Video has been at the forefront of social media trends, often just evolving via the medium in which its shown. As a marketing tool it builds authenticity, engagement and can be used across multiple social media platforms. Whilst we’ve been recommending this tool as an important part of the communications mix for many years now, it’s particularly critical in times of a crisis.

We’re not going to sugar-coat the fact that we’re currently trading in uncertain times. After the devastation of the Australian bushfires over summer and now the pandemic of COVID-19, many businesses and consumers have been left reeling.

Small businesses in particular are now attempting to navigate their way through this murky time as they attempt to keep their businesses running and gather support to pay the bills. There is a clear trend on social media for restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels and wineries to share their hygiene practises and the action plans they have implemented to protect the health and wellbeing of its customers and staff. As more of the public heads indoors and lockdowns take place, we need to think of ways to stay top of mind for our customers. It’s never been more important to educate and entertain and video presents that medium to do so!

Video plays an integral role in generating customer engagement. It’s also a helpful tool that puts a face to a name for a brand and can help further the agenda of the content being shared. We’ve compiled a list of different ways on how you can utilise video to help communicate with your followers and continue to encourage the support from your loyal customers.

1) LIVE-STREAM VIDEOS

Going live on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, dependent on which platform holds your biggest audience, is a quick and easy way to interact with your social media following. It’s an authentic and unfiltered way of communicating with your community, whilst also cutting through the noise on social media feeds.

virtual-tasting innocent bystander

We recommend that prior to going live, you set up an event on Facebook to promote your live stream to encourage the largest audience possible. By using a live stream, viewers can ask you questions in real time that you can answer concurrently. This will help address some of their concerns and will give you the opportunity to reassure them that you are complying with the latest health and safety standards delivered by the government and health authorities. It also gives you the chance to encourage the support of your followers to continue to buy and support your business. It’s a human face to the brand where people can connect and see the authenticity behind what you stand for.

Some examples to consider:

If you’re a small hospitality venue, you may want to use live video to let followers in on behind-the-scenes or to continue the engagement if you’re having to temporarily close. You may wish to interview a knowledgeable staff member on their areas of expertise and let them tell their stories as a way of keeping the brand top of mind, or we’re seeing chefs share cooking videos to help educate their audiences.

We’re seeing many wine and food brands (check out our clients Best’s Great Western and Holm Oak on Facebook) who are running virtual tastings. A virtual tasting is when you host a tasting online, from your cellar door or brewery, that viewers can experience from the comfort of their own home.

One way to increase the participation rate is to create a sampler pack in advance for your customers to purchase and then get them to open at your scheduled tasting time. This not only facilitates trial and generates a small amount of additional revenue but gives consumers the chance to get involved with your brand.

FRI-YAY DRINKS EXAMPLE

The takeaway from here, is that in today’s climate you want to be transparent, reassuring and encouraging. Going live is a great way to cut through the noise currently traipsing through social media feeds and allows for one-on-one interactions with viewers as they can send through their thoughts and questions in real time. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to produce video content and requires very little equipment, as we would encourage you to film using your smartphone.

2) FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM VIDEO CONTENT

instagram ask us anything

Facebook and Instagram have some great tools you can utilise to bring your video content to life. We’ve already told you about the live feature available on these two platforms, but what else is there that you can use?

Instagram and Facebook stories are a quick and easy way to share up to date information and build community engagement. The best thing about stories is that they disappear after 24 hours, which means the content doesn’t need to be completely curated. There are many ways in which you can use this platform to share information and to drive brand awareness.

Instagram has a nifty feature where you can leave a comments bubble on your story where followers can send through their comments and questions. This gives you as a business owner or employee an opportunity to create short sharp video responses that help alleviate the pressure points your customers and followers are currently facing.

To encourage visitation, you could look at running a series of competitions on Stories. The competition could be something as simple as urging patrons to share videos of them visiting your premises and to tag you in their content to win a free coffee or go into the draw to winner a meal voucher. By leveraging your customer’s social media accounts, you are generating word of mouth and free content for your business. Your customers are also doing the hard work for you by highlighting to their followers that your venue is safe to visit. This will help drive foot traffic.

instagram stories delivery

Besides using your Stories to educate your audience with what measures you have taken in the face of COVID-19. An example for a bakery could be to share everyday content from a delicious delivery of croissants you’ve had, or your baristas working on their coffee art to the complimentary bath bombs you have stocked in your hotel room bathrooms. Don’t forget there is so much more that you can offer your customers then just reassurances about health and hygiene.

Get your followers excited about maintaining some of their daily habits or encouraging them to treat themselves for a day to uplift their spirits in such uncertain times. You can be the brand they escape to when they need to get away from all the negativity that’s online and in the media.

If you’re looking for a platform where you can share long-form videos, then Instagram TV (IGTV) might be the right thing for you. You can either share an unedited, captured in one shot video, or you may wish to put together something that’s more curated. Whatever feels right for your brand is the best way to move forward.

