GemReel Breakdown With Social Marketing Perspective

Success of a successful social media marketing campaign via the use of video – regardless of what metrics you’re measuring by – doesn’t come from a single viral video.

Rather, campaign success when using video comes from a systematic production of consistent SHAREABLE QUALITY content to a specific SOCIALLY ACTIVE target audience, however local or global they may be, over a set specific period of time, usually over a time span of 8-12 months. All the while ACTIVELY engaging the people you’re connecting with.

The other day I finished a GemReel in an effort to get some of the more socially active and technically savvy members of the AlMaghrib student community to slowly start getting involved in a new social marketing campaign.

In this this post feature the GemReel and a break down from a social marketing perspective.

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Regardless of how you want your brand to be perceived, the perception that people will have of you or your company will always be define by news and social media. People generally give trust and credibility to the third party. It’s for this reason, advertising – a message that comes for the organization – isn’t appropriate and publicity via news and social media will drive the marketing.

Understanding this principle, I decided to lay down a concept that would be socially viable and would allow for the students themselves to communicate how they felt about their experience with AlMaghrib attending Western Sunrise.


The presentation approach needed to be as technically and financially simple as possible so that even someone with no experience can knock out a similar video.

I used the following equipment:

  • Two consumer HD cameras with mic input ($250 – $300 each – used via ebay)
  • Two generic tripods ($30 each via BestBuy)
  • Sennheiser Shotgun Mic ($150)
  • Beachtek DSA-2S Audio adapter for levels control ($180)

Getting your hands on a couple cameras and tripods should by easy. The mic and adapter is where you may have to spend some money.

In addition to the visual concept, the idea was to get “local focus with global appeal”.

In an ideal setup, the people you capture on screen are diverse, emotionally engaging and socially connected. Although it’s a a great target to shoot for, it’s difficult to hit on the dot.

Everyone has a story to tell. Emotional engagement will be directly related to the questions asked. With that in mind, I focused on cultural and national diversity so a wide array of viewers can relate with the people on screen and to the stories told.

When it came to finalizing the concept, I didn’t want to have to spend more than an hour shooting and no more than a few hours editing.


Part of your preparation has to do with making sure the people who will be on camera are prepared.

The idea of shooting a testimonial based GemReel with a documentary flare, the people themselves have to be very familiar with the content of what’s being presented. Since I filmed the GemReel on the Sunday of the first weekend of the seminar, the people being interviewed have to:

  • Have attended the seminar from the beginning – Fri & Sat
  • Give their permission to be interviewed on camera and for what reason
  • Be given the questions before hand so they know exactly what will be asked of them and can formulate answers.

Spending the first couple of breaks in the morning is ideal to scout for subjects. By the time lunch rolls in, you’ll have about five to six people to interview. Some you’ll be able to interview before lunch, some during and some immediately after. Make sure you schedule accordingly.

Ask the right questions

The strength of the emotional engagement you’ll get from your subjects will depend on the strength of your questions. The following six questions is what I asked:

  • Were there any obstacles that would have prevented you from attending [seminar name]
  • What did you find as a result of coming/attending?
  • What specific feature did you like most about this class?
  • What are three other benefits you’ve gotten out of this seminar?
  • Would you recommend [seminar name] to others? If so, why?
  • Is there anything you’d like to add?

I want to give a shout out to Sean D’Souza for Six Questions to Ask for Powerful Testimonials article on Copy Blogger.

These questions are inherently story driven. At the end you’ll get a simply yet unique character’s from each of the subjects you interview.


In the future, I’m thinking it would make sense to have sisters also give their interviews where they share gems and stories. Women do make up majority of the AlMaghrib community student base. Also, it would be a good idea to shorten the video to be under five mins.

For those who decide to make their own GemReels, it’s very important that there is a level audible ambiance. Not only does the speech have to be clear (captured via mic) but it’s a good idea to bring up the ambiance with some subtle audio in the background.

I accomplished this via some of my vocal beatboxing (yes that’s my rhythm in the background) and layering that with a softened humming which I ripped, cut and stitched together from the AlMaghrib WebTV promo video.

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