Video Sharing App: Mindie

The story of Mindie is one that everyone can appreciate.  A tale of rising from defeat and achieving success greater than you ever imagined.  A tale that is sure to inspire entrepreneurs everywhere not to give up on their dreams.

video on phoneMindie was developed by a team in France but it was not their first product.  Their original app, Ever, was in post development but not taking off like they had hoped.  As a storytelling app it allowed users to link a series of pictures together with a soundtrack; although it looked good it was complex to create and view videos.  Overall it wasn’t very user friendly.  After reaching out to others in the industry for feedback they soon realized that they were going to have to make some changes.

This is the decision point, a place every innovator has been.  Listening to criticism that may at times seem harsh, being willing to make changes that may seem drastic, balancing what needs to be done while remaining true to yourself and your dream; the road to success is rarely easy but the bumps and turns along the way often lead to something even greater.

The team knew they needed to come up with something else and they needed to do it quickly.  They listened to the feedback they were hearing from everyone around them and from that Mindie was born.  Mindie allows users to choose a song and record a short video.  Its functions are simple and easy to use, greatly improving the user experience.

Despite all of the positive changes they were unable to convince French investors to sign on, so they came to the US—mainly New York City and San Francisco.  It didn’t take long for SV Angel to make the decision to invest and begin developing a seed round for other investors.  They were so successful they had to turn investors away; including those in France who were now having second thoughts.  The team that created an app that never even made it to the app store now had an app that raised over $1 million.

The team has big dreams for Mindie; hoping to follow in the footsteps of MTV by allowing users to create their own unique music videos and reshaping music video creation for the mobile generation.  Relocating to San Francisco, the development team is geared up and ready to push Mindie to her greatest potential yet.

Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports- Using Video to connect with fans

Certain industries seem tailor-made for utilizing videos as part of a social media or PR campaign. Sports is one of those industries and race fans have long understood that videos help them feel closer to their favorite drivers.  Teams like Level 5 Motorsports owned by lead driver Scott Tucker have capitalized on that desire by providing a variety of videos, each designed to inform and entertain, building an audience for their races and for their brand.

Auto racing may not be as popular as the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), but it is the fastest growing sport in terms of television audience and tickets sold.  It has a passionate and loyal following like most sports. While only a small fraction of football fans have ever seen an NFL game from the stadium, a significant percentage of race fans have attended a professional race in person. With so many different race series (NASCAR, NHRA, ALMS, Formula One, etc), racers and teams need to find a way to make a connection that turns race fans into their fans.

Profiles Aren’t Enough

Level 5 Motorsports is owned by driver Scott Tucker. The team competed in the American Le Mans Series for the past four seasons as well as racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They have also competed in the Ferrari Challenge, the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.  Tucker has won three drivers championships in ALMS while the team has won four trophies. However, it isn’t just victories that make the team a fan favorite, it’s their ability to use videos to communicate and entertain.

The team has a YouTube profile, of course, and they regularly post videos offering followers an inside view of the workings of a professional race team.  Scott Tucker has his own YouTube page where he is able to share his personal views and experiences with his fans.

An expertly run page with frequent updates is something every business should do, but Level 5 takes it a step further. They lift the videos out of YouTube and share them in other social media. The individual racers and the team maintain accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even LinkedIn. They have an official team website as well as sites and blogs for the various drivers and videos of races, practices, and interviews all get embedded regularly amongst the regular news posts and race recaps.

This type of coordinated sharing of video content provides context to the viewer, something a descriptive line on a video fails to do. Good videos also allow drivers to weave narratives through their season, such as Tucker’s quest to win reach 100 career victories or the team’s path to a third straight ALMS championship.

