MF 044.5 : The Last Minute Holiday Greeting Card Hack (Bonus episode)
In this holiday bonus episode, John Lim shares a greeting card hack that will save you time while providing a quick and fun way for you to send meaningful holiday greetings. By the time you listen to this episode, it may be too late to get those physical greeting cards out in the mail on time but rest assured there’s an easy, fun and simple way to let someone know you’re thinking of them: video greeting cards.
Equipment: you need a device with video capability (smart phone, tablet, laptop w/ cam, digital camera) + social media (today we’ll cover Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as good old fashioned email).
Step 1: Create the Greeting
Record your holiday greeting on video. You can direct it to an individual, a special group (eg college or grad school friends) or to all of your connections on social media. The video doesn’t have to be fancy nor does it have to be lengthy. But most of all, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Do not script it out and do not overthink it. Make it natural and conversational; pretend you are speaking directly to the person. A simple holiday greeting, even if it’s 10 or 20 seconds can mean a lot to the recipient. If you need some guidance, break it down into three parts: 1) your holiday greeting (“Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” etc.”), 2) share a piece of reflection or something that you want to share that happened in your life, and 3) share a fond memory you have with the recipient. Simple as that. Ideally the video should have you facing the camera. Seeing your face and your expression along with hearing your voice, will really allow the recipient to feel like they are connecting with you, especially if it’s someone you haven’t seen in a long time. However, if you are not quite ready to show your face on camera, you can film a beautiful backdrop and record your voice over it: point the camera to something that celebrates the holiday season: a snowfall out of your window, the cracking fire of a fireplace, even a holiday painting or a lit candle. The beauty of video, unlike a still photo, is that it will capture the motion of whatever scene you are recording.
Step 2: Share the Greeting
Share the video either through social media or email.
Facebook: upload the video just as you would a photo: you can do this directly from your phone or tablet. Facebook loves video and it will show up in your friends and followers’ feeds and start playing automatically. Once your friends see this, they can click on it to open it with sound. The other great thing about Facebook is that you can control who receives the message. If your video greeting is directed to a specific person or a group of individuals, Facebook’s privacy settings are right on the post processor so you can specify one person or a group of friends. You can also just share it with all of your friends if you want to create a general greeting for everyone. If you have a Facebook business page, video greetings are a great way to express your appreciation for your fans and followers.
Instagram: this one is even easier to use. If you have an Instagram account, simply click the photo button then choose the video camera icon. Instagram allows you to create short videos which you can then share with your followers and friends. Instagram also gives you several snazzy filters so you can quickly spruce up your video. The other nice thing about Instagram is that you can either share the video with all of your followers or direct it to specific individual(s). So you can create multiple personalized greetings. Finally, Instagram allows you to share the video instantly with Facebook: it’s defaulted to your personal page but you can change it to post to a business or branded Facebook page in settings. If you use both Instagram and Facebook, creating the video greeting on Instagram gives you a two-fer to share it on both. Instagram also allows sharing with other social media platforms as well.
LinkedIn/Email: if you are using LinkedIn to send a video greeting or email, video greetings are a great way to stand out, especially when it comes to business contacts. Create the video as in step two and then upload the video to either a YouTube or Vimeo account. Both services have several privacy options so you don’t have to worry about it being shared with the wider public if it’s a private message meant for one person. Once you have uploaded the video, grab the link and send it to your recipient(s) by LinkedIn message or email. If it’s a general greeting, you can post it as a LinkedIn status update. If you want to add a little twist to this, embed the video into a QR code and send the code so individuals can scan it with their phones to open up the message. This adds a little extra mystery and fun to the video greeting. There are many apps for IOS and Android that will create QR codes, quickly and easily, including Red Laser and Zapper.
Special Effects (Optional):
Just creating a video greeting is enough to let someone know you’re thinking of them and how much they mean to you. But if you want to add some special effects, here are a few easy-to-use apps that will give your video greeting that extra holiday pop.
Splice: a very simple to use video editor that allows you to put titles and transitions. This is what I used to create the title screen in my video greeting to Moving Forward listeners.
Intro Designer Lite: A very cool app for creating animated intros and outros with music and titles. This is what I used to create the snowglobe outro in the holiday video greeting.
Video Star: If you want to create a holiday music video, this is a great app that allows you to add music and cool overlays (including a snowfall).
FxGuru / Action Movie FX: These apps allow you to add special effects to your videos. The second was created by Star Wars: The Force Awakens director, JJ Abrams and includes some great new effects from the film!
Remember, you don’t need to be fancy or go overboard with your holiday video greetings. A simple point-record-upload is more than enough to convey your holiday greetings and it will mean a lot to the recipient.