Episode 72: Lou Bortone – Harnessing the Power of Video for Social Selling
“The Video Godfather” Lou Bortone joins the Social Sales Link team to discuss the powerful impact video has on social selling in this brand new episode of the Making Sales Social podcast. Listen as Lou, an author, speaker, and digital marketing consultant at LouBortone.com, shares how he has helped business owners generate more revenue through creative video marketing strategies.
Not only does Lou offer valuable insights on creating videos that would help increase your impact, influence, and income, but he also is passionate about helping camera-shy individuals like himself get over their fears and put themselves out there through video marketing.
Tune in as he lists down the common mistakes salespeople and business owners make when trying to venture into video marketing and explains why it’s important to not get lost in the technicalities of video creation.
Lou is offering a free 99 Video Content Ideas Planner that you can get right now to jumpstart your video marketing plans! Connect with Lou on LinkedIn. You can also email him directly at [email protected].
Bill McCormick 00:00
What does making social mean to you?
Lou Bortone 00:02
Making sales social I think is really about connecting and engaging with your audience. As I mentioned, I came from the TV business, and back in the day there were, you know, big three, big four TV networks and it was always talking at people, and with social media I think you have to talk with people and really, you know, not just broadcast and throw stuff out there, but really connect and engage and create conversations.
Bob Woods 00:25
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:02
Welcome to another episode of Making Sales Social! I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:07
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:08
So Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 01:10
So excited. We have Lou Bortone who is one of the greatest video marketing strategists that helps owners and business development people generate more revenue.
We met through a group called JVMM which is a joint venture marketing group where we help each other expand and get our businesses in front of other people but when I talked to Lou I thought, “Oh my gosh, our audience needs to hear his brilliance.”
So Lou, welcome. Tell everyone a little bit about you.
Lou Bortone 01:43
Thank you so much, Brynne and good to see you again, Bill. I am a little bit kidding before but I am, I guess you could call me the camera shy video guy because I do video marketing strategy and my background is in television, I worked in Los Angeles for many years in TV, but always behind the scenes and then when I started to do online marketing about 15 years ago, I realized, “Oh, crap, I have to be on camera.” And that’s what I teach other folks how to do so I realized like alright, time to get out there and put my face out even though I’m not thrilled about being on camera, but here we are.
Bill McCormick 02:19
Here we are! And so I think you are definitely in the majority. I think a lot of folks are in the same boat. So I’m looking forward to talking about that. But first Lou, every guest on Making Sales Social gets asked this question, very curious to hear your answer. What does making sales social mean to you?
Lou Bortone 02:36
Making sales social, I think is really about connecting and engaging with your audience. As I mentioned, I came from the TV business and back in the day there, you know, big three big four TV networks, and it was always talking at people and with social media I think you have to talk with people and really, you know, not just broadcast and throw stuff out there, but really connect and engage and create conversations.
Bill McCormick 02:59
That’s a great answer! That’s a new answer. That’s one that we haven’t heard before. So that’s great. So let’s talk about how we do that with video.
I’m interested to hear first, though, if people are like you, and they’re a camera-shy video guy, what are some simple things that they can do to kind of get beyond that hesitation to (Brynne: Great question) get in front of the camera?
Lou Bortone 03:24
Yeah, really good question. Well, I mean, the short answer is “Get over it.” You know this is, you know, you’re in business too, you can’t fly under the radar forever.
The slightly longer answer is when I started, I had twins and they were really young so I’d put my kids in the video, and I would put my pugs, I have two pugs, I would put them — anything to deflect the attention off me. I once dressed up as Moses and did the 10 commandments of online video with thunder and clouds and all that, so it was really just about playing, really, you know, like making it more playful and I realized, and I say this, you know, more so for women, it’s like, it’s not about the makeup, it’s about the message. So you really just have to get over yourself and put yourself out there.
