Five rules for using video

videoVideo is a powerful tool for your company’s online presence and has many advantages over still images or text. However, video has its drawbacks too. As its use in the online world has evolved, experts are sharing some guidelines about when and how to use video. Follow these simple rules to maximize the effectiveness of video on your website and in social media.

  1. Keep it short. Brendan Cournoyer, director of content marketing at Brainshark, suggests two minutes or less. Today’s media consumers just don’t have the attention span for anything longer—on average. For quick-hitting attention getters, short clips of 15 to 30 seconds are plenty long. For help or tutorial videos on your website, up to 10 minutes is acceptable. It simply depends on the content. However, unless someone is making a webinar available online, for example, it’s doubtful that more than a few minutes of video is a good idea.
  2. Don’t autoplay. Few things are more annoying than visiting a website and having a loud, obnoxious movie start playing. It’s sure to elicit dirty looks and sighs from perturbed coworkers. If your website incorporates video into its front page, don’t set it to start automatically. Or, to compromise, start it with the sound off. The motion will attract the visitor’s eye without annoying the rest of their office.
  3. Make it professional. 320 x 240 pixels at 15 frames-per-second was once cutting edge. Now, it just looks old. Site visitors expect HD video, or at least the option to go full screen at HD resolutions (1080 or 720 pixels) if their connection allows it. (And it probably does.) If you have old, low-res videos on your website, replace them soon.
  4. Give visitors options. Not everyone prefers video or learns well from it. In addition to using video for help or instruction, also provide a .pdf manual to accommodate those who learn better by reading than watching a moving picture.
  5. Have a point. Just because you can use video doesn’t mean you should. Remember the early days of the Internet, when every website had a page counter and a guestbook? They didn’t serve much purpose, but everyone included them on their websites—because they could. Make a conscious decision whether or not video is appropriate to the message your company is trying to convey. While a PR firm may want to promote a recent video for a client, an online automotive parts dealer may want to get customers to the parts catalog ASAP.

Video: The Bottom Line

Video can be a great tool if used properly. Be sure to review your company’s online presence and see how your use of video stacks up.

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