Video as Image: Getting to know Vine and Instagram Videos
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“Social-visual communication.” Oh, gosh. Another subject communicators must pretend to be conversant with. What is it?
It’s the conveying of news, help, training, feature stories, product information, tips, consumer stories, brand messages, PR, and content marketing mainly by means of video and images.
Shel Holtz believes social-visual communication is a skill communicators should know all about—how to use it, how to exploit it. And he explains what he means in a new interactive course, “Video as Image: Getting to Know Vine and Instagram Video.”
Social-visual comms just recently celebrated its third birthday or so. And, like most youngsters, it’s noisy, demanding, fresh, interesting, and occasionally enchanting.
Your own professional survival, and perhaps the survival of your company in the unpredictable landscape of online PR and marketing communications will depend how skilled you are at re-casting words in images.
And you thought content marketing was unfamiliar, hard to understand? Words into pictures is harder, because visual communications goes directly against some very strong, very old assumptions about communication:
- First, pictures have played second banana to words through the whole recorded history of books and print.
- Second, most of us still think in words, not images.
- Third, “Tell them” still resonates stronger with us than “Show them.” Telling trumps showing for the public. Showing seems indirect, subtle, vague—until a powerful photo shakes us to the core.
- Fourth, this trend should prove if there really is a part of the literate population who habitually “thinks visually.” Those people, if they truly exist in numbers, will be much in demand.
But most of us will have to re-train ourselves to think in pictures, images, and graphics first. And that re-education will be difficult, because visual communication stands every assumption of communication-by-words on its head.
Where to begin?
Shel starts by comparing the way organizations use Vine and Instagram: the statistics of use by firms and nonprofits who favor Vine vs. those who choose Instagram.
Formal communication began with book-makers who wanted to push information out to other people—and these “pushers” believed the best way to do that was with words.
Social-visual communication, by contrast, is driven by consumers of information, not pusher-sellers. As Shel says, for the first time in history, “[More] people like to take in a message or story almost in one glance, rather than take time to read a text.”
Next, Shel compares Vine and Instagram feature-by-feature through 8 features, so you have the critical information you need to choose which platform is best for you.
Then Holtz lays out “The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Instagram and Vine Videos.” In four easy steps, you can create content for your company using nothing more than your iphone.
Next, Shel identifies the best corporate practitioners of visual communication right now. He shows you the best visual pioneers in this little-known art.
Example after example from Burberry’s, GE, Dunkin’ Donuts, Lowe’s, Starbuck’s, Walgreen’s, and many more instruct you in how to use humor, wit, the unexpected, storytelling, tips and other elements in your company mini-video.
You’ll see the Dunkin’ Donuts 6-second Vine video that Peter Shankman, PR pro and creator of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) called “the best Vine brand video ever.”
You’ll see a 6-second Lowe’s video that shows you how to use a rubber band to get a Phillips-head screw stripped of its grooves out of a board or wall quicker than you can say, “I can’t believe that rubber band worked so well. Why didn’t I think of that?”
View a few of these Vine mini-mini videos and a 15-second Instagram video will seem like reading War and Peace.
Finally, Shel shows you how to measure objectively the reach and influence of each of your Instagram and Vine videos. It’s easier than you think, and it’s free from an online service called Simply Measured (if your followers are fewer than 100,000).
Start your new career as a social-visual communicator right here.
Shel Holtz, ABC, (@shelholtz) is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, consulting with organizations on content and communication strategies. He has written or co-written six communication books, and is a regular speaker on social media and other communication topics. He is co-host of the first and longest-running PR podcast, “For Immediate Release.” He is an IABC Fellow and a founding fellow of the Society for New Communication Research. Follow his blog.