Don’t be afraid to use homemade online video in your marketing, especially after COVID-19

It’s no longer the B2B world or B2C world, it’s P2P: Person to person. And even though social distancing rules for COVID-19 kept us all at home, they did not leave us disconnected. People spent more time in video calls, online meetings and other forms of low-fi online video than ever before. That’s changed their expectation for brand video, which has also made it a lot easier to connect via this traditionally intimidating channel on a more modest budget. 

Anybody Can Make Video, And Now Everyone Knows It

No channel got a bigger boost from the pandemic than online video. Internet usage itself climbed 70%, and video streaming took up more of it than ever. The New York Times found that Facebook, Netflix and YouTube website sessions all rose more than 15%. More impressive, though, was the finding that Zoom, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts all more than doubled. 

It’s not just that web usage spiked, it’s all of those video-first channels. People have spent their time at home not just browsing the web and social media, but finding stuff to watch, film and broadcast. We all learned to use video to connect in a more personal way than was ever possible via the phone or messaging.

Online video is the face of the 2020 Internet, and it will continue to play that role long after COVID-19 passes. It has allowed us to maintain a human connection with  our colleagues, neighbors, friends, dates and favorite brands through this time. Online video is the next best thing to seeing these people in person, and It has proven itself as a powerful way to build relationships and trust. 

This is a great opportunity for brands to leverage video in a new way that will build stronger connections with customers during the pandemic and in the future.

Authenticity is paramount. All of the facades have been stripped away by COVID-19, and people value realness. Be authentic, be honest, be helpful to your audience.

Effective Online Video Is Easier Than Ever

The online video genie is out of the bottle, and your brand has to be ready for the world it’s created: A world in which video is both more pervasive, but where it’s foibles are also more easily forgiven. 

Even before COVID, publishers and brands were finding that less polished, more earnest videos performed pretty well in online channels. Here’s a look at online video research The Guardian did to develop its video strategy. On Instagram, they found that videos that took a lot of work and high production values didn’t do nearly as well as simple slide graphics and reporters talking to the camera.

Since COVID-19, this trend has grown. We’ve all now had dozens of online meetings with less than perfect camera angles, lighting and sound — to say nothing of connectivity issues. But perfect was never the point. The point was to get together and be able to see and understand people better. 

More and more, online video during COVID-19 has been used to build trust and maintain relationships. It was, and it will continue to be, more important to make the effort than to present a perfect video. 

Online brand video, especially on social media, is really about building trust. And, frankly, we all know from years of commercial exposure that slick ads aren’t trustworthy. That’s why there are diminishing returns on the polish of your online brand videos. What you say and how you say it is much more important than how you shoot it. 

Shooting with a camera phone or webcam is fine. Make sure it’s watchable, practice so you can deliver the dialogue in a smooth and natural tone, keep the camera steady, and use the best background, framing and lighting you can. In other words, TRY to make it the best video it can be. If video wasn’t an area of investment for you before, don’t start by hiring a director and buying a $6,000 camera. Instead, find the guy in your company who shot a great candid wedding video on his smartphone and see what you can do together. 

Make something earnest that will help your audience understand who you are while you tell them about something important, or while you just entertain them. The effort you make to connect and build trust is the important part. If you put in that effort, you’ll be rewarded with an engaged audience.

Have Faith in Your Selfie

Your story, your face, and your voice matter to the people you’re trying to reach. They want to see and hear from you. We spend so much of our lives watching top-notch studio productions that we sometimes forget the value our own stories and insights have with our audiences. No one can tell your brand’s truths the way you can. Have faith in that. Your target audience will respond.

It’s important to take this on now because customers will be looking for your videos during this trying time. In fact, we feel video is one of the most important factors to companies rebounding through COVID-19, and we talked about its role in that process during our recent webinar. If you’re wondering how your business is going to come back from COVID and what part video can play in your recovery, check out that video. 

If you have a video strategy you want to talk about, or need help making it happen, we’d love to chat. Contact us to find out how Propelo can help you get ready for the COVID recovery.