Hearst Social Media Editors Stress the Importance of Video

Top draws include a dishy politician and a surging late night TV host

Justin Bieber may rule the airwaves, but there’s another Justin from Canada who has the power to eclipse him among female video viewers. So says Marie Claire social media editor Rosa Heyman. “We test video topics, and after an initial video about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took off, we cover his every move now,” she admits.

Heyman appeared with colleagues from sister Hearst Media brands Elle and Esquire at a Social Media Week New York session Tuesday. Hearst Digital editorial director and vp of content operations Kate Lewis moderated the discussion covering the brands’ ever-expanding digital efforts. Currently, Hearst counts 126 million social followers across all its titles.

Each Hearst title has a dedicated site team and editor, plus a social strategy department working on analytics and brand-specific projects. Editors think like social editors and package stories for specific social platforms. Each brands is also encouraged to check out sister sites and borrow the digital formats that are working best.

“One can’t win across all social media, so we’re selective,” says Elizabeth Brady, associate director of social strategy. Hearst brands host videos on their own channels as well as via YouTube and Facebook Live. The content ranges from “How to” and other pieces produced in-house to humorous clips culled from runways and TV shows.

At Elle, videos are clearly in fashion. “Videos supplement our stories and stand out in a sea of identical headlines,” notes Elle social media editor Gena Kaufman. “Videos used to be a small portion of the editor’s job, now it’s everything. We turned our street style photographer into a videographer using a GoPro camera, and he shot a street style view of Fashion Week.”

Esquire has also found multiple ways to utilize videos, though it took a bit longer. “Our editors may have originally been against having a story of several thousand words turned into a video lasting only one and a half minutes,” Esquire social media editor Ben Boskovich confesses. “But that’s not the case anymore since it brings in new eyeballs.”

“On Facebook Live, Esquire hosts Style Lessons every Thursday, where we talk about celebrity styles that have appeared during the past week, and we reference our stories and their style advice”, he adds. One of Esquire’s biggest video draws is Stephen Colbert, so the brand provides its own unique take when it covers his clips.

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