Outside the confines of personal relationships, trust is in short supply at the moment. While some businesses distinguished themselves during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, others let slip their rigid determination to survive at all costs (even if it meant mistreating employees). And who among us hasn’t grown weary of the inconsistency of official advice? We all want to believe when we’re told that this milestone will be the return of normalcy, but it’s hard to make that leap.
Furthermore, consumers have become much more selective with their custom. The financial challenges of living during a pandemic understandably drive frugality. Those who once were willing to gamble on unproven companies might now opt to refrain — to wait for glowing social proof to render that decision acceptably safe. It’s hardly ideal for businesses.
As a business owner, then, you have two options: you can simply accept that people aren’t going to trust you, or you can make a concerted effort to win them over despite the circumstances. The latter is obviously preferable! You can earn trust if you get your approach right, and one of the keys is going to be video. Videos have an unrivaled impact when it comes to marketing materials, and they can do the work for you. Here’s how to make it happen:
Focus on getting the tone right
It isn’t just what you say that matters. The tonal component of what you say (how it sounds, and how you come across) is immensely important: as YouTube expert Sean Cannell so neatly phrased it during a podcast appearance with Orion, “your vibe attracts your tribe.” This is even true of written materials like blog posts, and video takes it to the next level by adding tone.
Think about something like body language. You may not think about it often, but how the presenter of a video moves heavily influences how you view them. Do their eyes lock on you in an unnatural way? Does their gaze dart around, revealing a lack of confidence? Or do they get the balance just right, looking naturally into the camera at appropriate times?
The best thing to do is record yourself talking and scrutinize it from the perspective of a stranger. How do you come across? Ask friends and family members too. It isn’t easy to seem trustworthy on camera, but it’s something you can achieve slowly but surely if you identify the patterns that make you seem shifty and work on them as best you can.
Show some meaningful honesty
Imagine the hyper-confident salesperson who has a slick response in every situation. Do you trust them? No, of course you don’t: you know that their claims mean nothing because they’re tailored solely to sound good. You trust someone who’s openly human: someone confident, yes, but also flawed and unsure about some things. Someone willing to show weakness.
For example, one of the best things you can do in a promotional video is to admit a mistake or a gap in your knowledge. Provided the quality is high elsewhere (more on this later), the viewers won’t hold it against you: they’ll actually like you more because of it. To err is human, of course, and if you’re willing to admit that you’re wrong sometimes then you’re rather easier to believe when you show absolute certainty about a statement you’re asserting.
Work on your production values
A shaky 480p stream looks awfully low-budget and low-effort. It’s not hard to hit a reasonable standard of video at this point: even a low-end smartphone can output a crisp 1080p image, after all, so somehow failing to reach that point will suggest incompetence at best and indifference at worst (in that order because simply not caring is worse than being a beginner).
Beyond that, you need to consider things like lighting. Bad lighting won’t just make your video harder to make out and damage the detail level: it’ll also affect the tone. Being lit from below can make anyone look decidedly sinister, for instance, which won’t be much use to you unless you happen to be making a Halloween video. For inspiration, look at your favorite YouTube channels to see how they light and compose their scenes, then adjust your recording method accordingly.
Aim for quality over quantity
In blogging, output consistency is a huge deal: getting a blog post out every week will encourage site visitors and highlight your commitment to hitting your targets. With video, though, it’s significantly less important to emphasize quantity. You’re much better served taking your time to create high-quality video content that will blow people away.
There are two big reasons for this. Firstly, good video content can be evergreen: in other words, it can earn you views and plaudits for years to come. Similarly, bad video content can continue to damage your brand image as long as you leave it accessible. Showing consistent quality will make your brand look highly professional (and, yes, trustworthy).
Secondly, the potential impact of a video is so much higher than that of a blog post. A truly fantastic video can rocket a hitherto unknown brand into mainstream contention, and earn it many subscribers that will be primed to be converted by further video content. If you just pump out basic talking-to-camera news recap pieces, you’ll be wasting all that potential.