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INTRODUCING BLACKWOOD TAKEAWAY! Can’t imagine your day without your ritual Morning Glory or @sarahs_day Nourish Bowl? Well you can now enjoy your Blackwood favourites in the comfort of your own home! We will be offering our full menu to takeaway at a 10% discount from 7am – 3pm, 7 days a week! If you would like to place an order: pop by and order in store, check us out on @skipapp OR simply just call us on 9544 4857 to pre-place an order for pickup or have it specially delivered to your door by your favourite Blackwood faces @robert_lechowicz and @danielsorridimi (for a small fee of $5 😉) Keep an eye out on @ubereats_aus in the coming week as we will be joining the Uber world to offer the most convenient service for all our valued customers! Thank you all SO much for all your love and support in these unpredictable times! We will try our best to continue to provide the service and experience you all know and love about Blackwood Pantry, just in a different kind of way for now 🖤

A post shared by Blackwood Pantry (@blackwoodpantry) on

IGTV is on the rise in popularity and is expected to become a more popular video sharing service compared to YouTube. How can you use IGTV to help engage your community? Besides the aforementioned concepts of reassuring your community of your hygiene practices and running virtual tastings for wineries and breweries, there are a plethora of ideas that you could tap into. Restaurants and cafés could share recipes from their staff that use store cupboard staples. Some restaurants and small grocers stock essentials and could share their top five items a customer needs to pick up on their next shop. As these stores won’t necessarily be as frequently visited as major supermarkets, they could position themselves as being stocked and readily available for people. Hotels could film a tour of their facilities highlighting key features, such as bars and restaurants on the premises, introducing the friendly reception team and a hotel room tour. The possibilities are endless.

Other apps on offer from Facebook and Instagram include Boomerang and Hyperlapse. Boomerang makes mini videos by taking ten photos, stitching them together, speeding up the video and then looping it back and forth. Hyperlapse allows you to create smooth and professional-looking time-lapse videos. Some bars and restaurants have uploaded Hyperlapse videos of their staff cleaning down the venue after service. The video is accompanied with in-depth copy on how they are keeping their customers and staff safe. They are a fresh and different way of producing content that might be a bit more interesting for your audience.

Instagram and Facebook have become key players when it comes to producing and sharing video content. Have a look at their tools and see what you think would work best for your business. Your audience are hungry for information at the moment and you need to be in their minds and newsfeeds as a powerhouse for their needs, whether that’s support, community, education or entertainment.

3) TIKTOK

TikTok might not be right for every business, but if you attract a younger demographic this platform might be right for you. With individual’s hygiene standards on high alert many celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Gloria Gaynor and Nicole Scherzinger have turned to TikTok to upload themselves washing their hands to their iconic songs. Now lots of TikTok users are following on with their own versions of these videos.

You could use this platform to produce light-hearted content that could be more appetising for your online community. A great feature of TikTok is that you can download the videos you produce and share them on your Facebook and Instagram channels as this may be where majority of your social media audience live.

But what benefit does TikTok have for your business? Well, for one you’ll stand out from the crowd. A lot of businesses are putting out serious content about the impacts of COVID-19 on their business. You could rise above this and would be more favourable for social media users. You will also find that a lot of Australians are currently looking for a way to escape from the ‘doom and gloom’ of this pandemic and are sharing memes to help cope with the current situation. If your TikTok video is viral-worthy, then you can expect lots of engagement and sharing.

TikTok videos would be a great platform to use to encourage sharing and tagging from your followers, but we highly recommend that you share your TikTok videos on your other social media channels to really reap the benefits. These videos could be used as a driver to build your social media following and create leads. If you are unable to focus your attention on driving foot traffic to your venue or driving sales, now would be a great time to concentrate your efforts on creating new leads and relationships to nurture.

4) YOUTUBE FOR DIGITAL MARKETING

Your audience on YouTube may be small, or you may not even have a YouTube account, so why use this platform? Video content is on the rise, and more and more users are engaging with videography compared to imagery. The content you can share in video format is endless.

YouTube can be a useful platform to upload your video content to, and then embed in the emails you send out to your subscriber database. Email is an important part of the marketing puzzle when it comes to getting your messages and promotions seen by your customers. You are more likely to have your content read or viewed via email, compared to a post you make on Facebook or Instagram. So why not make your emails more informative and engaging by including video? It’s essential that a face is put to a name; it humanises your messages and can be a great way to remind your subscribers to support your business.

YouTube can be used as a selling tool for wineries and breweries. Adding videos of your winemakers or beer crafters doing tasting notes on products that consumers can buy online and adding them to your website, emails or Facebook page is an excellent revenue driver that could help alleviate some of the profits you are currently losing at cellar door. Other content could include virtual tours, history of the business, product or experience offerings still available, updates on how the team are coping with the latest news from health authorities and so much more.

We recommend that you use YouTube as a platform to upload your video content to and then share across your other communication channels.

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?

Now that we’ve got your head swimming with ideas and endless possibilities, where do you start? The first thing you need to do, is determine the purpose of your video; is it to entertain, inform or encourage visitation or sales? Then consider what format to best film your video, whether it be a live-stream or a short and snappy Instagram Story. You need to ensure that your video content is adding value for your followers and customers. Just remember that after the coronavirus is over, people will remember the businesses that helped them through a time of crisis.

If you would like some assistance or guidance on how you can make video work best for you, the Mastermind team are here to help. Please don’t be afraid to reach out to us – we’re here to support you.