Video content has become pretty pervasive; no matter where our travels take us on the Internet, it seems there’s a video waiting to make us laugh, cry, get out a credit card or open our minds to something we may not have considered before. We’re all familiar with YouTube as a great way to kill time and (as marketers) to broaden our reach, but relative newcomers like Instagram and Vine are providing new opportunities and challenges. Thanks in no small part to the great variety of video-based social media sites, Forbes now predicts that video content will become one of the leading social marketing trends in 2014.
If you’re already using social media to promote your brand, you might still not fully comprehend how to leverage the power of video content, and the benefits of it all. Here are some quick tips on getting the most out of your social video efforts.
Start a Conversation With Crowdsourcing
The beautiful thing about social media is that it’s a two-way street. Chances are, it would not have taken off with marketers the way it has if the people being marketed to didn’t have the impression that they, in turn, had a method for reaching out to the brands, people and companies they care about.
Taking advantage of that give-and-take relationship is important, and one of the best ways to do that is to engage in crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing provides two things: the first is a way for customers to express themselves and feel valued. The second is a source of free or low-cost "labor" for companies; crowdsourcing essentially makes customers an integral part of the content creation process.
NASA is perhaps an unlikely entity to turn to crowdsourcing, but a recent crowdsourcing campaign on YouTube was met with enthusiasm. Followers were challenged with helping NASA to improve the way that the International Space Station collects solar energy. The initiative not only helped to solve a longstanding problem at NASA, but also helped to raise awareness for NASA across the web, particularly on social media sites.
Inspire and Inform With Motion Graphics
The motion graphic as we know it, has been around for quite a while, but it seems to be experiencing a renaissance of sorts thanks to its perfect compatibility with social media: infographics are great at providing a wealth of important information in a short time, and they’re terrifically shareable.
One of the practical reasons why a business might choose to create motion graphics is to provide context to customers: it helps to expand their knowledge about the issues that a particular product might tackle, or about the bigger societal picture.
You might not expect that a company selling 2015 Mustang parts can benefit from motion graphics, but you’d be wrong. A motion graphic for car enthusiasts, detailing the design and features of a new car could, for example, help to illustrate to customers why 2014 parts won’t be compatible on the 2015 model.
Creating a quality motion graphic might sound like a daunting challenge, but you’ve got some options. If hiring a professional web design firm is outside of your budget, you can do the next best thing and use some powerful software to do it yourself. Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion are two safe bets to get you started. ReelSEO covered motion graphics late last year as well.
Put Fans Behind the Scenes With Employee-Centric Videos
If you’re looking for a somewhat unconventional way to use videos on social media, one idea you may have overlooked is to showcase your employees. Even if you don’t consider yourself terribly photogenic, showing your customers the people behind their favorite products and brands can score you big points. After all, there’s a reason why director commentaries for TV shows and films are so popular; it’s a look into the creative process, and a glimpse at the people who build the things we care about.
Showing off the human element in what could otherwise be perceived as a faceless organization is a great way to connect with customers and fans on a more personal level. It doesn't even have to be anything particularly organized or polished; sometimes candid photos and videos are the best, such as the production floor photos posted by Moments Skis.
A perfect example of this sort of employee-centric, behind-the-scenes video comes courtesy of American Airlines. Their video about de-icing planes is great because it not only informs passengers about what goes into making sure a plane is ready for takeoff, but shines a spotlight on some of the unsung heroes responsible for helping us get from Point A to Point B.
Creativity as Currency
Creating video content might seem like a big expense of both time and money, but you really can’t put a price tag on quality engagement with fans. The good news is that businesses of every size, from Fortune 500 companies to garage-based startups, are proving that you don’t need a massive budget to connect with fans using video content. Social media makes it even easier to distribute that content to the masses and get them to engage and interact with it in new and unique ways.