How to make videos when you’re a maker
Videos can be a great way to get your work seen on social media and connect with and engage your customers. But how can you create them if you’re a maker not a filmmaker? Writer and blogger Chris Smith talks you through his tips for creating videos for social media – what kind of content works best, how to shoot it and where to share it…
As a maker, one of the nicest things about selling your handmade goods can be talking to customers who not only love your work, but also the story behind it and your reasons for doing it.
When people feel like they’re part of your artistic process, and you’re willing to share a glimpse into your journey, they’ll root for you and support your work. – Jacqueline Lara
Selling online can sometimes take away a bit of this interaction because an ‘About Me’ page on your shop page or website can’t show your personality as easily. This is where video can help – it’s a more personal way to connect with customers, tell them your story and let them see the individual behind the creation.
Why use video?
Video builds trust by letting you talk directly ‘to’ your audience, and there’s so much you can do with it – from studio tours and behind-the-scenes clips on Instagram showing how you come up with ideas or make something, to livestreaming an event you’re attending or doing a question-and-answer session.
People are more likely to see and share videos on social media – and social networks actually encourage video content over other types.
Social networks, like Facebook, promote video content over other types of posts.
Where to share videos
Some useful platforms for video include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
Facebook lets you share videos up to 45 minutes long, and they’ll be seen by more people if you upload them directly to the platform instead of using a YouTube link. Facebook posts aren’t always visible on newsfeeds for very long, but they’re easy to share with friends, which increases their reach.
YouTube is a useful starting point for uploading videos to share elsewhere. But if you want to find followers or reach a lot of people on the platform itself, you might need to devote a lot of time to standing out from the crowd because there is so much content competing for attention.
Instagram is a very visual platform, which makes it ideal for videos of your handmade pieces. You can’t put links into posts, so it might be harder to direct potential customers to your selling platform, so add a link to your Folksy shop or blog in your Instagram profile and encourage your followers to click through there. The time limit is a short 60 seconds, so your Instagram grid is more suited to snippets like a 360° view of a product.
If you want to post longer videos such as craft tutorials, demos or Q&As, try going ‘live’ on Instagram, or use Instagram Stories for posting video segments – depending on the size of your account, Instagram Stories also has the option of adding a clickable ‘swipe up’ button.
Twitter users love video – 82% of them watch video content. As a platform, the focus is often real-time and speed, so it’s a good place to share news or show off finished products. Be aware that videos on Twitter might not have a long ‘shelf-life’ on user timelines because there are so many new posts.
Instagram videos can only be short but you can fill them with snippets of your daily life and use Instagram Live and Stories too
Some ideas for content
There are lots of ways you can use video to connect with fans of your products.
Let people be a part of your day and experience life as a crafter vicariously by sharing your routine, talking about how you think of and plan designs, demonstrating how you make something and showing them around your workspace. If you attend craft fairs and other events, you could also livestream parts of them and even answer questions from the comments in real-time. People watch a live video for three times as long as they’d watch a regular clip, and social networks encourage livestreaming.
For people who are really interested in learning how your products are made, you could show them how they can recreate a part of it. For example, if you illustrate or create portraits, you could film how to draw or sketch a certain object or animal, or how to use a specific medium or technique. These types of videos can be even more interesting to watch in a time-lapse or slow-motion format. You could also do product demonstrations if there are some tricks to using your creations, or simply show them off from all angles.
A simple but engaging way to quite literally tell your story is to film an interview where you answer questions about your crafting business, how you got started, what inspires you and more. You could show a second person on camera who asks you questions, or just answer them directly to the camera in segments. It’s best to do this in a story format to guide the viewer.
A couple of months ago the @papier team came over to my flat to do some filming and this is the result! I love how it turned out. You can watch the full video over on the @papier website. Plus I also share some top tips for painting flowers using watercolours. #watercolour #watercolourpainting #lovepapier #watercolourvideo #cherryblossom
Videos don’t need to be long to be effective. Shoot small clips at a time so you use them as snippets across different platforms as well as editing them together to make a longer film. Shooting in sections means you won’t have to start all over again if something goes wrong.
How to create videos
The good news is that you don’t need a film crew and a studio to make video content as a crafter. By using a bit of imagination and equipment as basic as your smartphone and a pile of books, you can create fun and interesting clips on a shoestring budget.
What you’ll need
You can go as basic as using the camera on your phone or an entry level video camera and carry it around or rest it on a flat surface. (This is where a pile of books can come in handy – it’s a quick and easy way to adjust the camera height without a tripod!)
Where to film
Unless you’re filming a specific location like your creative space, you can choose a place that offers the best natural light and the least background noise. That means you can make the most of what you already have without needing to buy extra equipment like lighting or microphones. Of course, you can always upgrade later if you think it’ll improve your videos, but it’s a great starting point while you experiment.
How to film
To make it easier to edit later, it helps to film short clips at a time – that way you can also reshoot smaller sections if you need to, rather than having to start from further back to fix something. It’s also a good idea to mix up the angles and shots a bit, for example by filming some from slightly further away, showing the upper half of the person being filmed and having some face-only close-ups.
In front of the camera
Most of us aren’t used to being filmed, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little bit camera-shy to start with. For your first few videos it can help to imagine you’re talking to a friend behind the camera (or you could enlist a real one!) so that it doesn’t feel as if you’re talking to the void or a huge crowd. The chattier the tone the better, especially for more informal vlogs. It’s much easier to just talk about something you know well and feel passionate about than to try and follow a script, and it shows you’re a person rather than just a business looking to spread a marketing message.
Most phones and computers come with free video editing software, but there are also plenty of free options online. YouTube is your friend if you need some help with learning how to use the software, but it’s generally designed to be beginner friendly if you’d prefer to learn as you go.
Video tutorials demonstrate your skill. Use them to show people how to use a specific medium or technique rather than sharing all your secrets.
Lights, camera, action!
Now you’re ready to think about what sort of content you could make for your business. Creating your own social media videos as a crafter isn’t just simpler than it sounds, it’s also incredibly worthwhile to help bond with customers you might not get to interact with much otherwise.
Chris Smith is a writer and blogger. On his site Spend It Like Beckham, he covers a variety of topics including sport and finance. He has been a featured writer in the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Huffington Post.
More links and resources for creating video content:
Why every artist should be a great storyteller – https://99u.adobe.com/articles/54098/why-every-artist-should-be-a-great-storyteller
8 reasons why your business should use video marketing – https://www.dreamgrow.com/8-reasons-why-your-business-should-use-video-marketing/
Everything you need to know about social media marketing in 2018 – https://www.plannthat.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-social-media-video-marketing-2018/
How to leverage social media in 2018 – a video marketing guide for brands – https://www.inc.com/bill-carmody/how-to-leverage-social-media-in-2018-a-video-marketing-guide-for-brands.html
The State of Live Streaming – Statistics and Trends – https://www.go-globe.com/blog/live-streaming-statistics/
The Right and Wrong Kind of Video for each social media site – https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/11/video-marketing-on-social-media.html
How to create a behind the scenes video – https://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/a/tips-and-techniques/how-to-create-a-behind-the-scenes-video-for-your-photography-business.html
5 Tips for making your interview style more engaging – https://www.vidyard.com/blog/5-tips-make-interview-style-videos-engaging/
Vlogging equipment hacks for beginners – https://www.axa.co.uk/insurance/business/business-guardian-angel/vlogging-equipment-hacks/
Find video editing tutorials on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=video+editing+tutorial
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