Videos Build Anticipation

Any athlete or athletic team can use videos to build interest in upcoming events.  Level 5 routinely does this by sharing videos about upcoming races. The goal is to build anticipation of the event and get fans excited about watching the race. A well-produced video can benefit the team in three distinct ways:

  1. More fans come to the track to watch the race and cheer on the team or individual driver
  2. More fans watch the television and/or live streaming coverage of the race with a larger audience resulting in more races being covered in the future and the bonus of top teams getting a share of the broadcast profits
  3. More fans will flock to social media, blogs, and websites immediately following the race to find out results – some may even take to social media during the race to share their own reactions

In August, Level 5 took part in the Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Prior to the race, the team shared the video below on YouTube and in social media profiles to build interest:

The team is based in Wisconsin, so they consider Road America to be their home track. Getting fans to the race to support the team was an important goal. Marino Franchitti earned the pole position for the race and teammate Simon Pagenaud started in third position. With thousands of fans cheering them on, Tucker and Pagenaud won their classification with the second Level 5 team of Franchitti and Ricardo Gonzalez taking third.

Interviews Provide Insight

A more obvious use of videos to communicate with fans is the interview. Scott Tucker is regularly interviewed by race magazines and websites as well as providing analysis for television. He shares such video clips across his internet portfolio as a way to give fans insight into his motivations, goals, and team strategies.

The post-race interview in particular is an excellent way to connect with fans. Tucker is able to express his delight in an unexpected win, his support of successful teammates, and, yes, his disappointment on those instances when Level 5 fails to perform as expected.  Having a window into a driver’s reactions helps fans feel closer to the drivers and can even draw them further into the experience.

At the recent Baltimore Grand Prix, Tucker was involved in a crash. Though not hurt, he was forced to abandon the race, which hurt his chances at winning the overall drivers championship for the season.  Because Franchitti and new teammate Guy Cosmo were able to avoid the crash and take the victory, the race was still a success for Level 5.

The video below was shared by Tucker and Level 5. In it Tucker speaks about the events in Baltimore and the team’s outlook for the rest of the season:

One-of-a-Kind Perspective

Reading a race report or even watching a race video can give a fan the opportunity to experience the event without attending.  This is true of pretty much all sports. However, modern video equipment offers sports teams another way to reach out to fans — it can put them in the driver’s seat, at least figuratively.

The introduction of “helmet cam” has led to a plethora of videos showing all sorts of sports from the perspective of the athlete. Whether they are using the literal head camera or some other mounted video, race teams are sharing videos of tracks around the world. Level 5 has put cameras inside cars during practice laps to give fans a driver’s eye view of a track.

In early 2013 the team was preparing for the 12 Hours of Sebring. They ultimately took first and second place at the race, but for some fans it was the video below that was more intriguing. It shows the view from Tucker’s car as he completes a test lap on the Sebring track:

Sports as Model

While Tucker and Level 5 have mastered the use of video to promote their endeavors before, during, and after races, these same tactics can and are being used by sports teams and individual athletes around the web.  More importantly, this strategy can be adapted to almost any business model. Every business needs to build anticipation for products, events, or services. They can draw in customers and clients by providing insight into their process, tactics, and goals. Best of all, they can offer that unique perspective, the “insider’s view” that, while it can be described in words or audio, truly captures the imagination when it takes the form of a well-made video.

Online Marketing Increases Traffic

Fionn Downhill, CEO of Elixir Interactive, makes it clear that strategic use of online marketing tactics can increase traffic to you website or other online channel:

Regardless of what industry you are in B2B, B2C, media, accounting or even bricks and mortar stores its difficult to imagine how anybody can be successful without and online marketing strategy be it local or national or international.

 

How Does a Video Go Viral

By now everyone has heard of a video going viral, though many people still don’t understand exactly what that means. And for those of us who might get the idea, there’s still the question of what it is that makes a video go viral, and how do we create one that will?

