Facebook to Introduce 360 Degree Videos

facebook-to-introduce-360-degree-videos

This Wednesday, Facebook announced that its News Feed will begin to support 36o-degree videos: you’ll be able to move your view up, down, left, and right to take a peek at your surroundings from all different directions. Currently, they are testing the technology, and they describe it as a “new kind of online video” that will allow viewers to move through it not unlike they way they would a video game.

Putting the Oculus Rift Technology to Use

Last year, Facebook acquired the creator of the Oculus Rift–a headset that was originally built for virtual reality (VR) games. Microsoft and Google have tinkered with this technology by building prototypes of their own: Microsoft with a HoloLens headset, and of course the most popular of the bunch, Google Glass eyewear (which hasn’t died yet, contrary to what people think).

Clearly, Facebook understands that the future of the internet and user experience will rely heavily on video, as well as virtual reality. Technologies will integrate with our everyday activities and “augment”, or enhance, the way we interact with technology and apply it to our lives.

An explosive new technology

Facebook has said that more than 1.3 billion people that utilize its platform view more than 3 billion videos every day. And that’s just on its platform–that doesn’t take into account videos watched on YouTube, Vimeo, Google, or any other platforms. Nope. That’s just. Facebook.

So Facebook hopes to introduce its users to using this kind of VR video. And this week during the keynote address at the company’s annual developer conference held in San Francisco, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is already looking into asking third-party publishers to create their own videos to share via Facebook.

How the videos will work

Spherical cameras will capture video in 360 degrees–think of it sort of like Google’s “street view” cameras. You’ll be able to virtually locate a point on a map and look around you by dragging your mouse around, or if you have a touchscreen, you can also do this by moving your finger across the screen.

Zuckerberg stressed how much like virtual reality this really was: “You’re going to be able to put on your headset and feel like you’re really there,” he said.

Marketing in the Digital Age vs Traditional Marketing

Ah, marketing. It’s always been a confusing process. Learning how and when and where to spend your money, learning what your audience responds to and what repels them–it’s all complicated stuff once you really get down to it. And in the past, trying to reach newspapers, television stations, and writing old-fashioned press releases was time-consuming and difficult, making the entire concept seem impossible for many small businesses.

Nowadays, we keep hearing about how much easier it is to do marketing–you can do it from home because it’s all online. So you research how to write a press release online. You wonder if you could write an interesting blog. You hear about how people interview for jobs over Skype. But are these really just as effective as the marketing techniques of the past?

Let’s compare the modern equivalents of some of the older marketing strategies. You might find that they’re easier to understand than you thought–and that they’re much more approachable than they appear to be.

*Note: Of course the “old” methods can still be effective for certain industries and in smaller towns. However, we’re focusing on highlighting the differences between the traditional and the modern so that readers can appreciate the benefits of modern online marketing.

Old Way: Newspapers.

old-newspaper-ad
All the Planet of the Apes toys you could want.

Original image from PlaidStallions.com

Before, people used to pay to take out a spot in the classifieds. Depending on how much room you needed, the price could be pretty hefty. You might also have considered paying for placement in the Yellow Pages or in a local magazine. But no matter what you chose, your space was limited, and you could only rely on grayscale to represent your amazing products and services. In other words, you had to be over the top and obvious to make sure your point hit home. Thus, you ended up with a lot of cheesy ads like this one for Planet of the Apes toys. It gets its point across, but it looks dated, right?

Nowadays, fewer and fewer people are reading print newspapers. So what are people reading instead?

New Way: Blogs.

blogging-for-marketing
Who doesn’t have a blog these days?

To answer that question, people are reading blogs.

Today, many people choose to make their own space online. They want to share their original and personal experiences with readers and customers. And one great way to do this is to start a blog. Whether you want to write about the benefits of your industry in a sales-like manner, or you want to review and/or highlight new products used by industry professionals, blogs are an affordable way to do it. Plus, you can always write guest posts on other blogs and earn yourself a nice advertising spot without paying an exorbitant price. How’s that for the new Classifieds?

Old Way: Press Releases.

old-press-release
Typing up a press release by hand and getting it printed required a lot more effort than the syndicated press releases of today.

Image found at Zagato-Cars.com

Before the age of the internet, the process of writing a press release was a lot slower. First, it had to be hand-typed. Then it had to make its way to television stations, radio stations, magazines, and newspapers via mail or fax, depending on how far back we’re talking. Then it had to be approved and printed up or featured, and that could take a while. Honestly, it seems incredible, given the technology we have today, that these press releases were even featured in a timely manner.

To be clear, we still use press releases today. It’s just that you can now write them up without paper, and you can email them instead of mailing or faxing. People can then distribute them quickly using syndication software, and voila, you’re done. Much faster and much simpler.

