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How to use video to increase engagement with internal communications

The competition for your audiences’ attention has reached a new level. Employees are inundated with more information than ever before, and attention spans are starting to dwindle. Video has emerged as a crucial tool for internal comms teams, but how can you make video a core part of your employee engagement strategy?

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Unily data reveals the rise of video in internal communications

When it comes to content consumption preferences, the numbers don’t lie. Across our community of more than 3m users, we’ve seen the popularity of video messaging continue to rise. After gaining significant momentum during the pandemic, video shows no signs of slowing down in 2021.

Leveraging video to win in the new attention economy

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a lot about how people like to consume content. With global lockdowns and stay-at-home orders creating a captive audience, everyone began spending more time online. Rather than an even distribution in the uptick of content consumed, video streaming saw a 22% increase from 2019, while text-heavy mediums like print fell flat.

The rise of video isn’t limited to consumer content; it also holds real potential for internal comms. The medium is linked with some impressive stats, including 59% more engagement compared to other types of social posts and an information retention rate of 95%. It’s also a messaging form employees gravitate towards, with 59% of executives noting that they would prefer to watch a video versus reading text.

Read our blog on supercharging engagement with native video adoption.

During COVID-19, many enterprises were quick to harness the power of video to engage and align employees. Within our own community, we saw the number of videos created monthly increase by a factor of 9, with total minutes watched climbing from 27k to 213k. This strategy will likely pay off during the next chapter of work, given that employees at video-forward companies are 70% more likely to say their organization is ready for the future.

Why is video becoming more popular in internal communications?

Getting your audience to focus has never been more challenging than it is now. In the digital age, we all have access to information on a massive scale, yet we don’t have any extra hours in the day to read through all of the content that is at our fingertips.

The attention economy was alive and well before the pandemic’s onset, and COVID-19 has only raised the stakes. Between communicating health and safety guidelines and updating remote working policies, 2020 was a busy year for both internal comms teams and their colleagues receiving their messages. The volume of employee emails increased by more than 100%, colleagues engaged in 45% more virtual chats, and meetings stretched on an average of 10 minutes longer.

As digital intensity climbed, the negative effects of information overload began to set in. More than 54% of employees reported feeling overworked and nearly 40% are exhausted. However, messaging isn’t likely to come to a standstill, particularly with the new world of work on the horizon. As enterprises prepare for their next chapter, internal comms teams will encounter a new challenge: engaging audiences who are suffering from messaging fatigue.

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How are leading enterprises using video to enhance internal communications?

There’s no doubt that video will play a crucial role in futureproof internal communications strategies. However, when it comes to leveraging the medium, not all approaches are created equally. After watching the nearly 7k videos our community has published over the past 11 months, we’ve spotlighted some of the most impactful examples of video messaging below:

#1. Give leaders a platform

There are a few reasons why video is an ideal medium for leadership comms. It gives employees the chance to hear important news straight from the source, while strengthening the relationship between team members and stakeholders. Your audience might also be more likely to tune in when they know they’ll be hearing from decisionmakers

Consequently, it’s no surprise that all five of British Airways’ top performing videos feature messages from leadership. Their CEO Vlogs have received as many as 22k clicks per video, with content from their Leader Podcast rounding out the list of most-watched content.

If you’re looking to take leadership comms to the next level, take advantage of your intranet to keep the conversation going. Publish videos on your platform and encourage employees to comment and ask questions, which your leadership team can then respond to.

#2. Help employees feel their best

Spreading the word about health and safety guidelines is important, but how can you make sure employees are actually paying attention to what you’re saying? Rather than sending out lengthy news articles that your audience may not have time to read, turn to video to get the key points across quickly.

Cardinal Health’s use of video has certainly paid off when it comes to helping employees feel their best. The organization’s top three videos all have a wellness angle, including content with a doctor discussing hand sanitizer and tips on staying active.

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#3. Get inspired by pop culture

Video gives every internal communicator the opportunity to get creative. Instead of sticking to the same old script, get inspired by the consumer media that your colleagues can’t stop talking about.

When Red River decided to create a video series for organizational updates, their Internal Communications team pulled from the best of late-night television shows to take engagement to the next level. Thanks to humorous features like carpool karaoke, the enterprise’s Not So Daily News series has quickly become an employee favorite, with more than 80% of their workforce watching new episodes.

#4. Give your audience a reason to tune in

If you’re looking to maximize engagement, create a sense of anticipation around your content. Find something your colleagues care about, build buzz around it, and announce the big news in a video published on your intranet.

This tactic has proven particularly successful for leading IT solutions provider SCC. The enterprise uses their monthly CEO Vlogs as an opportunity to announce the most recent SCC Champion, a top performer who becomes eligible to win a hotel stay sponsored by the enterprise’s partners. CEO Vlogs have quickly become some of SCC’s most popular content, with more than 200 users regularly watching the episodes.

#5. Transparently discuss major changes

For many companies, 2020 was a year of major news updates. From new partnerships to changing work policies, pretty much every internal communicator was tasked with telling their colleagues something big.

Communicating change effectively is notoriously challenging. You need to ensure messaging is clear, accurate, and transparent to avoid setting the rumor mill into overdrive. Video can be an optimal medium, as employees will be able to re-watch the content as needed and leverage your social channels to ask follow-up questions.

When Zaxby’s announced a new partnership with Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, the enterprise turned to video to minimize the sense of uncertainty surrounding the transition. In their Big Moves video series, Zaxby’s Director of Corporate Communications interviews their CEO about the partnership, providing employees with transparent updates that keep everyone on the same page.

Are you ready to enhance your internal comms strategy with video?

With its attention-grabbing power and superior information retention rates, video is poised to be a leading medium in the new world of work. If you’re looking to leverage video messaging to upgrade your internal comms strategy, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.

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