Throughout the course of my typical week, I talk to all kinds of individuals and businesses hoping to succeed online with video, including a lot of small businesses. Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses think they're "too small" for video. With a local focus and a local customer base... what can online video do for little old me?

The answer, of course, is endear your customers to you, strengthen your relationship with them, and drive new customers from your area who are intrigued.

Tell Your Small Business Story With Video

Let's take Bamboo Sushi as an example--only because I recently tried (and failed) to convince a sushi restaurant client of mine to get involved with video. Actually, we'll take Bamboo Sushi as our example because the video's amazing (the other reason is just a bonus for me). Check out The Story Of Sushi, a short film telling the story of Bamboo Sushi in a way that entertains, informs, and advertises:

As entertaining content begins to replace more traditional ads, many companies are finding success through documentary filmmaking. Even short documentary films, when well shot and well edited, can suck an audience in and keep them engaged.

One suggestion I do have for Bamboo Sushi: I'm impressed by your choice to use Vimeo for The Story Of Sushi, but there's no reason you can't also add the video to your YouTube Channel--which currently has no videos at all on it. You can reach viewers there that won't find your awesome video if it's on Vimeo alone.

  • Sandy Denny Frey

    I sure would like to have clients with a budget for this kind of production! The fact is-they don't. This is a nice video but totally unrelated to small business web video production.

  • Ivan Nelson

    I agree with Kelsey, this is not the right example of a video that will get the buzz going for a small business. On the other hand, I can see a shorter version of this video being used to organize a grassroots effort against corporate fishing.

  • Stephen Goldberg

    Most small businesses could never afford this kind of production.

  • Kelsey Zirkle

    I very much agree that small businesses can benefit the most from the use of online video. However, this is a very poor example. The average user will stop watching after 1 minute or less. This video is not engaging, it does not relate to the actual business until almost 3 minutes in, and after struggling through watching the entire thing, I still learned almost nothing about this restaurant. I think this is a perfect example for small businesses of what NOT to do with online video.

  • Grant Crowell

    Great video for both technical execution and storytelling, but I think they could be more effective with doing a much shorter and faster paced version, and then letting audiences click a link if they want to watch the longer-version format. Also, this is clearly going to be outside the budget of most sushi restaurants that aren't on the franchise level. My recommendation would be to have the actual owners or friendly faces at a sushi restaurant to explain the process and can use still photos or stock footage as a scaleable solution.

  • Bill Thomas

    Is this supposed to make me want to eat seafood? Because it doesn't... about 2 minutes in and I have no idea what the message is or who it's for or who it's from. What a waste of money.

  • Ray Pawulich

    I may be biased here but why not post the video on their own site to better drive conversions and engagement with the brand?

  • Joe Sabia

    youtube would just split viewcounts. good strategy would be to upload onto YouTube only once viral spread has ceased. That way it doesn't confuse bloggers/tastemakers from posting the lesser viewed video over the more trafficked one.