New Way: Social Media Marketing.

social-media-marketing
So many social media networks to choose from.

If you don’t feel like writing up press releases today, there are still other ways to get the word out about your company. As mentioned above, you could blog or guest blog. You could also start a podcast or try being featured on a webcast.

But none of this really does any good if you don’t let people know about your work. So in order to effectively market your business, you must use social media. You can send your blog updates through all your social media feeds automatically so that whenever you post, your Facebook fans and Twitter followers will see it immediately. Now that’s fast. And you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get your information featured elsewhere. Not everyone needs press releases!

Old Way: Telephone Interviews and Client Dinners.

betty-dinner-party
A little corporate dinner party a la Mad Men.

And we’re not just talking about interviews on cell phones. No, we’re going back to the days of interviewing people via office telephones. Taking people out for dinner for a face-to-face discussion was common, and a lot more time had to be put aside to interview somebody. When you were finished, you had to take notes that you wrote down by hand (or just cold-recalled from memory) to write up a piece that did well. Of course, recorders could be used to gather your information, too, but then you’d have to arrange for a quiet place to meet.

Analog technology. Can you imagine going back to it now?

New Way: Skype Sessions. And Client Dinners.

skype-call
A lot easier than going into the office.

 Image found at: Memeburn.com

Of course people still do all the above-mentioned things, but the advances in technology have allowed for a lot more personal interactions via calls. For example, you can Skype with someone and see how they look and how they present themselves. You can speak via FaceTime if you’re on the go, or you could try Google Hangouts or Webinars.

And, okay, so people still love an excuse to go out and eat. Who can blame them? This one is probably going to stick around forever.

Old Way: TV Spots and Appearances.

budget-divorce
And who wouldn’t trust a budget divorce lawyer?

Before the internet, how could a company get the word out about its services? Well, TV spots and appearances were always a good way to make sure you were seen. Back before the days of cable and TiVo, TV watching was a bit different. Not as many channels to choose from, and you didn’t really have a lot of choice in skipping commercials. While we still see local adverts today, they were much more effective when the audience was roped into watching them. Or you could be featured on your local news station. Being featured assured that a lot of eyes were on you, though, so you had to make a good impression!

New Way: YouTube Channel, Instagram.

youtube-marketing
You, too, can have a YouTube channel. Now don’t get discouraged by all the cats with more subscribers than you.

Image from Mashable.com

The internet loves videos. Well, you probably already know this–did you watch any videos today? We’re betting you did. Whether you’re keeping up with world news or just mindlessly scrolling through funny Vines, you more than likely understand just how evocative and powerful video marketing can be–even if you’re not entirely familiar with the ins and outs of marketing.

So how can you utilize video marketing for your business? For those who like to-do videos or showcasing their talents, YouTube is a great way to reach your customers. For others who don’t have as much time to invest, Instagram might be a good choice (although Instagram is known for its focus on aesthetics over function). Vine is also a great way to connect–and with only six seconds to record your video, you have to be creative. It all depends on the style of your brand and how much time and energy you have to invest.

The best part about online video marketing? It’s free. No paying for television spots or expensive production. Just try your best and connect with your audience for the best results!

Old Way: Word of Mouth. New Way:…Word of Mouth.

Some things never change. 🙂 If you don’t believe us, check out this article on how word of mouth is still effective–even in the age of digital marketing. You can also check out more information on social media marketing here, or take a peek at the benefits of video content or get familiar with mobile marketing.

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

Should Videos be a part of your Marketing Strategy?

A cat runs across a room and slides easily into a box that had, up until a second ago, seemed impossibly small for the fat feline to squeeze into. The cat and the box hurdle across the floor and collide into a nearby wall with a thump. But, to your surprise, the cat is not hurt. In fact, it seems happy. It appears as if it really wants to be in the box. You laugh, hit “share”, and wait for your friends to watch the video, too, knowing they’re going to love it just as much as you do.

maru_the_cats_boxes
The cat’s name is Maru, by the way.

We’ve all seen these kinds of viral videos. And they go viral for a good reason: They’re funny, cute, and just plain entertaining.

It makes sense, then, that a lot of companies want to follow suit and make their own videos, hoping to bring this viral attention to their brands. They want a taste of that fame, to bring in a bit of fun and excitement to liven things up a bit. It’s not rocket science, right? And it shouldn’t be too difficult to include videos as a part of your marketing strategy, right?

Well, that’s true… and it’s not true. Vague, we know. But we’ll explain below, so read on to find out more!

The Pros of Video Marketing:

Videos keep attention longer than blog posts.short-attention-span

If your video is short (roughly under 5 minutes) you’re much more likely to hold someone’s attention. Many people don’t want to read until the end of a lengthy blog post, so why would they want to slog through a long video? However, if a video is short and engaging, they’re much more likely to stick around.

