Social Media Video Production – 5 Awe-inspiring Small Business Owners who Thrived throughout the Pandemic
In the spring of 2022, Skillman Video Group had the pleasure of working with Hometap, a Home Equity Investment firm, to create 5 different social media video productions. Unlike other social media content we’ve done in the past, these were not videos meant to represent Hometap as a brand. These were video productions about real clients, real business owners, and real people.
As a company, Hometap’s mission is to tap into your home’s equity: The smart way. They give cash in exchange for the future value of someone’s home – and there aren’t any loans or monthly payments like typical investment firms. They invest in homes and people, not zip codes and credit scores -which provides access to property ownership for those who may not be able to use the typical credit-based loan application process. Their application takes only a few short weeks, and they offer dedicated investment consultants to all of their clients. It’s a way to lower stress during a period of transition for the typical homeowner.
Hometap is a legacy client for us, as we’ve worked with them before to create a brand video, client testimonials, and other social media content in the past. Through developing this relationship with Hometap, we became the video production arm of their internal marketing department. Even though we have the full capacity to be, and typically are, a video brand agency – we can take on all sorts of projects.
At Skillman Video Group, we tailor our projects to a wide range and variety of video production needs. We do everything from the entire marketing plan and concept behind video production, to smaller projects like the one we did for this video production project, where the client just needs some edits and animation on pre-filmed content. In this case, the content that they’d sent to us was self-shot footage that was developed and collected by our client. We didn’t have to outsource to any freelancers for extra content like b-roll and stock images, which simplified the video production process on our agency’s end.
The Video Production Plan
Hometap wanted to make small, impactful videos for their social media platforms during the first week of May 2022, also known as Small Business Week.
Although these videos were fairly simple, Hometap didn’t have the capacity to create the animation required for these types of videos, so they outsourced that work to us. The self-shot footage that was used featured five different small-business owners that were clients of Hometap.
These five business owners were clients that had persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. They were able to take their circumstances and pivot their business in a direction that continued to profit them and add to their communities.
The focus of these videos was not on Hometap as a brand nor as a company, but rather on the resilience of the small business owners that carried the country through the pandemic. We did not want to show how Hometap as a company helped their clients through the pandemic, but instead a “thank you” from Hometap to their clients, to show them gratitude for their dedication to serving their communities during the pandemic.
We knew that the resilience of these business owners needed to be a key message represented in the final product. A key message is an idea that’s represented in the video production without audibly being said.
Each of the five final videos was about one-minute long. They were meant to be used as a social media marketing tool, to be posted during Small Business Week. These videos had a short shelf-life, as they were only relevant during this one week. During this first week in May, other business owners are aware of the existence of Small Business Week and are actively seeking content related to it, so our goal was to cater to that. The video content itself – being related to the effects of the pandemic – is something that most business owners, big or small, can relate to.
Hometap approached us about this project in March of 2022, with an estimated release date of May 2nd to May 6th, 2022. Each video would be posted on a successive day, giving each small business owner their time to shine. That did mean that we only had one month to turn the interview footage into five different videos with graphics, animation, and music – and in different formats suitable for all different social media platforms.
This meant we had to have multiple adaptive formats of the video, in the 9×16 Facebook format and the 1×1 Instagram format. Our animator had to crop down different dimensions of the content to make the text work visually for the viewer from each different perspective.
This is a really quick timeline and it’s something that we were able to do because we could leverage the expertise of our editors, animators, and staff.
We were lucky that Hometap was a legacy client that we’ve worked with before. Our animators are familiar with their brand standards, color schemes, fonts, and logos. In this case, we had all the graphics we needed for most of the lower thirds and other assets prior to even beginning this project. The editing process could then be expedited.
One of the difficulties with this project was that all of our editors received were all self-shot. This means that the business owners that we were interviewing were setting up their personal smartphones, at angles of their choice. The business owners that we were interviewing don’t have much experience in the video industry, and of course, don’t have access to the cameras and video equipment we typically do for our normal projects.
We had to work with some awkward cuts where the videos were trimmed down too short, and our animators and editors had to make some creative decisions in order to make the words flow nicely. We were lucky again in that there were very clear ‘storyboards’ created from the very beginning.
Storyboards are a sequence of drawings, typically with directions and dialogue, representing the shots planned for video production. This was a major contributor to our success in the final project, primarily because everyone working on the project had the same vision and end video production in mind.
Although we were given a script to stick to, and the animations had been already planned out ahead of time, we were still able to take a bit of creative direction and make some changes, based on what we knew would work better narrative-wise. There were a few clips we had to move just so that the story flowed a bit better and that the business owners sounded even more eloquent in their self-shot footage.
We were really intentional about the pace of the project. The beginning of post-production took the longest because we wanted to ensure that the designs and animations of the first video were correct. If we got that one right, we could just “copy & paste” it as a template, and just replace content from one interview with another.
We were able to use the same “timeline” for each video, and the same music track in all five as well. We chose an “inspiring” music track to really emphasize our key message that these small business owners had ‘persevered’.
Even with the expedited turn-around, the video production was completed correctly and efficiently, being ready to post every day of Small Business Week. The videos recognizing the five small business owners are linked below.
The Final Video Productions
Andrew Hawes, Co-Owner of RJ Bradley’s Ski & Bikes, had to learn to reinvent his business to cater to the needs of their community during the pandemic and became a resource for those in need of an essential mode of transportation.
Nahika Hilary, Chef & Owner of Kreyol Korner by Chef Nahika, turned her situation around when she turned her cooking ability into a city-wide take-out business, at the height of the pandemic.
Matt Wood, Owner of Restoration Coffee, closed down his shop to reformat his business and began accepting online orders in March of 2020, which proved successful with the growth of his business.
Christine Azar, the owner of Azar Indulgences, had to pivot her entire business model because of Covid – and her bakery soon turned into a breakfast joint loved by the community.
Joanne Krapf, Owner of Happy Monkey Gifts used to be incredibly successful in a completely different industry. When the pandemic took away those opportunities for her, she turned her side hustle into a booming business.
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