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When it comes to talking social video, the buzzword on most people’s lips is usually ‘viral.’ But viral and social video are two different breeds and naturally, so are viral and social marketing.
While a viral approach is about making a quick hit with content designed to become hugely popular over a short period, social video is about building an audience and establishing trust with that audience via word-of-mouth recommendations.
But whatever scale your video operates at, social video is ripe with opportunities for a brand or publisher to deepen engagement, boost loyalty and grow awareness.
Video, through its capacity for storytelling and triggering an emotional response – is inherently social, and so lends itself to online conversations.
With 13 minutes of every hour online spent on social networking, any brand or publisher looking to create maximum impact with their video must have a strategy for social.
What makes some videos more ‘shareable’ than others?
There’s no simple formula for success, but these factors will help optimise video for social:
- Keep it punchy: long-form content is not the stuff of social sharing; aim to keep your video to under three minutes.
- Make it easy to share: Enabling social sharing buttons in the video player makes it a “no-brainer” for viewers to start sharing your video.
- Remind viewers to share: Promote sharing at video completion and embed clickable calls to action that draw engaged viewers back to your site.
Use the right technology. Don’t underestimate the importance of the technology powering your video in the background.
Brands should use an online video management solution that directly integrates with social media platforms and provides analytics for reviewing the performance of video, to see what works best for your brand and audience; a strategy that works for one organisation may not work for another.
- Use your metadata. Having complete titles, descriptions and tags will make it easier for your videos to be found in the first place.
Spotlight on Facebook
While a marketing approach focused on viral video can undoubtedly create an instant internet hit (think ‘Old Spice’), a successful social video strategy should use social media to extend, enhance and amplify a brand’s online video content.
With advertising and marketing budgets shifting, brands are increasingly dedicating resources to content production, becoming publishers in their own right, so it only makes sense to push those marketing messages to the places where consumers are spending the bulk of their time online (social).
What’s more, videos shared through social media outlets perform very well compared to their static counterparts – particularly in terms of engagement rates.
Users who stumble across videos in their Facebook feeds have a great incentive to hit ‘play;’ a friend taking the time to share a video would suggest that watching the clip is worth your time.
Coming from a friend, the recommendation adds gravitas to the content and the motivation to watch it.
For brands, in-stream playback is also very important. It allows viewers to watch content without navigating away from their main browsing activity, something which is also incredibly important for media companies that monetise their online content with ads.
Some videos embedded in the Facebook feed have the functionality that allows you to include whatever ads you have scheduled as they would appear on your own site, so you can make every impression count.
Link, link, share, tweet
Video continues to be one of the most popular and fastest-growing content types shared across the web today. With sites such as Facebook now providing prime viewing environments, and representing a major source of content discovery, social media and video make a powerful combination.
Used effectively, ‘viral’ or otherwise, video is the perfect vehicle for raising awareness and engagement with audiences in the ever-maturing realm of social networking.