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Multimedia Mastery

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The way people market their shops has changed a lot since the 2020 Covid outbreak with many businesses leaning into their use of social media to continue to reach customers during a period when foot traffic and one-on-one interactions were slim to none.

The best part of social media marketing has always been that business owners don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to drive new business and growth. While simple posts on social media allow shop owners to convey short messages to customers, there now are better, more efficient ways to create marketing materials and messaging that allow a business to stand out from its competition.

Many shop owners understand the basics of how to use social media marketing—creating a short story using photos, text, and short cell phone-shot videos—but creating professional-looking videos, or multimedia, can seem a much more challenging task.

The term “multimedia” may sound daunting to some shop owners, but really it’s just about using different combinations of content, such as audio, photos, text, and video, to have a conversation with customers, said Kamyar Shah, chief executive officer of World Consulting Group.

“The reason multimedia is such a useful tool for any company is because of time,” Shah said. “While writing for social media posts is a great tool for engagement with an already interested audience who are keen followers of a business, product, or service, it can be hard to convince a more casual or new audience member to jump straight in and read your content. Multimedia, especially videos and photos, can be used as a short introduction to people with slightly less knowledge … to help them build their interest level. It’s a quick way for a new customer to learn about you, especially if they are short on time.”

With a minor investment in gear to get started — mainly a decent camera — or just by using a smartphone and applying a few techniques for creating compelling videos anyone can quickly be on their way to creating their own multimedia content to post on YouTube, their own shop’s website, or in existing social media streams, said Erin LaCroix, manager of Stop and Go Instant Oil Change in Brattleboro, Vermont who also has a bachelor's degree in marketing.

“Another great thing about creating videos and posting them (for instance) to Facebook is all of your conversion rates are supplied by the social media company,” she said. “They tell you how many people you have reached and if anyone clicked on your post — the information is all right there.”


Gearing Up

Shop owners can go all in and spend $2,000 or more investing in professional video creation equipment and film editing software, or simply use the video camera available on smartphones and get started creating multimedia content. Here are a few tips on what is needed, how to use it, and how to create professional-looking videos.


Camera

This can be a more expensive option, like a $400 GoPro camera, or you can just use the high-definition camera that comes with most smartphones these days. The options available these days are nearly endless.


Condenser Microphone

These are built to record vocals and other delicate noises and are definitely best for capturing voices. You can find a condenser microphone, like the Blue Yeti, which is designed for recording and streaming video and comes with USB plug-and-play operability, at online retailers for about $80. Variations include desktop versions and others that require the use of a microphone stand or handheld “boom.”


Video Editing Software 

For those more experienced with video editing, computer-level software, Final Cut Pro, or Logic Pro X can be purchased online at various retailers at prices ranging anywhere from about $25 to $80. For cell phone users, there are paid and free apps that exist for use with specific online platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube, or versions for more universal use. 

All video editing software or apps allow users to “scrub” through video as they edit (meaning fast-forwarding or rewinding an audio or video track to a specific location), choose a video size that fits with one’s target platforms, such as Facebook or TikTok, add text, shapes, and professional transitions through each shot, export video in quality as high as 4k, and add music to the video using your own music library or by purchasing stock music.


Elements of a Good Video

Remember that the same basic principles for taking exceptional photographs apply to shooting good multimedia videos. For those unaware of the basic principles of photography, there is plenty of information available on the internet. Here are a few strategic approaches to take when creating multimedia content that will allow for the creation of excellent videos to share with or present to customers in no time.


Writing a Script

There are many websites that provide the proper format for writing a script for a short video. Writing out a script is a good way to flesh out your ideas by coming up with specific shots and scenes, and the narration that will be used to convey the marketing message to viewers. There are many websites that provide step-by-step instructions for how to do this, such as this one. 

Remember that generally a script consists of a beginning, three distinct points, and an ending. It’s also OK to speak to the camera off the top of your head, naturally, using bullet points so that it’s easy to remember all of the information that needs to be delivered, and later editing down what was said in order to remove any mistakes from the final product so the dialogue flows smoothly throughout the presentation.


Framing a Shot 

Framing refers to how one chooses to compose an image for a specific photograph or scene in order to draw focus to its subject. It is the most important element in photography or making videos as it allows the creator to convey their intentions, messaging, emotions, and ideas to the viewer. Probably, the two most important principles of photography that can be employed when creating videos are using the “Rule of Thirds”—placing the subject in either the left, center, or right third of the frame—and avoiding using solid white backgrounds in shots.


Lining up a Shot

This refers to thinking in terms of how a subject will appear in the photo or video. For videos, start with one extra-long (three to five seconds), wide-angle shot of the subject from a distance in order to set the scene for the viewer. Follow that with a shorter, more focused long shot (two to three seconds) that shows a person in the frame but with plenty of space around them. Use the third shot to begin linking the video’s narration with the subject, which allows viewers to see who they are going to focus on and to begin to understand the information that is being conveyed.


Using Medium Shots

Medium shots feature a subject typically framed in the center from the waist up speaking to the viewer, or they feature two or more people talking to each other with one framed in the foreground from the waist up with their back to the camera and whoever is talking facing the camera. If two people are going to speak back and forth, use close-ups from the chest up featuring each person individually each time they are speaking.


Extreme Close-Ups

Zoom in on the subject when it’s necessary to show the viewer someone displaying specific emotions or when an object, which could be something like a product, needs to be highlighted. This is a good tool to use when a narrator is talking about the object being framed in the shot and as it allows the viewer to see the object more closely.


Using Cue Cards or a Teleprompter

Rather than memorizing an entire script, write it down on individual pieces of paper or poster board, using one sentence per piece and writing the words as large as possible (a laptop, tablet, or another device can be used in place of individual pieces). Place these cue cards right behind the camera, or if using a smartphone write them on a small piece of paper and tape it to the screen next to the lens so that the subject’s attention remains focused on the lens while speaking. Remember, viewers always feel they are being directly spoken to when the subject looks directly into the camera lens when talking.

Making professional-looking multimedia content will take some practice, but it isn’t something that needs to be studied at length or that requires hiring a consultant to explain in depth the process. Shop owners can increase the quality of their multimedia content and step up their social media posts by following the advice and applying the techniques listed in this article.


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