The easy answer is that it’s almost impossible to predict what video will end up playing repeatedly on computers, smart phones, tablets, and sometimes television sets, across the world. It’s easy to look at some of the most popular viral videos and see a strong element of surprise or shock, heroic behavior, or a charming and unexpected situation with an animal or baby. Sometimes a strong element of controversy, either political or personal, can be a key factor in propelling a video to become viral, and this is especially true when the controversial subject or behavior is exposed for the first time during it. The highly popular celebrity viral video is another perfect example.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of catching a hilarious moment on video that appeals to a wide audience — that speaks to some universal human condition. Once shared with a few friends, these videos sometimes go viral — being passed on to other using likes, shares, tweets, and other social media tools. This is a bit more rare, as there are countless programs, videos and television shows that are focused on capturing these types of moments. For a short clip to achieve viral status, it might be funny, but it will usually need to contain one of the above mentioned features to propel it to the next level of viewership and sharing. And while almost all, if not every viral video, will have at least one of these features or themes, it can still be difficult to predict in advance if a particular clip will make waves. That makes it nearly impossible to intentionally craft a viral video.

Freshness or newness is an important factor in most viral videos. This means that once an event, person or circumstance has been through the viral loop, its particular novelty will be ineffective for copy cat or similar digital video . It is extremely rare for similar videos to reach the same level of viral status as the original flavor video.

It’s easy to look back and review and understand how that uber popular video made the list, but it’s an entirely different project in creating one that will do so. These central ingredients do form a solid basis for structure and content though, if you are attempting to create that next viral video.

TED Knows How to Use Video

TED began in 1984, long before there was an internet. They brought together cutting edge thinkers in technology, entertainment, and design (hence the name T-E-D) at two conferences each year. The idea was create an annual think tank atmosphere that crossed traditional field boundaries, exposing people to original and creative ideas for innovation and inspiration.

Once the internet evolved and streaming and sharing videos became a reality, TED jumped on the bandwagon. Today, their website, hosts over 900 “Ted Talks” — videos recorded at the annual TED conferences as well as TED Global conferences that occur in countries around the globe.  The most popular Ted Talks, like the one below by Ken Robinson, have millions of individual views:

Since it was posted in June 2006, the video has been viewed more than 9.6 million times.

In addition, TEDActive offers a live simulcast each year of the Long Beach conference which is held in Southern California. This allows people to see the conference in real time instead of waiting for individual talks to be posted to the site.

TED also knows how to give the audience what they want.  They will sometimes repost videos from other sources that fit within their overall mission, such as the iconic Steve Jobs Commencement Address at Standford.

The video appears on TED at http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html.

Most importantly each new posted video generates comments and ratings from viewers, both on the TED site and their Facebook profile.

If sharing video to spark interaction with your customers is your goal, TED is a good model to study.

 

How to Make a Viral Video

videoOne of the strongest cultural trends the Internet has created and continues to substantiate is our fascination, and sometimes obsession, with viral videos. We’ve all seen the crazy madcap adventures of toddlers and animals as well as the controversial exploitative behaviors of certain celebrities and political figures. And while many of us are simply fascinated with and repeatedly watch these captivating videos, others have greater ambitions in mind and realize the exposure potential as well as financial gain that can be had by them. And the burning question on these people’s minds is how to create the next great viral video. This is one of the first considerations to effectively manage social media resources.

The first thing we need to consider is what are the common elements in the videos that have already reached that iconic viral status? We’ve already mentioned that charming exploits of toddlers and controversial elements of popular personalities. Don’t forget that animals, especially dogs and cats are constantly doing adorable or unbelievable things. Sometimes too an incredible and unique performance by a human that demonstrates a rare talent by an unknown, and usually underdog, personality can cause a sensation and sweep the digital signal waves. If you’re looking to create your own great viral video those are some aspects to keep in mind. And if you believe you’ve found the next great tenor, guitar star or other musician of virtuoso potential, you would do well to create a short video that demonstrates their amazing talent.

