Felder always asks body shop owners, “Do you have video on your website? If the answer is no, does your competitor have video on their website? If the answer is yes, then 80 percent of that company’s visitors are learning about their business, but they’re not learning about yours.”
What does this mean for body shops, especially those who have only recently mastered Facebook? It’s time to break out the camera and open up iMovie, or hire someone who can.
Lee Emmons, video expert and vice president of AP Media, Inc., K. Michael Bradshaw, vice president of operations at K&M Collision, Meredith Bradshaw, owner of K&M Collision, accompanied Felder on the panel.
Emmons has helped Michael and Meredith create cutting-edge videos for their body shop’s website. “We wanted a high-quality product, but we also had a budget,” said K. Michael. “The more I looked at it all - the video, the editing, the type of video, where to put it to get the most exposure, etc., the more I realized I couldn’t do it all on my own,” said K. Michael. “I hired Lee, which was a really good decision. He’s very professional.”
Felder addresses the fears many non-tech savvy shop owners have about creating video with a reflection on the first one she made during NACE in 2009.
“You could hardly see it, the white balance was off, and I had horrible audio, but it still worked,” said Felder. “CollisionHub grew with no print media, no advertising, nothing, it just grew solely on using the internet, using video. But it was the only video in the industry for anyone to watch, so if you wanted to watch something on collision repair, or products, we were your only option. So the quality didn’t matter, what mattered was the content. That’s why I always tell shops, ‘don’t worry, just get started.’”
Another major concern amongst body shop owners is budget.
Here are a few aspects to consider when creating your video, according to Felder, Emmons, K. Michael, and Meredith.
- What is your time mark? If you’re making the video yourself – filming, writing, and editing – how much time will you allot to this process? Time is money.
- Is there another company in your town that you collaborate with frequently, i.e. a tire company? If so, is there a chance you could share expenses to create a video that benefits both parties?
- The half and half approach: When Felder first started creating videos, she would shoot the footage herself, and then hire someone to edit it. “Editing is the magic,” added Felder.
- Do you want to hire talent? If you don’t want to be in your video - it’s best to hire actors/actresses or an outside spokesperson. Employees, managers and technicians come and go, so including them in a video may not be the best choice. The best places to find talent are craigslist or a local talent agency.
- Do you want to hire a film crew? “Local film schools are the best place to look. Many students are eager to find work and gain experience,” said Emmons. \If you do hire a crew, provide lunch on filming days: “Don’t let people leave, because you’re going to lose your schedule for the rest of the day,” warned Felder. “Even if you tell everyone, ‘be back at 1pm,’ it’s not going to happen.”
From the left: Kristen Felder; Lee Emmons, vice president of AP Media, Inc.; K. Michael Bradshaw, vice president of operations at K&M Collision; and Meredith Bradshaw, owner of K&M Collision
Finding the right topic, knowing your audience, and effectively getting your point across will all help to make your video a success, according to Felder and the other panelists.
Consider the following:
- Whatever method you choose, make sure you have good audio. “An audience can handle bad picture with good sound, but not vice versa,” added Felder.
- Storyboarding: What do you want to say and what do you want to be showing in the background while you’re saying it?
- How to pick a topic based on your audience: According to Emmons, car enthusiast forums, customer testimonials, auto blogs, discussion boards and other videos are great places to look.
- Scripted vs. Freestyle: The nature of the topic has a lot to do with this decision. “A customer testimonial shouldn’t be scripted, because you want it to sound real,” said Emmons. “If I’m using legal terms or other specific, factual information, then I definitely want to use a script,” said Felder. All panelists agreed that outlines are necessary, and if you’re using a script, you should memorize the information and not read off a piece of paper.
- Time: “You want to stay in that two minute sweet spot,” said Felder. The average retention rate on YouTube is 1:58.
- Location: It may not always be your body shop, and if it is, make sure it is clean and compliant. It may be necessary to shut your shop down during production days in order to minimize background noise.
- NEVER EVER cancel a preproduction meeting
“The average life expectancy for a video is four years, compared to 72 hours for a Facebook post and 12 minutes for a Tweet,” Felder said. “We have become a visual and auditory receptive society, so we want to see it and we want to hear it, we don’t want to read it.”