From its origins as a medium for entertainment and one-way advertising, video has evolved to become one of the most widely used methods of communicating and consuming information — a trend which is only going to pick up pace in the coming years.

Video is projected to account for 74 percent of all Internet traffic by 2017. This serves as a valuable message for businesses lagging behind the video trend: Jump on the band wagon and incorporate video into their communications and marketing strategy or risk being left behind. In discussing the most significant uses of video for business, we look at three areas crucial to every business: Internal communication, customer nurturing, and customer acquisition and marketing.

Internal Communication

Internal business communication has recently seen an influx of new concepts and tools, such as Slack and Flowdock, but many fail to see the potential and use video to their advantage. Videos are not only a great way to communicate with your workforce, but also a great way to convey information to them. The conventional newsletter distributed every quarter is soon to be superseded by recorded video messages which are more personal, emotional, and easier to absorb. Video messages also afford a greater degree of flexibility for the viewer. Instead of being restricted by an email, workers use their chosen devices to view the video content wherever and whenever. Therefore, they are more likely and willing to engage with the content.

Customer Nurturing

One of the most common uses of video today is to inform and educate existing users or customers. We have all come across a 'How To' video when looking for help with certain products or services. Whether they are virtual services with step-by-step instructions or physical products with a simple 20 second demonstration, 'How To' videos are a proven method of learning. They effectively increase the retention rate of your customers, improve satisfaction, and cut down on time spent troubleshooting. A rapidly emerging use of video is the webinar. Webinars let viewers interact with the presenter and even with each other. Periscope, Twitter's live broadcasting application, allows you to create videos via your phone for streaming by others either instantaneously or within 24 hours. An add-on for Google+ Hangouts, Webinarjam, is essentially your own interactive TV network. With Webinarjam, you have the ability to broadcast your message to hundreds of thousands of viewers while enhancing your favorability to Google.

Customer Acquisition & Marketing

There is nothing more personal than a tailored video message sent directly to your inbox. To know that someone has taken the time and effort to record such a message speaks volumes. But there is also empirical data to support its effectiveness. Video in email is known to boost open rates by 20 percent, and to increase click through rates by two to three times. Video has proven to be an indispensable business tool from team communication to sales, to anything in between. And with the barrier to entry becoming ever lower through the availability of low cost tools and software, more and more businesses are adopting these tools. You can ensure your business stays one step ahead by re-evaluating your communication and marketing strategy with a strong focus on video content.