Social media video marketing has never been more important than it is today. How many hours do you spend watching YouTube each week? Remember the last time you checked out your Facebook stream and got sucked into a promoted video from a brand you had never heard of, but viewing it compelled you to visit their website or Facebook page? Smart brands are stealing market share away from their competitors by implementing a strategy focused on videos specifically produced for their social media audiences. Whether produced by an in-house social media team or by a brand’s social media agency, successful video marketing strategies require a combination of business strategy, social strategy with tactical execution, social media optimization, and most importantly, strong creative vision and brand storytelling talent. Even the largest of brands are only achieving a few of these necessary elements in their video marketing. Let’s take a look at six video marketing strategies commonly found on a social stream near you.
Social Media Video Marketing Your Brand’s Traditional Ads/
Let’s review some of the key reasons people spend hours each day on social media – they want to stalk their friends, family, co-workers and maybe ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, discover new trends and stay informed on current news and events, and on occasion, people use social to maintain a connection with a couple of their favorite brands. The latter is what we’d like to focus on. Let’s say you’re a company that’s already invested several hundred thousand dollars producing a series of 15 and 30-second commercial ad campaigns intended for a television audience. We all love a great commercial. Who hasn’t been guilty of paying more attention to the Super Bowl commercials than on the actual game? It makes sense for leadership to want to milk these commercials for all they’re worth by posting and promoting them throughout their social channels. However, in our opinion, proceed with caution when it comes to sponsoring this content in people’s social streams, especially is it’s an overplayed campaign that most have already been exposed to on their TV screens. Unless your brand has produced one heck of a TV campaign that has received some great press for being unconventional, innovative, and exceptionally creative and/or features a celebrity in a new or different light, we usually recommend using this content sparingly on your social channels. A golden rule for social media video marketing: If the video (or commercial) is not providing some form of value whether it be educational, informational or entertainment, it’s probably best to hold back and avoid the potential backlash of users accusing your brand of cluttering their social streams with commercials that may feel annoying, or worse, intrusive.
Social Media Video Marketing a Collection of Product Tutorials/
Facebook has become fairly good in recent years for understanding the type of content we want to consume. Half of my evenings are spent watching the latest dog videos showing up on my timeline, video after video after video. Facebook knows that I’m a HUGE dog lover and simply cannot get enough of these videos. They also know that I’m a sucker for learning about new products. Aside from being entertained by an endless stream of dog videos, my timeline is also filled with the most interesting product videos from brands I would never have been introduced to otherwise. It is important to note that regardless if you’re selling car insurance or the latest tech app, people buy from people. Nothing beats a genuine product tutorial that has real people providing a demonstration. The authenticity of social media video marketing will typically produce stronger results compared to faceless, voice-over driven product videos showcasing a mashup of slow sliding beauty shots.
With every recommendation, there will always be exceptions. Yes, when product tutorials are produced well, they can be very effective in eliciting social shares and driving revenue. Blendtec is one brand that has taken the product tutorial to an entirely different level. Aside from showing their blender’s food blending capabilities, their well-known series aptly entitled, “Will It Blend,” has blended everything from pop culture toys to your favorite tech. Has your brand ever considered social media video marketing as crazy, absurd and effective as this series?
On the other end of the spectrum, poorly produced product tutorials have the potential to do more damage than good for a brand. Online trolls have a way of sniffing out poorly produced content and the stream of negative and inappropriate comments on that content can ensue. One type of product tutorial which lends itself to online criticism is those promoting ordinary or commonplace products. For instance, let’s say you are an online retailer of common household products from well-known brands. By producing a series of traditional video tutorials for products in this category such as a vacuum cleaner, blender, or flashlight, your content will feel like an inauthentic infomercial or a spot on QVC or the Home Shopping Network. Is that really what you want? I know for myself, those videos get quickly skipped in my social streams. For companies in this retailing situation, your social media video marketing should strive to build a fun and edgy brand or an aspirational and dramatic brand by video shorts where the companies’ brand essence and customer archetypes are reflected with various products featured as key props. We discuss more on scripted brand entertainment below.
Social Media Video Marketing Testimonials and User Experience Series/
Having been a teen in the 80’s and a young adult in the 90’s, it’s difficult to comprehend how intelligent purchases were ever made prior to Google and social media. My father was a dedicated subscriber to Consumer Reports and he prided himself on being able to advise the family based on his stacks and stacks of product reviews lining his bedroom walls. That was then. Today, online reviews can literally make or break a brand. We’ve become the most informed consumers in generations, with information available to us as quickly as we blurt out, “Alexa” or “Hey Google.” Companies are at an age where being proactive about producing content is essential for survival. Nothing sells better than an ongoing collection of customer testimonial videos and user-experience videos.
Have you noticed the boom in subscription-based boxes in nearly every product category imaginable? From meal kits to curated lifestyle and fashion boxes, this industry has quickly become saturated with competitive new entrants. How does one curated box company stand out from the crowd? Building relationships with industry influencers and having them create their own unboxing videos. Here is a great example of an unboxing video from FabFitFun, a subscription curated box service which provides the latest in wellness, beauty, fashion and fitness for each season.
