Storytelling and social media: mini movies

How do you make people listen to what you have to say when there are so many things to read and watch?

Turn it into a story!

We talk about storytelling a lot because it is one of the best ways to pull your audience in to what you have to tell them. Today we’re going to share some of examples of how brands are using the mini-movie (longer than a typical ad but generally under 5 minutes) to really pull in their audience.

In some cases, the brand’s personal message is really subtle, in others it is less so. Either way, I had no problem watching the following three examples in their entirety without being tempted to close the window mid way through (this is particularly impressive given my personality.  

Investing as much as 5 minutes on an ad says a lot about how well-executed these were. Interestingly, two of these weren’t made in English. I hope to see more of these produced in North American markets.


Cornetto sells ice cream. This mini movie is a teen love story and there aren’t any real ice cream references that I noticed (though it’s not in English so I may have missed some). That being said, it has been viewed over 26 million times. Just by putting the mini movie together, they are getting a lot of visibility. 

Google search

I don’t know how I’d get through life without Google. In fact, when I was recently on a cruise our group spent a lot of time joking about how we were back in 1993 (“we know the information is out there somewhere and we can’t get to it!! We’re actually going to have to guess and then look it up later!”) because none of us had access to wifi.

This short movie pulled on all kinds of heart strings for me, and shows just how much many of us use Google search regularly.  It’s been viewed 6.5 million times and it was posted less than two weeks ago!

The world needs coders.  This mini movie took some fascinating people and had them share their personal stories on why they learned to code. I thought it was a great way of sharing the personal side that people should consider becoming computer programmers.  Not to mention the job perks they get! :)

It’s been viewed over 11 million times.

What do you think?

I want to hear from you. Did those mini movies hold your attention? Have you seen movies like this going around and have you watched them? Leave a comment and let us know what you think: Does it work? Why?

If you’ve seen a good one, Share a link with us!

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Guest post: How to do more video without shooting any - Part 3 - YouTube Playlists

We’re thrilled to have Lara from Do More Video back this week with the final part of her guest post series How To Do More Video Without Shooting Any Video: 

Welcome to the final instalment of our three part series on how to create more videos without shooting a single frame. The goal of this series is to help remove the technical barriers to shooting and editing video so that you can make video even if you don’t have the gear and editing know-how.

In Part 1, we discussed how to make animated videos from just a written script, in Part 2 we introduced you to Animoto, an easy to use tool that makes professional looking videos from your photos.Today, is all about curating video by building YouTube Playlists.

YouTube Playlists

When you make a YouTube playlist, you create a collection of videos made up of existing YouTube videos. A playlist can be easily shared via URL link or by embedding the player into a webpage.

Instead of making your own videos, you are curating or choosing the best videos for your audience and packaging them together into playlists. Did you know that every minute 48 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube? That’s a lot of video. So, sifting through and finding the helpful ones for your customers is of tremendous value to them. At first, you may think it will take a lot of time to find and review all the relevant YouTube videos. But, think about how long it would take to produce an original video of your own. Also, by locating and reviewing existing video in your sector is great market research that all businesses and organizations should undertake before building their own product.

Benefits of being a curator

Here are the top reasons why I like the video curator strategy:

Quick video content: Finding and using existing YouTube video will generally take much less time than shooting and editing one original video.

Valuable market research: Sifting through current video content enables you to see what is already out there on the topic and how others have presented it.

Increase your value: As you review all the existing video content on your topic, you update your knowledge and become even more of an expert on your subject. You are now a more valuable resource for both your industry and your customers.

Create better content: Being aware of what video content already exists enables you to more accurately assess what information and service gaps exists in the specific topic area. Now you know what content to make next: i.e. content that fills the gap and satisfies the need for information on that subject. These benefits of curating apply to any content strategy from video to seminars to print.

YouTube Playlist Tips:

Length I suggest that your playlist comprise of about 5 videos at most with a total playing time of no more than 8-10 minutes. You don’t want to overwhelm your viewers. If you have a lot of videos, consider breaking them up into more than one playlist.

Set the context Use the description box for the playlist and the notes tool for each video to give your viewers an idea of what the playlist and each video is about. You should highlight in each video points of interest to viewers, or in other words, why you created the playlist and included that video. In the description box you can add hyper-links to additional resources and your call to action, which is discussed in the next tip. I strongly suggest that whenever you compile any type of resource list that you provide a brief summary of each resource. It makes your list more useful and user friendly for your customers. It also increases your credibility because it shows that you actually gave each resource some thought.

