Video

Platforms such as YouTube, Periscope and Snapchat have catapulted video into consumers’ everyday lives, giving businesses a sizeable opportunity to reach an audience via this increasingly popular medium.

In fact, a recent survey by Kaltura revealed that 96% of enterprise professionals see video as somewhat or very valuable within the business environment.

Respondents also indicated that video capabilities can help their business by targeting different content to different groups (67%), providing detailed analytics on users and media entries (62%) and encouraging participation through gamification (38%).

But it’s not just large firms that have been enticed by video. Tech startups and scaleups are also engaging with the trend, offering services which enable other businesses to create and share their own video content.

Investment in the video tech startup space is also heating up, with the likes of Newsflare and Seenit raising funding in 2016.

Media consumption

Harnessing video has the potential to engage, enthuse and attract potential customers and could therefore be the key to securing or furthering a tech firm’s success.

On-demand recipe delivery service Gousto, for example, is active on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and claims to have tested almost all of the major video platforms for marketing purposes.

Head of performance Aidan Willcocks told Tech City News: “The way we consume media online is always evolving. Video is playing a huge part in this change.

“The average YouTube visitor will spend 40 minutes viewing content each session. This presents a huge opportunity for marketers.”

The opportunities may be endless, but only if they’re used effectively. “It’s important to understand your target customer. You need to research the platforms they use the most, and the types of video they’re consuming. Different platforms tend to suit different needs,” Willcocks continued.

Realising your business goals, what you want to achieve with video and ultimately who you want to communicate with is integral to creating an effective video marketing campaign.

More importantly, the trick lies in being able to create something that’s both useful and unique. This, and only this, Willcocks said, will help you win an audience’s trust and consequently establish your brand as an authority within the space it operates in.

“Build something they can’t resist sharing. Brands who get a head start on learning the formats and tactics that work will undoubtedly have an edge over the competition,” he concluded.

Embracing it

Digital transformation company Freeformers also cited brand awareness, audience acquisition and social media engagement as key ways that video has enhanced interaction with potential customers.

Marta Svetek, the content marketing manager, encouraged tech startups and scaleups to embrace video: “It’s become simpler and cheaper to create video content than ever before.”

When used effectively, she added, video can generate critical interest in an early-stage startup’s product or service – incidentally one of the things that investors look for.

This, however, is not to say that the benefits of video stop there. Svetek believes that the purpose of this medium transcends the notion of marketing, noting that it also serves as a valuable internal training and record-keeping tool.

“Video is a great way to engage customers due to its versatility, and will remain relevant for a while still, but it’s understanding who your audience are and how you should be engaging them with particular topics of interest and context that will determine future success, not the medium itself,” Svetek added.

Must have

Tutora, a Sheffield-based private tutor startup, uses third-party video services to attract and engage new customers. The EdTech company enables parents and children to see a short clip of the tutor they are looking to hire, before they hire them.

“As a tutoring service, one of the biggest obstacles we face is establishing trust, especially when you are paying upfront before meeting the tutor in person,” said Mark Hughes, co-founder of Tutora. “Video creates trust, and it’s naturally more engaging than text or images.”

In order to establish trust, discovering what kinds of video are most effective is fundamental to Tutora, and Hughes went on to describe “short and snappy” videos as the “holy grail” when engaging viewers.

“For consumer-focused startups, I think video is on its way to becoming a ‘must have’, especially if you are selling a product or service,” he added.

Impact

The final thing to consider when harnessing video is its ability to impact its audience – a benefit picked up on by Emily Forbes, founder of collaborative video startup Seenit, who came up with her business idea while filming a documentary about rhino conservation protesters in South Africa.

“Everyone was already capturing on their phones and cameras, and I realised their footage was so much more passionate and opinionated than mine could ever be,” she explained, adding:

“I ran around the crowd and asked if they would send me their footage and I would edit it together and send it back with the idea that everyone’s message was stronger together.”

With this powerful user-generated content, the basis on which her tech startup has been built, Forbes went on to explain that enabling tech-savvy users to create their own content is now a necessary part of communication rather than just “nice to have”.

“Our vision is to build the most powerful and trustworthy film crews in the world, empowering people to know their unique voice should be heard and that they are a storyteller,” Forbes concluded.

With established firms increasingly using video to attract – and retain – customers, tech startups and scaleups should consider doing the same if they don’t want to lose too much footing to their competitors.

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