Successfully marketing your business is hard enough as it is. So we understand the desire to throw up your arms and give up every time a new social media platform, feature or emerging technology interrupts your existing marketing routine and challenges your skillset.
Fortunately, some new digital marketing strategies are easier (and less expensive) to experiment with and adopt than others. 360 video is one of them. In this blog post we’ll quickly walk you through an overview of 360 video, including what it is and how to use it to your business’s advantage.
Immersive and user friendly
Though typically referred to as 360 video, a better term for visualizing the technology is “spherical video.” Simply put, 360 video captures a complete sphere of footage surrounding the camera. That means up, down, left, right and everything in between. Action camera maker GoPro has been active in 360 for several years and is known for some adrenaline-pumping content:
Most 360 cameras capture that spherical footage by stitching together imagery from two wide-angle lenses set back to back on the camera. Think of it as two lenses each capturing 180 degrees of video and then marrying them in a single 360-degree video file.
Sounds expensive, right? While professional 360 and VR (virtual reality) cameras can cost tens of thousands of dollars, consumer models can be had for significantly less money — $200 to $500, depending on the make and model. And for the most part, these cameras capture high-quality 360 video suitable for the vast majority of audiences.
Even better, most consumer-level 360 cameras make it incredibly easy to quickly process and publish your videos to popular social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. In other words, you don’t need to hire a video editor to do something with the footage you capture.
But why should I use 360 for my business?
The popularity of 360 video has skyrocketed in the past year for a couple important reasons:
- The technology has been eagerly adopted by major platforms like Facebook and YouTube
- Spherical video provides an immersive experience unlike any other form of media
A well-executed 360 video can transport the viewer to a place he or she might otherwise never experience. By simply tilting their smartphone or dragging their mouse, viewers of 360 video can explore this new place on their own terms.
That doesn’t mean 360 video is always the right tool for the job. There are times when a photograph is the right medium to tell a compelling story. Sometimes well-written text is all that’s needed. Standard video remains one of the best and most engaging forms of media for marketers. So when and how should your business use 360 video?
Show Off Your Space
Businesses with brick-and-mortar locations (restaurants and retail shops, for example) can use 360 video to bring potential customers into their space for the first time. A 360 camera placed in the middle of your store can capture the mood of the place as well as the types and arrangements of products you offer. For restaurants, a 360 video allows potential patrons to experience the ambience and aesthetics of your location, luring potential diners with the sights and sounds of a vibrant happy hour or a relaxed family dining experience.
Set the Scene
Some of the earliest and most successful 360 marketing campaigns have focused on showing off the natural beauty of an area. This again touches on the theme of using 360 video to transport the viewer someplace they either haven’t been or might want to experience again. Understandably, this sort of content works great for chambers of commerce, municipalities and resort communities.
Similarly, using a 360 camera for creating high quality video can be an incredibly valuable tool for Realtors, architects, contractors and others the industry to either show off their properties.
Platforms like Facebook have combined the growing popularity of live broadcasting and 360 video to allow anyone with the desire and the right camera to broadcast live in 360. For businesses, the marriage of the two technologies means you get to take advantage of the increased engagement rates both bring to the table. Experiment with live 360 during an event at your business to both interact with viewers in real-time while allowing them the freedom to explore the surroundings.
Not all emerging technologies merit early adoption by small- and medium-sized businesses. But for a relatively low cost of entry and a fairly easy learning curve, 360 video offers a chance to engage new and existing customers with a fun, immersive storytelling format. We’d love to hear your experience with 360 video as well as your ideas for how to use it for marketing your business. Leave us a note in the comments below!