Call to action Use your playlist to help support a blog post or other social media post and provide a call to action in the post and the playlist’s description to enable viewers to take the next step to either more information or apply the knowledge they just soaked up.

You Still Need to Make Your Own Content Curating does not replace the need to make your own original content. It is however an easy way to publish initial content, supplement and support your own content, and provide you with guidance as to what original content you should create (remember the benefits to being a curator above?).

Check out Part 1 and Part 2  of this series to learn how you can create original video content without shooting or editing a single frame.

Putting it into action

We’re doing some research for a possible Financial Literacy project on Good Debt vs. Bad Debt. One of the topics we are considering is what Canadians should know about Payday Loans. So, as an example of what I have just blogged about, I quickly put together this YouTube Playlist: Payday Loans - what you should know.

I realize that my playlist is longer than the suggested length, but I really didn’t find many relevant videos on the topic. I used the notes to advise viewers that one of the videos is longer than the others.

Just from making this quick playlist I have learned that:

1. The number of videos promoting payday loans far outnumber the videos warning people about the pitfalls.

2. Of the few videos out there about what one should know about payday loans, none were Canadian focused.  

Based on the lessons learned above, it initially seems that there is a need to make Canadian and perhaps even provincially-based video content, about the things that people should know about payday loans. In setting up my annotations, I will also look at the style and keywords used by the popular videos that promote payday loans in an attempt to have our videos show up as related videos so to balance the message of the promotional industry videos.

Thanks for checking out our series on how to Do More Video Without Shooting Video. If you have any feedback about the series or examples of any of the methods that you have tried for your own business, please share. We would also love suggestions on other topics that would help you to develop your capacity to make video. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and tricks on how to use online video for better results.  


Guest post: How to do more video without shooting any - Part 1

We’re thrilled to have a 3 part guest series from Do More Video over the next three weeks highlighting ways you can create video without shooting video.  

By now you have no doubt heard about all the reasons why you should be using video to connect with your audience online: SEO, higher click rates, brand recognition, it’s easy to share and video sets you apart from the rest of the online crowd.

Technical barriers stop creative content

We’ve been told by many people that they really want to create more video content, but don’t do it because they lack the skills to shoot and edit video. So, how do you overcome this problem? How do you create more video without having to shoot or edit it? Well, that’s what this three part blog series will answer for you. We will look at some of the ways that businesses of all sizes and industries can get their message to their masses via video without shooting a single frame.

Remove the technical barriers: Online Animators

Today’s post is about online animators. One of the most popular being Xtranormal, whose tagline is “If you can type, you can make MOVIES!”. In a nutshell, Xtranormal takes care of the technical video stuff for you so that you can concentrate on the creative. You have no doubt seen these funny animated videos with the simple, quirky graphics and monotone voices. Some of my personal favorites were created for political commentary during Canada’s last Federal election, highlighted living in downtown vs. suburban Ottawa a.k.a. “Farrhaven”, and who can forget the crazy popular iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo which to date has over 14 million views. Although not suitable for all viewers and especially NSFW (not safe for work), these videos were effective because they had a specific audience and a tight message that played within the platform limitations to make the subject funny and relevant. This same technology and theory can also be used to get your business attention online. Being big fans of superheroes at our company, we created a video using Xtranormal to explain how even superhero’s can benefit from doing more video:

Companies of all size have used Xtranormal to get attention. Geico Insurance created an entire series of videos using Xtranormal. Their overall campaign message is that making a video on Xtranormal is as easy as signing up for insurance with their company. Using this quirky platform gets the brand name in front of people who would otherwise not click on a video made by an insurance company. Is your business complicated? Xtranormal is a great tool to simplify complex topics for the masses. People innately want to learn, and cartoons lower the barrier to access difficult information. A great example: Quantitative Easing Explained by Omid Malekan, a US financial industry expert, has received over 5 million hits. Seeing the success of this video and an opportunity for the platform, The New York Times hired Malekan to create an animated cartoon series for its website last fall.

Creative time still required

While Xtranormal will save you the headache and time of having to learn how to shoot and edit your own video, it will still require you to take the time to create a relevant and engaging script. In addition, you will want to make some effort to choreograph your characters pacing, movements, and expressions to best support your script. Luckily, Xtranormal provides easy to use options to add pauses and to change your characters’ screen position and body and facial expressions. Although we highlight Xtranormal in this post, this is not the only online video animator available. Another one I’ve come across is GoAnimate. While I haven’t yet tried it out, it seems to work in a similar way and offers some colourful and dynamic image options. Have you used either of the tools above or perhaps another simple video animating platform to tell people about your business? We would love to hear your feedback and see what you have created. If you have any questions just leave us a comment below or drop us a line at info[at]domorevideo[dot]com.

