Look around any public place, and chances are, you'll see scores of people on their devices scrolling through their social media feeds. We live in a fast-paced, visual world with massive amounts of information being hurled at us continuously.
As a result, our attention spans have become shorter than ever, and capturing our interest has become a monumental feat.
What is social video?
Our society enjoys sharing useful, meaningful, or humorous information with one another. While most people probably can’t remember many social media posts that have been shared with them, they can undoubtedly recall at least one or two shared videos that have impacted them somehow.
Think about how many times someone has shared a particularly moving, funny, or useful social video with you. Whether you cooked a particular dish shown in the video, clicked on the organization’s website or further shared the video with others, it compelled you to act in some way.
Social video can be defined as any digital video posted on social media networks with the purpose of being seen and shared. It can be anything from a live-streamed post to a carefully edited video. Regardless of the type of video, perhaps the most important aspect is its shareability.
After all, the whole purpose of posting videos is for them to be seen and strike a chord with viewers. Unlike viral video, the number of views is not as important as who views them. Social videos usually target a specific audience and contain a marketing message intended for the audience to take action.
The Social Video Trend
Social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have proven their appeal and effectiveness at getting information out to large audiences. Because of their popularity, it’s no surprise that social media content is one of the fastest-growing types of video content. Videos, in particular, are highly effective at grabbing people’s attention due to their ability to be quick, entertaining and informative.
Social media video trends predict this rapid growth to continue for years to come. In a 2016 report of video marketing trends, software giant CISCO projects online videos will account for more than 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020. The popularity of video-sharing networks such as YouTube have already proven how successful this platform can be, with Facebook and Instagram recently unveiling their own updated video features.
Social media videos are currently being used to convey information for many businesses, schools and corporations, as they result in higher engagement and more click-throughs than other types of online ads. In fact, the budgets for social and digital ads are the only kinds of marketing funding that are expected to increase exponentially in the next several years.
How to Create Great Videos for Social Media
Once you have decided to use social videos in your marketing strategy, it's time to start building them. Social media content production doesn't require a big initial investment: the tools you need to make an effective social media video can be as simple as a smartphone camera or as elaborate as a full production setup. Whether you are a tiny business, or a large corporation with a budget to hire professional social media video makers, you can find a way to use social videos to your advantage.
When considering how to use videos on social media and how to get social users to engage with them, there are many helpful strategies to keep in mind. Since the audience for social videos is unique and diverse, you need specific strategies to keep viewers engaged.
Make it Shareable — One of the most important aspects of an effective video is its shareability. Viewers will only act upon content they find important, interesting, funny or useful enough to share. Videos that are emotional, pride-inducing or have great, feel-good storylines are frequently viewed in their entirety and shared. You want to connect and appeal to the emotions of your audience. One of the most significant ways to see if a video is effective is the number of times it has been shared.
Have a Clear Purpose — Make sure your videos send a message that's relevant to both your brand and your customers. Marketing videos should convey to your audience what’s unique about your brand and how they can benefit from it. You should also be clear on what you want to accomplish with your video, whether it be generating leads, gaining customers or increasing your company’s visibility. The direction you take with your videos should be determined by the action you wish your audience to take.
Keep it Short and Sweet — With most people viewing social media on their smartphones, it’s easy for many videos to be scrolled right over and never seen. That means it’s more important than ever to grab your viewers’ interest right away (ideally within seven seconds). Since social attention spans aren’t very long, you must keep videos short and to the point. In fact, a recent Wistia study showed that videos no longer than two minutes get the most engagement, with the first 30 seconds being the most important.
Distribute Strategically — One of the most important strategies in social video content marketing is to find out where your target audience hangs out. If you know your customers enjoy how-to videos, you may consider posting on YouTube or Facebook. If you have a small production budget, but still aim to post a short sneak peek of a new product, Snapchat or Instagram may be the best platform for you. You may even choose to take advantage of Twitter’s short video posting ability to respond to and communicate with your customers. Since most social media networks now offer paid ads, it’s easier than ever to target your desired audience even more specifically.
