The usefulness of video for social media in my work context

The concept of alternative medicine for pets is becoming more mainstream.  The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association currently lists over 800 clinics and individuals in the USA and Canada that provide a wide range of services for animals including chiropractic care, massage, Bach flower remedies, herbal medicine, acupuncture, crystal healing, colour therapy, and Reiki to name just a few.

Although awareness of these treatment modalities for both people and pets is growing all the time, I still found only a handful of videos specifically pertaining to animals.  While some of the ones I watched were much more informative and helpful than others, these still amounted to a very small number. There is definitely a large need for quality videos on the topic of holistic healing for animals.

I believe that posting short videos on my website would be a great way to introduce my services, famous-dog-names-cute-movie-doganswer frequently asked questions, provide customer testimonials, and educate the public in general about holistic health care options for animals.  While some people enjoy reading blogs or short articles, others would be more likely to watch a brief video that both informs and entertains. I feel that putting my information out there in numerous formats, from blog posts to podcasts to videos, allows people to access information via their preferred medium and will therefore reach a broader audience.

I also feel that, depending on the topic, videos can be more helpful that written articles because you can actually demonstrate a technique versus describing it in an article or podcast. It gives people the opportunity to see something for themselves in a tangible way.

Overall it is my opinion that videos have the potential to be very useful to me in promoting the work that I do.

My Thoughts on Creating a Video

After watching and evaluating several videos on my chosen topic, I felt armed and ready to proceed. However, I soon realized I didn’t have some of the items I would like to include in the video. Instead I switched to another subject that didn’t require much in the way of props and I felt would be easier to do at this time.

I wrote a script and recorded it with Audacity. After editing it I ended up with an audio file just over 5 minutes. I did some searching on Flickr and had trouble finding appropriate photos with an attribution license, so I used some of my own and asked friends for photos as well, since stock images were out of my budget. I also asked my husband to photograph me demonstrating some techniques. Next I created a series of slides in PowerPoint. Finally I just had to pull the PowerPoint and audio together.

movie reelUnfortunately my 7-year-old laptop with Windows Vista did not work with Camtasia. I investigated Jing and ScreenR, which both looked good but had a limit of 5 minutes for screen captures. Since my audio was slightly over 5 minutes, I knew this wouldn’t work. In the end I used a free online program to covert each slide to a JPEG and then imported them to Windows Movie Maker. I added the audio, and got the pictures timed to sync with it, and YAY, I finally had a video!

I was disappointed at what happened, though, to the quality of the pictures in the slides with the conversion, and the special effects I had created in PowerPoint didn’t transfer over properly to the JPEG files. So in future, I hope to have access to a more up to date operating system that will give me additional options for improving the quality.

Overall, I found there were several time consuming steps in creating a video (at least with the methods that I used)! Nevertheless, I was glad to stumble my way through the process. I think there is a lot of room available in my niche market for quality educational videos, and now that I have learned some of the necessary skills, I look forward to updating my technology so that I can help to fill this gap.