Brynne Tillman 04:03
So just a side note, I have twins, 18 years old that are now students at Penn State, we love them. Anyway…
Lou Bortone 04:11
Mine just graduated. So they’re like, “Okay, see you! Don’t let the door hit you on…”
Brynne Tillman 04:17
That’s awesome! And I’ve got lots of video of my kids, but not me when they’re younger. But now we have found video on a lot of levels — video in the inbox, video in the email, video in the newsfeed — all of this is attracting people in a way that no other medium seems to be doing.
And so for people that are like, “Okay, I know I need video but how do I get started?” What’s the advice you’d give someone who is like, even if they’re hesitant, they know they need it and they’re ready to dip their toe in.
Lou Bortone 04:54
I would say start with video email, which you mentioned then you know there are a lot of tools where you can use video in email, and it’s one to one. It’s personal, it’s engaging. I’m seeing numbers. I think HubSpot said that video email has a 90% open rate, which is incredible.
And if you can do that and sort of get used to the idea of, “Okay, I’m gonna send Brynne and Bill a quick video instead of just typing off an email,” and you can use you know, BombBomb or Dubb, or Loom. I use Loom every day.
So if you start with sort of that low-hanging fruit that’s not very technical, that’s not very intimidating, you’re just talking to one person, that’s a really good way to dip your toes in the water.
The other thing I would say is live video. LinkedIn Live or Facebook Live, or even YouTube Live is usually pretty easy to do as well, technically. And, you know, once you’re on live, it’s like, okay, it’s live. Here we go. Let’s see what happens.
Brynne Tillman 05:46
That’s great. We do a live once a week and the three of us get together and talk about a topic. What are some things that you could recommend to your clients, when they’re like, “Okay, ready to do video, I’m going to do an email video or I’m going to go live, but I don’t know where to start, what to talk about, how do I begin?” What are the steps around that?
Lou Bortone 06:09
Technically or just content-wise?
Brynne Tillman 06:11
Content-wise. Yeah, we can skip the technical, we’ll go high-level strategy.
Lou Bortone 06:16
Yeah, and the technical’s like, “Okay, two taps on the iPhone, and I’m live.” So content-wise, you know, we talk about what you know, just like they say, with public speaking, and I always start my clients — I don’t start them with a big homepage video or a sizzle reel, or speaker reel, because that’s, you know, really big branding, but I always start them with a YouTube tip series that they can put on LinkedIn and Facebook as well.
Talk about your expertise, share what you know, maybe share your why on video and post those on YouTube as two-, three-minute videos and it really helps to, to get you ramped up and more ready to do those other more important branding videos.
Brynne Tillman 06:51
You know, there’s live, raw, unedited video, and then there’s kind of the mid, we put some captions on video and then there’s like high, edited, get produced video.
Does one work better than the other? And why?
Lou Bortone 07:07
That’s a great question and I think it comes down to you have to ask yourself, “Is this a quick video or a keeper video?” That’s the way I usually make the distinction.
Quick video: Facebook Live, YouTube tip, two minutes, you know, no pressure, no editing, no, nothing fancy. Keeper video: “Okay, I need a new video for my homepage, or I need an about video on my about page, I need a speaker reel,” those are the ones where you definitely have to spend more time and thought into putting it out there because it’s kind of a cornerstone of your brand at that point.
Bill McCormick 07:35
So I do, I want to talk more tactical because I know a lot of times salespeople, all they need is an excuse not to do something. Yeah, we’re busy, right? We’re very busy and so I know one of the things is, well I don’t have the equipment to do video, so I’m not going to do it.
So what is, what’s the beginner level? Like, you know, is it okay, do we need highly produced video and social? Or can I just grab this and hold it in front of me and do that, you know, what’s the acceptable level of expertise and skill?
Lou Bortone 08:09
Honestly, it’s you know, I do 90% of what I do with my smartphone. The cameras are so great on the iPhones and Androids these days that it’s more than enough. So I say you know, keep it low tech, keep it simple. Every time you add a new element or a new piece of equipment, it adds to the level of complexity.
