If you’re considering using social media videos to help promote and grow your business, stop considering and start producing! On the list of effective promotion methods, video is near the top.
Video and social media are a match made in heaven. Many social media sites or apps are perfect video delivery platforms.
Whether you’re trying to get a new business off the ground or increasing your promotion efforts for an existing brand, video can give you a leg up on the competition.
If you use it properly, video can magnify your existing social reach. It can also go viral, literally making a company overnight.
Of course, you can’t count on anything going viral, and you can’t purposely create something viral. However, there are things you can do to improve the chances of going viral.
You can be creative, open to taking risks and have a system in place that allows for quick production.
All of those things will move you further toward the messages that connect with the greatest number of people.
It Sounds Good, But I Can’t Afford to Do Video Production
Many people are hesitant to dip their toes into video production because they are afraid of the costs involved.
Yes, setting up a professional video studio can certainly be expensive. But you don’t need a professional studio to get started. All you need are a decent camera and microphone, and a blank (or relatively blank) wall.
A camera used to be the main expense, but since motion pictures have now been shot on iPhones, I believe we can call that barrier shattered. You probably already have a “good enough” camera in your pocket.
A microphone is something you may not have considered though. The microphone in your camera (or iPhone) is not going to be good enough.
Video quality matters, but the best-looking video is going to be a little offputting and perhaps even come across as amateurish if it sounds like the person on screen is speaking to you from a kitchen or a bathroom.
Microphones can be expensive, but for $29 you can get a good quality lavalier microphone with a smartphone adapter on Amazon. A lavalier mic is the small clip-on microphone that your favorite TV newscaster wears.
That $29 microphone will greatly improve the sound of your videos by removing the ambient room noise (that way no one will know that you actually are in a kitchen or a bathroom).
Quality is everything, and the more you can budget for equipment, the better your videos will be. But don’t let a lack of equipment prevent you from getting started.
What Makes a Good Social Media Marketing Video?
A good video should be informative, entertaining, or sharable. If it can be all three of those things, great, you win. If you can consistently create video that ticks all of those boxes, you’re already 99% of the way to your goal.
Most of us will struggle to incorporate all three, at least at first. But a good video has to hit at least one of those targets.
Before you can create an effective video, you have to know your target audience and tailor your message to them. You can use any of the methods we’re about to discuss. But if your underlying message is not on point, your video will fall flat.
To be effective, make sure you concentrate on your message as much as your presentation.
You are going to see humor as a recurring theme throughout these tips. That’s because it’s effective both as a communication tool and as a “sharability” booster.
But…hmmm, how can I put this gently…if you’re not funny, it may be best if you don’t try to use humor.
If you’re not sure whether you’re funny, whatever you do, don’t ask a friend. They can’t tell you the truth. Ask a stranger. Tell them a joke and see what they have to say. 😉
Let’s talk about some proven methods for leveraging video in your social media strategy. As you read this, keep the three elements of a good video in mind: informative, entertaining, and sharable, and think about how you can work those elements into each of these methods.
Tell the Viewers Who You Are
People relate to other people. Building a brand is great, building a human connection is greater. Create a series of introduction videos where each employee talks about what they do and why they love doing it.
These don’t have to be fancy or have great production values. Just talk to people at their desks, stations, or wherever they work. If you don’t have any employees, put on your face and get in front of the camera yourself.
You want to hit the same points; what you do and why you love doing it.
Create Brand Recognition
Who is the competition for your product or service? You may be dealing with a crowded field. In which case, it’s important to feature your brand name heavily in your videos.
You can do that through simple repetition, or with memorable messaging. However you approach it, look at your videos and ask yourself if what you’re doing sufficiently links your name to your niche.
Show the Viewers Who Your Customers Are
Video testimonials are extremely effective in converting prospects into customers. They are effective in part because they are so rare. They are rare for the obvious reason that most of your customers, even really happy ones, are not going to make a video for you.
It’s hard enough to get them to leave written testimonials.
But if you can convince even one or two happy customers to talk about their experience with your company, you’ve struck gold.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Irreverent
There are some businesses that don’t lend themselves to an irreverent message, but not many. If you can poke fun at yourself or your industry, you give the impression that you’re not doing “business as usual.”
Viewers are likely to find you more relatable, which makes them more receptive to your ultimate sales message.
An “I can’t believe they said that!” kind of video is also more likely to be shared and has a greater chance of going viral.
Provide Your Perspective
This can be especially effective if you operate in a crowded field. There may be 20 dry cleaners in your city, but you can be the only one posting videos talking about the ins and outs of the dry cleaning business.
This goes back to people relating to other people. The more you humanize the names behind the product, the greater the bond you form with customers.
Go Behind the Scenes
This is one of my favorite kind of videos to watch, and there aren’t enough of them! When there’s not enough of something, that’s an opportunity. All we have to do is provide more of whatever is missing.
If you make a physical product, behind the scenes videos are no-brainers. You can make as many videos as there are steps in the ordering, manufacturing, and shipping processes.
If you don’t make a physical product, there are still behind the scenes things that your users or potential users will find interesting. Take a camera into your data center or to lunch with a few programmers.
Okay, maybe not lunch with programmers. That could be awkward. The long silences interrupted by binary jokes with no punch lines…
Everyone can do these. Some industries even lend themselves to the possibility of hundreds of instructional videos.
But whatever your product is, someone who bought it or is thinking about buying it wants to know how it works. They want to see how it works. Whether it’s a spray bottle of shoe stretcher liquid or a term paper editing program, never underestimate the power of a tutorial.
