Powering your social media strategy with video
How thinking about video differently can take your ROI to the next level
Read Time: 9 minutes / 1808 words
The video juggernaut is continuing to snowball across all social media platforms, and it’s only getting bigger. The question isn’t about whether businesses should get into video, it’s about what kind of social media strategy powers video across your social media presence. This article will guide you through the ins and outs of video for social media, with us on hand to give you the tools you need to shape your powerful strategy.
The good thing is, we know what your target audience wants – HubSpot’s research shows 54% of consumers want to see more video from their favourite brand or business, and the stats around internet traffic show video makes up the vast majority of all the content consumed. Businesses who play the video game well get 66% more qualified leads per year. The icing on the cake though, is the simple ability of video to cut through the other marketing noise, with a whopping 95% of people saying that they’re more likely to remember a call to action from a video versus reading it in the text (stats from Oberlo, 2019).
Video trends are definitely evolving, as are the opportunities around how video can be utilised within the landscape of each social media platform. We know live video is driving greater engagement rates, for example. This is on top of the move towards vertical video, social media TV, and of course, social media video ads are dominating the paid marketing space on our social feeds. Video isn’t a ‘static’ phenomenon (pardon the pun…), and so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
The type of video you choose is not a set formula. The key is to have a strategy. And the backbone of every good social media strategy is knowing your audience (by the way, if you’re not sure who you’re aiming to reach, start with our free User Persona Template). Knowing your audience means you’ve taken time to understand how they behave – where they’re hanging out on social media, how they’re engaging, and what kind of content is already getting a good response. All of these factors play into your video strategy, and therefore shape the type of videos you’ll want to create.
But video is scary…
For the players yet to enter the domain of video for social media, unknown factors such as price can send a little scare shiver down the spine. Once upon a time, video was the domain of the professional – not anymore. With a decent smartphone and some helpful hardware, anyone and everyone can make or upload a video. This means you can boost the production value and create quality content without a huge budget.
The prospect of being in front of the camera can also be a scary thought for some, but even that can be leveraged as a strength! As long as you’re clear about your message and don’t bury yourself in a pile of ‘ums’, people are favouring content that’s real, authentic, and relatable… so you do you.
Where are people watching?
Demographic: 18-34 (74.2% of global users)
Suits: Companies with visually driven products, B2C products, B2C brands, apps – Fashion, Auto, E-commerce, Retail, Entertainment, Real Estate, Marketing, Sports, Health and Wellness, News and Information
Facebook is still the biggest player in the social media landscape, and after indications from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it’s expected that Facebook will be solely comprised of video content within just a couple of years. So yes, video continues to be one of the most popular types of post when it comes to driving engagement. Facebook allows users to upload pre-recorded videos, as well as a Facebook Live option.
Among other benefits, Facebook videos have a 240-minute limit, so this platform suits a variety of video content types. And there’s always the great array of Facebook stats that allow businesses to gain insight into and target different audiences – which means you can test certain content types, and modify your approach with real data, especially since Facebook has a wide reach across so many demographics within its user base.
Facebook Stories is also a powerful way to reach your audience, since these short pieces of disappearing content sit at the top of the newsfeed for 24 hours – where else do you get that kind of real estate for free?
Suits: Travel and Hospitality, Fashion, Health and Wellness, Art and Interiors, Food and Hospitality, eCommerce, Beauty, Photography, Event Planning
It used to be just photos… but video for Instagram has exploded with the introduction of Stories, Instagram Live, and IGTV. When it comes to the general Instragam feed, video posts can now be up to one minute, which means that snappy short-form content is perfect. It’s still important to engage viewers within the first 3-5 seconds though, as videos do not automatically play with sound on.
But in an effort to capture and ride the wave of younger viewers, Instagram has also launched the brave new world of IGTV, which allows longform video upload and viewing. This attempt is aiming to corner the market of those who are turning away from traditional TV watching and leaning more into amateur content providers. IGTV allows users to post longer videos and utilise functions such as explore and channels, which is good for engaging younger audiences and gaining exposure through an established community of dedicated viewers.
