By Nicole Murray
In today’s tech-dependent world, businesses are utilizing various electronic/digital tools to engage with consumers and generate brand awareness. One of those technologies is video. Thanks to advanced cell phone technologies as well as GoPro devices along with traditional video recording equipment, businesses have many tools at their disposal.
However, as we have seen via countless postings on Facebook, YouTube and various websites, not all video is created equal. Most of what we view online today is quite amateurish, actually. The end result is a turned-off customer (or potential customer)—precisely the opposite of what was intended.
So, what’s a business—particularly a local flooring retailer—to do to remedy this while leveraging video technology to their advantage? Following are some valuable tips from experts in the field.
Tip #1: Just do it!
Experts say it is not necessary to hire a professional videographer to film and edit videos. Most people already have the necessary tools at their fingertips. “Your mobile phone has the same capabilities as a professional camera,” said Stephen Caldow, director of marketing at Leap Tools, maker of the Roomvo video technology.
Caldow added that high production value is not often necessary. “Consumers are looking to learn about your company and if it would be like to do business with you,” he said. “The bells and whistles will only distract.”
John Palmar, chief experience officer at Shay Marketing, noted that hiring a professional can sometimes work against you. “An overproduced product loses authenticity, and people will tune out,” he explained.
Tip #2: Be yourself
Online videos give retailers an opportunity to not only showcase their products and services to both existing and potential customers, but they also provide an opportunity to reveal who they are as people. And in a relationship business such as flooring, consumers are more inclined to do business with people they like.
“People find it endearing if your kids or pets are included in these videos because it shows that you are just regular people vs. some big company executive,” said Lisbeth Calandrino, retail consultant and FCNews columnist who regularly shoots videos as part of her audience engagement. “Don’t make video content thinking you are just a flooring store. Show the mothers, fathers, husbands and wives that keep your operation running because people want to buy from people.”
Tip #3: Maintain consistency
There is no set formula that determines how often a company should post video content, but there is one key component that must be executed to achieve success: consistency.
“Set a schedule and stick to it,” said Jay Flynn, vice president of Creating Your Space, a firm that specializes in providing digital solutions for retail businesses. “Consistency is going to be key because it will take some time for you to see the payoff.”
For Calandrino, it’s all about conditioning the audience. “The goal is to have the audience looking for your content before it is posted,” she explained.
When setting up a schedule, also keep in mind that posting too much can overload the consumer and diminish your content.
“Posting once a week is more than enough,” Shay Marketing’s Palmar suggested. “Think of those people who you constantly see on your newsfeed. The number of likes, comments and shares are minimal because they are too easily accessible.”
Tip #4: Select the optimal time to post
Experts say video content should be posted in the middle of the week due to people’s browsing habits. “Post your videos Tuesday through Thursday,” Palmar said. “Everyone is playing catch up on Monday, and people tend to tune out on Friday. This three-day time slot is when people are in the middle of their daily routine and will want to take a break to watch your videos.”
In addition, it is best to post any new content in the morning; this way, when consumers sign on, the content is waiting for them to view.
“You want to post your videos between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. EST,” Palmar stated. “You want to catch the crowd of people who scroll before they even get out of bed or once they arrive at the office.”
Tip #5: Keep it short and sweet
The average consumer has a very limited attention span, so it is best to post shorter videos, so viewers don’t tune out too quickly.
“It is better to post three, one-minute clips rather than one, three-minute video because very few people will sit through the longer content from start to finish,” Leap Tools’ Caldow explained. “Plus, posting more often means consumers are more likely to return to your page out of habit.”
However, it is beneficial to post videos of different lengths to various social media platforms because each site has users who are expecting different types of content.
“Consumers on YouTube are more prepared to watch a video that is two minutes long, while someone scrolling on TikTok or Instagram is only looking to watch 26 seconds of content before they lose focus,” Creating Your Space’s Flynn explained. “It is more work to adjust your videos for each website, but the payoff will be greater.”
Tip #6: Follow your customers’ customer
An effective to way to grow your audience is to follow who your customers are following, i.e., local designers or other influential community members that the public will listen to.
“Ask yourself, ‘Who influences the people I am trying to contact?’ and that is who you should be following,” Leap Tools’ Caldow added. “Follow, like and share their content and they eventually will start doing the same with yours. You will have another person in your corner because your success means their success and vice versa.”
Tip #7: Monitor engagement
A major challenge with marketing is learning how to measure the return on the original investment, whether it’s time or money. “You can watch actual online users interact with your content—and based on the success level of each video post, you will learn what resonates with your consumers,” Shay Marketing’s Palmar explained. “Over time, you will learn what adjustments need to be made so all of your content is a home run.”
Tip #8: Choose subject matter carefully
Video topics should revolve around the questions you know customers are asking. Subject matters that have proven to be successful are how-to videos, step-by-step installation explanations and the price of various flooring categories.
“You want to identify yourself as an expert,” Leap Tools’ Caldow said. “People have a lot of questions about flooring, and if you are the one to answer them, they are much more likely to do business with you when they are eventually ready.”
Tip #9: Keep it manageable
Posting and monitoring social media pages, especially with a continuous stream of educational video content, is a full-time job when done properly. If you do not have the time to respond to comments and messages in a timely manner, posting too many videos to various platforms can actually hurt your company’s reputation more than it can help it.
“People want to know that you are an expert who can answer their questions now, not two weeks from now,” Caldow said. “When people don’t hear from you, they easily forget about you and look for answers elsewhere.”
Tip #10: Incorporate captions
Be sure to include captions whenever feasible, as many people watch videos without volume. “Including captions allows the consumer to watch your content no matter where they are,” Shay Marketing’s Palmar said. “Consumers will keep scrolling if they are in the middle of a restaurant or in a restroom, and that is a missed business opportunity.”
Tip #11: Include a call to action
The goal of the video should be to encourage the viewer to take some sort of action by the end of it. “Even if it is something as simple as displaying a phone number for them to call so they make contact,” Creating Your Space’s Flynn explained. “You want all of your hard work that is put into these videos to result in something positive for your company.”
It’s also a good idea to build in some kind of incentive. “You can say, ‘Tell us you saw our video when you come in and get a free measure or discount,’” Caldow said. “It adds an enticing value to your content because customers are getting something in return.”