And also find like you guys have find a spot where you can just sit down put on your webcam and go keep it really simple. I mean I do you know green screen and goofy stuff like that because I’ve been doing it for so long but you really just need to find your video sweet spot and say you know what, I’m really good at just popping on LinkedIn and doing a live, I’m really fine with creating tips on YouTube or I’m really okay with doing PowerPoint slide presentations and narrating them, even that’s you know, a form of video.
Brynne Tillman 08:55
So, I love that. One of the things that I love that you do is not just here’s some informative videos or here even some educational tips but a lot of what you talk about is how to generate revenue using video. What kind of video generates revenue?
Lou Bortone 09:14
Ooh, that’s a juicy question. And on the real answer is all of it because it all sort of leads to you know, in the sales cycle, but you know, again, the best kind is to really start with engaging your prospects, which could be as simple as video email, which to me I’ve done a video email to somebody to remind them and the next day they call me they say, “Okay, let’s go, I’m ready.” because video builds that “know, like, and trust,” especially in the last year and a half where we haven’t been able to be in person as much. Video has been that real way to connect with people and get your message to them in a really powerful way, which is you know, I guess the next best thing to being there.
But other videos like you know having a video on your sales page, having a video on your homepage, video sales letters, some folks call them “videos on the sales page” If I’m selling, you know, a $9,000 coaching, $10,000 coaching program, and I don’t have a video on that sales page, forget it, it’s just not going to convert the same.
Brynne Tillman 10:14
Interesting. So how much of that video is pitch? And how much of the video is education? The video that goes on those web pages?
Lou Bortone 10:24
Yeah, interesting thought. I mean, there there are folks who do actual launch series with videos. So they may do three really in-depth, 20-minute, 30-minute educational videos, and then the fourth video in the series is the pitch, almost like you’re doing a webinar, but even in that example, I would say it’s got to be 80% value and 20% pitch is usually what I do.
Brynne Tillman 10:44
Even on the website? (Lou: Yeah) Yeah, I love that!
Lou Bortone 10:46
So trying to build that “know, like, and trust” that’s going to get you further down the sales cycle.
Brynne Tillman 10:51
I just like we talked about to get to “know, like, and trust “ which Bob Berg quoted that on “Endless Referrals.” He’s one of our favorites. He’s going to be on here in a few weeks. I’m very excited. We say on social, predicated to that “know, like, and trust” is “attract, teach, and engage.” And video really can do that. That’s what gets us to know, on social.
Bill McCormick 11:12
Yeah, and that’s what I was going to ask, is, as we’re talking about social, what type of video posts do you recommend that sales folks and business development folks and business owners are using to attract, teach, and engage?
Lou Bortone 11:27
Even webinars you know, webinars, still the good old, solid, tried and true webinars, even just video series where again, like I can say, “Alright, I’m going to do the, you know, the top 10 tools I use for video and I’m going to do it over 10 videos, and I batch record everything.” So it’s like, “Okay, it’s quiet, the guy’s not mowing the lawn next door, I’m going to shoot seven videos and drip them out over the next week or two.”
Brynne Tillman 11:50
Are they all on one topic that you’re breaking it out? Or could they be lots of different topics?
Lou Bortone 11:56
You can really, that’s the great thing about video, like writing, you know, it’s really up to you, whatever is in your wheelhouse and whatever you’re comfortable with, I often talk about, you know, I got so sick of the question, “What camera should I use?” because the answer is it doesn’t matter, or just use your iPhone. You know, I’ll do a series of okay, “Here are all the tools you can use to shoot video.” And again, it’s just you know, that’s the thing, it’s like, everybody gets stuck with the technology and it’s not really about the technology, it’s at the end, in the end, it’s about people and relationships.
Bill McCormick 12:25
Captions, how important are captions?
Lou Bortone 12:29
On Youtube, the user decides whether or not they want to see them but very important on LinkedIn and Facebook because those videos are going to play without audio initially. And it’s interesting because, you know, LinkedIn is was sort of the sleeping giant when it came to video, and they finally, finally upped their game but if you still start scrolling through your LinkedIn feed, the video may stop the scroll, because it’s movement, it’s engaging, and it’s still, you know, relatively new to, you know, LinkedIn compared to YouTube.
