When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, event management company JDC Events quickly pivoted from producing in-person experiences to helping clients create virtual events.
“The first thing we did was build a webinar series to teach people how to develop virtual events, and to help our company become thought leaders in the space," says Jennifer Collins, the company's president and CEO.
JDC Events is among many small business using video more often this year. Many others have upped their video content creation since the pandemic forced them to alter how they do business. Whether using video for meetings that used to take place in person, moving fitness classes to Zoom, or creating video FAQs, they're joining the 85% of businesses using video as a marketing tool.
Here are some of the innovative and pandemic-inspired ways small businesses are using video content to connect with customers today.
Personalized property tours
Offering video property tours is a no-brainer for real estate salespeople and rental property managers, but some are taking it to a new level. Because many of his clients are reluctant to visit homes in person, John Gluch, founder of Gluch Group, identifies features they're most interested in and creates custom property videos that zero in on those interests.
“If privacy is of concern, I can easily swap the camera to forward-facing and show them the vegetation or the fence lines of the backyard and so forth," he says.
Retailers in areas where officials advise against in-person shopping might follow the lead of Indiana jeweler Moriarty's Gem Art. Just two weeks into the crisis in the spring, the company started livestreaming product showcases.
“Not only has it helped us stay connected with our customers, it has generated a ton of sales," says marketing manager Jeff Moriarty. "It has been so successful that we have continued it, even with our store now being open."
Personalized customer service
Savvy businesses are creating custom videos for customers with questions or for those who need one-on-one instruction.
“If a client is experiencing difficulties with a document or process, I can record myself while navigating my mouse or the platform's dashboard and share these videos directly with the client," Gluch says. He uses Loom, a free screen-capture tool.
Because meeting with clients in person to review data is now difficult, Kyle Vamvouris, CEO of sales advisory firm Vouris, creates video reports with screen-capture software Berrycast. He sends them before virtual meetings so clients have time to review the analysis.
“We are now able to shorten the amount of time needed to go through the results, and our Zoom brainstorming session isn't taken over by data analytics," he says.
TV news publicity
To call attention to a product giveaway, Layer Origin Natural Supplements sent a press release to local TV stations. A Fox affiliate wanted to cover the story but couldn't report on-site because of the pandemic. Layer Origin co-founder Beau Berman's solution? He used his smartphone to shoot “B-roll"—behind-the-scenes footage without sound—and answered a reporter's questions on camera using Zoom.
“I'm confident that had I not offered the Zoom video interview and the pre-packaged B-roll, the TV station would not have covered the story," Berman says.
Social media content
Because they can't connect in person, small businesses are generating engagement by creating and sharing more videos on their social media accounts.
Huan, a company that makes smart tags to help locate missing pets, started posting more cute and funny animal videos and customer-recorded video testimonials on its Facebook page and Instagram account. The goal, says founder Gilad Rom, is to help people feel less isolated during the pandemic.
“Our brand is rooted in our shared community of people who love their pets and, by sharing these videos with our followers, we have helped bring everyone closer together in these troubled times," he says.
Video makes good business sense
While many businesses are creating more video content today to help replace in-person interaction, it makes good business sense in a post-pandemic business world, too. Video improves search engine results, and Wyzowl reports that 83% of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads.
Whether you add video to your blog posts, use it to answer questions, or even create a video newsletter, start using video content to connect with customers and prospects in new and engaging ways.