It is often said that, in the digital marketing realm, content is king. Increasingly, it looks like video content may be emperor. Just consider the sheer volume of online video that’s watched every single day—nearly five billion YouTube video views alone, while Facebook and Snapchat get more than 8 billion daily video views between them. The simple truth is that today’s Internet content consumption form of choice is the video—something that marketers would do well to notice.
Even with video making such a big splash, however, many marketers and business owners are reluctant to invest in video for themselves. Their objection usually boils down to this: They’re unfamiliar with how to make videos, and don’t want their content to be compromised by this lack of knowledge and experience.
There are certainly some risks involved—risks associated with sloppy or unprofessional videos for example, which can drag down your brand’s reputation. Then again, there are also risks involved with allowing your competitors to scoop you on the video front, leaving your brand looking out of touch, out of date, and out of mind.
In the end, video is too important to just ignore —and even those with little video experience can fare well in a medium that rewards human connection over all else. We’ll show you what we mean with a few quick strategies and tips.
Make Social Video Work for You
First and foremost, remember that your videos should always be targeted. You’re not making online videos for the general public, but for your targeted buyers; the people you’re trying to reach on behalf of your brand. Our recommendation here is to go back to your buyer personas to refresh your memory: Who are you really making videos for? What are those people trying to get out of Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? How can you speak to their needs and their pain points through your social videos?
Create a range of content that offers direct, actionable value. Generally speaking, we’d recommend against turning your social videos into glorified infomercials. The key is to get engagement and social shares, and the way to do that is to make sure your video goes beyond mere product promotion. Instead, offer how-tos and tutorials, product guides, state-of-the-industry updates, and other content that builds trust while showcasing your thought leadership.
Humanize your brand. As a way to augment our previous point, you can also use the social video format to provide a window into your company’s inner workings. Think staff interviews, tours of your office, or other behind-the-scenes glances. Video can be a powerful way to put a human face on your brand, to make it more relatable—and this, in turn, can help people feel more confident doing business with you.
Invest in a YouTube channel. There are many places where you can distribute social videos, and we certainly recommend posting to Facebook, Instagram, and the rest. The core of your video strategy should be YouTube, though, and we encourage your own dedicated channel. This can serve as something of a library of all your videos, and even become something like a second website for your company. Build a channel, curate video playlists, and promote your efforts. Get subscribers, and they’ll do a lot of that promotion for you! Read this blog to find out how to make the most of your YouTube channel.
Don’t forget about live video. Facebook Live and Periscope are just two options available for live streaming—a great method to humanize your brand, give quick interviews, or even field questions in a brief Q&A session. YouTube’s live streaming function can also work well for this, but make sure you take some time to build familiarity with it first.
Include calls to action. Ultimately, your videos should be sending viewers to your website, or perhaps to a landing page; to make that happen, you’ve got to ask for it, which means a call to action. You can wrap up each video by giving your website address and encouraging viewers to check you out, and you can even put links on the screen to make it easier. Don’t waste the attention of your audience; once you engage them, put that engagement to good use!
Keep online attention spans in mind. Speaking of attention, remember that short is almost always better, as there simply aren’t many Facebook users who are prepared to sit through a 25-minute video in the middle of their newsfeed. (And some channels will impose a time limit anyway; an Instagram video has to be a minute or less, for instance.) So how long is too long? That really depends on your audience, and there’s no hard and fast rule. Just try to get to the point and to make things as snappy as possible.
Have a plan in place. Like anything in digital marketing, social video requires plenty of planning. You can’t expect to just wing it and get good results, posting a new video whenever you like on whatever subject tickles your fancy that day. Be more strategic than that. Have a calendar planned out with all the videos you plan to upload over the next month or two. Pick topics that tie in to new products, to holidays and seasons, etc.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Finally, we’ll offer the encouragement that we often give to small business owners, which is that you don’t necessarily need your very own Hollywood movie studio to do social video right. A YouTube video can be shot with an iPhone and look perfectly professional. By all means, shoot for quality, and try to do this right, but don’t overcomplicate it.
Go Big on Social Video
We often talk to business owners who struggle to think of good content ideas for their social media channels. Your answer is right here: Video. Make it part of your integrated marketing strategy—and if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at enCOMPASS Agency today.
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