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Now grocers that have no space for an in-store demonstration area are able to hold live, interactive cooking classes, thanks to YouTube's live streaming video services.
The service allows YouTube members in good standing to stream live video, and is already being used by some DIY online retailers to walk customers through the assembly of products. The best part is that viewers can interact with the video host using the comments feature.
All you would need is a kitchen and an computer with a broadband internet connection and a video camera -- or a few, if you would like to show the demo from multiple angles -- such as overhead. Then you set up the video encoders and various input and output options. All of the details for this you can find on the YouTube Live help page. It also has instructions for making a highlight reel as well as ad insertions.The instructions are pretty technical, so if you are not familiar with video technology, you may want to involve someone with multimedia knowledge.
During the live event, followers can submit questions -- about recipes, products used, cooking temperatures, etc. -- via the comments section below the streaming video, which adds a bit of inteactivity to the event.
You can get creative as to the setting. It doesn't have to be a kitchen per se. You can also use this to highlight various departments in the store. For example, set up in the deli after-hours to host a salad-making class, or teach your shoppers how to bake their own artisan bread by setting up a temporary studio in your bakery. Your only limit is your imagination. The key is to host these live events at a consistent time so followers know when to expect them.
Once the live streaming video is over, it will be archived on YouTube for other shoppers to watch at a time of their convenience, and you can use the ads within these videos to promote future events.
So give it a shot -- and when you do, be sure to post information about it on our Twiter feed (@pgrocer) and on our LinkedIn group, so the rest of our audience can watch as well!