The Rise of Social Video


Definition: Social video marketing is a component of an integrated marketing communications plan designed to increase audience engagement through social activity around a given video.

Social video is often misconstrued as exclusively being expensive, high quality and professional video, used for large scale social media campaigns.  This isn’t the case. Social video covers all bases; from big budget video campaigns for commercial companies, to a ten second video of your boss on snapchat. Unlike film-making, this kind of video is created specifically to make engaging content that people want to share. You don’t have to break the bank to boost your marketing campaigns through video. So…

Why social video?

As a digital content agency, we have noticed that companies are increasing their use of social video, whether it be paid for professionally, or using more amateur video techniques. Either way, with 87% of online marketers using video content, and with 82% of Twitter users watching video content on Twitter; it is understandable why social video is dominating the online marketing scene. Video is effective. Simple. If you need to respond to a customer enquiry over twitter, what’s more effective; 140 characters or a 30 second, personal and communicative video? Your competitors are already using video, factoring in chunks of their annual budget because the ROI in social video is concrete.

Example: A recent Jack-All Productions video campaign with Widnes Viking and NHS Halton saw a 25% increase in people attending Urgent Care Centres in Widnes. An incredible result and also a solid, measurable statistic illustrating the success a strong video campaign can have.

How to use social video?

There are several incentives for companies to use social video but the most significant is building brand awareness and telling your brand's story. Here are a couple of options (there are many more) to get you started…

Option 1: Social video can be used to show the fun side of office life. Using live, authentic social video like Instagram stories or Snapchat is a cheap and easy way to promote your business and give an insight into your brand's story. Even a corporate lawyer’s office or insurance firms can have great company culture. Letting customers ‘behind the scenes’ through social video, and inviting them into the office can make a company seem much more attractive, much more approachable and much more likely to get new business.

Option 2: The rise of the ‘How-To’ social video. This allows businesses to easily show off their product or simply promote their brand. It won’t be long before instruction manuals are a thing of the past. YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of total internet users, and people are growing impatient with the written word and photographs. They want to see a product and to trust it, which is why these videos are ideal.

Example:  I recently baked a ridiculous unicorn cake for my toddler’s birthday. Being adequate-to-poor on the baking Richter scale, the concept of creating a sugary masterpiece was somewhat daunting. Enter the social video. After doing my research i.e watching several very American and somewhat irritating domestic goddesses at work, I managed to create something comparable to a mystical, horse-like creature. A win on my part, and a win for the ‘How-To’ video with it’s under 10-minute-long video reaching 12,316,327 views.


Tips for Social Video

1.    Be Inclusive

It’s all good and well spending lots of time and effort creating a strong video campaign but if it can only be played with sound, you’ve missed a trick. With 85% of Facebook videos being watched without sound, that’s 85% of people on one entire social media platform who aren’t engaging with your video. Subtitles and simple animation are easy ways to make your video accessible, whether on the bus, at work, or at a family party.

Another importantly aspect of inclusivity is not to alienate the consumer by assuming knowledge. This is an easy mistake to make but making your customer feel stupid can be extremely detrimental. Consumers want to feel involved so always aim at the content with the assumption that no prior knowledge is known. A car mechanic isn’t going to be watching a How-To video on changing the oil on a Corsa- the most basic and globally accessible the content, the more successful you’re likely to be.

2.    Know your platforms

Different platforms work for different businesses, depending on size and target audience. There’s no point spending time marketing a video for Facebook if your target audience are mainly using Instagram. Edit the video for different platforms, do your research, and find out what your audience want and where they want it.

3.    Engagement vs. Reach

Churning out average content daily and hoping that it gets seen and shared is not effective. It takes time and effort to create strong, sharable content and researching your target audience is imperative. See what content you target audience is already sharing and try to keep in line with this type of content. Remember, ‘going viral’ doesn’t mean you’re being successful.  It’s all good and well posting a video of a cute cat dressed as Batman but if you’re product is a designer dress, you're probably not engaging with your target audience, and therefore, it's not successful. 

4.    Becoming the storyteller

Video production is storytelling. Which is why often people prefer to use professionals who are trained and have professional equipment, but more importantly, video production companies are trained storytellers, who can make a smooth edit. If you don’t have the budget for this- you can teach yourself storytelling. The video has to be engaging, and it has to be shareable so making it interesting and fluid is more important than whether you get your product placement in the correct place.

5.    Time is golden.

If you’re not engaging your audience within the first 30 seconds of your video, it won’t be shared. Start big and capture viewer’s attention. Be wary of time limits on different social media platforms and edit where possible to get the video seen on all bases.

6.    Distribution

Don’t get lazy with the marketing once you’ve made the video- it won’t share itself. SEO is still important so be accurate with your descriptions and tags. You need to start the fire in other words, put as much effort in as possible to get the video seen, and the more effort you put in, the more likely it will be shared. Use all your own social media outlets at once, but also consider the power of influencers, paid promotion and online advertising.

Words by:  Colette Kellgren-Parker 

Twitter: @JackallTV 

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