With a billion YouTubers watching hundreds of millions of hours of video daily, and Facebook and Snapchat clocking up 8 billion daily video views between them, online video has become the medium of choice in the digital marketing world.
Jumping on this online video marketing bandwagon can be a daunting affair though. Many businesses are put off by the prospect of investing in an unfamiliar medium and having to produce regular video content. With such an exponential upsurge in online video, ignoring video altogether could mean letting your competition get ahead of the curve. It’s a risk too great to ignore in some industry sectors, where video is becoming the dominant means of generating online exposure.
In this article I want to give some do’s and don’ts on creating videos for the fast moving but hugely rewarding social media environment. Let’s start with a few statistics though.
Why Social Video?
It is predicted that 74% of all internet traffic is predicted to be video by 2017. This an incredible upsurge and explains why this year a survey by the Web Marketing Video Council found that 61 percent of businesses surveyed were currently using video as a marketing tool (in 2015 this figure was just 44%)
But it’s not just the volume of video being watched online that is attracting marketing budgets. The WMVC survey also found that 72% of businesses surveyed reported an increase in website conversion rates. In other words, not only is video becoming the dominant medium online, but it’s also one of the most effective drivers of sales.
But what is social video and how does it differ from other types of video? Well, most TV commercials, corporate and brand videos are designed for social sharing to some extent nowadays. But in a comprehensive online video campaign, this kind of ‘hero’ content will only make up a small proportion of a company’s help and hub output, which are produced regularly and with much smaller budgets.
The key characteristics of a social video can be seen as follows:
Viewers will want to share it on social media
It encourages audience engagement
It is optimised to some extent for the platform it is uploaded to
Unlike viral videos, social videos are not designed just for mass exposure but for generating the maximum amount of interest amongst a given audience on a given platform. This means modifying or tailoring individual videos, or even producing spin off content, to suit a given platform.
Let’s take a look now at some of the big do’s and don’ts of social video planning, creation and activation.
Social Media Video Do’s
Do find the most relevant and engaged audiences on social media: All video planning should involve some degree of audience profiling. When making videos for specific platforms, this means understanding how that audience behaves on that platform (ie does your target Facebook audience gravitate towards different content compared to your target Instagram audience?)
Do create a range of content: I’ve discussed the help, hub, hero approach to video strategy on this blog before and mentioned it earlier. As a methodology it is powerful. It’s crucial that your social video program doesn’t just create waves with big hitting brand ads but also fosters a dedicated online fan base through the use of how-tos and tutorials (help), as well as regular ‘magazine’ style content (hub). It’s these followers and subscribers that will ultimately be sharing your content with likeminded individuals on social media, helping you grow your online exposure amongst your target market.
Do build a decent YouTube channel: If you are going to take online video properly then you need to start by thinking about your YouTube presence. This means creating a user friendly and well structured YouTube channel. It helps to think of your YouTube channel like a second website. Put time and effort into making it brilliant and promoting it properly and you will start attracting subscribers.
Do think about video SEO: Creating videos that are optimised for search is as important as creating well optimised websites. Consider the fact that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. Not only do well optimised videos appear high up in YouTube’s search results, but Google also favours video content in its SERPs, so by creating videos you’re automatically gaining an advantage over static text or image based content.
Do consider live video: Live video has exploded in the last couple of years, with the success of apps like Periscope. A clear sign of the popularity is Facebook’s embracing of the format, when it recently announced it was treating live video as a separate format and would favour it over standard video in user’s news feeds.
Do entertain your audience by telling stories: One of the easiest traps company’s fall into when they make videos for social media is to assume that they have a captive audience. Social videos need to be sharable and this means giving your audience what they want. A lot has been written about storytelling in content marketing (including by me) and it couldn’t be more pertinent on YouTube. If people aren’t entertained or informed they will switch off. It’s really that simple.
Do have a solid activation plan: Uploading your videos to YouTube and then every other social media platform under the sun is not a marketing strategy. Good videos need a good activation plan if you are to get them in front of the right audience. This means realising the potential of all your owned, earned and paid media and integrating the right kind of content to the right channels.