The pandemic has thrust hundreds of thousands of small businesses (SMBs) into survival mode after tearing its way across the world for nearly a year. After minimizing capacity at physical locations, SMBs that have figured out how to boost their online presence through visual storytelling. The ones that have mastered the art of visual storytelling, are often the ones that have persevered and have success stories to share.

It’s important to note that simply because in-person interactions may have significantly reduced, brand-building and customer loyalty efforts don’t need to screech to a grinding halt. In fact, businesses that continue to communicate with their consumers during this bleak time have found that brand loyalty can not only be maintained – but increased. 

According to a recent study, 64% of small businesses consider video to be their most effective type of marketing. While the thought of having to learn how to make different kinds of video may seem daunting at first, it’s not. In this piece, you’ll find tips for SMB marketers who are considering dipping a toe into the world of video creation, as well as helpful resources that can make the process easy to navigate and execute upon.

Staying Authentic

As with any marketing and communications strategy, video content should be adapted to align with specific business goals – whether that be to grow an audience, maintain brand loyalty or promote products. Luckily, there are many different video styles that can be tapped to achieve these goals in order to avoid having your videos become repetitive, stale – or worse – inauthentic.

For example, while your primary goal may be to promote your products, you should keep sales pieces that only talk about why your business is amazing at a minimum. Today consumers are watching nearly 100 minutes of video a day and have become experts at sniffing out content that is purely promotional and self-serving.

For that reason, it’s absolutely crucial that small businesses use video to ensure that their true voice is shining through. Not only will this help you build an original brand online, but it will also help your video cut through the clutter. For example, a short “about us” video profiling a company employee who customers would have regularly interacted with in-person will help people remember why they loved shopping local in the first place.

Another option that will help your brand boost its credibility online are testimonial videos. Sharing testimonial videos is a form of word-of-mouth marketing, and people are more likely to trust others saying great things about your brand than you shouting it from the rooftops yourself. But remember, keep it genuine.

Ask your customers to share their stories about working with your business, how your company helped solve a problem for them and what their experience was like working with your team. Building these relationships will pay dividends for you and your business down the road.

Diversifying your Content to Create Real Value

When it comes to video, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. From company culture and testimonial videos, to videos geared for social media such as live streams and teaser videos, there are quite a few different styles that SMBs can experiment with. You can even use video as a learning platform to educate your customers and provide credible insights that highlight your expertise as a business owner.

No matter what style of videos you release, jam-pack them with as much valuable information for your customers as possible, and cut anything that isn’t relevant. In many cases, a video’s duration or production level isn’t directly correlated with how much your audience benefits from watching it.

For example, bite-sized how-to videos are a great way to quickly give customers the information they need by sharing tips on how people can use your product more efficiently or how to practice aspects of a service you offer. Just because the majority of customer interaction might not take place in-person right now, doesn’t mean your brand should lose its human touch when it comes to explaining how customers can get the most out of your service or products.

Always make sure that your videos include a call-to-action, so the viewer knows exactly what action they need to take after watching your video. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to make that journey easy and tangible for current and potential customers.

Breaking barriers to content creation

SMBs don’t have to enlist a costly production crew to create high quality videos for their website or marketing avenues. In fact, there are many online resources that can help inexperienced marketers create content that looks polished, even if they’re new to video editing.

Just like video, editing tools come in many different shapes and sizes depending on the style of video you’re trying to create and your level of experience. For example, Storyblocks Maker is a simple and fast editor that empowers people with little to no experience to create professional videos in minutes by offering pre-designed templates that will help get the creative juices flowing.

For those who have video editing experience under their belt, the Adobe Creative Cloud offers a slue of powerful storytelling tools that allows you to test out some more advanced techniques. For example, Adobe Premiere Pro enables you to splice together footage and audio clips and Adobe After Effects can help jazz up any video with visual effects and motion graphics.

If consistently creating video content sounds overwhelming, just remember to take it one step at time. Start by releasing just one video a month, on your website and social media platforms, and work your way up to at least one video a week. Remember, by approaching your in-house production capabilities as a long-term learning game, you’ll reap the benefits of video marketing in the long run. 

TJ Leonard is the CEO of Storyblocks, a different kind of content company delivering a fresh approach to a new generation of digital storytellers.

Online video stock photo by GaudiLab/Shutterstock