“Try before you buy.”
It’s common advice that people have been living by for years. And it’s good advice. But today, it doesn’t mean walking into a storefront and trying a product. The modern form of “try before you buy” comes in the form of a review.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that myriad options exist online for a potential consumer to gather as much information as possible about a business or product before purchasing.
Google Search, Google Business Pages, Yelp, and Facebook Business Pages are just a few options where reviews offer differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences from peers, giving the consumer a more holistic picture and a more informed place from which to make purchasing decisions.
These and other platforms are places businesses and brands must be in order to reach potential consumers, or risked being passed over.
The review is that important, because it provides value. And value is at the heart of what makes content marketing effective.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE POPULARTY OF VIDEO CONTENT
Digital video is in its hey day. And that means businesses and marketers are producing video content at every opportunity.
But the video review is not a novel concept.
Think back to your 6 o’clock television newscast (remember that thing?) and the Consumer Reports segment. It was (and maybe still is?) played near the end of the show because the people in charge knew that viewers would stick around to watch. That’s because they had value.
Today, the video review has been modernized and popularized thanks in part to YouTube.
- FUN FACT: Consumer Reports is on YouTube, posts regularly, and has a fairly large following.
Whether in the form of the “unboxing” which was popularized in part by the channel Unbox Therapy (which at the time of writing has more than 10 million subscribers), or the more traditional product review, the online video review has not changed from the perspective that it still has value.
What the video review has done is introduce another element to the picture: authenticity.
USING VIDEO REVIEWS TO DEMONSTRATE AUTHENTIC CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Whereas something like a Consumer Reports video is delivered by data scientists or hosts/reporters, the online video review comes from people just like you and me.
And that’s what is likely most intriguing to a viewer. People want honest experiences and opinions. And they want them more now than ever before.
Google reports that in the last two years, there has been a 600% increase in travel video and video blog views on the YouTube mobile app.
It’s not hard to see why: when people see others – like themselves – trying and experiencing different things, they are going to connect to the content differently.
For example, if a celebrity – let’s say Justin Bieber – put out a video suggesting that you should eat at the new restaurant in town, you might be hesitant to take his word at face value because there is a good chance he is getting paid to make the review, and therefore may not have an unbiased opinion.
But if a friend you’ve had for years told you to eat at the new restaurant down the block because the food is amazing, you probably wouldn’t think twice. He’s probably not getting paid, and you trust his opinion because he’s just like you.
Think back to the written review. We assume most that we read are from people like us, which makes them valuable.
BALANCING INFLUENCE AND AUTHENTICITY WHEN MARKETING WITH VIDEO
This is why businesses and brands are reaching out to influencers more and more. Influencers are essentially regular people with a large audience. And, often, influencers have one key stipulation in their agreements: they will try a product but must be allowed to share their honest opinion; because that’s what their viewers want.
So how do businesses and brands take advantage of the popularity of the authentic video review without crossing too far into branded territory.
Influencer marketing is one way. Find an influencer that aligns well with your brand and have them review your product.
But if you don’t have the budget to hire an influencer, here are a few tips to make your own in-house videos as authentic as possible:
- Try one of the following types of videos: Unboxing, review, first impressions, etc.
- Address the camera directly
- Tone down the production value a little
- Use plain, every day language in titles
- Provide facts and demonstrate use cases more than opinions
The most important thing is being authentic! We live in a time when people are used to ads, but usually tune them out. So as soon as your video comes across as promotional, you might just lose your audience. Don’t try and sell, try and add value!