Video has emerged as one of the primary components of social media. Facebook and Snapchat alone both have more than 8 billion video views each day, and YouTube streams hundreds of millions of hours on a daily basis. For these reasons, video has become an important aspect of brand promotion and marketing on social media. Companies that don’t take advantage of social media video capabilities put themselves at a major disadvantage in the market. Some organizations may avoid video because it seems expensive and time-intensive, but realistically, even the small business owner with a smartphone can produce content that looks great.
In the years to come, video will likely only become a more important aspect of social media. Many social networks are in the process of rolling out native video and live options, such as Facebook Live. Recently, Facebook began treating live videos as a distinct form of media that is separate from normal videos, giving companies new ways to reach their target demographics. Video is especially important for reaching younger generations. Millennials spend little time in front of the TV compared to older generations and are often more likely to access videos from their smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
Marketers also need to consider the unique ability of video to connect with viewers. If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are worth infinitely more for communicating a company’s voice, culture, and values. What’s more, social networks tend to favor videos in their algorithms, because users prefer rich content. Projections show that 74 percent of all Internet traffic in 2017 will come from video, and 72 percent of businesses that have already used video say that it has increased conversion rates on their websites.
Some companies may not know how to incorporate videos into their marketing strategy, but that’s usually because they are not considering the full potential of video. Below are some creative ways to incorporate video into a marketing campaign.
Highlight a Specific Event
With a society that is increasingly driven by FOMO (fear of missing out), a great way to engage with customers and get shares is to provide an insider’s look at a specific event. This approach works especially well with live videos, which can make viewers feel like they are actually present at the event. Companies can even look forward to upcoming industry events to create promotional content about how they are preparing for them. An event is an organic way to create a video that customers actually want to see and that they will feel compelled to share with their friends—provided, of course, that the event is something they care about. A great way to get ideas about events to cover is to look at what your followers are talking about and what subjects are trending.
Provide a Demonstration
Virtually everyone has come across a video on their Facebook timeline that shows a time lapse video of someone cooking a meal, making a craft, or doing something else interesting. Companies can create videos demonstrating how to do something unique with their own products, or something that is tangentially related to their products. Importantly, the video shouldn’t come across as a blatant advertisement for the product. Instead, it should focus on showing people how to do something creative.
This approach can also be helpful for interacting with customers. If a customer asks a question about a product, creating a 30-second video to answer the question could result in exponentially more shares than typing a response. The customer will likely find the video more helpful, too.
Take Customers Behind the Scenes
Everyone wants to see how things are made or how things operate at a company. When companies take their customers behind the scenes, they can build a real emotional connection with them by showing their human side. “Behind the scenes” is a generic term that can cover a lot of situations. Perhaps the video looks at the creative process of a certain team, or shares an interview with an executive about an interesting project he or she has been doing on the side. Companies could also use this strategy to highlight their work within the community and other philanthropic pursuits. Behind-the-scenes videos could be prerecorded or live, depending on the subject and marketing goals.
Give a Glimpse of the Future
While companies should avoid overt advertising in their videos, a great way to engage customers is to give them a sneak peak at new products and services. This strategy can drive conversation about the new products to build buzz before the launch, or even prompt feedback that could improve the product or its marketing. Videos of new products tend to be shared widely—many people want to show their friends that they were the first to know.
Participate in a Current Trend
Companies should strive to show that they are engaged with popular culture and especially the interests of their customers. A great way to demonstrate this is by taking part in current cultural trends.
For example, while the ALS Association holds its Ice Bucket Challenge, companies can post short videos of their employees completing the challenge. Movember, which raises awareness of prostate cancer, is another popular trend that companies can use to their advantage. For example, at the end of the month, a company can post a video showing the employees who participated and recording the amount of money raised for the cause. Marketers should keep track of trending hashtags across a variety of platforms and ask themselves how the company can spin the trend to support their own brand.