Constance Aguilar is the head of strategic communications for The Abbi Agency, a digital marketing and public relations firm. She plans and executes social media campaigns and also regularly contributes to online publications. You can read more of her work at www.theabbiagency.com/blog.
Video is quickly becoming the most effective brand marketing tool, and its popularity will continue to rise in 2014. Already 40 percent of the top 1,000 most popular Instagram videos are from brands, and a branded Vine video is four times more likely to be seen than a regular branded video.
Both Vine and Instagram see major amounts of content come from brands, with top names like MTV, HBO, GoPro and Starbucks spearheading this increase in social media video.
But video can be intimidating to social marketers for smaller brands. On the surface, it seems expensive, tedious, and many believe it requires “special” talents or a video background. Sure, knowing your way around a camera helps. But by no means does a lack of video experience mean social video shouldn’t be a part of your brand’s campaign.
Creating social videos is a pretty easy process. An iPhone makes up most of the toolkit and there is only 6 to 15 seconds to fill. The options for what to do in that small amount of time are endless.
Here are six reasons why you must use social video for your brand and what some big guys have done that you can emulate:
- It’s the best product illustrator: Video provides the best visual opportunity to advertise products. Think clothing, gadgets, toys, sunglasses, etc. Video can be used to bring the items to life, and let your audience see their true depth. Gap does an incredible job utilizing video to show off clothes and accessories.
- Visual storytelling opportunities: Video is more interactive. Brands can do more than just show audience something; they can actually take them through a story. The visual storytelling capabilities of short social media videos can be more enlivening for fans than a simple photo. Lululemon took their fans for a spin around the world using Instagram video. It’s interesting to note that Lululemon, one of the first brands to use Instagram video, gets about seven times as many comments on its Instagram videos as it does on its photos.
- Live, literally: The power of mobile makes Vine and Instagram videos perfect for capturing live events. Because the videos are only a few seconds long, they are ideal to capture the essence of a live setting without losing a connection to your audience. Sporting events, ceremonies, concerts, construction, 3D printing process… the list goes on. Fans will flock to your page for a front-row peek at an event in real time. Who wouldn’t have been bummed to miss this Capital Cities concert sing along?
- Stop motion: Stop motion pairs the ability to share mobile videos with a level of creativity previously never tapped into on social media. This incredible stop motion video from American Express that announces a concert with the Kings of Leon is a perfect example of how the capabilities can tell a bigger story and fill brand profiles with visual masterpieces.
- Guest stars and collaborations: These short videos allow brands to easily include multiple people, products and messages in a single post. One can easily share snippets of jingles or new band tunes, have a local athlete give a gym a shout-out or allow hosts like Edward Norton to promote an upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live.
- Fans can get involved, too: It’s no surprise to come across social media campaigns that ask fans to submit themed photos using custom apps or hashtags to win prizes. Vine and Instagram allow brands to take user-generated content to a new level with fan video submissions. And it works. The first day of Honda’s #WantNewCar Vine campaign earned the car brand 1,020 new followers (compared to its six-month average of 242 new followers) and 2,292 mentions. Asking fans to make videos elevates their interaction with the brand and makes for very entertaining entries.
Video marketing shouldn’t cause intimidation, regardless of your company’s size and resources. They add fantastic interactive elements to social media content catalogues, but more importantly, they tap into the 150 million users of Instagram and 40 million users of Vine. That’s an audience too big to ignore, on platforms too powerful to neglect.