Here Comes the Social Media Part
This should be the meatiest part of this article, shouldn’t it? I mean, the title is “How to Use Video in Social Media to Grow Your Business” after all. But the thing is, there is no “best” platform for using video in your social media.
Every social media platform will let you share or embed video in a post. And, contrary to what you may have been lead to believe, the best social media site is not the one with the most users (hello Facebook).
The best, most effective social media platform is the one you’re most engaged with.
Indeed, Facebook is the 600-pound gorilla of social media. But if you post your videos to Facebook and don’t engage with users, you will not see any action from Facebook.
That goes for Twitter as well. And Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, or any other social media site that couldn’t afford to put an ‘e’ before the ‘r’ at the end of their name.
In fact, almost any social media site is better than Facebook when it comes to marketing or promotion. If your Facebook page has 100 followers, about 7 to 10 of them will see any given post that you make.
Even if you pay Facebook to “boost” your post, you still aren’t going to show up in 100% of our follower’s feeds. Not a very effective platform as far as a return on your investment of time is concerned.
On the other hand, if you put a lot of effort and attention into any other platform, even something lesser-known, like Ello, you will see much better results.
It’s all about where you spend the bulk of your time. Personal time or promotional time.
Which Video Sharing Platforms Are Best?
When we talk about video sharing platforms there are several to choose from, but they all exist in the very long shadow of YouTube. Unless you have a compelling reason not to use YouTube, there’s really no reason to use anyone else.
Depending on your product or niche, another service may be better for the casual discovery of your videos, but strictly as a platform for storage, YouTube scores 10 out of 10.
But let’s run down the top video sharing platforms, show you how many users they have and what specific niches they might serve.
Monthly audience: more than everyone else on this list combined
YouTube offers everything most of us will ever need in a sharing platform. One of the things that really sets YouTube apart is its analytics. You can check traffic sources to see which social media sites are most active (under traffic source: external).
It’s a great tool to determine where your promotion time is best spent.
One drawback of YouTube, and it can be a major one for some users, if you run afoul of their rules, they can be difficult to deal with to get yourself reinstated. But that shouldn’t be a problem for most of us.
Monthly audience: 130 million
Videmo is popular with professional filmmakers, musicians, and animators, and home to a lot of very slick, professional video. The free account allows 500 MB of uploads per week, 25 GB total per year.
Monthly audience: 100 million
It accepts the longer videos (up to one hour), and large files (up to 2 GB). Dailymotion is more of a news site, with a front-page populated by the most popular topics. Don’t expect much random discovery here.
Monthly audience: 100 million
Twitch is technically a video sharing site, but unless the business you’re promoting is video games, it’s probably not a great platform to use. Of course, if you are promoting video games, look no further! You’ll need a paid account though since the free account only keeps videos for 14 days.
And recently, Twitch has expanded into more than just video games. You can find a variety of channels nowadays spanning from fitness live streams to talking about mental health.
Monthly audience: 45 million
Mostly focused on news, overtly promotional videos are not allowed. LiveLeak is very popular, but it’s probably not appropriate for most of us.
Monthly audience: 14 million
Break is home to a lot of funny, time-wasting videos. Though, it can be a bit sophomoric. You can’t upload files larger than 60 MB, but that should be more than enough for promotional videos.
The question is, do you really want your brand associated with Break? For most of us, the answer would be ‘no.’
Monthly audience: 12 million
Metacafe is mostly used for short videos, which is good for promotional type things. They employ a quality algorithm that prevents poorly recorded videos from surfacing.
We haven’t talked about monetization, because that’s not what this article is for. But it’s worth mentioning that Metacafe pays the producers of videos that become popular. There are monetization opportunities for popular videos on YouTube, but payment is not automatic the way it is on Metacafe.
Why You Should Not Self-Host Video
This may sound like strange advice coming from someone who works for a website hosting company, but you should not host your videos on your own website.
Not because your host can’t handle the file sizes or bandwidth requirements (though many budget hosts cannot), but rather because it’s a waste of your time.
How so? Well, if you want your video to be viewed properly in all of the different web browsers and mobile devices, you’re going to need a minimum of six or seven different versions of the video file.
Maybe you don’t mind spending time converting video. But even so, you can’t do it as well as the video hosting services can.
And let’s say you have those six or seven (or 10) versions of the video file on your website. How do you know which of the files to serve to which visitor?
You can do device or viewport detection and write the code to pull and serve the correct file, but why would you want to do that? Again, video hosting services can do it better than you can.
Even if you enjoy writing code and getting wrapped up in the technical aspects of distribution (hey, I understand), your time will be much better spent creating more videos.
Any work you do on file conversion or browser detection is just re-inventing the wheel, and you aren’t promoting your brand or product while you’re doing that.
And perhaps the most compelling reason to use a video hosting site is you can potentially benefit from the site’s popularity. People you may have never attracted via social media will be able to find your videos.
And from there, your website. Which is the point of all of this. And, bonus! You didn’t have to lift a finger to get them there.
The video hosting sites also all have some form of social sharing. So these people you wouldn’t have known about without the video hosting site can share your videos.
Can’t you feel your reach expanding just thinking about it?
Besides, many platforms like YouTube allow embedding the video into your website. So if you need a video to accentuate a landing page, it’s but a couple clicks away.
The Impact of Your Social Media Activity Can Be Increased With Video
We’ve talked about it before, and here we are talking about it again. That’s because it’s important, and it’s an easy way to be more effective than the competition.
I’m not going to lie to you, growing your business with video is not quick and it’s not necessarily easy. Unless you’re a natural filmmaker. But it can be a lot of fun, and it will almost always be worth your time.
Have you ever considered using video as part of your social media strategy? If not, what kept you from giving it a try? Has this article given you any ideas to try to implement?