In this article Cheryl Clemons highlights three business areas that benefit from the real, human and trust-inspiring qualities of user-generated video. Originally published on the Saba Lumesse guest blog in December 2018.

What do Samuel Pepys and Logan Paul have in common? Apart from rats, they also both show us what’s happening around them. Pepys’ account in 1666 of the encroaching fire and the references to real people impacted by it give us an insight and a feeling that no history recount can successfully match. From the Renaissance onwards diarists started recording their thoughts and opinions more readily but what if the chroniclers of old had been part of the YouTube generation?

User-generated content has been around a long time but there are a number of things happening right now to make personal video content an essential strategy for organisations.

 

Why user generated video content is essential right now

First up, consumers are demanding video. And lots of it. User generated video is the most viewed, shareable and memorable online content. It’s no accident that Facebook announced their video-first policy last year. Plus, Instagram and a number of other platforms have put video at the centre of their strategies. But, this is not just the reserve of digital marketing and content teams, social video is poised to unblock some key challenges in the workplace.

Secondly, we also have serious trust issues. Despite Edelman’s trust barometer showing a rise of trust in experts this year, many of us disbelieve traditional media and company boards. Instead, people are relying on their peers to help them learn and influence how they feel about things. We want to hear about real experiences.

And thirdly, organisations are trying to create more open, personal and less hierarchical cultures ultimately to innovate and compete in times of constant change. Check the brand values and behaviours of top companies right now and you’ll see a repeated pattern: ‘Open’, ‘Personal’, ‘Authentic’, ‘Honest’, ‘Real’, ‘Human’. Breaking down silos, feeling connected and sharing ideas are the bedrock to overcoming a number of business challenges.

 

Three ways user-generated video content is making an impact on teams

In this context, user-generated social video ups the ante on what’s personal, authentic and essentially human. With these qualities, it’s having a big impact in these three areas:

1. Increasing sales capability

Video and sales training have been around since John Cleese suited up for Video Arts. But this doesn’t cut it now. 70 per cent of sales reps say that instant access to real-time knowledge, best practices and coaching is more effective than traditional training. User-generated video is able to show a nuance in language and tone of the best pitches that is hard to achieve in other media.

A large technology company we work with needed their account managers to spot opportunities earlier and base their conversations on business benefits. They needed something accessible in the field, short and real. Sales and technical experts are now making their own two-minute videos about market context, key sales steps and micro case studies for the account teams to use at point-of-need. They’ve even set up a competition for account teams to record their best elevator pitch.

 

2. Personalising leadership

Employee engagement data and Glassdoor reviews show that leaders struggle to earn the trust and build personal relationships with their wider teams. We’re seeing improved leadership effectiveness from user-generated video content in two different ways. In structured leadership programmes,  leaders reflect on what they’ve learned, how they’ve applied learning and the impact of this through a vlog to share with the rest of the group. The process of distilling thoughts and saying it out loud supports reflection and communication as well as benefiting others with lessons learned and success stories.

Another is the reinvention of the CEO video message.  Here, the best examples are where leaders create and share stories about their own personal experience. Without too much scripting or corporate speak. One leader we know talked openly about his childhood to relate to a specific moment of transformation for his company. It’s harder to fake on video and you get a 360 view of the person.

 

3. Employee advocacy for careers and talent

In the consumer space, there is a shift from influencer marketing – where people with influence are encouraged to promote or advocate products – to putting promotion into the hands of employees. This doesn’t just apply to product but also recruitment. Who better to secure the best talent than employees themselves?

In a number of forward-thinking companies, people are recording their own career stories, the reasons why they work there, what the company purpose means to them in their role and so on. This content is then shared internally as part of a campaign to support engagement and retention, and externally via social channels to attract new talent.  Using a structured interview framework can help people tell their stories in line with key values and the direction of the business so it’s not only authentic but also a direct extension of the employer brand.

Cheryl Clemons
CEO StoryTagger
Twitter | LinkedIn 

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