How to best collect videos from customers

All right, so you want to collect videos from customers? That’s not a bad plan! Videos – especially those you can edit into a highlights reel – can make for astoundingly good promotional items… but there are very few good ways of collecting them. Fortunately, there is one technique that’s more reliable than any other – and that’s what we’ll be examining today.

The Social Phenomenon

The best – and possibly only – way to collect videos from customers in numbers above single-digits is to include a social aspect in the event. There are many different ways to create a social aspect, such as:

  • Encouraging people to share their video with friends and family after sending it in to your company
  • Collecting the video and using parts from it in a larger reel, with messages stating how many have been submitted and what will happen when a certain number of videos are sent in
  • Having each video challenge someone else to send it in as well (similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge)

These social aspects can be even more effective if the videos fulfill any of the following criteria:

  • The content of the video can be filmed in one place, at one time, without needing specialized knowledge or editing its content (in other words, amateur submissions instead of professional ones)
  • The video can depict two or more people – ideally friends or relatives – doing something together
  • There is a small but tangible reward for sending in the video, such as entry into a contest or a donation made to a charitable cause

Your goal is to make the video as easy to film as possible – while the social aspect leverages people’s relationships to get them involved and spread the word. The only exception to this is if you’re specifically requiring professional-level videos, in which case you’ll need to clearly explain the requirements you expect people to follow and how only videos that meet those standards will be accepted by your staff.

The Submission Method

This is one element that many companies setting out to collect videos from customers overlook – and that’s very unfortunate for them, because the submission method that customers use will have a huge impact on how willing they are to send in videos.

Quite frankly, nobody wants to see pages of advertisements or fill out a bunch of forms to submit their video. At most, you should limit the required information to their name and email address, which most people are willing to provide. The uploading process itself should be as simple and stable as possible – you can’t control the entire network, but you can at least ensure that all videos you receive are archived, backed up, secured, and properly labeled within your system.

Remember, your goal is to promote the feeling that your videos are a social thing – and complicated processes to upload content are among the worst ways of configuring your system. When in doubt: Keep It Simple.

Advertising and Promotion

Finally, very few videos will ever be submitted by your customers if nobody knows that you want them. Focus your advertising expenses on highlighting your campaign, clearly identifying what you want people to film, and explaining where your customers can go for more information. You’ll want some kind of landing page, possibly a separate website, to serve as the focal point of this campaign.

Only begin advertising once you’re ready to begin accepting submissions – there’s no point asking people to film videos that they can’t submit as soon as they’re done, so you’ll need to plan the campaign well in advance to ensure everything is ready when you need it.