Video has become an essential strategy for increasing engagement and developing unique content for your website, and 360-degree video is now emerging as a new video format that gives your viewers a total virtual experience that is unique and memorable. The trouble with 360 compared to other video formats, however, is that it is not as straightforward and there are technical considerations that play a big role.
Let’s dive into some of the strategic components of developing a 360 video and explore how to execute this type of video for your business.
Figure Out the Why First
Before you can even begin to strategize, you not only need to figure out why 360-degree video is a good medium for your company, but also what topic and content you want to use it for. Obviously, there are a variety of topics that might be great for your business to present, but not all of them require a 360-degree view.
You can think of 360-video as falling into two categories: useful and necessary.
“Useful” 360 Videos. These are the “nice to have” videos that are useful for context or background but aren’t critical to understanding your product or your company. Examples include showing your employees in their work environment, promoting a product in a unique way, or showing the environment of a presenter/speaker before or during a show.
“Necessary” 360 Videos. These are critical path to explaining your business. If you’re a realtor trying to sell a house or a company that just spent a lot of money on a venue in hopes of enticing new employees, this could be necessary to help you find success. For example, you can show the interior environment of a home or office and give viewers the opportunity to navigate and immerse themselves in the experience.
Once you establish why the 360-degree video format will be valuable to your business, everything else will be a lot easier to plan and execute.
Plan Way Ahead
Alright, so you’ve already established the “why” but there are a lot of factors to consider. As with any other video marketing strategy, you are going to want to plan ahead. Unlike “live” formats (and arguably, you should plan ahead for those too), you get multiple opportunities to get a shot right and you should want to have a clear plan for what you are filming. Think about the following categories as you craft your 360-degree video:
- What are you making a 360 video of?
- What is the video for and what is it about?
- Will it be a series?
- What is the topic?
- When do you want to film?
- Is there any production deadline that you need to consider?
- Where is the location?
- What is the subject matter?
- How is the video going to be presented and where?
- How many videos are needed?
Videos need to be fine tuned well before they are put into motion. Getting together with your team beforehand can help you get a sense of these questions and will make all the difference! Check out this cool example video from Omnivirt on how you can incorporate your 360-degree video with content.
Filming Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional
One of the biggest questions to ask when you begin to consider making a 360-degree video is whether you are going to film the video yourself (in-house) or hire a professional videographer to make it for you. If it is a series that you want to produce, you may be in the position to buy the correct equipment (and editing programs) and do the project yourself in-house. Learn more on 360 video equipment and execution here.
As a marketing agency that understands the technical aspects of these kinds of video productions, hiring a professional is really your best bet if you are just starting out. Professional videographers who offer 360-degree video services not only have a competent understanding of the equipment, but also of lighting, sound production, and other technical details that can take years to learn. In the long run, you are likely to get a higher quality video. To read more about why it is important to hire a professional videographer, click here.
Have a Plan to Share Your Video!
Marketing videos are good for nothing unless they are shared with the world. You may want to start considering the demographics of your audience to see where this information is best shared. The biggest factor for 360 at the moment, though, is actually what kind of social media platforms support 360 videos. At the moment, Facebook, YouTube, and Google’s Cardboard technology support 360 videos, making them a top choice for content sharing.
An important key with sharing 360 videos is understanding how (desktop or mobile) and where your audience is more likely to view the content. You should promote videos in those places, but also do everything you can to optimize for the experience. As of now, one of the best things you can do is upload your video to a content sharing platform like YouTube or Omnivirt, which makes it easily shareable on other social platforms that may not support the direct upload of 360 videos.
Lastly, remember that your website is always a good place to start. Incorporating videos into your website adds a unique and professional dimension that visitors love to see. So whether you feel these are a good fit for your home page, About Us page, or a blog post, be sure to incorporate 360 videos wherever your audience would enjoy it the most.
A Work in Progress
360 videography is still in its initial phases, and as you might expect some of the kinks are being worked out. I myself had issues with loading fantastic example videos on reputable sites while writing this article. Further, since you cannot just upload 360 videos to every platform at this point, hosting your video on a site that does is a critical step that (hopefully) will not be needed for very long. While these kinks are worked out, it is time to dive in and get your feet wet so that you are a pro by the time things are running a little more smoothly. You will also be one of the first to implement this, which can be an excellent marketing opportunity in and of itself.
How do you think 360 video could help your business and visual marketing? Do you have a 360-degree video already in place? Let us know your thoughts and experience on social media.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!