The word is out: video marketing is in.

Halfway through the year, the buzz around video and its offspring – 3D, 360 video, and VR – is almost deafening enough to drown out the din of Brood 17, should they ever appear.

Yet despite repeated statistics that show how effective video marketing can be, I still don’t see a lot of brands taking advantage of the medium. As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that one of the factors might be the sheer, breathtaking speed of developments. We’d barely gotten our heads around pano shots on our phones, and now all of a sudden we’re expected to dive into VR. Whoa Nelly!

But even if you’re more in the “crawl” versus “run” or even “walk” camp, here are four ways you can use video marketing to build community, which is the crux, the core, the Holy Grail of Social PR, can you hear the angels sing?!

1. Blab, Baby, Blab

When I recently re-opened registration to my online Social PR Master Course, The Social PR Virtuoso™, I ran a contest where participants could enter to win a free seat in my class.

Rather than simply announcing the winners via a Facebook status or email, I scheduled a live broadcast via Blab – one of today’s most engaging, interactive video apps. That’s where my panel of judges – yes, I had a panel of judges! – and I not only announced the winners, but discussed the entries on air.

Since no one except for me knew the final results of the contest, there was an incentive for everyone to tune in to witness the “big reveal,” or at least, watch the replay.

Despite its naysayers – and there are many – Blab is easy, intuitive and practically effortless. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should.

2. Incorporate video elements into your blog posts

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Or a gazillion, but let’s not argue a moot point.

Rather than only using stills in your posts (don’t stop doing that, I’m saying don’t do only that) incorporate video clips or animated GIFs from sources such as GIPHY.

If you can embed your own videos from YouTube or Vimeo (or Blab! see above) – that’s super!

If you can’t, find relevant videos or slidecasts that are appropriately licensed and can add depth to your posts.

They can elevate the impact of your words and provide insights or even inside jokes to your audience in a way that the written word may not. And you can even do this in really meaty posts, as long as the context is appropriate.

By the way, have you seen how both Facebook and Twitter now have a GIPHY integration? There’s a reason for this. People love GIFs. So hop on the trend.

3. Record video welcome messages on your site

When people interact with your site, do they feel welcomed? Are you able to make the barriers of space, time and an LCD screen disappear, even briefly?

To make sure that people who sign up for my Master Course get the feeling of a live classroom, I’ve recorded a welcome video that they can’t miss when they log in.

This makes a HUGE difference, especially because my course is online and asynchronous; in fact, it’s a best practice for online instruction. And that makes it a best practice for any kind of interaction that is significantly online.

Why? Because regardless of whether your space is “B2B” or “B2C,” you’re really working in “B2E” – “business to everyone.” People do business with other people, not nameless, faceless, brick walls.

And today, they have more ways to connect with you (or not) than they did before. How they feel after they engage with you at those points of connection determines how they will do business with you (or not).

So put a face on your own brick wall, and see how it changes the dynamic between you and your customers – it’s the first step to transforming them into a community.

4. Above all else, be creative

The best way to build your community is to create your own unique blend of personality and creativity. And trust me, when it’s your own, it will be unique.

There are countless people – and businesses – jumping into Facebook Live right now. And that’s great!

Many, many people are still working Periscope. And that’s great!

Others are keeping their sights squarely on that good old standby (and still the second-largest search engine) YouTube (now also jumping into mobile live streaming). And that’s great!

It doesn’t really matter which platform you pin your sights on.

What matters is whether you’re being honest, open, and willing to let your audience in.

Because when you do, your community can’t help but grow… and grow your business with it.