So, here we are. Another week of volatility and sheltering in place, and advisers (and clients) are both going a little stir crazy. As a reader of this blog, you understand the importance of proactive communication, and you’ve reached out to all your clients at least several times. Right now, you’re probably thinking you don’t have anything else to say.
Change It Up
Perhaps it’s time to try something new. If you’ve sent emails and updates out already, why not change it up? This is a great time to create a video and experiment with the format. You have more time to work on it and your clients have more time to view it, making it a win-win scenario. The goal is to continue to strengthen client relationships, and there’s always a chance that someone forwards your email or finds you on social media.
Why video? For one thing, people like it. According to a recent SocialMediaToday infographic, 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic will come from online video by 2022. But there’s a more important reason. Videos are a great way to tell a story, and you can convey a lot more intangible information in a video than you can in an email. For example, if you’re a friendly person, it’s hard to convey that in an email, but it’s easy for people to see you smile or hear the warmth in your voice in a video.
New to creating video content? The following tips can help you get started:
- Use your phone. You don’t need any special equipment—you have everything you need right on your smartphone, although you can certainly use your high-tech camera. There’s no need to hire a videographer for this project.
- Keep the camera steady. Lots of movement can render the video unwatchable. If you don’t have someone to hold it for you, consider purchasing a stand. A quick Google search for “smartphone tripod” will yield plenty of affordable options.
- Keep it short. Two minutes or less should be the goal. People are willing to invest two minutes, but they might hesitate to give 20 minutes. In fact, research shows that 60 percent of viewers will stop watching after the two-minute mark.
- Use natural light. Natural light is almost always better than incandescent bulbs, so think carefully about the time of day and setting for your video.
- Get outdoors. If possible, go outside to film your video, or include a natural setting. Research has shown that nature (in particular, trees) attracts and stimulates the viewer in a positive manner.
- Share it. Post your finished video to your website and social media profiles and email it out to your clients and prospects. Emails are opened 7 percent more with the word “video” in the subject line, so be sure to use that to your benefit!
Choose a Topic
As to what topics could be in your video, you have a wide array of choices. Here are a few ideas to get your own creativity flowing:
- Get real. Let people see what’s really going on in your house during these days of pandemic. Be authentic. What’s it like to have all the kids home from college or school, learning remotely, while you’re trying to work? If you have young children, show the Legos on the floor, the crayons and paint spilled on the table, and the books and DVDs piled in the corner. Don’t clean it up and sanitize it! Everyone is in the same boat, and your willingness to be honest and genuine will help people respond the same way to you. My guess is that you will have more people responding to this type of video than to anything else you send out.
- Start moving. What are you doing to stay active? If you go for a hike with your family in the woods, shoot a short video about the positive benefits of fresh air and exercise. You can talk about what your family does to get outdoors. If you have a favorite trail or park, mention it as an idea for clients to explore. Include a message that you hope your clients are still finding time to do what they love, and you’ve got a great video.
- Think pets. Animal shelters have seen a staggering spike in adoptions, and many people are enjoying this time with their new pet. If you have a puppy, kitten or any older animals, look for moments to capture that are amusing or touching. You can also invite your clients to share their new pet via video with you. (And please don’t pretend that you haven’t watched an amazing animal video online yourself!) Everyone is looking for some lighthearted relief, and pets are an enormous emotional hot button. One video I saw had a toilet paper challenge, where the new puppy and the older dog both had to jump over increasingly high rolls of toilet paper. Was it silly? Absolutely. But did people watch it? Absolutely!
- Celebrate the moments. The world hasn’t come to an end; people are still getting married and having babies and celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. Why not pay tribute to something special that’s happening in your life? One adviser I work with posted a wonderful video of his father celebrating his 89th birthday on social media. He put it up on LinkedIn and was astounded at the results—more than 3,700 people viewed it, almost 100 liked it and close to 30 took the time to comment on it. How’s that for having an impact?
- Involve others. An adviser who now works from home put her three young children in a video where they discussed wants versus needs. (For the record, I happen to agree that chocolate is a need, not a want.) There was an immediate warmth to the video and delight in seeing the kids talk about the topic from their perspective. The adviser was able to highlight her expertise as well.
Creating a video can be both easy and effective. There’s nothing holding you back from creating one today, in fact. Why not give it a try? If you don’t like it, just hit delete and try again. Remember, though, that you’re not looking to produce a slick, highly polished video, but rather one that reveals your genuine self—one that shows heart. And there’s no better way to deepen client relationships than that.
Kristine McManus, CRPC®, is chief business development officer, practice management, at Commonwealth Financial Network where she works with affiliated advisers to grow their top line through the introduction of various programs, tools and coaching.