By George Spencer
“Projecting a million-dollar image is everything,” said Cary Martin, president of ABA member Little Rock Tours in Little Rock, Ark.
He should know. Before he and his wife got into the motorcoach business, they had both been TV news personalities. Martin anchored the news for 15 years in markets ranging from Jackson, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala., to Tucson, Ariz., Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Little Rock.
He believes motorcoach operators should have a strong video presence on their websites and in social media. “Nobody reads anymore,” he said. “We want our news on TV, and we want our books to be audiobooks.
“It’s the same with your website. If you can make a video presentation, you’ll get more attention,” he said. “Your video should tell your story with a beginning, middle, and an end.
“It’s got to be short, interesting, and relevant,” he continued. “You may have the greatest product since sliced bread, but if it’s not relevant to the person looking at it, [it won’t benefit you]. You’ve got to ‘see’ your video from the customer’s vantage point and say what you can to pull him in as a customer.”
Here is other advice from Martin on how to create videos that will pack the most punch for your company.
- Keep them short. If it is longer than a minute, then it really needs to keep your attention. Little Rock Tours’ video is more than five minutes long, “But it was professionally done by friends in broadcasting who wrote and produced it in a way that keeps your attention,” Martin said. “It’s a nice history of the company and what we expect of ourselves. I also use it to recruit staff and get them hyped about what we do. We have actually had employees choose to take a job with us because of the video.”
- Interview prospective producers thoroughly. “Ask them, ‘How many of these have you done before?’ and ‘Do you have professional training?’” Martin said. Today, nearly anyone with a computer can make a video. “That doesn’t mean that person knows how to edit video, write clear copy, get the right angles, or shoot video,” he said, noting the importance of getting samples of their work.
- Consider making several short videos. This allows you to show off different aspects of your company and use them on different webpages. It’s a great idea to have a video featuring several of your coaches and showing them as if you are a customer walking onto a bus, Martin said.
- Post videos on Facebook and social media. “They truly are the key to generating interest and awareness of your company. Posting video to Facebook is a very positive and easy thing to do,” he said. “It also makes the passengers on your coaches feel good about their experience. They feel as though they’ve been showcased, and a lot of them enjoy being showcased. It means something to them that you’ve put them on your website.”
- Post only high-quality videos. Martin said he’s seen a few videos on other operators’ websites that give a bad impression because the videos are dark, grainy, or shaky. Right or wrong, a viewer will think the quality of your video reflects how well you run your business. “The viewer’s assumption would be if your production is low-value then maybe your company is low-value, too,” he said.
- Make a video designed to stay timely. Little Rock Tours has used the same video since it started more than 12 years ago. “That’s a long time, but our story is the same,” Martin said, noting that his video’s primary goal is to bring in new customers. “Since they haven’t seen it before, from that standpoint, the video works great. It’s still the same story for people seeing it for the first time.”
- Put only charismatic employees on camera. A company owner or executive should be in a video only to the degree to which they’re comfortable being filmed, according to Martin. “If someone isn’t excited, find someone who is,” he said. “You can see fear in the eyes of someone on camera. That person will not be welcoming and inviting. You need someone to make that presentation who’s excited and will project confidence or fun, not hesitancy.”
George Spencer is a Chapel Hill, N.C.-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to ABA media.