Operators: Be more than a ‘talking head’ on LinkedIn

Feb. 16, 2021

Using video on social media is a great idea for anyone in the b2b world, including office coffee service operators. The content potential is virtually endless. However, producing a video to deliver a message or promote engagement on LinkedIn or Facebook requires more than just switching your smartphone into video mode. Unfortunately, our social media feeds have been invaded (often by operators and suppliers) by what I call “talking head videos.”

Last month, I asked the question, Operators: why do you bother to post on LinkedIn? The key takeaways from that column:

  • Do not lose sight of the only objective that makes sense: To promote engagement with your target audience, to generate appointments and to close new deals. Put on your empathy hat and consider the problems and issues that will promote engagement as you offer solutions to your prospects and clients.
  • Stay focused on the objective and concentrate on producing content that will establish yourself as a thought leader and your company as an innovator.
  • Do not lead with the solution.

What we know about the audience

Jonathan Durante, cofounder at Expandify Marketing, recently addressed the audience attention span issue in a Forbes article. “We know that the average user spends 1.3 seconds on each post in their news feed. That means we have a split second to captivate our audience and keep their attention longer,” Durante noted.

The audience has changed during the pandemic

A research report by Pathfactory studied how b2b digital materials are being consumed during the pandemic. Its conclusion: Digital users are consuming more content, but sessions are shorter. The average engagement time per session was down significantly across the board.

Pathfactory pointed to video as being among the most valuable b2b content assets during the pandemic.

Great example every night

The network news offers a classic example of catering to short attention spans. Even the attractive anchor men and women are rarely on the screen for more than 15 seconds at a time. The stories are presented in machine gun style, quickly, one after another. Often, the lead-in to a story, “When we return from a short break, we will visit…” is about the same length as the story itself. I have actually backed up in the newscast because a story was presented too quickly to digest.

The alternative to a talking head

As tempting as it is to put your face in front of the camera for 4 minutes to talk about yourself and your company, and proclaim that finally you have done a video – just say “no” to posting a video of your talking head.

Instead, do the work.

  • Write a script using the content principles that I outlined in last month’s column.
  • Practice your presentation and make sure your lighting is good. (Natural light works nicely, but there are plenty of inexpensive, basic light kits available at Amazon.)
  • Pay attention to the background and your attire. I did one video using a golf course green screen and wore a polo shirt. Ron Bean, my publisher at VendingMarketWatch.com, told me that I looked like I was selling timeshares.
  • Download a teleprompter app. You do not need to wing it.
  • Learn to use Apple’s iMovie. It is easy to use and there are many resourceful tutorials on YouTube.
  • Cutaway shots are critical. Use slides and supporting video. Check out Canva Pro, an impressive and easy desktop publishing program. Canva Pro is much friendlier than Adobe and other more complex programs. At about $15 a month, it is a gamechanger for anyone trying to produce content. Canva typically offers a free trial and instead of paying for photos and images, you gain unlimited access to a massive library.
  • Limit your video length form 60 seconds and a maximum 90 seconds.

What I have learned as a “YouTube Creator”

As a content developer, I try just about everything I can to find new ways to generate business development momentum. In the process, I learn valuable lessons; and I have learned plenty since starting my b2b Perspective Channel.

  • The thumbnail image and subject line have a tremendous impact on the number of opens. Make it compelling or you will lose the audience from the start. My own head, for example, as the cover shot, would not be a click generator. I recognize that while I once looked like Dan Rather, I am leaning more toward Morley Safer. Unfortunately, many on LinkedIn do not get that. Use a snappy thumbnail image to attract the audience to your video.
  • The use of slides and video, instead of just your talking head, leads to a higher audience retention rate. Even my most popular videos have a watch time average that represents only 60% of the video length. The more slides and cutaway video that I use, the longer the audience sticks around. You can be certain that people are bailing out early when you post your talking head video on LinkedIn.
  • When you post a video on LinkedIn, limit the amount of copy in the post itself. In following up with people who “like” a video post, I found that if the text describing the video was too long, they may have understood the point of the video from the text alone, showed their appreciation, but never actually watched the video.

They call it “show and tell” for a reason

When was the last time you did a PowerPoint presentation without slides? Just you and the audience. Never. Why would you think that a video on LinkedIn should be any different? Your talking head will not captivate an audience.

Even more fundamentally, think back to kindergarten. They called it “show and tell” for a reason – not just “tell.” Props were involved.

Video can be a powerful b2b tool on LinkedIn and other social media, but it only works with planning, effort and a commitment to providing valuable and, ideally, compelling content.

Next week: Some social media engagement strategies on my favorite road: “the road less traveled.”

About Bob Tullio

Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio (www.tullioB2B.com) is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. Tullio recently launched a YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in two minutes” and is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.

As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q&A Webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.

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