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Social Media Commerce: Make YouTube Videos

Using social media, such as YouTube, to host videos that you post on your website or blog, can be a great way to build your business and your brand on the web.

To make videos for your own business, your budget can be as small (or as large) as you want. If your business needs to reflect fine production values, you may have to increase your budget. Here are the basics to get you started:

  • Camera: A camera that shoots in HD is best, although your files will be larger. If you’re just starting out, check the online reviews and get a low-cost (less than $100) digital video camera. Or if you really want to save money and already have a smartphone that shoots video, use that for your YouTube videos.

  • Tripod: An inexpensive tripod can hold your camera while filming.

  • Webcam: If you’ll be shooting your videos from your desk, get a good-quality webcam. Your computer may have come with a camera but it’s probably not a great one. Get an HD webcam and mount it on your monitor.

  • Microphone: A microphone makes a big difference when it comes to sound quality. You can choose from hundreds of types of microphones that connect to your computer via USB. You can use a headset such as the Plantronics Blackwire 435 headset and it’s almost invisible if you drape the wire behind your back.

  • Lighting: Overhead office lighting does not flatter anyone. If you’re filming in an office, try using additional side lighting to avoid unflattering shadows on your face.

  • Software: Basic video editors are bundled with both Microsoft and Apple operating systems. Windows Live Movie Maker (see figure) lets you add fades, titles, and fancy effects and still finish the job quickly. You can also upload videos to popular social media sites directly from Windows Live Movie Maker

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  • Practice: Study an outline of what you want to say before going on camera. If necessary, print some cheat sheets and stick them on the wall, where they will work like a teleprompter. Don't be concerned if you have a few retakes.

When filming a video, do your best and move on. Going down a rat hole with take after take will frustrate your efforts. Just do it, post it, and embed it on your blog. Mention your blog in social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

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