Is user-generated video the future of marketing?

We spoke to Seenit, the video collaboration tool that’s revolutionising content creation by turning your employees, consumers and followers into your film crew.

Today, 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool; an 18% rise from last year. If you’re one of these businesses then it’s likely you rely on external resources, like a marketing agency or freelance creative types, to create your video content. But now, businesses have a new way of getting the video content they need to build their brand and products.

Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, everyone is a content creator, whether they think of themselves as that way or not. And making the most of that insight is video collaboration tool Seenit. We spoke to founder, Emily Forbes about why she decided to set-up a video marketing business and how it allows businesses to get access to unique, personalised video content – for less than they thought.

What does Seenit do?

Through Seenit, companies can produce educational and inspirational videos at scale by engaging their communities from around the world. We put much more structure and curation into our user-generated content than traditional production. And, although we currently focus on large enterprises, we’re looking at a lighter version of the product and how we can launch into the SME market in 2019.

What inspired you to start Seenit?

When I was in Cape Town, working as a documentary film maker, I went to film a huge protest. But, as soon as I got to the crowd, everyone was already filming on their cameras and phones. They were so passionate, knowledgeable and opinionated about the subject, I thought, “why am I trying to tell their story?” I ran around the crowd and told them to send me any content they had, I’d then edit a bigger story and send it back to them. I had the idea that, together our message will be stronger.

When transforming your idea into a business, what challenges did you face?

I’d never set up a business before and I didn’t fully understand technology. I ended up pitching and went to an accelerator programme called Collider, which offered amazing support – everything from introductions within businesses to raising your first funding round. It was the kick-start I needed to start my business.

How does user-generated content give brands a distinctive voice?

If you’re enabling your own employees to become your content creators, that’s going to speak a thousand words as to what your culture is, who your people are and what your values are. People don’t want to just buy products from a business; they want to know the backstory. When they find this out, they connect with them at a much deeper level, which is what builds brand trust and relationships. So, if you can bring your employees together, from across the world, to be your brand ambassadors, you’ve basically got the most powerful influencer at your fingertips.

How does producing video like this benefit small businesses?

One is authenticity – audiences view genuine people in genuine situations. And two, if you’re trying to collect content from multiple locations as a small business, it’s incredibly expensive and time consuming to try and organise that level of production. Small businesses need to take advantage of the fact that everyone has a HD camera in their pocket and is a content creator. Creative confidence is sky-rocketing to the point where, every scroll on Instagram is subconsciously training you on how to be a film maker, frame a shot, build a narrative and speak to camera. So, tapping into this knowledge is essential for brand communication.

How would you convince a business that’s apprehensive about trying out crowd video?

Something that we’ve come across is, people think the video quality is going to be really low and think, “how are we going to create branded content on a phone?” But what’s really transforming is the definition of quality. If you create reactive content with people who are going to relate to a wide audience and tap into a global-to-local aspect, the potential engagement is so much higher than one global video, set in a corporate setting. Through Seenit, we’re creating videos all over the world, with people speaking in their local dialects, without sending cameras to every city – and all with a very quick turnaround.

What advice do you have for hopeful entrepreneurs?

One of the most important things to understand is, good ideas can come from anyone, at any time. I was really nervous to talk about my idea at the beginning because I was convinced that everyone would hate it. But, all that does is trap you in your own thoughts. You just have to go out there, get talking and build your network.

Want to gain a better understanding of the start-up scene? Check out the article here and find out what SMEs can learn from this innovative way of doing business.