So do longer videos ever work at all? Is there any point in even making a long video anymore? Actually, there are some cases in which, yes, longer videos work better. They’re the best option for tutorials, because many times you’ll have to go quite into depth with the topic at hand. The videos can be edited for extraneous fluff, but even if they’re still longer than five minutes after the editing, people won’t really mind. They’re going to pause and take notes anyway so that they can follow along.

Fun to watch, easy to share!

If you make an entertaining video, people are going to have fun watching it. Even if you’re trying to make a traditional educational video, there are still ways to brighten things up a bit and make sure that everyone watching has a good time. Infusing a bit of humor, using colorful graphics and upbeat background music, and having good cuts and editing all go a long way!

When your audience really connects with a video, it’s only natural that they’re going to want to share, especially with friends who have similar interests. This means that as the video spreads across networks, you’re more likely to get more regular viewers. The best part? You don’t necessarily have to spend any money to do this. Like any other social network, sharing is built into most video marketing platforms. All you have to do is keep making great videos, and your audience will grow.

People enjoy seeing the inner workings of things.

Videos have a special way of allowing us to take everything in: We see what is going on, and we hear what is happening. We cannot touch, taste, or smell, but a video is still much more immersive than, say, a blog post. People feel like they get behind the scenes of your business, and that gives them a connection that possibly didn’t exist before. It lets them get closer to you and to the brand, and that’s a great way to make a lasting impression.

seo-videoThey can help with SEO and traffic.

Naturally, videos will show up in searches if they’re relevant enough. This will help with your SEO and rankings. Having a YouTube channel rank alongside your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn is immensely helpful. People are keen to click on videos in search results–it’s easier than skimming through a wall of text. So really, it’s one more great way for your customers to find you and interact with you!

Bonus: Because you can link to your site as well as social media profiles from your YouTube profile page, you can drive traffic from the YouTube page to your other sites without any effort at all. If you want to go an extra step, you can include interactive hyperlinks in your videos to allow viewers to click and go straight to your site from the video screen.

Note: There are many other sites aside from YouTube that you can use to host videos. Check out more information on creating a video marketing strategy and choosing a video hosting platform at Vidyard.com!

The Cons of Video Marketing:

They can take a lot of time to make.

Unfortunately, videos do take quite some time to make. If you’re making an educational video, you’re going to have to outline everything and spend a lot of time making sure everything you do is clear and concise. If you are making something funny, you’ll have to write a script—it’s much more difficult to make something creative and spontaneous than you probably think it is. And if you’re making a straight-forward video about your company, you’ll have to make sure everyone is dressed professionally and understands what you’re doing. Making videos is a very involved process, so it’s something you’ll have to consider heavily before undertaking the project.

video-productionTo appear professional, you must have a budget.

This relates to the time spent on the video… because if you spend a lot of time filming and putting together something of high quality, you’re going to need an editor. And to get the good equipment required, you’ll need to have a budget. Furthermore, to promote your videos, you’ll more than likely have to spend money on advertising. You can find some good information on that process at Content Marketing Institute.

If your company doesn’t have a large budget available for videography, there’s no need to worry. There are sites out there that can help you create a decent setup that looks professional enough for very little money.

You’ll also need to come up with creative ideas for videos to be effective.

As mentioned above, you can’t just take any old idea and put it into a video. In order for your videos to be effective, you’re going to have to be a little bit more creative than you may have been in the past. Try collaborating with your employees and staff to come up with ideas. If you already have a creative team, sit down and brainstorm. All of this is time-consuming and it can be difficult to agree on things, but if you can pull it off, it’s worth it in the end!

Moderating comments can be a pain!

YouTube is notorious for its terrible comments. Even if you choose to do short videos via Vine or Instagram, you’re still going to get unpleasant or spammy replies. For some platforms, you can choose to leave comments off altogether to take care of this problem. Other platforms don’t offer that option. Most people who make videos want to facilitate conversation around the content, though, so they invite people to participate. So if you choose to use a platform where you can moderate your comments, you’ll quickly find that it can be a real pain. However, if you want to keep your company image clean, you’re going to have to get rid of the duds. This can take some dedication to vigilance, so it’s definitely something you’ll want to consider beforehand.

Of course, let’s not be all negative here. You’re going to get some positive comments, too—we’re just trying to make it clear that it’s important to be aware of the potential difficulties that can arise with commenting systems.

So what do you think? Do the pros outweigh the cons, or are you pretty much set against including videos as a part of your marketing strategy?

At Internet Local Listings, we make videos for all clients who sign up for one of our marketing packages. These are basic videos designed to help you with ranking, and our turnaround time is fast. If you want to get started with videos now, visit us and we can help you get started!