Last year, LinkedIn announced a new native video capability for their 500 or so "Influencers." While the rest of us on LinkedIn weren't granted the same privilege, I and many other marketers saw this experiment for what it was: A beta test for a broader roll-out to their 500 million-plus members.
Sure enough, as I and others had predicted, LinkedIn recently started to quietly grant access to their new native video upload feature to a limited number of its members beyond the "Influencers."
While some might argue that LinkedIn is a little late with video, there's a strong case to be made that their timing couldn't be better. Online video viewing will rise 20 percent in 2017, according to Zenith's recently published Online Video Forecasts 2017. Global consumers will spend an average of 47.4 minutes a day viewing videos online this year, up from 39.6 minutes in 2016.
And consumers are watching much more video on mobile devices. By 2019, mobile devices will account for 72 percent of all online video viewing, up from 61 percent this year, according to Zenith.
While text-based content is in no danger of fading away anytime soon, the rise of video is a testament to the power of the medium for telling stories and sharing information in a compelling and engaging way.
And while LinkedIn users have been sharing videos from other platforms --Youtube and Vimeo, for instance --the ability to share videos directly in their LinkedIn feeds makes the experience of creating and sharing videos with their networks that much easier and quicker.
In today's battle for eyeballs, LinkedIn wields a weapon that few if any other platform can match: Their 500-million-plus global network of highly engaged professionals. LinkedIn's foray into blogging over the past few years has proved the power of plugging into this massive and ever-growing audience.
Members that have been granted access to native video on LinkedIn are already kicking the tires and running some interesting experiments. While you wait your turn for access to the feature, you might want to start planning how you will use the technology to expand your company's reach and build your brand.
Here are 10 creative ways marketers can use video on LinkedIn:
1. Company news announcements.
Text updates with a static image seem so, well, 2016. How about shooting a one or two-minute video with someone from your firm sharing the news about a new product or service that you're just launching and which you just know will shake the world?
2. Promotions and people news.
LinkedIn is a place where people announce their latest career moves. Rather than sharing a photo of you cleaning out your cubicle with flowers and cards from well-wishers at your company, why not record a quick video announcing your next big career move? (Be sure to acknowledge all of the wonderful colleagues you'll be missing at your soon-to-be former employer!)
3. An insider perspective on the day's (or week's) news.
Blogging on LinkedIn is a powerful way to share your perspective on a trending news item, and to build authority in an area that you know best. Why not deliver your take on trending news via short videos. They'll probably take a lot less time to produce than writing a blog post, and sharing your views in such an upfront and personal way is bound to have a deeper level of impact on your audience.
4. Impromptu (or planned) interviews with colleagues showing what it's like to work at your company.
If you're looking to attract the best and the brightest, you'll want to show potential recruits the amazing people they'll have the privilege of working with if they join you. But headshots with a few lines of text limit your ability to impress. Why not pull a few colleagues aside and ask them a couple of questions about what it's like to work at your company? You can script them out if you want to play it safe. But unscripted answers will look and sound more authentic.
5. Impromptu (or planned) interviews with management.
Blog posts, brochures, and "about the team" pages on your website can only convey so much about the unique personalities and accomplishments of the founders and leaders of your company. How about capturing short Q and As on video with your company founders?
6. A work hack that uses your company's technology, tools, or services.
"Show, don't tell" if you want to become a good writer. The same principle should apply if you want to communicate what your company makes or does in an impactful way. Video allows you to do just that. Instead of saying how effective your electric bike wheel is at getting riders from point A to point B, show a video of the wheel in action.
7. Pitch videos to raise money from investors.
On crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, video is the requisite format for making your pitch. Why not take that idea to LinkedIn, where you can find lots of potential investors for your plan for your startup
8. "This is where we work" videos.
Photos of pool tables and snack bars can only go so far at stimulating the interest of potential candidates you'd like to lure to your company. Why not do a walk-around of your office, smartphone in hand, and shoot a video of your office digs?
9. Views from the factory floor -- "This is how we make things."
In today's digital age, where so much of work is done silently by workers hunched over computers, it's hard to believe that some companies still actually make things. Show off your company's manufacturing credentials by shooting a video from the factory floor. Give the world a glimpse in realtime of the people and the machines that make the things you devote so much to marketing and selling.
10. Company executives speaking at conferences.
So many excellent talks given at conferences are lost to the ether because the audience is limited to dozens or hundreds of people in a room, and because not all conferences are captured on video. The next time one of your company's executives has a prime speaking slot at a top-flight conference, get there early and position yourself in the front row so you can get an unobstructed view for your smartphone's video camera.