How Local Businesses Should Use Video In Their Digital Marketing

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The popularity of digital video content is undeniable.

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, all of which are heavily video-based, are at the top of the social media ladder.

For many younger audiences, these platforms, along with a plethora of streaming services, have usurped all others as their primary source of entertainment and/or information.

Some are even being touted as the next search engines. This is still hotly debated.

Likewise, video marketing is on the rise, and many marketers have come to see this as a preferred method of engaging with their target audiences.

However, at a local business level and for local business owners, it feels like there is still something of a reluctance to fully embrace this important medium.

Perhaps this is due to a lack of time or resources – a common challenge for small business owners who are busy just trying to run their business.

Or maybe, for some, there is a fear of not producing a “polished” product.

However, one of the important aspects of video marketing is its authenticity; it doesn’t need to be perfect. We’ll talk more about this shortly.

So Why Video?

Before we get into what type of video content local business owners might consider creating, let’s review why video has become such an important marketing tool for so many.

  • Video is easy to consume and highly visual by nature, making it an engaging and entertaining content format.
  • Because video is so engaging, it lends itself to being shared via social media and other channels, thereby extending the reach of your marketing message.
  • These days, video content is fairly easy to create. While you might need a script for some specific types of videos – which we’ll also discuss shortly – creating an effective message can be as simple as turning on the camera on your phone and starting to talk.
  • Video can easily be shared across multiple platforms and embedded into other content like web pages and blogs to enhance their appeal.
  • Digital video content can be a differentiator. Because, as discussed, many small business owners are slow or reluctant to adopt video marketing, this presents an opportunity for those who do to stand out.
  • Video, and particularly YouTube, content increasingly appears in Google’s organic search results, which isn’t surprising, given that Google owns YouTube. Further, YouTube itself is a search engine within which millions of users are conducting searches on a daily basis. Videos can and should be optimized to appear in search.
  • As mentioned, video content is authentic and enables business owners to demonstrate their expertise, both of which are important factors in Google’s E-E-A-T, a significant determinant of organic search visibility.
  • Video adds incredible value on many levels for those willing to explore and experiment.

Now, For The How

Having clearly established the importance of video in the marketing mix, the question some will have is, “What type of videos should I create?”

The answer to this question is that it depends on a few factors, as do all marketing decisions, including the type of business and services/products you offer, the target audience, budget, and your imagination.

What should not be a cause for concern is relative video quality. Gone are the days of videos needing to be overly directed, produced, or polished.

For many, and particularly younger audiences, low-budget, off-the-cuff video messages are seen to be more authentic and real – as they quite often are.

Do not be afraid to simply start recording and introducing your audience to your business and the products or services you offer. It’s a great first step.

Below are a few types of videos that may fit your local business and customer base.

Service Or Product Overviews

Any service or product-based business can leverage video to easily highlight and describe its unique offerings.

For example, a landscaper may create walk-through videos of lawns, gardens, or patios they’ve worked on, while a med spa owner may demonstrate how the latest and greatest skin-tightening treatment works.

Having willing customers appear in these types of videos to provide their authentic testimonials can go a long way to establishing trust with your audience and encouraging the sharing of your content across social or other channels.

Since the pandemic, there has been no shortage of consumers willing to support their local service providers.

Promotional Videos

Brand advertising lends itself naturally to video content.

Many local business owners are familiar with running TV or radio ads, but digital video platforms have opened the door to unlimited possibilities.

Have fun and create your own commercials, again incorporating customers, staff, or relevant business partners.

Use your imagination to create entertaining promos for your services, products, or special events.

Customer Testimonials

One of the most powerful types of video content you can create or obtain is a customer testimonial.

A form of user-generated content (UGC) – which is extremely popular on social media – a positive client review is a glowing stamp of approval on you and your business.

The effect of online reviews for local businesses is already well known, but acquiring, publishing, and sharing authentic video testimonials takes your trustworthiness to another level.

