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Leaning into digital should be the rallying cry for companies right now. Why? Studies show 80 percent of consumers have consumed more content since the coronavirus outbreak than they did before. What’s more, video is the type of content they want. It’s estimated that by 2022, 82 percent of all content creation will be video. By the end of 2020, the average person will watch 100 minutes of video content per day. Yes, people are hungry for content, they have time to consume it, and they’re in a space—most likely their homes—where they are free to consume it at will.
While many companies are focusing on the power of digital as a substitute for face-to-face events, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to turn to video as a general means of customer engagement, communication and retention during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are a few ways to incorporate video into your marketing strategy during this time.
Determine a Clear Goal
While video is hugely popular, that doesn’t mean it will always be “successful.” One study revealed that 45 percent of media teams have paused or stopped a video campaign midway in 2020. Why? Most likely because they hadn’t established a clear goal. To ensure that your video achieves the results you are looking for, make time before you create your video content to determine what your end goal truly is. Are you looking for simple engagement? Are you looking to retain customers you already have? Are you looking to share info about what your company is doing above and beyond the normal during the coronavirus fight? Make sure that those goals translate to video before you even send your campaign out the door. What’s more, be realistic. Consumer demand is down, period. This is a time to change your expectations about what they want and what they are able to give you during this time.
Make it Purposeful
Consumers are getting inundated with content right now. Clearly, everyone wants to tell their customers what they’re doing to keep their food, products, and employees safe during the crisis. That’s a good thing, in theory. However, research shows that 43 percent of consumers think the COVID-19 messaging they are receiving right now is too similar. Everyone seems to be copying and pasting the “rest assured, we’re doing everything we can …” line of communication, rather than speaking from the heart and differentiating themselves amidst the noise. I saw a funny post on Facebook the other day that said something along the lines of “Advertising before Coronavirus: Look at all these features, buy a . Advertising during Coronavirus: We care about you now look at all these features, buy a .”
How can you change that? Make sure that you have a true purpose to your communication. Even beyond having a business goal, your video needs to give something back to the customer. After all, digital is about customer experience. If your content is serving you, rather than your customer, it’s only going to cause irritation. Establish a clear way to engage, uplift, and support, or don’t send it at all.
Video is the most likely content to go viral. The only way to create that type of content is to be authentic to your brand. What is your brand’s personality? Oreo’s Stay Home. Stay Playful ad definitely put a smile on my face — and made me want to find some cookies. Budweiser’s One Team campaign tugged at my heart strings. But these reactions weren’t a big surprise coming from these two brands. The created content that felt like their brand and they did it all without directly calling out their product.
While these companies have huge budgets and probably big ad teams, the lesson here is how they used their voice. How can your business use its unique and authentic voice to create the kind of videos consumers don’t just watch, but purposely search for and share?
Be Smart with Your Budget
Okay so you’re not Budweiser or Oreo. Maybe you’re facing some cutbacks. Perhaps you had to follow Google’s lead and cut your marketing spend for the rest of the year. As a business, you need to realize: the marketing investments you make right now may not pay off in terms of sales. That’s why it’s so important to keep your budget in mind. Rather than creating huge studio numbers, use real people. Use Insta-stories. Film things on your phone and use software like iMovie to edit it. Point being: even though they are effective, they may not bring sales. So, invest in your video strategy smartly.
Focus on Mobile
During the shelter in place period, some 55 percent of people are getting their news from their mobile phones. Personally, I tend to do my work on the computer while doing my personal searches, social, etc. on my phone. That said, make sure your video content is mobile friendly. Consider the ease of streaming and download times. Consider which platform you use to upload it. For instance, Google, as owner of YouTube, does have some benefits. Its search is integrated across both platforms, so you get double your search power for the content you upload. These details make a huge impact when trying to make the most of your budget, as noted above.
Lastly, take a look around. The videos going viral during the … virus … are ones that bring people hope, information, and joy. They’re videos of doctors sharing calming words, people singing from their windows in support of their fellow neighbors, and even a demonstration on how to wear gloves properly. People want information and support. Period. If your company’s marketing videos can provide that in an authentic way, your company will be on the way to recovery.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.