Welcome to the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber’s Professional Business Development Online Series, or PBD Online for short. Our first season’s episodes are dedicated to “Communication In Crisis” – as we navigate the uncertain times surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and how Conroe businesses will not only survive but THRIVE despite adversity.
Our fourth and final blog of season one is to emphasize the urgency for you to start using video to market your business in crisis. So many businesses have been impacted negatively due to the loss of foot traffic. But for those who have massaged their business model for the time being with improved online ordering, pick-up and delivery options, and even those who haven’t, staying top of mind when businesses can resume regular operations is a mountain everyone is having to climb.
To stand out, authenticity and creativity are at the top of the heap. Admitting that we are all struggling in one way or another, and highlighting how your company can provide a resource to your customer base in these uncertain times Is key. Whether it’s a way to treat themselves at home, special precautions for emergency services, offering special deals for first responders or healthcare workers – whatever that unique value proposition is and WHY you chose it is a great thing to promote. Also, as mentioned a few videos back, a moment of levity here, and there is a wonderful angle to take if it makes sense for your brand. Empower and relieve the mental weight we are all carrying with a laugh, and your customers will remember.
With that being said, if you’re already posting regularly to social media (as you should), video is the clear next step. Almost all of us have been on a Zoom call during the pandemic, so this can be a great platform. Create a video consortium of other business owners to talk through your struggles and plans once doors are re-opened. Record your conversation so each company can share it on their social media and websites. The free version of Zoom allows 40 minutes of uninterrupted chat time and you can record as many videos as you like, even if you’re alone! Crank it up and record updates about your industry, an open letter to your customers, or a Question and Answer session.
Take it up a notch and host contests or giveaways on Facebook Live or Instagram Live, already free on your pages. Whether it’s a free shirt shipped to you, a party for 10 when the restaurant reopens, or a free assessment of your website for SEO needs, have some fun with it. Stage a Bingo game, a scavenger hunt, or even a “Let’s Make a Deal” style game where participants have to prove they have an object or objects around their house to win.
Report from the field when you tap into each of your employees to get a funny video from their quarantined house. This shows your customer base your real personalities and naturally, we do business with people we know and trust. Have the kids tell jokes, put on a fashion show, have the adults stage a wine tasting, and critique.
Showcase your precautions for re-opening safely and how you have been accommodating your employees. Create a countdown series leading up to your big re-opening celebration. Toot your own horn and show that you are proud of your work if you’ve been active in the community. These are unprecedented times, so its time for unprecedented content. There isn’t a strict set of guidelines for what will work, but you can develop some guidelines and parameters through trial and error that will work for you. This is where authenticity comes back into play – whatever is fun or serious, informative or entertaining enough for your customers is going to be the realness you need to project. A trampoline park is going to have a much different approach to this that a funeral home…or at least one would hope.
As far as hardware you’ll need, these can all be recorded on most any cell phone at a resolution that is clear and easy to upload. We do suggest investing in a tripod of some sort so you aren’t jostling the camera, or have someone else film you as you educate, inform or entertain your viewers. If you have access to something more advanced, knock yourself out. If you are interested in making strategically well-produced videos for resources later, or that are media-ready for well-executed promotion after the pandemic, the Chamber has multiple video production companies that can get you set up (check them out at Conroe.org). But these regular videos from your empty store or restaurant, the family around the house and quick updates to stay in touch don’t require any bells or whistles. They don’t need hair and makeup or elaborate scripts. They just need to be happening and need to be sincere.
We hope that this short blog and series about “Communication In Crisis” sparked some ideas for you and your business as we all navigate these uncharted waters together. To recap, grab your phone and get to taping! Capture your ups and downs, a contest or two, and share your story so we can get to know the awesome and inspiring business owners in our rallying community!
If you have questions about the Conroe Chamber and how we can help, drop us a line at Conroe.org. Until next season, shop local, support your chamber and stay vigilant!