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The Video Tsunami - 5 Reasons You Should Catch The Wave Now

[caption id="attachment_3228" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Video is crucial to capturing prospective student attention and providing another means to engage. Colleges and universities can’t afford to miss the wave. Photo by Wonderlane."] The Video Tsunami – 5 Reasons You Should Catch The Wave Now[/caption] Is your college putting off taking the plunge into online video? Maybe it seems too hard, maybe you think you don’t have the right staff to produce it, or maybe you’re assuming/hoping/ praying that it’s an ‘extra’ that you can afford to do without. Well, think again. Online video, whether for student recruitment, engagement, or educational purposes, is here to stay. Here are five good reasons to get the cameras rolling right away . . . and why it will be easier than you think. 1. People expect to see video. Online video used to be the thing that set a website apart and made it seem special. Those days are over. In 2012, what will set you apart, or more to the point, set you back, is the absence of video. 4 billion videos are viewed on YouTube every day, and an average of 140 hours per year are viewed by every single person on the planet. In other words, video has become the norm rather than the exception. Which means that if you don’t have video, you’ll look old-fashioned and out of touch . 2. Video is a great vehicle for storytelling. You know that old writer’s adage, ‘show, don’t tell’? While it’s a challenge with the written word, it’s literally at your fingertips with video. By its very nature, video is a multi-sensory (think narrative, visuals, music) medium that can capture and engage your audience in a way that text and still photos never can. Telling the many stories of your school is an essential part effective marketing - don’t overlook video as a way to bring those stories to life. 3. The 9 lives of video. So you go to all that trouble to make a video, and then it just sits there on your website. Wrong!! Video should be on your website, but it can also be repurposed to appear in your other communications channels as well. That could include:
  • your Facebook page
  • your YouTube channel
  • Pinterest
  • your Twitter feed
  • on printed materials via a QR code
  • on your virtual campus tour
  • within private social networks
  • and more
4. Video is social It’s not just Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, Pinterest, that dominate social space. YouTube is prime social media territory, so make sure to set up a YouTube channel for your school. Because people don’t just watch videos on YouTube. They favorite, share, subscribe, comment on, rate, and like/dislike them. In the millions. In fact, about 100 million times a week. And did you know 50% of videos on YouTube have been rated or include comments? Can you afford to pass up that level of engagement with current and future students? YouTube also allows you to engage with videos created by your students, faculty and supporters. By ‘favoriting’ those videos into a YouTube playlist, you can compile a record of what other people are saying about your school. And in the world of ‘social,’ what other people say about you will always count more than what you say about yourself. The bottom line – students like to engage. Give them something juicy to engage with. 5. It’s easier than you think. One of the advantages of 21st century social video is that production quality is not the name of the game. The creative, catchy, informative, fun, satirical, inspirational and sometimes just plain weird are where it’s at . The trick is to stand apart from the crowd and show the uniqueness of your school. That means anyone can play, and a shaky cell phone camera or B-grade acting won’t kill your project. In fact, they might even win you authenticity points! But if you’ve got the funds and the expertise, a high quality production can be very effective too. Have a look at these two videos to get a sense of the range of videos that are doing great promotional work for their schools. There’s no excuse for not diving in, so get started now and have some fun with it!

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