As More Users Consume Local Video, SMBs Need to Stay Ahead of the Curve

On Monday, I discussed the increasing empowerment that local citizens feel in uploading, editing and curating video content from their mobile devices. I believe that over time this new torrent of user-generated and user-organized visual media will cascade into greater consumption and adoption of video over text as the preferred way to receive information. As that evolves, small businesses will need to create more original video content, giving consumers an easier, more descriptive way to assess their business.

But while I believe video is destined to become a mainstream media for local marketing, it is a lot harder to do well than it is to edit a snapshot on Instagram. Showing small businesses in their best light requires high quality video production and direction standards. So I think we’ll soon start to see video services pop up that act like ad agencies by helping small businesses create, produce and distribute their content across mobile and tablet platforms, and through local marketing channels.

The real estate industry was an early adopter using video for home listings — but even these videos require a professional finish in order to reflect favorably on the real estate agent’s marketing prowess. Companies like WellcomeMat have focused on helping real estate agents craft an effective home video listings for over five years, and are a good example of this new agency model.

“Homes aren’t commodities — they are always sold individually and every video needs to have a ‘director’ to bring out the best salable features,” says Rudy Bachraty, WellcomeMat’s marketing director. “The script needs to be written, and each video has a live ‘star,’ the real estate agent who needs to be coached on how to perform in front of a camera. Once the video is uploaded, it needs to be watched. Real estate distribution channels are incredibly fragmented and to top it off, the realtor needs to drive traffic through these channels with SEO and social media push. Realtors simply can’t grasp all the minutiae from production to marketing, because their business is selling homes, not figuring out how to make a video”.

Yes, real estate video is complicated, but in reality, all small businesses approach video marketing with similar issues. How to produce, what kind of marketing works, and how to distribute are not in the domain knowledge of most small business. Video will become as essential to small business as the website, and a new breed of local marketing services will develop around media technology.

Patrick Kitano is founding Principal of Brand into Media, a strategy group for social brand management solutions, and administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of Media Transparent, and contributor to Social Media Today, Daily Deal Media, and The Customer Collective. He is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email

Image courtesy of Flickr user jsawkins.

  1. April 25, 2012

    I tend to really enjoy and agree with your posts, Patrick, but I have to say this is not one of those cases. Video is powerful and given a time-horizon far enough out you’re probably right but in the near future most SMBs have much more basic needs.

    A survey of SMB websites and the recent Yext report on incorrect data on directories around the web reveals that SMBs digital foundation is shaky at best. There are clearly exceptions but we’re looking at early-adopter folks to the far left of the chasm.

    SMBs need a web presence that doesn’t say “I built this myself in 2001”, some level of identity consistency across their various free listings, and at least the appreciation that SEO is not synonymous with black-magic. Things that are seemingly simple but thus far have proven elusive for SMBs that do what they can just to run their business.

    1. April 25, 2012

      Thanks @twitter-316746986:disqus! Pleased to meet you, I think we’re on the same track.

      I also agree that SMBs have much more basic needs, and most of them won’t do that video because it’s probably the toughest marketing step to take when there are so many basic things they can do.

      For the last few years, I’ve been residing in the camp that creating a marketing video just must be professionally done, or don’t do it all. What I’m trying to express in this and Monday’s article about the fast growing adoption of user generated visual media ( is that video is suddenly becoming more accessible to users, so SMBs should start thinking about video marketing.

      But I’m still in the camp that SMBs should aspire to the quality standards that will elevate their offering above the wave of user-gen video that will inexorably get posted.

  2. April 26, 2012

    A very good article and totally agree. We do make our own video
    listings and we find every aspect runs parallel in the sale and letting
    process.  Making videos is time consuming
    and expensive, but it has also allowed us more time with the owners and the properties.

     In fact a lot of our
    new business is coming through Facebook and other social media channels. Video
    also gives us more material to use to post as updates.  The owners are happy also, as can really see
    us working hard to get their property listed properly for sale or Let. No stone
    left unturned approach.

    No smart suits for us I am afraid, as we can be often found
    filming on building sites, to dragging camera/video gear around. Not as glamorous
    as it seems, that’s for sure     

    1. April 26, 2012

      Great point about using the video production process as a demonstration of your commitment to client marketing. I’ve heard this before many times from other Realtors, and it can close sales.

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