Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched a number of videos from the Google Small Business YouTube channel to improve my commercial awareness and made short posts (here and here) with my notes, thoughts and comments – this latest one is about how to retain customers.
The first point made is that learning who your customers are is key, which was also stressed in the previous Google for Small Business videos that I’ve watched.
Frequency is a very important metric to focus on in looking at customer loyalty, and existing customers can often be more valuable than new ones, because the more positive they are about your brand, the more custom you will attract (both through word-of-mouth and through positive online reviews.)
When starting up, most businesses focus on customer acquisition and slowly switch to retention later on – the longer a small business has been going, the more important retention becomes for it. So as a business owner starting out, it’s important to get ahead of that by focusing on both acquisition and retention from the start. This involves making the customer experience the best it can possibly be.
The point about the cost of customer acquisition versus retention was really interesting. I don’t necessarily think that you need a specific customer loyalty programme, and I also think that even if you do, not all of your regular customers will want to use it or fit into it well, but it is good to keep in contact and do offers (especially seasonally as discussing in one of the last Google business videos I talked about) so that your customers feel like they are appreciated for frequent business.
Last night, I was downloading some footage off my sisters GoPro, I was reminded that I started to edit a video of some of our skiing trips. I loaded up the project, and was immediately reminded of how much I used to enjoy editing. After working on that project a little more, I went rummaging through the dark corners of my PC’s hard drive, and was reminded of how much different creative stuff I used to do. Photoshoots, Photoshopping, music, and videos. I found an old file of vlogs from my masters degree, and they weren’t anywhere near as cringy as I thought they might be. I could even be tempted to make more! (Maybe).
So I’ll be revamping my defunct YouTube channel at some point soon (especially if the weather continues to be as wet as it currently is) and throwing up some videos, just for the fun of making them, and to whip my editing skills, such as they are, back into shape.
One of my video problems has always been that while I enjoy editing I feel I’m less good at actually having an initial idea and filming it, which is something I would like to get over. So for the time being I’ll be looking back over any remaining old video clips on my computer, and seeing if there is anything that I can do with it.
So, (having having to end up sleeping on this point after discussing YouNow yesterday) do I think YouNow is any good, based on initial usage?
Well, yes and no. In some ways, it doesn’t seem hugely improved on YouTube’s initial livestreaming service, albeit with a nice rebrand. The chat still seems very laggy/delayed, and it’s obvious that the streamer sees comments well before the audience (this might be a feature now I come to think about it, though if so I hope it is optional.)
However, it’s the perceived value that important, because this is a fantastic platform for vloggers. Responding to comments on the fly, answering questions and having close viewer interaction, all within the same channels as YouTube – I am notified when channels go live, and can either watch via YouTube, or via the YouNow app/browser if I want to use chat. For vloggers, the chat issue I mentioned above is likely less of a problem as people are messaging them, not necessarily speaking to each other. It does mean that less of a community builds up around a channel though – that would still need to be managed by other means.
I didn’t intend this to be a part one of two, but I’ve found myself really tired this evening and unable to finish this post in a satisfactory way. So in this part, I’ll talk about why YouNow is a big deal, and tomorrow, I’ll talk about whether I personally feel it is/will be successful.
YouNow, a livestreaming service connected to and owned by YouTube, has been around for quite a while, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to watch anything on it.
YouTube have been trying to muscle in on the livestreaming market for some time, their most notable (but still unsuccessful) previous attempt being an attempt at competing with Twitch.TV in livestreaming gaming content. It didn’t work out. Users complained at low quality, lagging connections, difficulties in sending/reading chat messages, and poor moderation tools compared to the well established Twitch.
However, one look at Twitch shows how content creators are having to twist the platform’s rules to create a space where they can interact with their fans without needing to provide game content, and while Twitch are content to bend their original terms of service a very long way, for YouTube channels who aren’t gaming related content (quite a lot, despite what Youtube’s front page would have you believe) there needed to be an alternative. Of course, there are plenty of livestreaming services around, but none have the sheer resources of YouTube, and behind it Google, to make major changes to the way online video content is produced and consumed.