People like to buy from businesses they trust and many rely on reviews and testimonials as their proof.

How To Videos

Some businesses offer services that lend themselves well to creating value-packed how-to videos.

For example, a plumbing company may create and share a video on their website or social channels on how to prevent clogged or frozen pipes as free advice.

Then, when those pipes do get clogged or frozen, they will be top of mind for their viewers and just a click or call away.

How-to videos have the added benefit of demonstrating the expertise that Google is so fond of.

Ask Me Anything Or FAQs

Like how-tos, video can be a great vehicle for answering your customers’ common or most pressing questions and, where necessary, incorporating short demos or other relevant visuals for clarity.

And by recording a video, you can avoid having to answer the same or similar question repeatedly.

Here, too, you can consider getting your audience involved by having them pose the questions, with you or your appropriate staff members providing the answers.

Short video FAQs can be added to enhance the written FAQs on your website. FAQs, by definition, are solid SEO-oriented content providing a natural boost to your authority.

Behind The Scenes Footage

The popularity of television shows like “How It’s Made” proves people like to be able to pull back the curtain, go behind the scenes, and get a glimpse of how certain processes work – particularly those that result in a product or service they consume.

These videos are similar to a product or service overview but perhaps go a little deeper into details for those customers who need to know more.

Describe and demonstrate a technique, product, or process you specialize in or which is unique to your business. This can set you apart from your competition both online and off.

Webinars Or Live Event Recordings

Local professional services businesses can build important brand recognition and a sense of community by hosting or sponsoring live webinars or in-person events.

Anyone who attends these types of events will be interested in a recording for future reference.

These recordings can naturally be shared on a website events page and via appropriate social media channels.

When broadcasting and subsequently sharing these video events via social media, be sure to include unique hashtags, e.g., “#[Location]TaxAdvice2024,” as they serve multiple purposes: brand/event awareness, important search key,  and an opportunity to incorporate product or service related keywords for SEO purposes.

Video Optimization

Digital videos, just like any other content, can be optimized for optimal organic search visibility. When creating, publishing, and sharing these videos, consider the following:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords into the video filename and then the title, description and hashtags depending on the platform the video is being hosted on or shared to.
  • Add a call to action and link to a related product or service page near the top of your video description on YouTube, where it can be readily seen and clicked on.
  • Include calls to action and embed links to relevant website products, services, and event pages or to other related videos within videos posted on YouTube, Instagram Stories, or other platforms.

One quick tip on video length: less is more.

Video, like images, are worth at least a thousand words, and we all know today’s consumers, especially those in the younger demographics, have limited attention spans.

Where possible, the length of most videos should be kept in the one to three-minute range, and the shorter, the better to ensure optimal engagement.

However, on platforms like TikTok, it is not uncommon for videos to be under 30 seconds, and YouTube now offers “Shorts,” which are limited to 60 seconds.

Further, one of the ranking factors on YouTube is engagement time, i.e., whether or not videos are viewed in their entirety, so you want to ensure your viewers are fully engaged from start to finish.

And — Action!

Knowing all of the potential, are you ready to start creating and sharing some videos?

As noted, the accessibility and preferred authenticity of video created on a mobile device enables virtually all local business owners to leverage this powerful medium relatively quickly.

Incorporating video into a local business’s digital marketing strategy is not just a trend; it’s a necessity.

Video content enables businesses to communicate their message more effectively, connect with the local audience on a personal level, and stand out in a crowded digital landscape.

Your first step, as in any marketing campaign, should be to get a feel for your audience along with the types of video and platforms they prefer.

Then go ahead and start recording, optimizing for search, sharing, and watching to see what resonates.

By being creative and authentic, you will set you and your business apart.

So, grab your camera or smartphone, start brainstorming creative ideas, and let the power of video propel your local business forward.

You may even find yourself going viral! #videorocksin2024

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Featured Image: Juan Pablo Olaya Celis/Shutterstock

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