Video is Now

Amanda Palmer sings with Keith Spiro

Why video? Why now? Because studies by Animoto, Google and Hubspot support the proposition that marketing is moving to video and visuals at an ever accelerating pace. Here are some baseline statistics:

4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. (Animoto, 2015)

Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Google, 2016)

53% of smartphone users feel more favorable towards companies whose mobile sites or apps provide instructional video content. (Google, 2015)

Some 45% of us watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week (HubSpot, 2016) and

An astounding 100 million hours of video are watched everyday on Facebook (techCrunch 2016).

82% of Twitter users watch video content on twitter  and 90% of Twitter video views are on mobile (Twitter 2015) Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics

So, the message is clear. We have moved into an age where people watch and listen rather than read and we tend to prefer to consume information in video sound bites.  More video is posted each day than can be consumed in any one lifetime!  Most people agree that a video of one minute or shorter duration is the generally preferred length of engagement.

How do you get to participate in this movement without investing a whole lot of money?

Today it is easier than ever to create your own video broadcast.  Streaming platforms are everywhere and the simplest one is Facebook Live streaming. Click a button or two and you’re off to the races. Want a more professional look? Take the time to plan out a script.  As so many of the early adopters will tell you – just “press start” and do it. You can bring in the professional teams later. Most consumers today look for authenticity over commercial polish.

But beware, 70%  say they dislike mobile ads and 81% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a website because of a pop-up ad. So don’t buy into some fancy proposal that uses interruption techniques to push something in front of potential customers.  As I have said many times before, there are new rules of sales and marketing at work today. Content is king but it needs to be content that is useful to the consumer and not click bait or disruptive if you want to make a positive impression.

Today, video accounts for more than 50% of all search online. Many customers would prefer to see a video of a product in action before they get into the buying mode or walk into a store. Is your business ready to inform and educate rather than sell and push?

Here’s how to get started with video if you are not already using it in business:

An easy first step is to reach out into the 1 billion daily users of Facebook and try Facebook Live. You can narrate a story, a product introduction or a client testimonial. Be aware that this happens in real time and goes live immediately. So start simple. Keep to a particular goal and stay on only long enough for a few friends to check in on what you’re up to. Then shut it off. It doesn’t matter if only a few people were there live. The power of streaming is that it will be there for others to come across or for Facebook algorithms to serve up to others.

There are many new tools to help integrate video into your business. Your basic smart phone today can record video that you can post as is or edit for later uploading to Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

Here are just a few ways to introduce video to your customers:

Introduce a new product or a new employee.

Tell a story about the business or the culture and interview someone who is comfortable in front of a camera.

You can even create visual press releases and updates from senior management.

As you become more comfortable with the basics, you will want to consider things like lighting and backdrops. Here’s a great video from Wistia with tips on how to setup your own video studio for less than $100.  https://wistia.com/library/down-and-dirty-lighting-kit.

If you’re still shaking your head but game to try it, give me a shout.  I can put on my professional photographer hat and get you going faster than you think possible. Pay attention to the statistics – it is worth your investment of time and grappling with the learning curve.

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The day I got to sing with Amanda Palmer & Matthew Ebel

Vintage video footage of the day I got to sing with Amanda Palmer and Matthew Ebel can be found here on YouTube. For me, in retrospect it was the turning point in how I viewed sales, service, marketing and communications……….

Back in 2010, in the early days of social media, pioneers  Amanda Palmer, Matthew Ebell and I were selected to present at Jeff Pulver’s 140 conference in Boston Massachusetts.

The 140 conference was started by Jeff, a wonderful and warm entrepreneur and early investor in Twitter, to explore “the State of Now.” This was to be the opportunity to talk about using the web and Twitter, a hundred and forty character communications tool, to leverage real-time communications and change the world. Today, we more clearly see how social and business have merged to disrupt old ways and old rules of sales, marketing and service, but back then, we were just beginning to see the amazing changes brought by speed and access.

I planned to reference Marshall McLuhan and Sesame Street and talk about sound bites and their impact on communications but I soon learned that I was to follow Amanda Palmer and Matthew Ebel and their music panel and mini concert.  Indeed, A hard act to follow.

Real Time Twitter lesson Number One: reach out immediately and call for help. People will respond. I tweeted to Jeff Pulver backstage and asked for all my new friends to come out on stage and help me. I was scrambling because the only thing I knew for sure at that point was that most everybody knew the Sesame Street song and Marshall whoever – was long ago interred in history. My new need was immediate, real and compelling.

I salvaged the rest of my presentation in the transition and while the talk may be lost to history, these most memorable moments, where I got to sing with Amanda Palmer and Matthew Ebel, live on.

Today, I continue to explore the power of social media and community building and I often reference Amanda Palmer’s famous Ted Talk

and newer work The Art of the Ask http://youtu.be/4SeLGDboyhI

along with proudly pointing to  Matthew Ebel’s successful alternative marketing with his robot army. They are both great examples of what is possible.  Back then, using social media and asking for help were new to all of us.

Artist Keith Hamilton – in a New York Minute

Exploring the day in photos Keith Spiro capturing photos of Keith Hamilton

Keith Hamilton with one of his inanimate models that he uses to mix real and fantasy, photography and painting.

I had a chance meeting with Brooklyn New York artist, Keith Hamilton the other day. Got to see some of his all new work and was quite taken with the genre and large as life paintings and photography he creates.

My immediate impression was Jules Verne steampunk but upon closer inspection I was absolutely convinced that he was influenced by or a fan of Amanda Palmer and her Grand Theft Orchestra. My bad. While never having had the pleasure of seeing or listening to AFP, he did come rather close to the classic boudoir and turn of the prior century night club look with his own uniquely styled signature.

Something other than timeless nudes, painted faces and a blurred line between photography and painting, human and mannequin, give his work a special twist. I bet the New York Brownstone crowd would really dig the work. And yet, Hamilton has a bit of very classic training hidden somewhere behind him.  I’m not sure the Monhegan crowd would stretch this far beyond Maine Seascapes but the I could definitely see the New York Fifth Avenue designers and haute couture diggin’ him.