Use Animation and Captions — Excellent videos have just the right blend of language and imagery. Did you know most of your audience is probably watching without sound? Statistics show that a whopping 85 percent of Facebook users watch videos on mute. Using animations and captions will keep viewers engaged, while also ensuring that your message gets conveyed even if people choose to watch rather than listen. Using your brand logo in social media videos is an effective way to build brand recognition with all types of audiences, but particularly the majority who are just relying on their sense of sight to gather information.
How does social video fit into your marketing landscape?
Social video marketing provides the opportunity to reach your target audience with both real-time and pre-recorded videos, across a variety of social networks. Social media video marketing is all about communication and making a connection with your audience or customer. You want to be sure readers are getting both the correct information and the message that you wish to convey. By sharing your story or building awareness of your brand, companies of all sizes can benefit from integrating videos into their marketing landscape.
Social video marketing is a valuable tool that can be used in a variety of ways and across many different types of industries.
Brands — Brands can employ social videos to engage their audience with high-quality content. Viewers enjoy informative how-to videos, such as short recipe demonstrations and other product demos. They also appreciate other shared brand experiences, such as unboxing videos, first looks, virtual tours and 360-degree product views. Even company events can be turned into short video snippets that allow your customers to feel like they are part of something special. Effective social videos can build brand awareness and convert viewers into loyal customers.3
Schools — There are many ways to use social videos in educational settings. Videos showcasing campus life are helpful for new and potential students. Consider making short and engaging video clips about course topics, student activities and school spirit. This not only helps deliver the information in a more interesting way, but also allows students to view videos remotely, from any device and at a time that is convenient for them. Many colleges are now encouraging prospective students to submit video applications, as they are more effective at showing their real personalities.
Recruiters — Recruiters can use social videos to attract potential clients, students or customers. They can help effectively showcase your company culture, and present to the viewer the benefits of working with or for your company. Videos showcasing corporate events, behind-the-scenes footage and programs or services your company has to offer are great ways to appeal to prospective clients or hires and help your message feel more authentic and relatable.
Whatever type of video best fits your company or brand, you will undoubtedly want it to end with a compelling call to action. Brands may want viewers to click on their website or sign up for their newsletter. Schools or recruiters may want viewers to sign up for a class or fill out a form to get more information on a program or apply for a job opportunity.
In addition to effectively reaching your target audience, there are several other benefits to social video marketing, including:
Reaching Millennial Audiences — Individuals aged 18-33 rely heavily on video content when researching potential purchases. They expect the organizations they follow to offer video information and will easily transfer their business or loyalty to another brand if they don’t. Providing quality video content ensures the needs of this influential marketing demographic are fully met.
Favorable Return on Investment (ROI) — The subscribers and average daily views on social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat are staggering. While each video campaign is unique, the promise of a high ROI is intriguing to many companies. Your ROI will depend on your goals and how you choose to target your audience. Placing a strong call to action at the end of your videos and setting up analytics to track your results is imperative in evaluating the success of your video marketing strategy.
Staying Competitive in Your Field — As competition continues to rise, the creation of engaging social videos is more important than ever for brands, schools and companies who want to stand out in their landscape. With 61 percent of businesses already using video in their marketing strategy, it’s important for your organization to realize the value of this tool and get in on the trend if you haven’t already.
If you’re looking for a full-service video production house to create your next social media video, look no further than NextThought Studios. We pride ourselves in creating video productions of all kinds — from educational and marketing videos to corporate commercials and green-screen production. Check out our blog to read about some of the many video production services we offer and how they can help you achieve your goals. Or view some of our work and discover how NextThought Studios can help you create your next video success.
Zach Strauss, B.A.
As senior animator and editor, Zach devotes great attention to detail and often works on NextThought’s most sensitive, high profile pieces. He has an extensive background in documentary, and he has won awards for several pieces. Zach is a wizard at After Effects, excelling in the creation of spectacular and entertaining content. His eye for visually-pleasing work extends to branding and logo design, and his ear for good music manifests in his sound production skills.
NextThought creates custom training and eLearning content for top organizations. Our team of learning designers, animators, and production experts partner with companies that deeply care about the growth and development of their teams.