To win at social media, embrace your inner Apatow

What scares businesses most about social media?

Being human. It’s a risk. No one is universally beloved, so if I put myself out there who says we won’t do more harm than good. However, that’s precisely the thing that drew people to your business in the first place.

I’m often reminded of Judd Apatow’s philosophy on comedy, “People like comedy more when they care about the characters.” What do his movies have in common? All of his characters are regular folks with stories to tell. From “40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” to “Bridesmaids,” none of these stories included the extraordinary.

THAT is what social media was built for and connecting with that audience necessitates video. In fact, people are 4x more likely to engage with video than any other medium.

Up until social media came along, you could focus on building your business and leave the messaging to your customers or traditional media companies such as newspapers, radio, TV and whoever had an audience that YOU were trying to connect with.

Funny how that all turned around with the advent of social media. Now you’re able to form a direct connection between yourselves and your patrons. Though 95% of businesses have a social media presence, it’s clear most people see them as business cards rather than a powerful tool for moving people to action.

In fact, the ones who do get it often have social media followings larger than the places they advertise.

Why video is the key

According to Cisco, video will represent more than 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. That’s only two years from now!

While each social media platform has its quirks, one constant is their move towards video. This means one video can be used time and again across each one. Don’t look at it as an investment in Facebook or YouTube, but across the entire internet.

That takes time, that takes commitment, and yes it will have its challenges. We can already hear the groans. I’m a restaurateur, mechanic, barbershop, dentist, I’m not Judd Apatow. Now you want me to become a filmmaker, too.

The short answer is, yes. It’s not nearly as difficult as you think, but the impact will be.

If you want to grow your business, it’s about highlighting your personality and what makes you unique. Let me share some tips on how anyone can do it without having to pay tens of thousands of dollars or trusting your neighbor's kid who kind of knows how to edit.

What gets watched and shared on social media?

The next thing to keep in mind is humor. Whether it be embedded in your personality or a little self-deprecation, according to our users, more than 75% said something funny will get them to watch something on social media and 70% they’d be more likely to share it.

No need to be a freak or a geek

Before you think it’s all about production quality or famous faces, 60% of our users said they’d watch a video of someone they recognize from the local community over movie clips, famous people, or anything else.

Own a restaurant? Interview a patron once per week. Barbershop? Have conversation once a week with patrons you find hysterical. LIVE video itself garners 3x longer viewership and 10x as many comments as regular video and essentially every social media channel offers the option to do so.

Relax, it won’t be a train wreck.

Before you go down the rabbit hole and ask how much all of this will cost, you don’t have to break the bank. A good webcam and microphone will each cost you about $100 a piece.

Before you know it, people will start coming in just to be part of your broadcasts.

For the more than 5.5 million small businesses in the United States, neglecting this strategy would be a disaster. However, the data shows that less than 20% of all small and medium-sized businesses create any content at all.

If you’re still not convinced video is the answer, a poll of marketers found that video was 83% more potent at moving people to action than traditional advertising.

So now that you’re onboard and excited to create, imagine if your social media channels were filled with your customers sharing their stories with you. They’d share those videos with their friends and now you’re raving fans are turning their friends into raving fans.

You may even want to add a director’s chair to your shopping cart.

Zack Rosenberg is the founder of FANTOM, connecting content to actions. Through their platform, he’s working with hundreds of SMBs to market their businesses through premium video that is branded, distributed and drives sales.

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