Consumers’ attentions spans have diminished with the surging availability of content. Brent Leary, the co-Founder of CRM Essentials recently said, “The attention economy is not growing, which means that we have to grab the attention that someone else has today”. If companies don’t get that attention in those first few precious seconds, then visitors will leave and be off looking for something they consider more interesting. Moving content, by way of video, is the new online glue. Video is the ultimate visual content and you omit it at your peril.
Using video in your business has some big advantages that you simply can’t ignore;
- Video improves your SEO – Google likes video so prioritises it above other content. So much so, in fact, that Comscore says it can increase your chance of a first page on Google by 53 times!
- If you manage to keep the consumer for the first few vital seconds, then you’ll have a page dwell time much longer than usual. 65% of viewers watch more than 75% of a video
- Consumers have spent their lives watching moving screens, and they are hard-wired to watch a video. There is a reason that Facebook introduced auto play to video content – because they knew we’d watch it.
- Ultimately, if your video is good, you will sell more.
How does video streaming work?
Many years ago (in internet terms) downloading MP3s and larger video files could take an age. Once we’d squeezed all those bits through the telephone wire onto our hard drive, we could then play them back. At some point, a bright spark realised that if you downloaded each little packet of information and then played it straight away, by the time it had finished then the next packet would have downloaded too and could be played. Streaming was born.
Can anyone do it?
Another change brought about by the technology explosion in the past twenty years has been the availability of software services to us mere mortals. There is no requirement for coding skills or degrees in computing to be able to stream video – a simple knowledge of how to use the internet will do. We can all do it. Facebook Live is a perfect example – simply turn on and start filming, and the whole world will be able to see it within seconds. It is that easy.
Business uses for video streaming
Now we’ve established that live streaming is easy to create, we have to be careful how it is used. If you’re going to use video streaming to encourage trust and transparency in a brand, you’ll have to produce a video that’s synonymous with the quality and excellence it promotes. Plan very carefully what to say and how to say it.
A very good example of this is a series of videos produced by the outdoor company, Patagonia, and their series of videos called the ‘Footprint Chronicles’ where they outline each step of their supply chain process. It’s a classy, intelligent approach to video content that just makes you admire the brand. The content is not only believable but educational and, above all, watchable.
The ‘stories’ phenomenon
In 2017 Instagram launched ‘Stories’, which let users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours (similarly to the one Snapchat introduced in 2013). In another big development last year, Twitter followed with their version – ‘Moments’ – which enabled users to stitch together multiple tweets into slideshow-like stories, similar to a blog post. You can actually stream yourself live on Instagram and Facebook Stories by swiping to the Live option and broadcasting yourself to the world. Another platform that’s part of the Facebook group, WhatsApp, also has a version of this. WhatsApp users can share a photo with their contacts as a status update. Both business and personal accounts can go live, and during the broadcast, viewers can share reactions and comments – making it an awesome way to connect with followers in real time.
Publishers have used Stories to great effect as an engaging new content format on their websites. Powered by AMP Stories, websites such as People and Cosmopolitan have presented articles in this interesting, compelling style suited to mobile browsing. And because it’s built with the same technology used in AMP pages, these articles will load faster – making for a smoother user experience. Boosting engagement levels of web content in this way is a great way of expanding a website’s audience, and encouraging readers to share editorial material far and wide. AMP Stories is an eye-catching, visual storytelling format made for the open web – laid out in the style of a short presentation. Find out more about AMP Stories here.
In a very different sector, the gambling industry has mastered the use of video technology to enhance their offerings. Live online casinos have always striven to reproduce the atmosphere of the table for the high-stakes games. Video content brings players closer to the action in games like Roulette and Blackjack, and with high-quality audio, players can also communicate with a live dealer and other competitors. Best of all, players can play along at without the hassle of a trip to a brick-and-mortar casino. And the success of online casino over the past couple of decades – with millions of online players around the globe – proves their point. To see live streaming technology at its best, pay a visit to live casino at 888 – it’s one of the industry leading online gambling operators.
Where to Live Stream to?
Ideally, your business will want to keep the video after the event and be able to use it again. Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube Live all offer this functionality and, depending on your particular audience and their preferred media use, you can choose accordingly where to store the content. You may also wish to put the video on your site as part of a blog item, to bump up page stats and encourage ongoing viewing from site visitors.
Word of Warning!
Live streaming can literally put your company’s reputation on the line. If you’re intending to ‘perform live’, make sure you’re properly prepared and rehearsed – and ready for anything.
Live streaming events should be appropriate for your brand and ensure that they meet your in-house guidelines for what is being presented on your behalf.
Who is the brand?
Video streaming will give consumers far better insight into your brand than any corporate content ever will. They will see and hear real people representing your brand, rather than just words on a screen. It demonstrates that you want to connect with your customers before you try to sell to them.
Did we mention that you shouldn’t be ‘selling’ in your videos? Like all social media posts, video should be used to build trust and transparency for your business.
The Rules of Video Streaming
- Know what you want to do but don’t ‘produce’. Videos are expected to be imperfect – they are about the people that work for the companies. They are not ‘corporate’.
- Take a few risks – don’t go too far, but the more you express yourselves, the better the video will be.
- In all the fun, be sure that you demonstrate important facts about your company.
Video streaming is the content product of our time. Technology enables all companies – from the largest conglomerate to the one-man-band – to produce meaningful videos which tell prospective customers who they really are. Make sure that your company takes advantage of this low-cost way to engage customers – it’s probably the only time you’ll be able to tell them that you’re the place to be.