Social video – what it is and why it works

Social video – what it is and why it works

Social video is a powerful tool in the social media marketer’s hands. With videos created specifically for social media platforms, brands can target their ideal audience and bring their brand to life with attractive visuals, one video at a time.

What is social video?

As with so many terms used in the social media marketing world, no one definition exists for social video. One thing we know for sure is that it refers to videos that are shared on social media. Expanding on this definition, social video can also be video content that was created with the intention to post onto social media platforms.

Videos that are broadcast via Facebook, Periscope or YouTube are, therefore, also social video.

Because social media users consume content differently from television viewers, for instance, video for social looks different from video for television or websites. Social video is often also shorter because social media audiences mostly spend very little time on each post in their newsfeed.

Added to that, where consumers make time to tune into a specific television channel, they scroll through social media feeds at a high speed to see if something catches their eye. This means social video has to grab attention in the first few seconds, where other forms of video have more time to make an impression.

Social videos generally have a more playful look and feel. Social media platforms like Snapchat offer fun video editing tools like stickers, text placement and drawing tools. Expect to see these quirky elements pop up in social video, especially on platforms dominated by younger audiences.

What it’s NOT

In order to be an effective marketing tool, social video should ideally not include television commercials that are simply posted to social media. To fulfil a certain marketing objective, social videos have to be made with social platforms in mind and adhere to the requirements social audiences have of video.

Not all viral videos are social video either. Just because a viral video was shot with a mobile phone, or even a social media app’s camera, doesn’t mean it was optimised for consumption on social media.

Benefits of social video for businesses

It’s the future of online content consumptionCisco predicts Internet video traffic will grow fourfold from 2016 to 2021. More and more customers will consume digital information in the form of video. To reach your audience in the format they use, a portion of your marketing messages will have to be communicated through video.

You get to speak to the right audience with the right content – Social video is effective when you’re trying to address a niche audience. A video on your website and video adverts have to be targeted to all the viewers who might see it. Social platforms allow you to target your video adverts to specific audiences. This means you can tweak your videos for each of the consumer groups you want to reach – and speak only to them.

Social video teaches you what works without spending big – Because video is set to play such a big role in future digital communications, brands need to start learning which videos resonate with their target market. Social video is an affordable way to do this because audiences don’t generally expect ‘big-budget’ productions on social media, especially if these videos are not adverts.

How to make it work for your brand

Consider length – This differs from platform to platform. Don’t assume Facebook and YouTube users all prefer one minute-long videos. Do research and find out what the latest statistics are on optimal social video length for the platforms you are using.

Have a powerful headline or caption – Social media platforms can’t search the content of your videos to deliver relevant results to users. They can, however, search the headlines of your video posts. Make sure your headlines not only grab the audience’s attention, but also clearly define the topic of your video.

Keep content simple – You don’t have to create a high-quality video every time you need a social video. Use social video to give your followers a look behind the scenes of your company. You can also give users a sneak peek of your soon-to-be-launched solutions or interview a company employee about the new features of your products.

Keep audio in mind – If you’re targeting an audience that is unlikely to use sound when they watch social videos, you should consider subtitles for your videos. Alternatively, create a video that doesn’t include dialogue or a voice over.

Brands cannot afford to ignore video, and especially social video, as a marketing tool. Creating social videos can be easy and affordable, as long as you keep your marketing goal and target audience in mind. Joining in on this trend now will also prepare your brand for the future, where video is set to dominate.
Live video on social media is an effective way to reach customers in the moment and a skill that every brand can master. Learn how in our post, Making the most of Facebook Live.

Tags: Blog