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The value of video on social media

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Be where people are, Content design, Filming, Social Media, Start with user needs

Video is a formidable force that we're faced with on a daily basis. When it's not on social media, it's on your TV. Even if you're one of those people with the mystical ability known as 'willpower' and don't own a TV, you now get moving adverts on your train journey.

Owning and publishing content doesn't have to be difficult but it's rare to find a truly successful social media channel (be it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram) that relies solely on copy and graphics.

We all can, and probably have, published a Facebook post with an image and some text, gleefully watching the likes roll in. So if images can help enhance a post about your disappointing sandwich on Facebook, what would a video of it do?

Each moving image you see plays on a different emotion and the aim is to make you feel a strong reaction. 'Oh look, a puppy!' your brain says, as you weep uncontrollably. 'Did you know you can make a funky vase using an old plastic bottle?', you nod wisely, your brain telling you that you are, in fact, the eco interior designer the world's been waiting for.

More information, more engagement

The 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report shows that including a video on your website landing page can increase engagement by 80%. The greatest tool for video makers is mobile, as 92% of mobile video consumers share the videos they watch.

Video was a key part of most marketers' plans in 2016, with 73% planning on increasing their use of videos. That's a significant amount of people looking at and sharing your work, which can also link directly to any of your additional channels, for click-through traffic.

Now we have the luxury (yes, luxury!) of autoplay videos, making it easier to consume content. Autoplay tends to work in the favour of the brand, drawing you in before you have a chance to click away. However, it can be helpful too, with the occasional autoplay reminding you that you're still scrolling through a celebrity's dog's Instagram account, four hours after you decided to 'check your notifications'.

The point is that video is a different and interactive medium that forces us to use our senses. It's difficult to scroll past a video when your eyes, by nature, focus on moving images.

Aside from the sensory reactions we get from stumbling across video, there's informative value too. The amount of content available in a Twitter post, for example, is 140 characters of copy, an image, or a one minute long video. If we break it down to slides, a one minute video could potentially have 10 slides of information, with 10 seconds on each.

That's far more information than if you were just to use copy and an image.

I'm gonna make so many videos now, try and stop me

Hold on. Let me stop you.

We've established that video holds more content, is more desirable and has functionality in its favour, but is there a clear need for it? One recurring and almost destructive error is when video is used by accounts that don't need it. Video isn't the answer to everything.

If your subject is academic papers, then it's likely other academics will want to look at a particular paper, not a video about how lovely academic papers are. Your audience is looking to you because they need your content in some capacity. Try not to alienate an already interested audience with the wrong type of content for their needs.

Make a video but don't make a video

Think about what you're doing before you start doing it. Brands jumping on the 'video bandwagon' can cause an influx of video on our timelines and that's when you have to work hard to be different.

Creating good video content is an art form. Being able to tell a concise story well is not an easy task and neither is having the ability to use software to edit and animate your video. If there's someone on your team who has these skills, plan a video strategy and experiment.

Use different social channels

Twitter is great for informative news and breaking stories, but Facebook video is better for longer form interviews and documentaries. Instagram works well for behind the scenes videos and little snippets of information. Snapchat is a personal, more informal approach to your content.

It's good practice to have consistent content, but sharing the same or similar content throughout your social media feeds can be seen as repetitive. Why would someone follow you on Instagram, for example, if they can get the same content on Facebook? Be consistent without being uniform, and tailor content to your channel and audience.

Now go forth...

...and think about whether you should use video. If your user research shows a gap that can be filled with video and you have someone with the skills to create the perfect content, you're well on your way to becoming a successful social channel.

How do you use video? Let us know in the comments below. 

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