Demographic: At least 60% of ALL INTERNET USERS aged 15-56+ access YouTube, with over 77% of online adults aged 15-35 accessing YouTube.
The ultimate in video viewing online – and also a treasure trove for businesses looking to gain exposure. Although we wouldn’t recommend it, YouTube’s maximum video upload length is 12 hours, so longform content is well suited to this platform. Also, since YouTube is the most used search engine after Google, it can help boost your SEO strategy, so regular, quality content will not only engage your current audience, but help people find you in the future. If you’re exploring YouTube as part of your social media strategy, check out our handy guide on how to get more YouTube views.
Demographic: 25-34, 55-64 (21% each)
Suits: Publications, BSB businesses, B2B marketers – News and Information, Retail, eCommerce, Health and Wellness, Travel and Hospitality, Finance, Fashion, Retail, Sports
Want to drive traffic to your site? Twitter video could prove a great choice. Video can be landscape or portrait with a maximum length of 140 seconds. It’s a diverse mix of posting methods and format options, but if your audience is on Twitter, the goal is to make sure your video content is punchy and encourages a click-through.
Snapchat – reach an almost exclusively younger demographic.
LinkedIn – educate your audience and build your credibility.
Pinterest – inspire and strategically target the 18-49 demographic.
Whatever platform you choose, do it because it works for the people you’re trying to reach. Also, putting thought into the platform you’re using before you make your video will help you avoid the pitfalls of finding you have the wrong screen ratio or video length when you’re trying to post… And if you’re wondering what these specifications even are, there’s a handy (and always up-to-date) document from Sprout Social with all the social media video specs you could ever want!
Sizing up your content
The human attention span isn’t as long as you’d think. You basically have seconds to really engage someone before they scroll on. After that, most will continue to watch up to one minute… but then we see around 60% of viewers drop off by the two-minute mark (stats from Hootsuite, 2019).
Aside from being sure your video length suits your chosen platform; you need to be sure it’s engaging for your target audience. If you’re aiming for click-throughs, increased brand awareness, or you know you’re working with shorter attention spans, then shortform content will be a better choice. If you want to educate, promote debate or discussion, or go deeper into storytelling, then perhaps consider longform video.
Shortform content works well for things like tours, teasers, and product launches, because you can leave the viewer with the feeling of there being ‘more to see’ which can translate into a powerful call to action. Unboxing also works well in shorter formats (longer than 60 seconds and viewers may get frustrated or bored). Also, it can be easy to repurpose content such as quick tips into a series of short-form videos that can be released gradually. It’s a great way to maximise the ROI for the content you’ve already created.
Training videos, interviews and webinar-type content are obviously better suited to longform video, but don’t use this as an excuse for pushing yawn-worthy content! The same rules apply – be guided by your strategy, understand what your audience wants, and deliver it in a way that’s engaging, eye-catching, and easy to digest. Events and panels are also suited for this style. And don’t forget, longform content can also be repurposed as short-form videos down the line.
Live big with ‘Live’
In April 2016, Facebook introduced Facebook Live, which has changed the way audiences choose to view and engage with video content online. Platforms that offer a Live feature now include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Not only is live video much more accessible to broadcast than ever before, it’s also much easier for audiences to engage with the feed in real time. This has led to rising popularity and general audience preference for live video, which garners almost six times the engagement levels of pre-recorded video.
The trick to recording a great ‘Live’ is preparation.
- Let your followers know a live video is on the way.
- Be clear about the purpose of the video, your message, and strategic about your location.
- And don’t forget to engage with the audience as they interact with the video through comments and reactions.
Back to the future
Video is clearly firmly entrenched in our hearts and taking over the traffic of the world’s information superhighway. The great thing is, everyone can take advantage of our generation’s most powerful social media and marketing tool, regardless of budget or previous experience.
If the past is anything to go by though, the trend of video is constantly evolving and will continue to do so into the future, so it can be tricky to know how to position yourself without a clear strategy and some specialist knowledge.
This article gives you the tools for strategy, but when it comes to specialist knowledge, we’re here to guide you through the maze of video marketing and social media, so if you’ve got questions, or you’d just like to chat through your options when it comes to video marketing, get in touch today.