In the past, it was a common ambition to get that perfect shot of crazy family moments and submit the footage to popular shows such as America’s Funniest Home videos. Meanwhile, bloopers from our favorite television shows were frequently more popular than the show itself. It seems we all love mishaps and the unexpected. Researchers who study the popularity of these videos claim it’s the fundamental human emotion element that we relate to. If you’re trying to create your own viral video, it’s a good idea to follow the example bloopers and funny home videos and try and recreate these situations, or variations of them, for your camera. Who knows, your child, animal, or hidden talent might be the next to receive millions of views and become known in households across the world.

For businesses, figuring out the best way to showcase your products or services in a fresh and exciting way is the best strategy. Figure out how to create your own “Will It Blend?” campaign or find an attractive spokesperson with a distinctive style and personality, ala the new Old Spice guy. Pay careful attention to production values and then make use of existing social media profiles and accounts to begin sharing the video with your followers and brand advocates. The rest is up to them.

photo by: danorbit.

Money Mutual Videos

It’s not enough for businesses to have a clean, well-designed website anymore. They need to expand into all areas of online marketing and one of the most effective ways to do that is through the use of videos.

Research has shown that videos are more engaging to viewers than reading content on a webpage. Businesses can use video to promote their business and increase brand awareness. Statistics shows that people share links to video more often than they do with webpages or articles. Because of this, the use of video allows a business to get more exposure to people they would otherwise not interact with.

Take the video commercial for Money Mutual as an example. They took a previous television commercial and put it online. This allows them to make something available that is already recognizable and high quality and make it available for internet users to find through search.

Another option for using video is to create a recognizable series that promotes the brand while entertaining viewers.

Posting commercials online is a more effective way to be seen than through television commercials since more people watch recorded TV through a DVR or streaming online. Businesses that place their video ads on popular webpages will be seen by more people; therefore, increasing the awareness of the company.

If a business creates an effective video that captures people’s attention, they can reap the rewards of a growing fan base. When a video is seen on a video sharing site, it can build a community of followers. When one person likes a video, they will share it with their friends who will then share it with other people. This is basically no-cost advertising after the initial expense of filming the videos. Another benefit of video sharing sites is that people will listen to someone else before they will pay attention to an advertiser.

To be successful with this endeavor, businesses must invest in creating a quality video or like Money Mutual, use a television ad that was well made. The company also takes advantage of a well-known figure with Montel Williams to inspire trust in internet viewers just like they did for television viewers. By seeing an online video that has been shown in other media, it gives the company more credibility.

Businesses cannot afford to discount the influence of video sharing sites. After all, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. If you conduct a search for Money Mutual for videos, their YouTube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/moneymutual, is number one; this proves the power of video in search results.

Videos are a growing phenomenon for businesses as a way to increase their awareness to customers. They often lead to a higher level of interaction with the brand and develop loyalty that influences customers to spread the word to their circle of friends. Any business that wants to flourish in today’s online world must consider videos and video sharing sites as a means to promote their product and develop a legion of loyal followers.

Elixir Interactive TV

Elixir Interactive TV explores the world of viral videos, video sharing, and video marketing in the rapidly changing digital world of today and examines the video evolutions being created for tomorrow.

Read our blog for information about online videos and how to use videos to promote your business or brand. Videos are also an important tool in search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management (ORM) and you’ll find posts covering these topics, too.

 

Online Reputation Management Videos – Parts 1-3

Elixir released a three part video series on Online Reputation Management. The videos feature Fionn Downhill, CEO of Elixir Interactive. Inthe videos, Downhill explain the importance of Online Reputation Management in the digital age and tells viewers what to look for before hiring an ORM agency.

About Elixir Interactive

Elixir Interactive provides online reputation management and search engine optimization services to clients in a wide range of industries. Founded in 2003, Elixir has nurtured a team of experts who focus on providing excellent service to all our clients. Along the way, we’ve produced a few videos sharing that expertise with the world and featuring Elixir’s own CEO, Fionn Downhill.

Currently, the videos above as well as others on SEO, Social Media, Lead Generation, and related topics can be found on the Elixir Interactive YouTube channel.