If I were to go out on a limb, I would say social media videos are now as important as photos were in 2012-2013 in creating more engagement on social media.
You probably already knew that using video would increase engagement, but the questions remains: what are the best social media video platforms to reach your target audience?
Well friends, it's your lucky day, because I have the answers! Let's jump right in with the most popular social media platforms for video marketing.
Obviously, YouTube is the #1 video platform, and with good reason. YouTube was founded to help anyone and everyone create, discover, watch, and share videos online. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network.
YouTube's audience is huge, and comprised of a wide variety of strong, connected communities. There are so many different genres of YouTube channels out there that it can be easy to say, "let's attract everyone to our channel!", but I promise you that won't be effective at building subscribers or getting leads. In order to use YouTube effectively, your videos must be tailored to your audience. You know that phrase "Jack of all trades"? Well, the second half is "...and master of none."
What if we as content creators cared less about creating "viral videos" and more about creating engaging content for our current followers? Here is the way we like to think at VIEO: let's create engaging and valuable content for our audience, so they just can't stop themselves from sharing it with people who happen to be like-minded. Now how about that for a culture shift?
Over the last month, we've all seen our Facebook News Feeds filled with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and for many people, it was the first time they uploaded a video to Facebook. Do you realize what I just said there? Your entire News Feed filled with videos. I don't anyone think anyone could have said that even a year ago.
To top that off, Facebook announced recently that they've seen a 50% increase in use of video from just May to July of 2014, and since June, there has been an average of 1 billion video views on Facebook each day!
Facebook, or what it may soon be known as FaceTube (kidding - I don't have a direct line to Mark Zuckerberg), is working extremely hard to make video work for its users and has introduced several new video features.
The first of these is view counts, similar to what we see on YouTube. The second feature they added is Autoplay for brand page videos, or the ability for videos from approved brands to start playing automatically in users' News Feeds. The automatic viewing has definitely been a more controversial topic, but you are able to turn that feature off in your settings if you would like.
If your audience already uses Facebook heavily and engages with you there, adding videos to your timeline can help you grow and reinforce your online community. If you're posting a video to a page, you can also take advantage of the increased ability to include CTAs at the end of Facebook videos to drive traffic to a dedicated landing page.
Most businesses haven't fully utilized Vine yet (us included), but for some, it's an ideal social media video platform. The common sentiment seems to be "why use Vine when you have Instagram video?" I think this question tends to come from the fear of having to try and understand another social media platform.
You've got to think of Vine a little bit differently than all the other video platforms, even though at the surface it seems similar. Vine is an artistic melting pot, and could be described as niche YouTube for creative, short-form videos.
The hard part about Vine, I believe, is that you have to bring your A-Game as a business if you want to be noticed by others, let alone the Vine "celebrities." Vine is less about high video quality and more about the story you are telling. If your buyer persona heads to Vine for interesting, innovative content, then finding a way to tell your story there can bring you well-targeted success.
Just as Vine was rising through the ranks of social media platforms, Instagram introduced in June 2012 the ability to shoot and produce 15 second videos. In true Insta-style, they added the opportunity to apply unique filters to your video masterpiece. Unlike Vine, which caters more to its niche, Instagram is used by a wide range of people and companies for a wide range of purposes.
The video feature was quickly embraced by larger brands like Red Bull and GoPro, and it has been extremely successful. It allows companies to show off their brand, product, or service in ways that were impossible on Instagram before. Now that you have the freedom to tell a story not just one frame at a time, how do you do it well?
Videos that have the WOW factor excel on Instagram. But just like YouTube, you have to create content not for everybody, but for the group of people you want to attract, and you can use tools like hashtags (which are particularly powerful on Instagram) to do it.
Here at VIEO, we love to use Instagram to show off our company culture and the people who work here. We try to share an inside look into VIEO (not just our office, but our work and sense of humor) every single day, and hopefully inspire people to work with us and even for us!
There you have it, friends - the best social media video platforms to reach your target audience.
Each of them is unique in its own way, and it's up to you to figure out how best to create content for the video platforms that work for your business.
Don't forget, great video marketing is not about creating viral videos or grabbing every possible user; instead, it's about focusing on engaging content that will speak directly to your buyer personas and letting them share it on your behalf. It's a lot more effective and convincing that way.
Don't forget to make sure your social media profiles look as professional as your videos do!