Of all the strains that the Covid-19 Pandemic has put on modern commerce, the most pernicious is the breakdown in communities. One of the hallmarks of the digital age has been the ability to connect to others previously insurmountable distances.

The internet – the catalyst and enabler of this “fourth industrial revolution” – had, until the Pandemic came, succeeded in connecting large, and previously disparate groups of people like no technology before it, but even so, the global economy was still based on a certain level of physical togetherness.

Now we find ourselves isolated – from our friends and families, but also from our co-workers and our clients and customers. Bridging this gap in new and innovative ways is the challenge of all companies for as long as the pandemic lasts. Even when we have a vaccine, this experience may very well have affected our sense of community in ways that will echo for years or even generations to come.

As a production company, we can’t comment on all the ways that you can foment and maintain communities right now, but we can speak to one very potent tool that you’re probably already using to a limited degree: Video.

We all know the importance of live video calls to our day-to-day work, but what savvy businesspeople are starting to realise are the ways that pre-recorded video can be used to communicate with people spread out through different places and timezones. Let’s look at a few emerging ways that might be of use to your company.

Asynchronous Video

building communities with video

As many of us are realising, if you spend all day on video calls with the people you need to communicate with, you don’t have much time for, well, anything else. Some of the largest companies in the world are already using asynchronous video to communicate internally. If you haven’t come across this yet, think of it as the video version of a voice message on WhatsApp.

Speaking into cameras is very different than speaking into microphones, but even with the necessary adjustments, asynchronous video is catching on across just about every different department within larger organisations. Far from being a hindrance, the visual element of video allows you to delineate and demonstrate in ways that are impossible in voice messages, which comes in handy particularly in more visual trades, like product development, design, architecture or advertising, to name a few.

It also helps to create face-time for people living in different time zones who struggle to make their days coincide. Whereas scheduling video calls can easily dominate a day, you can watch videos sent to you as and when you like, giving you a lot of control over how you consume and action the information in them. 

The Vlog

building communities with video

It’s taken some time, but traditional marketers are finally learning what 15 years olds on youtube have known for a decade: speaking directly to your audience with video is an incredibly powerful tool. These types of videos, usually short and posted to social channels like Instagram, work as a daily or weekly check-in with customers or prospective customers – a direct line to their brains.

Smaller companies are leveraging the vlog format to chart their growth, struggles and innovations, as well as alerting followers to upcoming events and new product releases. You’ll also find them posting video content on social issues, as was the case with the recent wave of commercial support for Black Lives Matter.

Over the last five years we’ve seen a lot of media companies embrace vlog-style social videos and while it may never be the video of choice for say, insurance companies, it will only continue to grow among the culture industries. 

The Response

building communities with video

Remember that vlogs are never one-way streets. In the vast jungle of YouTube, the apex predators are constantly in dialogue with their fans videos and each other’s videos. While you probably don’t want to be starting any long-running YouTube feuds either inside or outside your company, the key take away is that community building videos are not a top-down form of communication; they are small parts of an on-going conversation.

The work lies both in how you create your own videos, and how you mediate the ensuing dialogue. Marketers have done a great job in recent years of soliciting and posting or re-sharing video content from their customers and fans, interacting with them less as corporate entities and more as trusted acquaintances. Whether you are responding to, re-sharing or repurposing user-generated content, you are tapping video’s power to engage people in ways that are unique to the medium. 

The Sales Videos

building communities with video

More than perhaps any other department, Sales has had to figure out new ways to pursue their work when people are no longer shaking hands and sitting down for a friendly chat. How does a style of work intimately based upon the complex give-and-take of interpersonal relationships adapt to a world where people are no longer sharing space? One answer has been to put different parts of the sales pitch on video.

The key to the process is breaking a typical customer journey into segments, then shooting small videos to address each segment, e.g., introduction, product demo, troubleshooting, follow up. These can then be sent to potential customers as a care package and followed up with a video call or in-person meeting. Or you can reverse the process and make contact in person/call then follow up with your video package.

This is especially effective after holding a livestream event, as we talked about here. No one is saying that video can replace the type of connection that good salespeople build in person, but they can augment that connection in a world that, for the moment, isn’t allowing as much actual FaceTime. 

TL;DR

building communities with video

You know that moment in a video call where you’re warmed up, hitting your stride and just about to launch into the most important point and you look at all those little video squares on your screen and can just tell that no one is listening. You’re not alone;  well, you’re pretty alone in that specific moment but we’ve all been there.

It’s harder to stay plugged into live video calls than it is to a physical meeting; that’s why most people need a recap. This has often been done via email but companies are now switching to creating recap videos – a quick 3 minutes of what was covered, what was agreed, and the main take-aways and action points. 

What next?

Want to start creating videos like these? Check out your next steps below:

 

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