Video Marketing Continues to Reign Supreme

Social media habits are ever-changing. Some platforms relish their place in the sun, at least for a time (such as TikTok). Others rise and fall (like Tumblr), while others barely catch on (rest in peace, Google Plus). Updates, algorithms, and new functions compel users to spend their time differently on social websites and apps. Facebook prioritizes video, Twitter increases its character maximum, and Instagram adds its Stories function. And it’s the responsibility of social media marketers to adapt to these manifold shifts to capture the attention of their audience.

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In our previous posts on social media trends, we covered the importance and impact of video. This year, we’re doing it again. The prevalence of video on social platforms and websites is going nowhere—in fact, its significance is only increasing. It is estimated video will account for an astonishing 82 percent of internet traffic by 2022. And creating and posting videos is easier than ever before.

Vine, defunct since 2017, perhaps came too soon. Short, silly, amusing videos now abound all over social media, and audiences love them. Few apps have been as talked about this year as TikTok, thanks to its startling popularity among young people, as well as a high-profile international battle over its practices and ownership. Like Vine before it, brief, comedic videos do well on TikTok. So do visually engaging gags and stunts, which can come with consequences, as performer Jason Derulo found when he chipped his tooth on a corn cob attached to a drill earlier this year. TikTok also allows users to make split-screen commentary, or record audio of themselves narrating the video, making for entertaining videos with relatively little work. But perhaps the app’s most characteristic feature is the incorporation of music, which many users have deployed in the service of lip-synching and dance videos, which even Dame Judy Dench has produced. Though uncertainty about continued access follows TikTok, it has experienced explosive growth, reaching 800 million global users this year.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Worksheet

Fast-casual chain Chipotle has proven successful in using TikTok for its marketing purposes. Like the ice-bucket challenge that became popular in 2014, in which users filmed themselves executing a playful, low-stakes stunt, this year, Chipotle employed YouTube influencer David Dobrik to invite TikTok users to participate in its “lid flip challenge” to promote their brand ahead of Cinco de Mayo. According to AdAge, the promotion was a significant success and generated 111,000 submissions while driving record digital sales for the company. Other companies, like Guess, have garnered publicity with viral challenges, as well.

TikTok’s not all about viral challenges, however. Though its videos may be brief and snappy, its features—such as multi-clip videos, captions and text boxes, and separate audio recordings—are the very sort of tricks that nearly every documentary employs, enabling your content to be dynamic and engaging while also remaining informative (and relatively easy to produce). Woodworker Jessica Moss sells furniture and uses her popular TikTok account to show people how she creates her pieces with routers, paints, resins, and epoxies. Does your business use interesting, complicated machinery or require skilled labor? Do you have a massive pile of deliveries to pack and ship? Are you expanding your offices or facilities? Such videos would all provide authentic glimpses into your business that audiences are demonstrably interested in and curious about. These videos are a great place to reach your future customers and clients.

Instagram’s Stories and Reels are other formidable video features to leverage in your social media video marketing. Like Snapchat, Stories embraces the ephemeral. Unless tagged under Instagram’s Highlights function, Stories disappear after twenty-four hours. Intuitively, the Stories feature makes sense to a personal user documenting something quotidian and momentary, say, a barbecue or a night around a bonfire. You’ll probably want to opt, most of the time, to pin them to your account under Highlights. But you may want to let the natural Stories function run its course, especially to document special events like panels and conventions. Still, why would a business—especially a business that has long enjoyed watching old blog posts and tweets gain sudden, renewed traction after a period of dormancy­­—want to invest in content that, in some cases, vanishes? Because that’s where the attention is. Stories has over 500 million users, and marketers have taken note, as the function accounts for a third of the app’s sponsored content. 

Reels, which Instagram released in August 2020, is a function redolent of TikTok. Reels also allow the creation of multi-clip videos, and, similar to TikTok, It also enables users to be discovered by a global audience under its Explore page, providing the video with the possibility to go viral or at least be seen by more people outside of an account’s base of followers. Less than a half year old, the fate and popularity of Reels is uncertain, but the downsides of experimenting with it, especially if you already have an Instagram account, are quite marginal.

So far, we’ve talked about the trendiest developments in video, and the exciting new tools, platforms, and tastes that drive them. But, to take advantage of the continuous dominance of video on social media, many tried-and-true principles still hold up. People are still interested in how-to videos, interviews, demos, and live streams. Facebook Live and YouTube are still suitable places to reach your audiences. You’ll want to make your video mobile friendly. And, you’ll want to bring your users in, even if they discover your content in a crowded room, by adding subtitles to your video so they can watch it on low volume or mute. And none of these need videos need to be herculean achievements—15 seconds is perfect on TikTok. In comparison, HubSpot recommends video lengths of 30 seconds on Instagram, 45 seconds on Twitter, one minute for a simple Facebook video, and two minutes on YouTube. 

