let the audience explore the asteroid belt from a space pod
Education: learn to watch the pitcher’s tells in a virtual baseball training
Travel: Following along as explorers dive an ancient shipwreck
Health Care: Learning the layout of a hospital before you visit
Home Decoration: tour the house’s Christmas decorations
360 video is not new for 2021, but it’s reaching its adolescence, and it’s growing muscles. Once the exclusive realm of video games, 360 is now less expensive, and therefore more accessible to imaginative businesses everywhere. That’s because the technology continues to decrease in price. Though if you want super high resolution, you’ll want to hire a team like Slow Clap.
Augmented reality is now more than just a game
AR is the converse of 360 – instead of placing a user in the brand’s world, it places the product in the user’s world.
Augmented reality was, for most, seeing a Pokemon on their kid’s phone as they walk through the park. In 2021, it’ll be a lot more than cartoons, and many of us will see it through our glasses, too.
While not strictly “video,” augmented reality nonetheless brings products, services, and education into perception in a novel way. And for the B2B environment, this can mean ideas like:
Training employees, like where to place objects when a shelf is empty
Seeing if office furniture fits (and looks good) in a preview
Identifying an out-of-place part or product instantly – just point your phone at it and find out what department it belongs in
HOW TO USE AUGMENTED REALITY:
Start with an idea. What can you bring into your customer’s world that they want or need?
You’ll have to build an app – or integrate it into an existing app
You’ll need 3D footage or a 3D animated model of the objects
Education videos are still a tried-and-true video entry point
Educational videos continue to make up a huge portion of YouTube viewership. While it would seem that every “how” has been answered on YouTube, it makes lot of sense for any brand to find out what questions their customers ask most, and make content about it, because:
It positions you as a thought leader
It creates value, which builds trust
And it drives inbound traffic to your brand
For example, RepairPal created simple, professional how-tos that, frankly, anybody could have made with a shaky phone camera. But in both content for businesses and customers, they contrasted themselves as an organized and reliable source for repair.
HOW TO USE EDUCATIONAL CONTENT:
Find the most-asked questions about your product or service
Write a script – or consult a scriptwriter
Shoot the video yourself – or hire a production company
Upload it to the platforms your audience uses
Name, tag, and keyword it effectively
Public platforms continue to attract different audiences
Your platform is wherever your audience already is. But odds are you’ll use more than one platform.
YouTube remains the biggest host and curator for video on the internet. YouTube is largely about sitting down with people from around the world as they share their perspectives.
As such, traditional commercials don’t fare well unless run as ads – but educational content still makes up around half of YouTube views. And of course, reality shows and influencer vlogs are doing just fine too.
One more reason to use YouTube: videos hosted there can greatly boost blog posts on the same topic.
Tik Tok grew tremendously in 2020, in spite of legal restrictions. It is deliberately short-form and works well for younger audiences.
Tik Tok doesn’t yet have the filtering of older platforms (YouTube), which allows disruptive newcomers to kick down doors with clever and trendy ideas.
LinkedIn now has 700 million users. LinkedIn’s culture is deliberately workplace-safe, but if you can balance the platitudes with a dose of real emotion, you can build an audience.
If you’re a B2B brand, pay special attention: LinkedIn is the first place many businesses turn for their needs. It’s where their partners go, their audience goes, and often where it’s safe to spend a little work time visiting.
A note: share your videos by uploading them directly to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes natively hosted videos, and we’ve seen view counts as much as 4x higher just by uploading directly to LinkedIn.
Facebook video is worth prioritizing if most of your audience is already on Facebook. They’re more likely to see videos hosted on Facebook in their feed. And Facebook is, naturally, a more social platform than YouTube, leading to more shares and likes.
That said, Facebook’s video tab suffers from weak recommendations – geared more toward total views than the appropriate audience.
Instagram, an influencer’s best friend, lowers the bar to admission for brands of any size. But it remains primarily oriented toward B2C.
