#106: How to Use Video to Connect with Your Audience, with Anita Kwan

Today’s guest is Anita Kwan, from Columbus, Ohio. Anita is the owner of a video production company called Reel Hoot. Her mission is to hold a safe and inclusive space in video production while having fun. She helps women, people of color and LGBTQ+ businesses thrive with video strategy and marketing content.

Connection is important to Anita. She co-runs an online community called PB&Qs, which stands for Professional, Business and Queers. This community hosts monthly events for women, trans and non-binary professionals looking to network and grow professionally. Look for a link

Anita started Reel Hoot Productions about five years ago after getting laid off. When her business took off quickly, she stopped looking for a full-time job.

Because she is focused on live video, Anita’s business took a big hit when the pandemic arrived in the U.S. in spring 2020. However, while the pandemic took away her ability to film, she quickly pivoted to provide services to client. She could still use her editing skills, and she embraced her creativity, using stock images or whatever assets a client had, such as photos or short videos on their phone. 

Now, in summer 2021, she’s been able to meet in-person with more people and also embraces shooting outdoors as needed.

Videos are some of the best ways to reach your audience because they are an automatic attention grabber. It’s a great way to take your audience on your journey and build a connection.

Anita encouraged us to ask ourselves: When is video right for my business and why? Who is my audience? You need to be able to answer those questions before you decide to create a video.

Anita says, “I can create a great video for you, but if you don’t have a plan, if you don’t know who your message is going to reach, if you don’t know who your audience is, then it’s just going to be a video with no eyes on it.”

Anita talks us through the array of platforms—Instagram, Facebook Live, YouTube, etc.—and how to choose between them.

Choosing social media video options depends on who you want to reach and on your personality. Some people love doing live video while others prefer to record it first.

Consider how you can repurpose your videos. You can “chop up” a longer video into shorter bits to share on time-limited platforms such as Instagram Reels or Tik-Tok. Anita explains the difference between Instagram photo posts, Stories and Reels and how each works best. Stories is often more the day-to-day sharing and a way to build consistent content. Stories only lasts 24 hours, so don’t worry about the production too much.

Anita believes we should be authentic online and in videos. The “professionalism” demeanor some freelancers think they have to uphold at all times does not mean they can’t talk about their personal lives or how they are feeling about their business or life. For example, businesses and people who were only posting about business during the pandemic came across as “non-human.” They were not connecting to people and recognizing how difficult life was for most people.

The type of video will depend on your goals and your messaging. Anita walked us through a couple of types: branding videos to introduce your business; behind-the scenes videos to show your personality and/or process to build trust and credibility; educational or how-to videos to share your expertise.

A common misconception about video is that it’s easy to create a video, but Anita says a lot of videos are too long, don’t have a direct storyline, are boring, or have poor lighting. A well-produced video follows a three-step process: pre-production (planning), production (filming) and post-production (editing).

The good news is that video is more affordable than ever. And production quality isn’t the top priority for your audience, as we learned during the pandemic when everyone had to make their own videos at home.

If you’re uncomfortable with being on video, Anita says we need to be easier on ourselves. It’s OK to fumble your words, to not look perfect. Get comfortable with being authentic and vulnerable. We are often our own worst critics.

Anita also talks about audio and lighting options and best practices.

To brainstorm on what videos to create, watch a lot of other videos. See what you like about them and draw inspiration from those.

Biz Bite: Find a community to get involved in.


Anita’s business, Reel Hoot Productions: www.reelhootproductions.com

Anita and Reel Hoot on Instagram

Anita’s community: Professionals, Business, & Queers (PB&Qs)

PB&Qs on Instagram

Dollar Shave Club’s 2012 hilarious and low-budget branding video

How Dollar Shave Club used video to grow to a $1 billion exit (2020 article)

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