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How to Turn a Small Business into a Local Expert

Let’s be honest with ourselves: A lot of small businesses live or die based on the support (or lack of support) of their local community. That means fighting for customer mindshare becomes essential to growth. And with the constant expansion of bigger brands or nationwide chains, competition can be tough. But there are also some built-in advantages to being a small business. By leveraging a few different forms of video content, any local company can win the trust — and business — of its local community. Now, let’s look at how.

The secret advantage(s) of being a small business

People want to listen to — and then follow — experts. Whether it is a human drive to find “community” or just natural risk aversion, we all look for product reviews and first-hand accounts. That applies to major purchases (like which dishwasher to buy) or even where we take our business (who we trust with repairing that new dishwasher).

This is where small businesses have a built-in advantage. Being part of a local community means you already have that foundation. You’re connected to the community in a way that most competitors aren’t, so becoming a “local expert” is a realistic goal. In the past, a small business might sponsor a high school sports team, set up a booth at a farmer’s market, or buy an ad spot in a newspaper. While there’s still some value to those things, the digital era has created new battlegrounds for competitive advertising. After all, if the big corporations are doubling down there, it’s probably worth jumping in too.

Of course, you won’t have the same marketing budget as a nationwide brand. That means you’ve got to work smarter to find and exploit any competitive advantage out there. This is where any small win can pay big dividends for your business. And there aren’t many marketing strategies with more “small win” opportunities than video content on social media.

How to get the most out of video content on social media

We put a lot of weight in the familiarity and comfort associated with places where we shop, eat, and do business. And in a time when everyone is looking for a little more connection, small businesses need to engage with potential customers in new ways. On the other hand, people support local businesses for more than just a “feel good” relationship. (That does help, of course, especially in the case of local mom-and-pop shops.) There’s also the practicality of that decision, the trust that we place in businesses that just get us.

But these potential customers won’t know your business meets their needs if you don’t show them. And in an era when ads fill up every available pixel on a website, how you use digital marketing matters. A lot. Chances are you already know this. What you don’t know — why you’ve read this far — is why video marketing is so important, and how you can use it to become a local expert that is trusted by your community.

Why video succeeds on social media

Statistics can be either encouraging or scary. The numbers on video marketing are kind of both.

At face value, this sounds like if you aren’t already using video content to advertise your business then you are already out of the race. But the reality is that everyone loves an underdog story, and small businesses continue to find success against bigger competitors.

Here’s another stat: People are two times as likely to share video content with friends. That means a clever or relatable video ad isn’t just engaging with current customers — this kind of content generates word-of-mouth interest that continues to ripple to larger audiences.

This is the social media effect. And video marketing puts your company in the middle of those conversations where they happen organically.

Where to get video content for your small business

Knowing that video marketing is effective doesn’t necessarily mean small businesses can magically summon all the tools they need to use it. According to one study, 16% of businesses that don’t use video marketing say it’s because they don’t have the time to dedicate to production; 17% don’t use video because they think it’s too expensive.

The reality is that great video content doesn’t have to consume your time or drain your budget. There are agencies, production teams, or even independent filmmakers who excel at making fantastic video content that will line up with your business’ needs and resources.

More importantly, this means you can find a video production team that specializes in helping small businesses connect with their communities and highlight their value as local experts. You still have the power to choose the message or product you want to feature, but you get to trust the hard stuff — and the higher cost of getting video equipment — to a professional.

But if you want to start experimenting with video content for your social channels, your emails/newsletters, or even your website, there are a few routine steps to follow. Let’s phrase them as questions that you can remember (or ask your team) when planning a video.

These three questions provide a foundation you can rely on for every video project you’ll work on. And having the answers to these questions will also make sure that if you do hire a video production specialist, they will be more likely to get you exactly what you’re hoping to see.

84% of people say they’ve decided to buy a product or service after seeing a marketing video. Sure, we can imagine a big chunk of that 84% were convinced because videos are so popular on social media (where people tend to follow brands or people they trust).

But that big statistic can also be tied to the fact that a good video can do so many things for a business. It can establish you as a market expert, an important part of a local community, or — in the very best cases — both of those things. And that combination creates a snowball, where more trust leads to more customers which leads to more possibilities for video content.

In other words, it’s the kind of cycle that can turn even a small business into a local expert.

Drew Gula is a marketing copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that provides creators and businesses with non copyrighted music like royalty free classical music.

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