As video grows, private platforms help leaders inspire
Sometimes it’s just faster – and more impactful – to send a video to your employees, colleagues, or coworkers.
This is why internal platforms like Wistia, Brighteon, Vimeo, BombBomb, and others are strong options for keeping your messages away from prying ears.
Pants optional, but lights are now dress code
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, video chat, complete with screen sharing, grew exponentially in 2020. And while we can’t stay inside forever, it will take some time before in-person meetings become a regular part of life again.
For some companies that may never happen. That’s where having a video-chat friendly setup makes you look and sound as professional as you are.
A good web camera is nice – but bright and even lighting and a good quality microphone are better gifts for your audience and your personal brand.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT VIDEO CHAT EQUIPMENT
Search YouTube for options within your budget and technical needs
Shoppable video will be assessed for effectiveness
The fewer clicks between the consumer and a product, the easier – and more likely – it is for them to buy. So why not let them click right there in the video?
As more customers shop online due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as generational trends and preferences, this – and an integration with 360 environments – could become a major market share. And for those of us who live miles away from our favorite stores, this could be a new form of freedom.
But shoppable videos’ effectiveness is still a question mark. Big data will help with that, but given that this is standard in Instagram, there is reason to be confident that shoppable videos will continue to rise.
HOW TO USE SHOPPABLE VIDEOS
If your brand is a lifestyle, it’s a no-brainer to give tours of an iconic scene with products they can buy
If your sales lean on an influencer, let them showcase your products with affiliate links
Make videos about your best-selling products first
Principles that haven’t changed in 2021
Focus on your customer, not your company
The highest-ranking and hottest-selling videos – be it content or advertisement – are stories where your customer is the hero, and you are merely a guide.
This can be an ad about your customer saving the day with a better fire extinguisher, or content teaching them how to fireproof a garage. But videos about your company’s greatness should be saved for the people who make your company great.
Value is still king
As in, content that shares helpful information will outlast and, over time, outperform the best ads. You still need ads – but even those should focus on your customer’s journey.
So when you begin planning your videos, here are some highly successful examples to draw from:
Yes, earlier we insisted you have time to make good decisions. That’s true. But this next step should go into your schedule for this week.
If you don’t yet use video in your marketing, figure out what video your audience wants most. Then set that video in motion. And if you need help making it, contact us.
Hook ‘em from the start:
In your video thumbnail, show them what they can expect in the easiest to understand way possible. If you can, make it so a 4th grader will understand.
Then in the first 15 seconds of the video, make it clear that you’re going to deliver on the promise that brought them there. “Today I’m going to show you how to hook your audience” is a lot more trustworthy than an open loop (“later I’ll show you how to hook your audience, but first let me tell you about SuperCorp”).
Make your videos searchable
Google still can’t “read” videos, but it can read transcripts. And while YouTube provides automatic transcribing, it’s often inaccurate – which is a problem for Google and for your audience. To counter this, include captions whenever you can. Services like Rev make it easy and inexpensive.
Stay in the conversation.
In our crowded mindspace, people need constant and value-rich reminders that you’re great at what you do. So make a list of the rest of the videos your audience needs, and schedule them to launch at set intervals. And then, create a plan to repurpose your content.
Most of the time, keep it short
YouTube prioritizes long videos because they can then show more ads. And for some content, a comprehensive approach is best. Or when you want to hang out with your fans for a long livestream.
Google knows it irritates most audiences – and they continue to hunt and kill it. It’s better to blend your marketing into value-rich content than to shout at people while they look up dinner recipes.
Conclusion: try something bold in 2021
Whether it’s partnering with an influencer, or investing in Augmented Reality, or experimenting with 360 videos, or just creating good educational videos about your products and services, 2021 is a great time to start using video. And if you need help with any project, contact Slow Clap.
To make effective B2B videos, you have to think differently than B2C.
This is a guide to making B2B videos, or videos that sell from one business to another.
Is there a difference? Put simply, the B2B audience is small and practical. They are company decision-makers, managers and CEOs. They have strict budgets, stakeholders to please, and employee jobs to protect.
