Social Marketing for Professional Services on YouTube
Just under a year ago, we started a web series at work for our senior consultants to work directly with clients in front of a live audience on YouTube. I’ve learned some things along the way that might help similar Professional Services organizations in their social media marketing efforts. Called, “the show,” the intent was to do something more ambitious than a dull vendor teleconference.
Most vendors continue to host highly scripted web presentations where the faceless narrators read bullet points from similar-looking slides to a bored audience. Somewhere between 55% and 83% of your message is lost during a WebEx. On the low end, studies show that 55% of communication is non-verbal, 38% tone of voice, and just 7% on your choice of words. According to Wikipedia, 83% of communications is visual. That means that your audience might remember as little as ten minutes of an hour-long presentation. Many Professional Services Organizations consider this as a lead generation activity. They might do better rescheduling these sessions for 10 PM as a non-addictive competitor to Ambien or Lunesta.
A live streaming broadcast is considerably faster to create than a recorded interview session. It is tempting to take and re-take interview segments to get the words, ‘just right’, which often results in interviewees looking and sounding rehearsed. That is not possible with a live broadcast. There’s just one cut with no re-takes allowed.
Similarly, rehearsing lines or questions before a live broadcast is a bad idea. The only planned segments are when we move around on set. Seemingly little things, like when guests get up to write on a whiteboard, are more difficult when there are three or four cameras all streaming at the same time. Everything else is live, which allows the unique values and culture of the consultants to come through.
I am fortunate that we have professionals with relevant experience working on this project. Nick Gamb previously produced and directed the news at a couple different television stations. Moreover, Keith Moreau films documentaries. It would be a challenge to deliver a high-quality hour-long broadcast without their expertise, or at least domain knowledge from television.
My first guest, Cindy Ritchie, suggested that the Martha Stewart Weddings TV show was an excellent model for showing longer sequences. Live technical demos often require waiting. Instead of waiting and watching a status bar on YouTube, she created ‘before’ and ‘after’ virtual machine checkpoints. This helped to keep the broadcast moving.
During the broadcast, I take questions via email instead of via chat. Initially, this was primarily a technology constraint; YouTube has comments, but no chat feature. The advantage of receiving questions by email is that I can sequence, abbreviate, and sometimes combine questions from viewers.
All of the senior consultants and partners who have been guests on the show report that they are instantly more recognizable to clients. Having watched the broadcast, clients will also demand senior consultants by name. This is a tremendous value at an experience or expertise-based Professional Services organization, where an individual’s personality could be the tipping point in a purchasing decision.
YouTube also provides viewing statistics for individual videos. The only meaningful statistic is the number of viewers watching live, and that even requires some interpretation. We’ve heard of viewers booking conference rooms with big-screen LCD monitors to watch each new episode. According to YouTube, that is one viewer, even if it represents eight people watching.
The final best practice I’ve learned from the show is that it’s necessary to try new things to see if they work. Often, we can get caught up in feasibility studies or get hung up on having always done things a certain way. The only real way to know if YouTube can be an effective part of your firm’s social marketing is to set a hard deadline for a broadcast.