Getting over the video marketing fears

OPINION: I’m going to say it outright. I completely empathise with all small business owners these days who don’t love being in the limelight, being on camera, and showing your face on social media. It’s enough to own, run and grow a small business without having to be, as a client recently described it “My product’s show pony”

While I do spend a lot of time coming up with cool ways to use video for small businesses who have camera shy owners, the truth is when your face is associated with your brand, and your story is part of the fabric of your business, the easier it is for people to bond with your business, connect with you and build loyalty with you.

There is something about video that can make confident presenters, sales people and passionate business owners quake and turn green. They can all communicate. Unless it’s via video.

Getting over your fear of being on camera is a huge first step in feeling more comfortable about using it to market your business. That’s a given. It’s just how to do that that’s the problem.

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Marketing strategist Rachel Klaver gives her top tips on using video to market your business.

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Marketing strategist Rachel Klaver gives her top tips on using video to market your business.

I’m one of those weird people who love the camera almost more than talking to people directly. I don’t care how round I am, how old, or how untidy my hair is – the moment the camera is on me, it’s like a switch. I feel like it’s a friend I’m going to get to chat with. (and I often do!). While I sometimes think “well that was unflattering!” when I watch myself again, if I’ve shown up relaxed, real and saying what I want to say, I’m happy to have other people see it.

Plainly I am no help to people who have huge blocks. So I knew I was going to need some help giving you advice on just how to get over the fears, so many people have about video.

Several months ago I came across Harrison, a video coach from the UK on Instagram. Whereas many video coaches often have that little crazy glint of “For today’s first session we’re going to do a forty-five-minute presentation with three cameras on you” look to their eyes, Harrison is very gentle. I immediately liked the kind and careful way he came across in his own videos and knew he’d be able to make suggestions I couldn’t.

I interviewed Harrison for my marketing podcast this week. He explained that he got into video coaching because,” I am a recovered camera shyness person. Now I’m on the other side of it, I have made it my life goal to help as many other people overcome camera shyness as possible.“

Harrison says that the need to add video marketing into our plans was accelerated by lockdowns. “During lockdown we were all seeking human interaction, and a pick-me-up, and it created a shift towards video that is going to stay” with us. Now again in lockdown, it’s true that video helps us feel more connected to people we can’t physically meet, and while Zoom can help us connect with people one by one, or in small groups, recorded video allows us to reach a far wider audience. I know that without the power of both social media and video, I’d never have come into contact with this 27-year-old English bloke who shares the same values around people, business and helping people become more confident.

Harrsion explains that video content is one of the most effective methods businesses can use to sell products or services. “You wouldn’t believe the amount that video influences buying decisions like that is something that you know as soon as you get, as soon as you hear from someone that a product has worked for them or services work for them. The first thing you do is Google it or YouTube, how it works. I see an advert for something that I know that I need in my life, and it’s telling me how to use it, and it’s super easy. I’m buying it as simple as that.”

So just how did Harrison beat the block of using video? He recommends a practice he personally used, video journaling, creating video that is stored only on your phone. You commit to record yourself talking daily for a month. You just set the camera up, hit record, and talk. As soon as you feel awkward or start getting stressed, you stop. The next day, you just aim to record a little longer. I’ve shared this technique with several clients who’ve also found it useful. I like it because it helps us learn at the camera is not there to get us, or as Harrison says “The camera doesn’t judge”

From this, you can graduate to trying daily stories on Instagram, Facebook or anywhere where the videos disappear after 24 hours (this is called ephemeral content). These stories are a good way to step into video, as no matter how good or bad you think you are, they disappear, leaving no lasting proof of existence.

If the thought of doing that breaks you out into a cold sweat, Harrison says part of the problem is our idea that some people are born confident, and others not. “I don’t think you are born confident.” Often business owners are suffering from imposter syndrome and worry no one will want to hear what we have to say. “I was a massive, massive sufferer of imposter syndrome because I’m self-taught, and it’s difficult to ever call yourself an expert or think you know enough to help people. But I’m telling you now drop that guard because you are an expert, and you will know more than most people.” Harrison suggests starting with what you know best, and sharing from that. You’ll quickly find people who resonate with that content.

Once you’ve got used to seeing yourself on camera, you might be tempted to fork out money for a proper set up. Harrison and I both use our phone cameras for nearly all our filming, and set them up on tripods. We also both use an app called Inshot to edit our videos. As a non-technical person, I like how easy it is to use on my phone. Harrison uses the free version, and I use the paid. There is no reason to start with a big shopping spree, even if you love gadgets!

Now I’m using video a lot more, I also use a few online tools, and some paid features such as a subtitling programme. However, overloading yourself with a bunch of technical learning is not the most important first step.

What can make our break a good video is lighting and sound. Standing with your body facing the window can give you natural, clear lighting. This can also help with sound quality. Once you’ve got a few videos under your belt, you could fork out for a ring light. This helps light your face, and as some of my clients find, makes you look better on camera!

Before turning on the camera, think about what you are going to say. Reading from a script can prevent you from interacting naturally. It’s better to have a clear idea of what you are going to say, and write some notes you can hang just behind the camera if needed.

If you use an editing app, you can record your thoughts in shorter snippets, then tie them together to create a story. This is simple to do in the Inshot app, or an editing app of your choice.

Like any new skill, it doesn’t feel simple or easy. The more you give it a go, the more you become confident with it. I look back at some of the videos I was doing a year ago, and can see how much I’ve grown as a video communicator. Go back two or three years before that, and truly they are terrible! I’m sure that I’ll feel that way in 2025 about the videos I’ve created this week.

If I could add to any of Harrison’s wisdom it would be this: When we see learning as play, it’s easier. So block out some time, set up a camera, and play around. You don’t have to let anyone else see what you come up with, but the sooner you and the camera make peace with each other, the easier video marketing is going to be, and the more powerful an impact it will have on your business.

Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing. She owns Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to tell their story better to the right people. Tune in to her weekly podcast MAP IT Marketing – created to help small business owners learn about marketing.

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