10 Ways to Take Full Advantage of Social Videos in 2017

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It’s 2017 people! Ok, maybe not for another week, but we are ready for the New Year and we want you to be ready too. We are calling this the year of social video. Not just any video but rather social video, and we’ll explain this in a bit.

Video has been a proven way to improve brand recall and conversion rates, for a LONG time. But it’s been like the Cinderella of marketing – we admire these videos, we envy those who do video well, but we don’t really want to invest the time and money to get there. Yes, video has been expensive to produce. And it has to be produced well. It’s definitely a scary investment. But a few significant changes happened in the past few years, that are making video both more accessible and a must in your marketing mix. 

Let’s first start with the what and why:

What is social video?

Social videos are video experiences designed to fit social media environments, to be interactive, and to satisfy a need to be entertained, in a timely and intimate way.

  • They are short (10-30 seconds),
  • They tell stories,
  • They’re typically funny or unique,
  • They may be live,
  • They’re often animated and playful.
  • They’re frequently designed for auto and infinity play (they’ll play in a continuous loop to where you may not be able to tell where the video ended).
  •  They break with video standards and are very hard to conceptualize. To tell a story in 10 seconds is a significant challenge.
  • It’s common for social videos to be a part of a series and to vary across social networks, depending on differences in how people consume media in different channels.

Overall, they may be the most expensive and time-consuming per second of video, of most video production.

Why social video?

According to eMarketer, over 70% of U.S. marketers plan on spending money to create and/or boost the visibility of social video ads in the next 12 months. 65.8% of respondents said they would invest in Facebook video ads. We think they should invest in Instagram video ads, and we’ll get to that in a bit.

  1. Social video will give a huge boost to your business’ online cred. So, it’s no wonder that brands of all sizes have turned to the medium to make their posts more engaging, more shareable, and more compelling.
  2. Video improves conversion rates. There’s hard evidence that shows video’s importance in digital spaces. When your business can add video to a post, webpage, or other online entity, people are more likely to tune in, and then take action. On the web, landing pages with video convert better. This means that more people follow the directions on landing pages to take certain actions like download a white paper or sign up for a list. A Vidyard test showed landing pages with video saw a 69 percent increase in conversion rate compared to pages without video. Other tests reported the increase to be as a high as 86 percent. Simply explained: video made people pay attention.
  3. You may get a google search advantage. Moovly gives us whopping statistics: You’re 53 times more likely show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website.
  4. Video ads get the clicks. The average click-through-rate of video ads is 1.84%. That’s the highest CTR of all digital ad formats!
  5. Video can explain concepts more efficiently than any other format.  People uniquely identify and understand information in video better than writing or photos alone. This fact is important because when you only have one landing page, with limited real-estate, a video allows you to show, and tell, your message. You can get it all across in one space, without making your audiences scroll or go to other pages. It speeds up the delivery of the message, and it’s also much more efficient.
  6. Video makes people feel close to you. A well-produced video will also help you humanize your message and help your audiences identify, especially with people who fall within the 18 to 33 demographic.
  7. Video can teach faster than any other medium. And, science is behind this idea. A majority of the population — 65 percent — are visual learners. This means that images are key to captivating them and helping them process information. In fact, 90 percent of what actually makes it to our brain is visual, and these visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, according to the Visual Teaching Alliance.
  8. Video research is replacing text purchasing research. 80% of those under 35 use online videos when researching a purchasing decision. Yes, they want the full experience – they want be as close to touching and holding the product as possible.

Still images are great, but moving images (read: video) are even better. They can combine multiple forms of information at once: images, audio, and even text.

Here are ten ways your company can get more out of your social videos:

1. The emoji is the new WOW: Give them a reason to share it.

When making social videos, the main goal should be to get people to buy but ALSO, share with others.  To do this, videos should get people to go… OMG, have you seen this? OMG, you’ve got to see this. OMG, all the tears! OMG, all the laughs. Or anything else that starts with OMG! Back in the day, we used to call this the wow factor. 

Today, we call this the emoji factor. Would your audiences slap one of the top emojis on it (not the poop emoji pls)? And will they share it?

The videos should be high content quality (video quality can be shaky, it’ll just make your video look more legit, the story is what matters), a good length, and right for the social media platforms they’re shared on.

Like any other digital asset, thoughtfulness matters. Invest in the time and resources you need to make it look and sound compelling. Thinking about length and size is also essential. A short, less-than-one-minute video for Instagram may need to be different for Facebook.  And a video in the standard, horizontal size may sometimes need to be square or even vertical. For most platforms, your videos should be short enough for people to watch in between other tasks like during work breaks and while commuting.

2. Watch the numbers

It’s important to track how your audiences are consuming your videos. Most video platforms will give you at least some basic data. Facebook and Youtube will give you watch-time reports and engagement reports. Instagram will show you engagement reports IF and only IF you are using a business account.

What should you look for? Of course, you want views and clicks. So use those to measure the success of your video campaigns. But to understand which videos do well, and how to construct your future videos, pay attention to how long they are watching and where your viewers drop off.

And get familiar with how the different platforms measure “views.”

