Updated: Nov 13, 2020
What stops you from scrolling past a post on social media? A friends smiling face can almost always stop that automatic scrolling, maybe bright color, a beautiful landscape picture (heavy on sunshine and rolling waves). Most of the time a video will cause me, and most likely you, to stop and take a look even for a few seconds. A video popped into my LinkedIn feed the other day and caused me to stop, not just for a few seconds but for much, much longer.
The video I came across starts with a woman sitting in the trunk of her SUV with the rear door closed. The door pops open, and Erica, complete with white and purple hair, begins presenting a product line. She is a sales rep for a tile distributor. I watched the entire video (several times), then her other two on her LinkedIn profile. At forty or so seconds, they are perfect for a quick watch. The video quality is good, which is to be expected, given the unbelievable cameras we all carry in our pockets. What stands out is the location - the back of her car. She explains it in her first video: she missed her car and her clients, so this just seemed like the right place.
I have to admit I was intrigued by this video and went so far as to message her on LinkedIn and asked to speak with her. I really wanted to understand how she came to start #tiletrunkshow
Erica’s job isn’t the same right now, and won’t be for who knows for how much longer. As a sales rep, one of the most important parts of her job is seeing customers and potential customers, delivering tile samples, visiting architecture and design firms and introducing new products. What does that look like when you can’t leave your house? Erica said she spent some time scrolling through all of her social media looking at what all of the other sales reps were doing to promote their product lines, presentations in their home office, or maybe at the kitchen table but given her home in LA is filled with family that really didn’t seem like a great solution. As a rep she spends tons of time in the car visiting clients, delivering samples so why not climb into her SUV and do a little demo.
She clipped three lights to a rolling clothes rack, set her phone on a tripod, and had her husband start the camera and shut the door. She said the first one took a few takes, she had a script written but it was too long and you could see her eyes tracking the words on the whiteboard. After a few tries she put away the script and just went for it. Her goal was to create something sincere and genuine, a video that her existing clients would recognize as exactly her.
She said the hardest part was getting started. Simply setting up the shot, the lights and camera and getting the presentation right was challenging since she hadn’t done something like this before. After that was overcoming the fear of posting the video on her LinkedIn account. She obviously overcame the technical issues, the wild parrots that sometimes interrupt her filming, and the fear because I saw her video on my timeline. Her first video has more than 5,000 views on LinkedIn, which is impressive and her other follow up videos have similar results. She is staying in front of her customers in a unique way, and in a way that is authentic to her, which is a huge reason it is resonating with customers, colleagues, and others.
The one thing I learned in my call with Erica was that, like most people who create successful content, she didn’t set out to create something amazing. She didn’t set a goal of making something viral or wildly popular; she just wanted to stay in touch with customers and share her knowledge.
You can do the same thing. Start with something you want to tell your customers or potential customers. Do you have some unique knowledge to share, or insight into trends, or maybe even a product to demo? Prop up your phone or laptop on a pile of books, test out some lighting, and start recording. It will take a few tries but you might be surprised what you come up with.