Brynne Tillman 12:55
I have a question. This is a little technical and in the weeds, but on Youtube when we do a video we’ll stream live and then our video team will edit it because they say it’s really important to have the right thumbnail. (Lou: Yes.) Right, on YouTube, but does that matter on other social platforms? Like LinkedIn?
Lou Bortone 13:15
Not as much, because on YouTube, people are going to, you know, they may be searching or going to find something, “What’s the WordPress plug for blah blah blah.” So the thumbnail is important because that’s the advertisement or the movie poster basically, for your video, whereas on Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s just used differently. So it’s not as much of a search engine.
Bill McCormick 13:35
And I know at one time, and I don’t know if this is the truth, this will be a question for our friend Richard van der Blom, but at one time, the algorithm was favoring videos on LinkedIn with a face over a highly produced video that had a thumbnail, so I don’t know if that’s still the case.
We’re seeing across-the-board videos getting less views than other types of content on LinkedIn. Just seems odd to me but that’s just how it is. So one of the great things about doing captions is if you’ve got that raw transcription then actually becomes a blog post too which we’ve taken in [inaudible]
Lou Bortone 14:16
Video is really ripe for repurposing, and it’s such an easy tool, like you guys say, if you do one of these, you can take the audio into a podcast, you can do an article, you can do a blog post, you can use it and reuse it.
I have some type of clients, what I do is I’ll just do a Zoom interview with them, and talk to them about what they do and then I have 20 minutes of raw footage and I can “Oh, this is a great soundbite or here’s a great section here and I can slice and dice that to make several smaller videos for them.”
I was looking for when you said about, I had a statistic about LinkedIn that, well, it’s true with all — LinkedIn users are 20% more likely to share a video post than a text post, which I thought was interesting. And then when both written and video content are available on LinkedIn, 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video. So that’s, again, it’s just and I don’t know if that, what that says about the society would rather watch than read, but give them what they want.
Brynne Tillman 15:15
I feel like blog posts are a thing of the past, right? Like, for us, if you go to our blog, it’s almost all vlogs. Almost all video and then we have the transcription, which sometimes is edited, sometimes is raw, because Google still likes text. (Lou: Right! There you go. Yep.)
So, but the video is what keeps people on our site longer. It keeps people engaged. And I think you know, we are in a world, one of my friends moved about seven months ago and didn’t get cable. She’s like, “I have Netflix, I have Disney plus, I have Hulu, I have Prime, I don’t need it.” We’re streaming, this is what we’re doing, right? Whether it’s on our phone, or on our TV, or on our computer. So video really, is the future. I’m going to ask the question though because now people are like, “Okay, I know, I gotta get on, if I’m not on or I have to do this differently, or more if I am doing it.” What are some of the mistakes that these folks make when they are attempting to do video? Or even they’ve done over the years, what are some of the big mistakes you see?
Lou Bortone 16:27
Well, the biggest one is shooting the video and not posting it. You know, like, being either too self-conscious or forgetting (Brynne: I have like a dozen of those) Yeah. And it’s like, “Oh, I get this really cool video, and then I got sidetracked and I never put it on LinkedIn and YouTube and Facebook.” I’m like, “Oh, come on, guys.” and that’s, you know, that’s really the biggest. The other one is just overcomplicating it when it really doesn’t need to be that complicated. I have folks who say,”Well, I’m waiting for my lights, and I’m waiting for my green screen.” And I’m like, “Do you have an iPhone? You know, just go.” So don’t wait for all the perfect scenario. Oftentimes, like I say, I’m you know, we downsized, and we’re in a community where the houses are a little closer together than they were before. It’s like, if they’re doing the lawn on that day that I was going to do videos, like, people are gonna hear a lawnmower in the background, that’s life, you know, just done is better than perfect.