Such trends, both short-term and longer-term, are worth investing in now, as the pandemic compels roughly half of users to spend more time on social media platforms and as the world becomes an ever more digitally connected place.

Looking to leverage Video Marketing effectively, make sure to have in place:

Clear and compelling message

It's important to have a clear and compelling message that speaks to your target audience and tells them why they should care about your product or service.

  • Identify the key points that you want to communicate: Start by identifying the key points that you want to communicate to your audience. These could include the benefits of your product or service, the problems it solves, or the value it provides to your audience.

  • Keep it simple and concise: Your message should be easy to understand and not overly complicated. Keep it simple and to the point, and avoid using jargon or technical language that might be confusing to your audience.

  • Make it compelling and interesting: Your message should be interesting and engaging, and it should capture the attention of your audience. Use storytelling and emotional appeals to connect with your audience and make your message more compelling.

  • Make it actionable: Your message should include a clear call to action that tells your audience what you want them to do next, whether visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.

  • Test and refine your message: Test your message with a small group of people to see if it is effective at communicating your value proposition and motivating your audience to take action. Use this feedback to refine and optimize your message to ensure that it is as effective as possible at driving results for your business.

Strong visuals and audio

The visuals and audio in your video should be high quality and effectively communicate your message.

  • Use high-quality visuals: The visuals in a well-crafted video should be clear, crisp, and visually appealing. This includes the quality of the video footage, as well as any graphics, images, or other visual elements that you use.

  • Use appropriate music and sound effects: The audio in your video should be high quality and appropriate for your message. This includes using music and sound effects to set the mood and enhance the impact of your video.

  • Use clear and concise text: If you use text in your video, make sure it is easy to read and understand. Keep it concise, and avoid using too much text, as this can overwhelm viewers.

  • Use appropriate colors and design elements: The colors and design elements in your video should be appropriate for your brand and the message you are trying to convey.

  • Consider the length of your video: The length of your video should be appropriate for the message you are trying to convey. In general, shorter videos are more effective at holding the attention of viewers.

Call to action

Your video should include a clear call to action that tells viewers what you want them to do next, whether visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.

  • Make it clear and specific: Your call to action should be clear and specific, telling viewers exactly what you want them to do next. This could be visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing.

  • Make it easy to follow: Your call to action should be easy for viewers. This means including a clear and prominent link or button that they can click on to take the desired action.

  • Make it compelling: Your call to action should motivate viewers to take action. This could involve offering a special deal or discount, highlighting the benefits of taking the desired action or using emotional appeals to connect with viewers.

  • Make it appropriate for your audience: Your call to action should be appropriate for your target audience and relevant to the message of your video.

  • Test different calls to action: It's a good idea to test different calls to action to see which ones are most effective at driving results for your business. This will help optimize your call to action and get the best results possible.

Target audience

It's important to identify and understand your target audience to create a video that speaks to their needs and interests.

  1. Define your target audience: Clearly define your target audience, including their demographics, interests, and needs.

  2. Research your target audience: Conduct research to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience, including their behaviors, preferences, and pain points.

  3. Create customer personas: Create detailed customer personas that represent your target audience and help you understand their behaviors and motivations.

  4. Consider the purpose of your video: Think about the purpose of your video and how it aligns with the needs and interests of your target audience.

  5. Tailor your message to your audience: Use the insights you have gained about your target audience to tailor your message and make it more relevant and compelling to them.

Distribution plan

You should have a plan in place for how you will distribute your video to your target audience, whether it's through social media, email marketing, or paid advertising.

  • Identify your target audience: Clearly define them and consider where they are most likely to be found online.

  • Choose the right channels: Choose the channels that are most appropriate for your target audience and the type of content you are creating. This could include social media, email marketing, paid advertising, or a combination.

  • Use a content calendar: Create a content calendar to plan and schedule your video releases and consistently deliver fresh, relevant content to your audience.

  • Promote your video: Promote your video through your chosen channels and use tactics such as email marketing, social media advertising, and influencer outreach to reach a wider audience.

  • Monitor and analyze your results: Monitor the performance of your videos and use analytics tools to understand how they are performing and what is driving the best results. Use this information to refine and optimize your distribution strategy to get the best results possible.

Tracking and analytics

It's important to track and analyze the performance of your video to understand what's working and what's not and make adjustments as needed.

  • Set goals and KPIs: Clearly define your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) so you know what you are trying to achieve and how you will measure success.

  • Use analytics tools: Use analytics tools to track and analyze the performance of your videos, including metrics such as views, engagement, and conversions.

  • Monitor your results: Regularly monitor your results to understand how your videos are performing and identify any areas for improvement.

  • A/B test: Consider A/B testing different elements of your videos, such as the call to action, the visuals, or the messaging, to see which ones are most effective at driving results.

  • Use insights to optimize your strategy: Use the insights you gain from tracking and analyzing your results to optimize your video marketing strategy and improve the performance of your videos.

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Matt is a writer, researcher, and excavator of generally good and useful things. He lives in New York City.

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