We want to see and hear real people asking those questions and answers that we all want to ask and receive. We’d always much prefer to receive an authentic review from a real person than a brand representative telling you that their product is the best. We want people that are identifiable and share similar industries and demographics using and endorsing a product. We’re all smart enough to discern the authenticity of moments and the sincerity of a testimonial.
Social Media Video Marketing Scripted Brand Entertainment/
The lines between brand advertising and the world of Hollywood-level entertainment has been blurring for decades. Back when I used to work in the Hollywood feature film industry, I would make deals with brands to get their product featured on-screen and sometimes written into the actual script. From major car brands and fashion brands to a plethora of consumer packaged goods, sometimes it felt like working on a commercial shoot than a movie shoot. Back in the 90s, BMW was breaking new ground with their series of BMW Films that would provide a tease on your TV to get you online to watch the entire short film produced on a Hollywood budget using ample celebrity star-power. Although BMW Films is still producing incredible short films, the times have certainly changed when it comes to branded entertainment. Professional shoots for brands can be accomplished with far less money with just as many bells and whistles as the Hollywood machine. Granted, access to professional gear does not magically produce scripted content worthy of representing a brand on social. The writer must have a strong understanding of your brand, line of products, marketing objectives, and industry to maximize the opportunity for social media video marketing.
Here is a satire short from a video series we wrote and produced to promote our social media management solutions here at ImagiBrand. We’ve titled this one, “The Social Media Team Finally Joins the Real Marketers” and it was based on a company we met with last year that reached out to us, but really wasn’t taking social media seriously. We gladly didn’t end up working with this company, and they ended up “faking” their social presence and rendering it absolutely useless as a tool for brand building or revenue generation. At least meeting them led to the inspiration for this ImagiBrand short!
It is important to understand that scripted projects are a completely different beast when it comes to pre-production, production, and post-production. Although much less expensive to produce with smaller production crews than ever before, scripted content requires lots and lots of planning and coordinating of many more moving parts compared to other types of less sophisticated video content. After developing a series of short scripts for the year, actors need to be auditioned and cast, locations need to be secured, props and set decoration must get shopped and dressed into the location, wardrobe needs to be found and fitted, and travel and accommodations must get arranged.
While this level of scripted video content takes longer to produce and is more expensive, the ultimate payoff can be huge if the projects are well-executed and aligned with the brand and its objectives.
Social Media Video Marketing a Series of Engagement Shorts/
In today’s busy social streams, sometimes the most effective social media video marketing is when brands keep everything short, sweet and simple. Younger consumers and their short attention spans usually don’t have the patience to watch a video longer than 15-30 seconds. Smart brands embrace the time-sensitivity of their online community through video short techniques ranging from stop-motion animation to time-lapse photography. Here is a fun and colorful example from the Facebook timeline of Dreyer’s Ice Cream:
Many of our most beloved consumer-facing brands have taken their daily video shorts to that next level by utilizing more sophisticated digital visual effects, motion graphics, and/or compositing. I’m sure most are very familiar with the great work the team at Starbucks does with their continual collection of engagement shorts on Instagram.
Keep in mind that the final length of the content is usually not the best indicator of the time and cost it takes to execute these forms of video. With well-produced social shorts, the marketing team will invest ample creative development and technical execution to ensure a video series results in the targeted positive associations and anticipated level of social media engagement. In the end, it’s all about those social shares and conversations elicited by your brand’s content.
Social Media Video Marketing a Series of Live Social Broadcasts/
For the last couple of years, companies have been experimenting with live videos on social media, especially Facebook Live. It’s a wonderful way to give your fans and followers a different perspective on the brand. Live video has been used to bring people inside a company meeting, inside a corporate event such as a launch party or big announcement, showcasing staff and company culture, and provides the opportunity to expose consumers to many other people and situations than ever before.
Live video feels raw and authentic. It should be. It may or may not be recorded by someone that has little if any real experience with making someone or something good on video, regardless if it’s just a smartphone. Common in these live videos are shaky images, awkward moments with staff not comfortable once the record button has been pressed or just incorrect representation of your brand image and communications due to a lack of preparation or strategy prior to going live. Sometimes it better to leave live video to the professionals, and even then, what can go wrong sometimes just does go wrong. Other than Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook Live video speeches, a great majority of companies experimenting with live video are small businesses and the thousands of consultant solopreneurs. Facebook live is free. It’s the perfect price for brands on a shoestring budget.
Is Social Media Video Marketing the Right Strategy for All Brands?/
The days of simply posting product photos to your social media channels have long past. Your audience on social expects more from brands as they rightfully should. Social media video marketing empowers brands. When a brand respects their social audience with worthwhile content to consume, they are usually rewarded with online and offline advocacy. Should all companies be producing weekly or monthly videos specifically with their social audience in mind? That depends on whether they have the objective to grow their brand reach, reputation, and conversions. Isn’t that the overarching objective of ALL brands?
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