If you work at a typical company, you probably have a mix of generations among your colleagues. You might have direct reports for whom e-mail is passé and a Baby Boomer CEO who believes his monthly e-mail message keeps everyone informed regarding the direction of the company. Meanwhile, some of your colleagues may be among the 50 million telecommuters in today’s workforce.

Demographic shifts are just one reason businesses must completely rethink their communication strategies, says Scott Kellner, chief marketing officer at INXPO, which recently launched Social Business TV, a communications concept initially developed for the Professional Convention Management Association and now expanded and packaged to be publicly available.

 

 

Going Both Ways

The idea is to take formerly static, one-way communication tools such as webcasts and e-mails, and turn them into an ongoing, two-way communication plan that doesn’t just inform internal employees and external customers but engages them as well.

Corporate subscribers to Social Business TV (unlimited use at $2,000 per month), get a private, branded site where they can broadcast live video and archive recorded video. What makes it “next generation webcasting,” Kellner says, is the layering on of social networking. First are the built-in interactive tools, including group chat, moderated Q&A, polling and trivia contests, and desktop sharing. And second is the social media integration, both with corporate platforms such as Jive, Yammer, and Salesforce Chatter and with personal social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

On the back end, INXPO’s Social Business TV gives companies a range of reports about each video posted to the site—number of viewers, how long each viewer tuned in, results of polls and surveys, who asked questions, and which questions needfollow-up responses. Companies also are able to create different channels within the environment and control access to each.

Social Business TV is the evolution of INXPO’s business communication products that include one-off webcasts and online events and trade shows. “Businesses are entering a new era of communication,” Kellner says, in which “one-way consumption” becomes two-way interaction. “Employees must be fully informed and motivated, and they don’t expect to be preached at.” Instead, imagine a 20-minute “all hands” meeting in which participants watch a live video and interact with other viewers. “It’s more engaging and memorable,” Kellner says. “And, for the company, it’s measurable.”

Still, getting back to that mix of generations, what about those who may be less enthusiastic about social media? “Imagine that nobody over 40 years old ever uses any of the interactive features in Business TV,” Kellner responds. “It would still be a massive success because adults learn better via video. And they may learn even more by osmosis, by watching the chat stream. So this is not dependent on everyone actively participating.” Features like polls and contests, however, are available to maximize interaction.

In addition to regular employee interaction, other internal uses include knowledge-sharing among employees, training of channel partners, “onboarding” of new employees, and recognition of top performers. External uses include product launches, relationship-building with prospects, providing thought leadership, and making subject matter experts available for live Q&A.

For most internal communications, a basic Web cam is all that’s required. But INXPO has a complete services team that can offer coaching or an entire camera crew to capture and produce your content. On the high-end of production are live feeds from live events.

The Professional Convention Management Association originated the product by using it (branded as PCMA TV) to live-stream portions of its 2011 Convening Leaders conference. In addition to successfully drawing viewers, the effort yielded additional in-person attendees the following year: 14 percent of 2012 attendees had never attended or hadn’t attended in six years, and attributed their decision to attend in 2012 to their viewing experience in 2011.

Go to the INXPO Web site to learn more or view a demo.