B2C markets don’t have to be so methodical. While a B2B software company may have 10,000 real-world prospects, a B2C software company may have 10 million or more. And their purchase habits can be guided by logic – but they can also be for curiosity or comfort.
Therefore, while all advertising requires emotion to sell, B2B depends heavily on concrete data to close a sale. Statistics, industry knowledge, and proven results are required.
Sounds daunting, right? Well, in a lot of ways, we’ve found that B2B video can actually be easier than B2C, because if you know the industry, you know precisely what the players need. And creating videos to position yourself as an indispensable guide can actually be fun.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps B2B brands like GitHub, Slack, Blue Shield of California, Capital One Small Business, and Insightly use video to its full potential.
This article will show you:
How B2B video is different.
The best types of B2B content to make.
How to choose which content to make.
And where to deploy your videos for maximum results.
So let’s get started.
Great B2B video starts with B2B marketing fundamentals
B2B video follows the same principles as any great marketing, but differs in the where and how the message is delivered.
Start by thinking about who buys. Are they the director of marketing? Purchasing director? Or field supervisor?
Next, what does this person want? They may have a large budget, but misspending can damage the company and possibly cost them their job. A B2C customer can suffer a broken hair dryer, but a B2B customer may not be able to survive faulty software.
Your customer’s first desire is safety (not to lose), but their hopes are pinned on products that go beyond “staying the same.” They do want software that really does save them an hour a day.
Because these are the stakes, the goal of B2B marketing is first and foremost to build trust.
To build trust, We suggest you demonstrate five things:
You understand their industry. You know their operations and supply chain. You speak their language, including industry-specific lingo. Our testimonial video collaboration with GitHub, for instance, targets a very specific audience interested in cutting edge cloud computing, featuring Spotify, Google, and the Apache Foundation.
You can prove your results. You gather testimonials from other customers – ideally recognizable brands, but at least companies in the same industries as your prospective customers. The video we made for NewVoiceMedia (now Vonage) about DoorDash does a great job of laying down the concrete benefits of their product.
You can show relevant data. This includes test data, like “our drills lasted 40% longer in an independent study.” And related data, like “tungsten has shown to outlast other metals by as much as 90%” Our animated videos for States Title, for instance, use data points to make a strong case for their solutions.
You know the culture of the industry. Like CRM, where sarcasm and color are encouraged. Or IT, where being efficient and correct are virtues. Or law, where reputation and power matter most. Stampli’s audience is Accounts Payable, one of the least sexy silos in a business. But they know their audience and know that AP teams love a good sense of humor. We made sure that shined through in our Stampli brand videos.
You have a clear message that wraps the first four together. “Suppliers who use HoverTruck pay half as much in mileage costs, and it’s trusted by brands like FedEx.” Blue Shield of California did a great job of this when discussing new emerging technology, Virtual Consults, in our animated video series Health Reimagined.
How to use this knowledge in your B2B video best practices
Video is arguably the most powerful marketing short of a friend’s referral, but it faces the same problems as every other type of online marketing, including:
How will we get them to find it?
How will we get them to click on it?
How will it resonate with the audience?
How will it persuade the audience?
To tackle these, answer the following questions.
Who is the hero of the video?
More specifically, who is your customer “avatar?” What are their demographics and gender? How do they dress? How do they talk? If using actors or animated characters, you’ll need to make these decisions so you can include characters with whom your audience can identify.
“To be good at sales, you have to be good at basically duplicating and mirroring the person you’re selling to and giving them the personality they need to feel comfortable to buy,” says Benjamin Denehy, CEO of The UK’s Most Hated Sales Trainer.
What story does your customer need to hear?
It’s a simple formula – your customer has a problem (X), so they obtain your product/service (Y), and get a specific outcome (Z).
Even in B2B video, most of your storytelling should be about your customer. This means skipping the office tour video unless it’s relevant – for instance, if you want to show that your employees all share a background in the same industry as your clients.