Bill McCormick 17:17
Done is better than perfect. There’s the mic drop moment “Done is better than perfect.”
Brynne Tillman 17:22
That’s awesome. Any other mistakes that they make?
Lou Bortone 17:25
Aside from technical, oftentimes, it’s just not understanding the platform. So, you know, obviously on, you know, LinkedIn, we want to be relatively short for LinkedIn pre-recorded videos, you still can’t go over 10 minutes and for YouTube, it’s about watch time and really, the first minute is absolutely crucial.
So you don’t want…like, if you’re in a meeting, and you’re going to do all the, you know, if you’re face to face, and you can do the pleasantries and all that kind of stuff and the housekeeping, just get right to it. People don’t need the housekeeping up front, they need the content.
(Brynne: Good, good point.)
And I would say the last mistake is, you know, if you say this video is about this, then it better be about that you don’t want to do any kind of clickbait or bait and switch on folks, you really have to give them what you promise.
Bill McCormick 18:09
So be authentic. So you mentioned time, what do you think is especially on LinkedIn, and social, what do you think the sweet spot is in terms of video length?
Lou Bortone 18:19
Yeah, that’s interesting, because it’s kind of a moving target and it’s like, I feel like I see a different statistic every week. But again, short and sweet three to four minutes. For YouTube, in particular, it’s weird, because there’s sort of a spike at two to three minutes and then a spike at 11 to 15 minutes and I don’t know exactly why that is, but I think it’s because if somebody is watching a longer video and they’re engaged, they may stick with it and people are putting longer videos on YouTube because YouTube rewards watch time.
Bill McCormick 18:49
Wow. So great stuff. So we’re kind of coming to the end here but this is fascinating. I love video, use video in the sales cycle, use video on social. I’m a big user, we use Dubb and BombBomb, enjoyed both of those.
Quick question about that. Have you seen a problem with like firewalls of email services blocking those videos?
Lou Bortone 19:16
I haven’t really so far, and again, when I use something like Loom, I can just send it as a regular Gmail in a regular email service so that you know, those folks aren’t seeing some weird, you know, image there. It’s like, okay, it’s just Gmail, but there’s a video in it.
Bill McCormick 19:33
Yeah, I was an early adopter and use it in another company and there was a point in time where just know where there are certain email clients that just wouldn’t open it and so I just stopped but that’s good to know. So alright, Lou, thank you. This has been so good. I’ve got some notes and “Done is better than perfect.” So tell everyone a little bit about how they can connect with you and how they might want to work with you if they choose to.
Lou Bortone 19:59
Sure. Thank you. I do a lot of coaching, consulting, obviously around video marketing. And one of the things that folks have a problem with, as Brynne was pointing out is just what to say and ideas. So I have a 99-video ideas freebie that folks can get at Loubartone.com/99 and you can find some video ideas there. So there’ll never be anything to, you know, you don’t want to get on camera and be like, “Oh God, what was that.” You can get away with it in Facebook Live or if you’re doing an interview like this, so it will flow but you know, you really need to know, here’s the main point that I want to mention. And last little bit of advice, don’t forget to include a call to action in your video. (Brynne: I love that)
Bill McCormick 20:42
Great. And so can they connect with you on LinkedIn?
Lou Bortone 20:46
Yes, I’m on LinkedIn at Lou Bortone, you can email me at [email protected] and I just love helping people put themselves out there, especially introverts like me that have to kind of get over the hump of like, “Oh my God, I don’t want to see myself on camera.” And like I say, it’s not about the makeup. It’s about the message.
Bill McCormick 21:05
Great. Great stuff. So thanks so much. Lou Bortone, the camera shy video guy. Just really, really good stuff. And so make sure you reach out to Lou and get those free ideas. I think that’s great. So thanks so much for joining us, Lou and thank you for watching and listening to Making Sales Social! So we’ll see you on our next episode and as you’re out and about this week, don’t forget to make your sales social. Bye. Bye, everyone.
Bob Woods 21:33
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