Molly Ploe

Once upon a time in 2019, marketers were excited and ready to allocate time and budget to creating engaging videos for their audience in 2020.

95% of video marketers said they planned on increasing their video spend in 2020, and 59% of non-video marketers said this would be the year they start, according to Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing report.

The same report found that 86% of people want to see more video from brands in 2020.

The survey was taken in December 2019, before many people in the U.S. had even heard of the coronavirus. But as people began scaling back travel and in-person interactions, video marketing became a casualty of the pandemic.

Here’s the thing: More people began watching videos during the pandemic. 87% of U.S. consumers say they’re consuming more broadcast TV, online TV streaming and online videos (like YouTube or TikTok), according to an April 2020 report from Global Web Index.

Most of them (76% of online video watchers) say they plan to watch just as many in the future as they did during the pandemic.

So, what’s a brand to do, when it’s clear that audiences are hungry for video content, but conducting a video shoot doesn’t exactly seem like the most socially distant choice?

The truth is, there are plenty of ways to add video to your marketing collateral, even while staying responsible, safe and healthy.

Here are some options for brands that want to build out their video library right now:

1. Host socially distant video shoots

It’s entirely possible to set up a video shoot that keeps everyone safe distances apart and with minimal exposure risk.

We know because we’ve done it – a few times this year, actually.

Before we start, we take a few preliminary steps to make sure the video shoot can be completed in the safest environment possible, like including COVID-19 testing in the process. We also schedule interview times and locations strategically to minimize the number of people in a single area at one time.

Once our video team is confident the project can move forward while keeping everyone healthy, it takes 4 steps to execute a socially distant video shoot:

1. Ask for local help

First, if the video shoot isn’t local to our videography team (based in Boston), we look for local production companies in the area to reduce unnecessary travel through airports and across state lines. Our video team communicates with them closely so they understand what we need, and what the client wants for the video. This keeps our quality consistent.

2. Remotely choose the setting

Using reference photos, our team will choose the best settings for the video shoot. Reference frames help them pick the most attractive interview spots and angles.

3. Remotely manage the video shoot

The interview of a live-action shoot is a critical aspect of a strong video, especially for testimonials, company culture promos or explainer videos. Our production crew remotely joins the video shoot to administer the interview. This keeps the narrative in line with client expectations.

4. Complete post-production from home

Once all the needed footage was captured, the local video production company turns it over to our in-house videography team. From there, our videographers work their magic right from home (where all of Brafton is working for the time being).

So, how do these socially distant video shoots turn out? Excellent, as always. See for yourself:

2. Live streaming and webinars

Not all live-action videos need full-on video shoots.

Webinars are a favorite video marketing tactic in the B2B world, with 63% of respondents to a Demand Generation survey saying they’d share their information to attend a webinar. Plus, 64% said they’d spend 20-60 minutes watching a webinar to research a B2B purchase.

A webinar doesn’t need a ton of set-up once you’ve created the content and chosen a platform. We’ve liked using GoToWebinar, if you need a recommendation, and we talk all about how to host a webinar here.

Live streaming video is also an option for B2B and B2C audiences alike. These let you get really personal with your audience, allowing for a real back-and-forth conversation.

Nearly one-half of marketers use live video, according to Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Facebook Live is the top choice among those who use this tactic, though YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms also offer live streaming options.

3. Create animations

Animations are video marketing staples, and they’re perfectly doable from many miles away. Plus, they’re ideal for explaining complex or intangible concepts. Or making something entertaining for a holiday or special event.

What’s more, they’re highly versatile. You can share them on social media (any platform – they’re even great content for LinkedIn), or embed them into your blog pages. Use them as rich media in your advertising campaigns, and more.

4. Lean on user-generated content

Finally, try taking advantage of user-generated content. Encourage your audience to submit or share video or photo content, ask their permission to use it, and start creating content that doesn’t just excite your audience, but celebrates and highlights them.

UGC is often an exercise in careful social media marketing, such as hosting a photo contest or using a hashtag to jumpstart a conversation. Get creative with your calls for UGC, and get creative with your use of it.

Here’s an example of a video we created for one of our clients by splicing in employee-generated smartphone footage:

Video shows you’re there & that you care

Video is an incredibly humanizing method of marketing. When you create videos for your audience – especially live-action or livestream video – it puts a face to your brand name. It shows that your company is made up of real human beings who care about the same things your audience does.

Now, more than ever, marketers cannot lose sight of the importance of video marketing. Use these methods to connect with your video-watching audience.