Next week Part II

Check back next Tuesday when we will continue our series on how to Do More Video Without Shooting Any Video.  We will look at a great service that lets you easily create videos from your photos. A useful tool for to showcase events,  portfolios, and real estate. 

Case study: Blendtec

There are many out there who are using social media to build their businesses or AS their businesses.  We will be finding interesting content and featuring their stories here regularly.

Video is one of those things that most of us know we should do (because so many people love to watch video and because video is really rich content - always good for SEO!) but that few of us actually ever do.

What holds us back?

- Fear of not producing a good enough video

- Not having the right equipment

- Not having the time to invest in video

- Feeling our product/service isn’t really “video friendly”

- Uncertainty about how to create good content

I can’t help you with the first three other than to say, you can do it, practice makes perfect, you don’t need fancy equipment and find the time, but I do want to talk about the last two points. It’s just about finding the right angle.

Make it entertaining

As a general rule, the most popular videos on YouTube are popular because they are fun or funny. People want to be entertained.

Blendtec is a fabulous example of a product you wouln’t necessarily think of as “fun” but they have done an incredible job at promoting their product and their brand on Youtube.

Blendtec sells heavy duty blenders and kitchen products (like food mills) and in 2007 they started a viral marketing campaign called “Will It Blend?”

Blendtec’s primary target audience is businesses with commercial kitchens - restaurants, schools, etc. Yet they’re reaching the masses with these videos. That means your mother’s sister’s partner who runs a restaurant can hear about this product from someone who doesn’t even run a food service business.

The owner, Tom Dickson, started producing videos demonstrating what their blenders could blend.  He has blended everything from matches, to rake handles, to cellphones and iPads.

Over the years their YouTube channel has had close to 200 million views, they’ve created an entire line of “Will It Blend?” products, and they have said that the videos have clearly accounted for an increase in their sales.

Blenders aren’t really a product you think of as “fun”. Tom Dickson managed to do something different and creative that has taken his brand further than it ever would have gone otherwise.  I certainly don’t know of any other industrial strength kitchen product brands, but if a friend of mine ever opens a restaurant I’ll definitely be asking, “Oooh - are you getting a Blendtec??”

Have you thought about how you could jump outside the expected with your business and create a fun video for your business?

Case study: Devin Super Tramp

There are many out there who are using social media to build their businesses or AS their businesses.  We will be finding interesting content, interviewing people and featuring their stories here regularly.

- Lara

This past weekend my family and I were doing one of the things we often do together - watching YouTube videos. My husband seems to find the best of the newest viral videos and the kids were screaming for the giant swing video.

As soon as I watched it I understood why the kids loved it so much - I did too! Then we started watching more of their videos and all I could think was “THIS is a blog post!”

Devin Graham has turned making cool YouTube videos into a career. He found a winning formula in extreme sports/crazy fun + excellent music and now posts weekly videos that get millions of hits to his YouTube channel. And, it should be noted that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Web - second only to Google, that is.

By creating this kind of content, he earns (I imagine) considerable amounts from YouTube and has also managed to get sponsorship for some of his videos from companies like Vooray and Blank Snowboards (though how much in product and how much in actual sponsorship dollars I have no idea).

What can we learn from someone like Devin? Although I don’t expect any of us to join the ranks of those who can make a living off making fun videos that millions like to watch, we can learn what it is that people enjoy. For Devin and his audience - an audience the sponsors clearly want to reach - the message is:

1) Fun

2) Energetic

3) Daring

4) Young

Though these words may not work for you - what words WOULD work for your audience?

If you have a company that deals in children’s clothing or toys - can you create a fun video of kids giggling, laughing, playing, looking cute and with fun music?

If you are an interior decorator can you show someone how to make their curtains hang just right in 2 minutes?

If you are a professional organizer can you share the secret to folding fitted sheets step by step?

Think about your audience, what they want, and how video can bring that information to them. Then test the water and try to make some of your own! Until then, check out some more of Devin Graham’s videos - they really are fun for the whole family!

Video is a powerful medium - have you thought about how YOU can use it for your business?