How is your customer searching for answers?
You solve a problem. Your customer asks about how to solve that problem in different and sometimes unexpected ways.
Promising these answers is the key to being found, being watched, and (eventually) being purchased.
This is first a problem of defining the answer, and then using keyword research to find out exactly how your audience is really asking it. For example, if you run a SaaS company, a frequent search is “software as a service vs. subscription.”
Source: Answer The Public
One way to begin is by using Answer the Public, which is sort of a reversed search engine. You type in a topic, and you’ll get questions and queries most frequently searched in Google that includes that search phrase. Be sure to try different search phrases – and consider comparing them in Google Trends to see which one(s) are searched most overall.
So maybe we don’t exactly “buy with emotion and justify with logic.” But either way, data is necessary to sell. Here are four easy-to-use forms of data for your B2B videos:
Before & after: Whenever possible, show the problem, action, and result
Testimonials: “I’m director of marketing at TechCorp, and video helped us grow tremendously.”
Primary data: “In our tests, video had a 20% higher conversion rate than email.”
Secondary data: “According to X, 90% of marketers say video brings them success”
During planning and scripting, consider adding every credible form of proof to your video. Rank them by how impactful they are to your avatar. Safety is always the first concern, with success coming second.
Where will they watch this video?
The last consideration in this set is choosing where to launch your video for best results. This involves some knowledge of platforms.
Start with these questions:
What platforms will you use?
Is that platform’s culture best for this content?
What are their size limits?
What are their runtime limits?
Should you upload the video natively on the platform, or embed it from another platform (e.g. Wistia, YouTube, or Vimeo)?
If you’re hoping to be found organically, ask these:
What keywords would bring your customers there?
Are the keywords found in the video? Or the video’s description?
Is your thumbnail eye-catching to your customer avatar?
And if you’re using advertisements, consider these:
Which platforms have the most professionals?
What keywords would target them best?
The best formats for B2B videos
A customer’s success story is worth… well, don’t tell them how much it’s worth, or they may invoice you. All the data in the world still doesn’t compare to a trustworthy recommendation. Even better: a human from a brand recognized in your industry.
For instance, our case study video of how Asana’s legal operations pros use Ironclad is worth its weight in gold. It describes a story of a company department (legal ops) on the cutting edge of an industry (business contracting) all powered by Ironclad.
Ask an outspoken customer who loves your product for help.
Film them in their native environment, using a professional production team.
Have them speak to an interviewer. It’s easier than talking to the camera.
And for basic interview questions:
Who are they, and what does their business do?
What was their problem?
How did they know that your product had the answer?
What was the result?
Do they recommend you?
Explainer videos aren’t always about animated characters facing abstract problems. They can be live action, too, with a company representative talking about their methods. The common element is that they sell by explaining their unique solution to a problem.
You’ve seen a million of them – but they don’t need a million views. They only need to be seen by the right people. So targeting and promoting is just as important as creating a clear message.
Webinars live or die on audience participation, so we recommend you devote a large portion of time to answering questions. Lecturing through a pitch deck is boring. Keep your presentation short and open up the mic as soon as possible.
Besides planning, spend time promoting your webinars. Use your email list and your social media. And offer value. Your webinar should be worth skipping lunch. Two great methods include offering answers customers can’t get elsewhere, and offering discounts on your product.
Lastly, make sure you partner with an event production agency, or have an internal event producer, who knows the ins and outs of attendee registration, and how to turn registrants into high quality vetted sales leads.
Interviews with Experts
Often in B2B marketing, the word of an expert can be as good as a testimonial. If you make medical-grade masks, talk to a microbiologist who can verify that some masks – like yours – can stop even the tiniest of viruses from passing through.
People understand that experts are busy and often live far away, so they don’t expect a full-scale production. Their first concern is getting answers. So your two priorities in expert interviews are good audio and good questions.
