Tech Memo: Ready for Your Close-Up?
Video provides connection, emotion, and authenticity, says the CEO of a video-sharing platform.
Video is a content form that delivers a lot of information—and emotion—in a small package. Associations are built around human connections and networking, and now, in a predominantly virtual environment, video has emerged as an important tool for connecting with members in the absence of face-to-face interaction.
“We’re in a world where people don’t trust brands and institutions the way they used to,” says Michael Hoffman, CEO of the video platform Gather Voices. “We rely too much on brand communication, and we need to make members the hero of the story.”
A year of remote work, facilitated by video meetings and other virtual communication tools, has made many people more comfortable on camera. They’ve also become more accustomed to watching videos—in everyday life, on many platforms—that have a great story but not necessarily great production value. Video used to mean professionals, productions costs, vendors, experts, editors—the works. No more.
“We’re in this weird space where if the production value is too high, the trust gets lower,” Hoffman says. Rather than a high-gloss production, audiences want something real that resonates. With these different expectations, “there’s no excuse not to be doing more video content,” he says.
Although no one is expecting a Hollywood production, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind when producing video content:
1. People will watch a bad video with good sound, but they will not watch a good video with bad sound. An external microphone on a smartphone “works wonders,” Hoffman says.
2. Authenticity is essential. Association members in every profession have stories about their work that are “wild and interesting,” he says. The key is to find those people, get them to tell their stories, and create a culture where people are sharing those videos. The storytelling needs to be real, not someone reading from a script. “That doesn’t work anymore,” he says.
3. Representation matters. If your goal is to increase the number of young members in your association, then it’s essential to have your younger members telling their stories on video about how membership in your organization has benefited their careers or enriched their lives. “You’ve got to be able to reflect the actions you want other people to take,” Hoffman says.
And while people have become accustomed to finding video content in online communities, email, and social media, it’s increasingly appearing in other settings as well, such as job boards. On a job board, video can convey to job seekers why they should work at a particular organization. Meanwhile, more employers are asking applicants to make videos that showcase what they bring to the table, which Hoffman says can give candidates an edge in the recruitment process.
“That’s a really powerful differentiator when you’re looking for scarce talent,” he says.