So tonight I’m yet again blogging late because I spent most of this evening out at The Plaza Theatre, watching an RSC Live screening of Othello. I haven’t been to a live cinema broadcast before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have, however, read quite a lot about them, and their possible effects on the changing face of cinema, theatre, and the Arts in general. Some people have suggested that ‘event cinema’ – everything from live opera to live sports, is the salvation of a medium that might otherwise to lost to on-demand and internet television. From the arts side, there has been some backlash, claiming that it will damage regional theatres in the UK if touring companies decide it is easier and cheaper to simply broadcast their performances rather than leave the comfort of their home venue. Likewise, audiences may prefer the cheaper option of a cinema ticket, to the expense of the real thing. This is just within the United Kingdom too – it doesn’t even begin to take into account the international audiences who enjoy live screenings such as the one tonight.
This is something I’m sure certain arts organisations are looking into, but only time will tell whether this is beneficial or detrimental to the current, fragile state of the arts in this country. Meanwhile, I’m deeply glad that they happen. I have never seen the Rotal Shakespeare Company performing in the flesh, and if I do it may well be a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity. Tonight’s show was a thrilling and moving experience, and even if being at the other end of a satellite link hundreds of miles away meant I missed certain nuances (made up for, in my view, by the actor interviews and other additions during the performance’s interval) it was more than worth it.
Periscope was one of those things I started hearing a lot about all of a sudden without actually really having any idea what it was, or what a change it might herald in online video.
Put simply, Periscope is a livestreaming mobile app, and that kind of makes it the holy grail of social media right now. While livestreaming has been around for quite some time and with multiple platforms, it’s always been a medium that requires a fair amount of time and preparation. You need pretty good bandwidth, a good camera, a microphone, maybe a background… especially if you’re up against the professional atmosphere that Twitch and its ilk try to cultivate (and I can’t blame them for that, once you consider how much streaming the LCS must make for them.) But Periscope only requires a smartphone or tablet, an internet or data connection, and you’re good to go.
Image from variety.com
While Periscope might seem designed for quickly catching big events to the point where a number of live sports events have actually banned it’s use, a quick browse shows that a lot of the livestreams are quite ordinary in their subject matter. Someone out for a walk, cooking dinner or just chatting to their views? Log in at any time and you’ll find plenty of that.
One of the most interesting things about how easy mobile video is that it’s become is that the subject matter has become sort of, well perhaps mundane is the wrong word. Mundane implies that it doesn’t have any value and I don’t think that’s true, after all, people want to watch it. But when you can record, watch and keep pretty much as much video as you like, so you can just set the camera going and play around. Likewise, viewers have more video, live or recorded, than one person could ever watch in a lifetime, all entirely for free. So why not spend a few minutes watching someone make curry or play fetch with their dog – it’s a low value, low engagement, low energy few minutes of entertainment.
One day whilst browsing YouTube, I caught a camera advert which I now can’t find (why do I never remember these things? It’s bad research) which described pictures as a ‘universal language’.
I’ve written and said plenty on how important pictures and videos are to social media, in helping people to communicate ideas and feelings in a way that is easier than text, but I’ve never considered it from the language barrier angle before.
(An old vlog from during my MSc dissertation where I discuss pictures in social media)
As the internet connects us from all over the world, it’s much easier to communicate visually than in words, and technology has developed in a way to allow this. Of course, many apps such as Instagram, Vine or snapchat usually involve captions and many memes rely on their captions rather than their actual picture, it’s very easy to understand someone’s thoughts or intentions from a picture. I’ve heard it said that 90% of language is facial expression and body language, and it’s true, so pictures can display that easily.
Pictures can describe much more than our thought/feelings, they can be complex abstract ideas, or they can be very simple and overall, they are instantly understandable and sharable/readable at the click of a button, regardless of what language you speak or how literate you are.
Random shots of my life, presented without words but still understandable, or at least interpretable I hope! Taken using Instagram, presented using http://iconosquare.com