  • Facebook, Instagram and Twitter start counting a view after 3 seconds of play (BUT for Facebook the video autoplays on desktop when in full view, on mobile when at least 50% in view and Twitter only counts after 3 seconds in full view).
  • Snapchat counts a view as soon as the video loads.
  • YouTube no one really knows. It has to be viewed an indeterminate % of the total video length. For advertisers, it has to be at least 50% in view.

If you’re using video syndication tools, they will also provide tracking. For example, TubeMogul’s analytics software, called InPlay, is quite solid. Vidyard is another popular one.

As for live video tracking… 

That’s a tricky one. Facebook has opened their live video API so companies can tap into the data. A few Facebook partners, such as Delmondo, are offering live video analytics, in real-time. There is no native tracking available as of yet.

3. Say YES to Syndication tools

Syndication and measurement tools can also help your videos spread but they’ll also allow you to manage multiple videos and channels in one place. Syndication tools like TubeMogul work by sharing your videos on multiple video channels, making them easier to find in Google and other search engines, and helping you to target certain audiences. These tools usually have robust built-in analytics and measurements.

4. Be daring: AKA, inject some goddamn personality.

Every business should have its own brand personality. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to give yourself permission to take a stand. You will have to dare to speak up. You will have to bite your tongue when you catch yourself talking about yourself and start telling the stories of those who make you who you are – customers and employees alike. You have to take your time and let your mission take roots and spread wide. It won’t happen over night.  

You want to be like Patagonia. You may think their recent Black Friday move, where they donated 100% of their sales to grassroots environmental groups, was a bold marketing move. But this recent move was built on a decades-long consistent message of helping the planet. Watch this documentary they produced. What happened Black Friday 2016 was just the cherry on top of a mighty multi-year story-telling and branding effort.

Foothills: The Unlinked Heritage of Snowboarding from Patagonia on Vimeo.

You don’t have to go to these lengths. What I’m trying to show is what it looks like to be brave in marketing.

I’ve shown this video to hundreds of people without telling them who made it. And they CAN’T tell a brand made it. They think it’s a straight up documentary.

Patagonia dared do that. They dared invest money into something that doesn’t shout their name. Why would they do that?

Because they truly have a vision and a mission. For them, it’s people first. Their products enable people to pursue their passions, especially if those passions involve helping the planet. And that comes first. And they will have the guts and patience to see it unfold. And eventually, it pays back.

Not leaning on the uniqueness of your brand is a surefire way to make interesting content seem dull. Instead, use your company’s passions to make videos interesting, funny, or cool.

5. Show your people.

People don’t buy from brands, they buy from people they like and trust. People they admire. People they want to emulate. So, show them. Make sure your video reflects the people in your business, not just the business itself, since they are the ones your customers interact with every day. Show their passions. Show their efforts. Show their good moments. Here’s Volvo pulling a stunt (literally) to show you they are to be trusted. 

6. Be relatable in more ways than one.

Not all of your videos should be solely for potential customers in the same market. Impressive videos can influence more than just one group of viewers because they are relatable to anyone who may be interested in a certain topic. To make your videos relatable across industries, build on foundational topics such as leadership and service. Those topics appeal to others outside of your immediate industry and are the kinds of videos that have the ability to turn viral because they touch upon universal themes.

7. Don’t forget captions, descriptions and calls to action! 

Check out this stat – 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. So having captions embedded into your video is a must! 

Also, ultimately your video should have a purpose beyond just engagement. Just like other pieces of content, such as blog posts and articles, your videos should be tied to a call-to-action — a specific instruction for your viewers: such as, share this video, spread the message, go to our website, sign up for webinars, or download an app.

So make sure to add in captions, descriptions, hashtags, links.

8. Tell a story of success or overcoming obstacles.

Every piece of content you share should have some aspect of strong storytelling to compel people to give it their time and attention. Everyone likes a success story, and potential customers will, too. It’s one of the reasons that case studies are so effective when done properly. You can use video to tell those stories visually, incorporating customer testimonials, images, graphics, and even animation.

9. Teach something.

Searching for free help is what the Internet is all about (second only to entertainment). Use it to your advantage — utilize popular SEO keywords and teach something people want to know. Think about what unique information you can share visually, and then turn it into how-to videos. Those videos will not only be giving needed information to potential customers, which is especially great for business-to-consumer companies, but it also helps you position yourself or your business as a thought leader in your industry.

It can be as simple as this video…


Shake it like a nutter a Simple side salad that’s delish #jamie #veganhappy @timothyshieff

A video posted by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on

10. Be timely.

Timing is everything. Capitalize on customers’ needs as seasons change to provide them with videos that work with their interests. If you have a candy company, for example, work with the holidays to give your customers more reasons to buy sweets from you. If you have a construction company, help your customers get ready for the cold and take advantage of home improvement opportunities in the warmer seasons. It is the approach that many media companies use when planning out their editorial calendars for the year: be ahead of the people’s needs by giving them the information they will need before they know they need it.
What has your experience been like with social videos? Let us know below in the comments.

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Since founding Lightspan, Mana has quickly established herself as one of Chicago's leading voices in social media and digital marketing. A decisive problem-solver fluent in five languages, Mana believes in clear objectives, simple solutions and the power of purpose in marketing. Credos: "No excuses" and "Find a way!"
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  • Bobcar Media

    These are some really cool and important steps to achieve success in the business.