Social media and its value in creating a conversation with your customers is one of the trends we talk about in the “Big Trends for Small Business” guide available on our Plantronics SMB website.  As part of social media marketing, video is a powerful tool. Consider these figures from comScore, a digital marketing intelligence firm — in December of last year 182 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content for an average of 23.2 hours per viewer. The total U.S. internet audience viewed 43.5 billion videos. That’s a lot of video!

Video can give you a competitive edge. It engages your users and can be highly effective for introducing a new product or service.  You can post your videos on YouTube or Vimeo, creating your own channel of video content.  When used as part of your website strategy, video also can boost your site’s search engine optimization and increase web traffic.

The good news is that a high quality product doesn’t have to cost you a lot these days considering how much technology has improved and come down in price. You can record quality video on your camera or smartphone as well your home video camera.

Video experts will tell you keep your video simple and direct. The message is the key, according to Antonio Ruiz, who is a business adviser to the California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network. In “How to Use Online Video to Market Your Business,” Ruiz says, “The message is the story you want to tell about yourself, your business, and your products or services. Whether it’s an instructional/training video or testimonial, the key is to keep it simple and direct. The videos that go viral are the human ones—funny, cute and from the heart.”

Your video also needs a call to action (CTA). A video without a CTA is a missed opportunity, especially if you are looking to generate business from it.  You can offer a discount or ask your customers or prospects to spread the word across their social media networks.  Establish a long-term relationship with prospects and customers by asking them to sign up for your Facebook page, email newsletter or some other database marketing system.

Also consider video email marketing. Pew Internet  reports that on a typical day, 59 percent of U.S. adult Internet users send or read e-mail. Because of limitations of email clients, posting a video to YouTube then providing a link is probably the most effective way to send video in an email. Today with a smartphones and a headset, your prospect or customer can get an excellent intro to you and your company or find out about your new product even while they are on the go. Video is effective; it’s memorable.