I Shouldn’t Even Be Writing This Post

The way we communicate has changed, and that changes everything

In the past decade, there’s been a shift in how we talk to each other. We’ve gone from phone calls to FaceTime, from Facebook posts to Instagram stories. My friends’ kids are addicted to YouTube videos. They spend hours on TikTok challenges. And they’re filming and sharing everything they do.

So it was no surprise when I heard that 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day. (I’m guessing my friends’ kids account for half that number.) What’s more, experts predict that by 2020, 82% of all Internet traffic will be video.

I’m sure you see where this is going.

We now communicate through video.

This is a global phenomenon, and it’s not just video as entertainment. Eighty percent of millennials consider video when making a purchase, and there’s an 80% increase in conversion when video is added to a page.

Across the board, video is improving businesses. It’s bringing in new customers, higher conversions, deeper relationships, better training, richer internal comms, and a stronger culture.

Given the title of my post, feel free to watch this video instead of reading the rest of the article. But if you’re still game, scroll on — and get my 3 tips at the end.

#shifthappens

The shift from the written word to video reflects a bigger sea change in the culture. Technology and social media have changed our expectations. We now want:

  • To be shown, not told
  • Real time vs. frozen in time
  • A 360 view, not a static image
  • Personal over general

Welcome to the video economy.

You can see the effects everywhere. Some companies are already reinventing themselves and creating new experiences along the way.

The Washington Post, one of America’s most prestigious print publications, now features videos on its home page. Sephora’s doing so many videos they’ve opened a studio in LA. And I’ve lost hours on real estate sites, taking virtual tours of homes I can never afford.

Of course, the biggest example is Google, which started as a site where you type words into a search bar. I’m sure everyone remembers when they bought YouTube; now YouTube and its ilk dominate media.

Every industry is affected.

But it’s not just the bigger companies. Whether you’re a fitness instructor, a media conglomerate, a professor, a real estate agency, a sports league, a small business, or a singer — this affects you.

It’s a new way of thinking, and the rewards are huge.

There will be winners and losers.

It’s easy to see how video benefits companies. They get:

  • An engagement instead of a glance
  • An experience instead of an impression
  • A conversation instead of screaming into the void
  • Authenticity instead of advertising

And we’ve all experienced how it benefits us as consumers. We get:

  • To see things as they really are
  • To join a two-way conversation
  • To feel like we’re there
  • To decide for ourselves
  • To make better decisions

What about you?

You’ve probably already thought about adding video to your site. Or filming your keynote. Or live streaming your puppet shows. Or selling pay-per-view to your youth basketball league. Or saving money with remote training instead of flying everyone in.

But your next thought may have been, ‘I can’t afford $40,000 (or $4,000 or $400) to hire a video team every time I need a recruitment video or a social media campaign.’

This is a good thought. How do you join the video economy if you’re not a filmmaker or tech savvy or rich?

As you can probably guess, I’m completely on board with this shift to video. I’ve been a movie fan ever since I saw “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” on a Saturday afternoon when I was five. I spend most of my time online ranking zombie and giant alligator movies. And in high school, while other kids were getting into trouble, I was making short films with my fellow geeks. In terms of jobs, I’ve pretty much stayed in media (with a brief foray into food). This includes music, digital media, film festivals, and magazines.

And I’ll tell you one thing: If I worked at any of those companies now, including food, I’d make sure everyone on my team knew how to shoot and post a simple video.

Everyone needs to be able to create and share video.

Maybe you’re thinking, ‘That’s great, but I’m a realtor (or marketing VP or athletic director or writer or whatever), not a filmmaker. I’m not tech savvy at all. And I don’t have thousands to spend on camera gear.’

Here’s the good news:

  1. If you can use your camera phone, you can shoot videos. If you can use email, you can upload a video. There are hundreds of YouTube tutorials that show you how.
  2. Authenticity beats production value every time. People online respond to real, not perfect. In fact, 86% of consumers say authenticity is more important than pristine and packaged.
  3. You probably already own all the gear you need to make and post a video. A smartphone or tablet, a computer, and maybe a desk lamp to light your subject a little. If you’re feeling fancy, get a $20 tripod to hold the damn camera still. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can spend $100 and out-Kubrick Kubrick with a gimbal (pretend it’s a Steadicam).
  4. Bonus tip: if you have a niece or nephew or son or daughter who’s willing to school you on the ins and outs of Facebook Live or a YouTube channel, all the better. They’re usually cheaper than a video crew, and can often be paid in food. (Or, depending on their age, in beer.)

The shift is on. You’ve already got the tools. Welcome to the video economy.

CEO Otter Network. Digital media veteran. Marketer & product strategist with focus on film, TV, music. Lover of comics, horror, live shows. http://otter.network

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