To create great expert interviews:
Contact the expert with full disclosure about who you are and your intentions
If they’re unwilling to host a film crew, ask them to record in a quiet area, preferably with good lighting
Educational videos naturally include teaching your customer how to use your product or service. If you don’t show them how, somebody else will, and you don’t know what they’ll get wrong, let alone what they’ll say about you.
If you have no video content whatsoever, this is the B2B video marketing strategy we recommend:
A great explainer video. Your customer must first understand how you help them through a problem.
Testimonials. Even when filmed on a phone, testimonials can build trust. But capturing them professionally demonstrates your success and reliability.
Webinars. These help you build email lists, meet people interested in your product, and find out more about what they value. It’s win-win stuff.
Educational videos. First, create some on how to use your product (if necessary), and second on heavily-searched topics related to your business. If you recorded a great Webinar, it can easily become an educational video.
Interviews with experts. They’re essentially more educational videos, but it’s harder to predict if the content will answer specific questions your audience has. Sometimes, though, you need somebody with more authority to prove your own credibility.
Choosing the right platforms
As always, go where your audience goes. But in B2B, that’s a somewhat predictable breakdown:
If you’re starting from scratch, build your presence in the top four platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). You can use programs like Hootsuite to post to every platform on an automated schedule.
Remember that total views and total subscribers are nice, but they’re not the metrics you want. Your goal is engagement with actual customers. It doesn’t matter if you only get 25 views in a month if one of them is a major customer.
Tips for better videos and better outcomes
Start with a script. It’s a lot easier to change paths on paper than it is mid-filming or in post-production.
Add captions. Captions make your content friendly to hard-of-hearing and increase engagement from users scrolling down feeds. Some platforms offer them for free. Rev.com offers them at just over $1/minute.
Hire a top-notch production company if the video is going to directly impact your sales. Reach out to us to start the conversation.
Follow the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time on creation, and 80% on promotion. Use it in ads. Put it on a social media schedule.
Slow Clap has fostered a relationship with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and D&A Communications over the past five years, developing and producing video stories that highlight the SFPUC’s work to live up to its Environmental Justice and Community Benefits policies and good neighbor programs. As part of ongoing communications about this work, the SFPUC came to us to tell two community members’ stories, Misty Mckinney and Sonia Davis. Misty, one of the SFPUC’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) members, works with the agency to design, implement, and evaluate policies that impact communities. Born in the Philippines, Misty has a strong background in environmental justice and cares deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“This is one of those projects that reminds me why I love documentary-style video content so much. It was amazing to get to spend a day with Misty and her family, meet and hang out with her son Turtle, and learn about their story.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap
Our goal was to highlight Misty’s environmental advocacy and her role as a CAC member while educating viewers about the SFPUC’s community and capital investments. The key was to communicate all these important messages, while also humanizing Misty’s story.
To accomplish this, we told her story through the lens of family, and how when she was growing up in the Philippines, access to clean water was viewed as a privilege. But for her son Turtle and for her community, Misty wants to ensure clean water is a right for all. Although we had just one day to film interviews, we were able to capture several activities that told the rich picture of Misty’s life with her family.
“Dan and the team at Slow Clap always make sure to focus on the authentic story in their videos. That’s why our collaborations have been so successful.” – Darolyn Davis, D&A Communications
Misty’s story takes us for a “day in her life.” We learn not only about her responsibilities as the Environmental Justice Chair on the SFPUC’s CAC but also about her family’s participation in SFPUC programs. Through her story, we learn about the agency’s Adopt-A-Drain, Drink Tap, and CleanPowerSF Programs while getting a sense of how rewarding it is to take part in these initiatives. All the while, we made sure to feature the most important thing of all: Misty’s strong bond with her family, and how the SFPUC keeps them healthy, happy, and engaged local citizens. With her video, we told a holistic, human-driven story as best we could and it paid off. Misty’s story is one of the most viewed videos on the SFPUC’s social media channels, with several thousand views. We also created several shorter versions of the video for social media, and with Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog translations for San Francisco’s diverse audiences.