Spending by consumers during the 2018 holiday season is expected to hit the $720-billion mark — an increase of nearly 5% over spending in 2017. People are looking to buy and businesses, especially SMBs, need to be ready to meet consumers’ demands. One of those ways to win these consumers is creating engaging content that connects them with your brand and makes it easy for them to make a purchase.

In a recent survey of business owners and marketers from Promo by Slidely, they found that, “2018 marks a tipping point for video marketing — nearly 50% of respondents started using video just within the last year.” This number is expected to grow, quickly, leading up to the holiday season.

That means if you’re not using video, your competitors likely are and the video they just shared means viewers are 73% more likely to make a purchase from what they saw. The holidays are a perfect time to either launch your video strategy or to up the ante on video marketing because consumers want and expect it.

An essential tool for any business owner or marketer is a content calendar, and I always recommend building a separate calendar for major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. Work backwards from the major dates and plan content according to when your customers are most likely to look for you and when they’re likely to purchase.

This year, video should be your number one vehicle for connecting with customers. The holidays are a time of joy, happiness and togetherness. Because of the combination of imagery and sound, videos can reach our emotions like no other medium — thus showcasing your brand in a positive light.

And, if you’re like most of the respondents to Slidely’s Holiday survey, you’re planning to spend the majority of your holiday budget on Facebook ads. Animated and video ads on Facebook regularly outperform their photo counterparts. Yet another reason why video is essential. Get the most out of your marketing budget by creating content that will actually resonate with and reach consumers.

So, how do you create great video? Here are a few tried-and-true best practices:

  • Capture attention early, find a hook (e.g. attractive footage or text overlay)
  • Use professional quality imagery (photos and video)
  • Use captions on all content: 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound!
  • Keep it short and sweet: approximately 30 seconds is a good length for social media
  • Upload and post directly to Facebook and other networks — native content performs much better
  • Space them out and post videos regularly
  • Size your videos appropriately for each social network
  • Add a call-to-action: make it easy to find you (e.g. buy now, book now)
  • Promote your post on networks where boosted posts are an option — spend the money to reach more people
  • Use hashtags, especially on Instagram and Twitter: identify the top 10-20 appropriate hashtags and include them on all posts
  • Direct message: include a video with your reply, when appropriate

If you need some ideas to start planning your videos for this holiday season, here are a few to start with:

  1. Holiday-themed videos
  2. Personalized video greetings
  3. Promotional holiday videos
  4. Holiday sales and offers videos
  5. Brand stories and episodic content

Many small and midsize businesses I work with are fearful of video because they don’t feel they have the expertise, budget or time to create something of value. They know it’s important, they know they need it, but they don’t know where to begin.

Luckily, new tools exist to help level the playing field. Now, SMBs have access to the same tools as their larger counterparts. Creating a professional-grade, consumer-engaging video can be done in under 15 minutes.

Check out Promo, a tool I already use with several clients, to boost your holiday video marketing efforts. Make videos work for your business this holiday season and give your customers the content they crave.

Sarah Evans, the founder of Sevans Strategy, is a digital strategist and global brand correspondent, who works with companies worldwide to create and improve their social and digital strategies, advising on branding, marketing, advertising, and public relations. Additionally, Sarah is a digital correspondent for several companies including Paypal, Cox Communications, MGM International, Wal Mart, Shorty Awards and more. Sarah got her start by helping small to midsize businesses build their digital PR efforts. Previously, Sarah worked with a Las Vegas crisis center to raise more than $161,000 in three weeks exclusively via social media, and is honored to be a member of the Guinness-World-Record-holding #beatcancer team.

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Source: https://www.smartbrief.com/original/2018/11/planning-your-companys-holiday-2018-content