7 Video Marketing Hacks for Social Media

Pretty soon, nobody will bother reading or writing anything online as the internet becomes totally submerged by the medium of moving pictures.

This might be the last article I ever write. I’ve built up a substantial portfolio over the past few years, championing the use of video marketing via carefully considered words of wisdom, offering my two cents on subjects such as why emotive storytelling works in content marketing and how to sell yourself in six seconds.

And now it seems that companies all over world are actually paying attention, practicing what I preach and putting video at the heart of their marketing mantra. Pretty soon, nobody will bother reading or writing anything online as the internet becomes totally submerged by the medium of moving pictures.

Don’t believe me? Well, Cisco Systems’ highly respected Visual Networking Index predicts that video will account for 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70 percent in 2015.

However, this report was released a good six months prior to Nicola Mendelsohn–Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa–forecasting that in five years’ time, the planet’s biggest social network will “probably be all video.”

So if Facebook foresees a video-centric future, citing the power of short storytelling as a primary factor, then you better take note and get on the broadcast bandwagon, because it’s increasingly likely that your competitors will start favoring film to get ahead.

With that in mind, you might want to memorize the following social media video marketing tips before Adweek deems the written word obsolete and remove this article altogether:

Be succinct

There’s lots of debate over the perfect length for online videos, but you can definitely tell a story, create intrigue, entertain or inform your audience in less than 60 seconds. The key thing is to be very clear in your messaging: Don’t try to say too much.

Let’s face it: Attention spans are rapidly decreasing and mobile viewers want short, sharp content while on the move, so rattling on for several minutes is likely to induce boredom and result in high drop-off rates.

A great tactic to drive social traffic to your site is to upload a snappy “highlights” version of your video and provide a link to the full-length version on your website. As with any form of inbound marketing, it’s a bit like fishing–set your bait and reel them in.

Spell it out

Numerous reports have suggested that 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed without sound, which has led to many marketers and publishers inserting subtitles into their output, telling stories with text on a backdrop of vivid imagery to illustrate key messages. Bear this in mind and revert to words if such a directly informative approach can work for your brand.

It might make sense to road-test what works, running videos with and without text to see if one or the other garners more engagement.

Go native

Uploading videos directly onto your chosen platforms ensures auto-play when followers scroll through their feeds, giving you the best chance of catching their attention. Simply linking to a YouTube or Vimeo video means you won’t benefit from this functionality, so the levels of engagement are likely to be much lower.

Also, all of the major social platforms have been tweaking their algorithms to ensure that native video content is prioritized over just about anything else, guaranteeing lots of views as they try to eat away at YouTube’s gargantuan income stream and encourage brands to advertise with them instead. Speaking of which …

Pay up

To really expand your reach, it pays to play the game and test the waters with paid content. Campaigns can prove to be very cost-effective as there are a range of metrics you can refine until they start delivering serious returns.

You can target audiences by age, gender and location, as well as their interests and even level of education. You can set your campaign objectives (increased page likes, more video views, sustained traffic to your site, etc.) and have complete control of your daily budget, making it a practical and, hopefully, profitable plan of attack.

Make a hash of it

If you don’t want to pay for sponsored video ads, you can still leverage age-old social media tactics and #HashtagYourWayToSuccess by latching onto popular phrases and trending topics, as long as your content is topical and relevant in some way.

Try using RiteTag to see which hashtags can work for you.

Go live

There’s a big boom in live social broadcasting, with Twitter-owned Periscope leading the way last year and Facebook Live taking the world by storm right now.

Consumers, followers and fans are flattered when given the chance to have a sneak, behind-the-scenes peek into your world, and live comments offer a chance to create a two-way conversation between brand and audience–classic nonlinear marketing that can only bolster brand loyalty.

Plant a seed

It goes without saying that you want to get as many likes, shares, retweets and regrams, or, in other words, as much engagement as possible. This means you need to put your video in front of the right people, the influencers who can do all of the legwork for and get your content seen by the masses.

As such, video seeding has become crucial to social media success, ensuring that your output gets the coverage it deserves via blogger outreach and a range of paid, owned and earned media channels.

In summary, video content is already the No. 1 way for engaging target audiences, and it’s only going to continue its dominance over the internet at large, so employing the tactics listed above could really help you form a winning social media strategy.

There’s no shying away from it: Video is the way forward, and we haven’t even gotten around to mentioning advancing technologies such as virtual reality video yet. I guess that’s a whole other blog post waiting to be written.

Jon Mowat runs U.K. video-production company Hurricane Media, which specializes in helping international clients connect with consumers via social media video marketing.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.