I remember the first time our firm shot videos and hesitantly posted them online. Coming from the world of collections, this wasn’t something most in our industry were doing, or would even think of doing. The only videos our industry was used to seeing were the ones we viewed on television news programs as they chased down the bad actors in collections.
We created a YouTube channel, posted our first videos which were “get-to-know” videos of our partners and we were off and running in the digital age of public relations. Were we convinced it would work at first? I have to say no. But we soon got more comfortable, both with the idea of shooting videos and being on camera.
For many in the collection industry, a risk-adverse strategy has always guided them when it came to marketing and public relations. We acquired clients that need to get paid, we called their customers and tried to arrange for payment. Rinse and repeat. There was no need to tell the public about our business. And most of us felt we needed to fly under the radar.
But what if you changed your thinking? What if by opening your doors, you could improve almost every area of your business? From sales and marketing, talent acquisition and more importantly, the relationship between you and the consumer, opening the doors to your business is a smart move. There are a number of ways you can use a video camera and social media to improve all of the above. Here are four you do today:
1. Profile Videos
For many companies posting videos online, you only see senior management. That’s fine but everyone in your company has a story and should be given the opportunity to help your brand. In fact, it’s your people that will help to humanize your collection agency and help this industry as a whole. Give your team the spotlight. They are the ones contacting consumers and showing their human side. It helps give your clients confidence in your team’s abilities and can show a consumer that you’re not that different at all.
2. Educational Videos
Let’s put on our public relations hat for a moment. Companies that constantly promote themselves would rarely get any type of media attention. Because, quite frankly, who cares. Companies that have a philosophy of sharing their expertise and want to be known as a resource, would enjoy better chances of press coverage. It’s the same thing when developing a video strategy. Share your know-how with the world. Create videos that answer your client’s questions and concerns. Ask your sales team what questions your customers would like answered and let that be your guide.
3. The Real World
For years, various companies would pay tons of money to hire a video company, bring in an entire crew and create that slick professional corporate video, with carefully scrutinized scripts, messaging and clothing. Nothing could be out of place and creating the perfect video was the goal. Sure, they still have their place, but more and more people are much more receptive to that “off the cuff” video straight from your smart phone. And there are ample opportunities to shoot video. Did a consumer thank you for helping them? Did your client thank you for saving their business? Did you drop off a check to a local charity? Do you have some advice for consumers struggling? Fire up your cell phone, shoot a quick video and post it online for people to see.
4. Not Every Video Will Be a Hit
Let’s have a reality check here for a moment. You need to understand that not every video will get a ton of likes and comments. Some will take off and some will sit there with very few views. That’s just the way it works. You can help further your chances of more traction by getting your entire team behind your strategy. If they post a video, give it a like, comment or share. And ask them to do the same. The collection industry serves a vital purpose in business and the economy. It’s time more of us show the world that we’re human, we have a job to do and most of us like to have a little fun every now and then.
Jeff DiMatteo is a partner at American Profit Recovery based in Michigan and Massachusetts. He serves as the president of the New England Collectors Association and is a committee board member of ACA International.