Eight billion daily video views on Facebook. Over 1 billion YouTube users. Social video is beginning to dominate almost every platform—and it’s only getting bigger. Between extraordinary moments caught on camera, pop culture phenomena, big-budget videos, and unexpected viral hits, there are millions of videos competing for your audience’s eyes every day. Can yours stand a chance of winning any attention? Growing an audience and engaging with customers through social video can be a reality for any business. In this guide you’ll find insights and advice that will help you tackle social video, from planning and creating content, to distributing your videos and measuring the impact they have on your business.
What Do You Want To Achieve?
Producing videos for social requires an investment of time and money— an investment that your business will want to see a return on. Knowing what you want to achieve from the start will help you narrow down content ideas, measure success, and make the most of your investment in video.
Every video you create should be aligned with an overarching business goal, such as creating brand awareness, rewarding loyalty, increasing brand advocacy, driving entries to a contest, or generating leads.
Unless you’ve hit a viral homerun with one of your advertisements (think Old Spice), people aren’t logging on to social media hoping to find commercials for your product or service. Instead, try creating videos that educate, entertain, or inspire people in order to capture attention.
“Every company that makes a product or delivers a service has at least two fundamental stories to tell with video.” says Evan Aagaard, senior video producer at Hootsuite. “One of those is how to use your product or service, and another is who is using it—and why.”
“Before you make big budget ads or fancy long form documentaries, make sure your business has a strong and continuously evolving library of tutorial content and customer or community stories. This is the type of evaluative content you want prospective customers to discover when they’re searching for information about your brand.”
Views and Exposure
It’d be nice, but simply making a video won’t cause views to start rolling in by the thousands. How you distribute your video on social is just as important as what type of video you create. Here are some strategies for increasing the views and impact of your videos on social when you’re ready to share them with the world.
Cross-promote videos on all social networks
Publishing links to your videos across all of your social networks can help people easily discover your video content and, ideally, share it with their own followers.
Have a consistent video format or theme
Consistency in your videos will help create brand awareness and familiarity, and give your audience a reason to continually seek out your video content. Moz, a marketing analytics software company based in Seattle, does a great job of this on YouTube with its Whiteboard Fridays series. These videos have a consistent look (the company’s founder standing in front of a whiteboard) and purpose (a high-level explanation or tutorial of a digital marketing concept) that gives Moz’s audience a reason to subscribe to the company’s YouTube channel.
“You need to give people something recognizable and dependable they can return to,” says Evan Aagaard. “This could be as simple as always using a charismatic host or producing your videos with a unique sense of humour and consistent visual style.”
Repurpose top performing content into videos
The content team at BuzzFeed are masters at repurposing a piece of content to gain more views and extend its life on social. For example, they recently asked their community what amount of food could be bought for $1 USD around the world and compiled the answers into a blog post that featured photos and captions. They then used the same answers to create a video which has been viewed over two million times on Facebook.
Using content that has already had some success on social to produce videos is a good way to capitalize on the buzz and keep momentum going. A blog post, photo series, or collection of Tweets could potentially be repurposed into a successful video, or at least serve as inspiration for new video ideas.
Grow and Nurture
A high number of video views is one thing, but growing your subscribers and followers is what will truly benefit your social video strategy in the long run. Creating an engaged community should be as big of a priority for you as creating high-quality video content is.
Monitor and manage comments
Responding to Tweets and Facebook posts is almost second nature for most social media marketers, but video comments (especially on YouTube) often go unanswered by brands or get buried by spam. A lot of valuable discussion can happen in video comments, so monitoring and managing them should become a part of your daily social media routine.
Leave comments on other videos
Find videos that are relevant to your industry or brand, and monitor the comments for any opportunities to start conversations or answer questions. This will show that you’re actively listening, and willing to engage with your audience in places beyond your own social media profiles.
Well-executed collaborations with other brands or influencers can have a big impact on the reach of your social videos.
Look to partner with influencers who are already fans of your brand, or have a genuine interest in your product. Their followers should have interests and values that align with your own, so that your videos provide entertainment and value for both audiences. This way, you’ll ensure that your collaboration benefits both the influencer’s personal brand as well as your business.
Clarify expectations. Like any business relationship, clarity is key. Approach the influencer with a rough idea of what you’re looking for and work together to clearly outline roles and responsibilities.
Be flexible. Don’t micromanage the video’s production. Remember that you’re working with someone’s personal brand, leveraging their authenticity and relationships to reach a new audience. Protecting your brand is always important, but the right partnership should still allow them to be themselves.
Have a budget. Although influencers aren’t A-list celebrities, no one should be asked to work for free.
Collaborating with publishers on co-branded video content is also a good way to tap into new audiences while getting access to the type of production resources you may not have otherwise. Many brands have found success working with publishers like BuzzFeed and Refinery29 that have a strong focus on social video content.