What is it?
A social media video is a targeted message typically aimed at two groups: the audience you already have and the audience you want to attract -- usually more customers. The brief (less than 5 minutes) video is posted on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, which are among the most popular sites where people congregate online. Highly successful videos -- clips that generate more than a million views and go viral -- are often as short as 1 minute. That’s still more than enough time to create brand awareness, highlight a new product or tell a compelling story.
The goal is to drive audience engagement, get people sharing the video, commenting on it and clicking the “like” button to show their approval of your message. Audience feedback gives you credibility and fosters trust for your company. When you captivate viewers, you’ve won their hearts. Their minds will surely follow.
Short Form Social Media Videos
These are brief clips that play well on sites like Instagram. A great advantage of the short form video for social media is you can leverage other videos by just using snippets from longer productions you already own. This way, you get more for your marketing dollars by leveraging existing assets.
Digital Media Collab created this video for Zales.
We also produced this video for Piercing Pagoda.
Here’s an example from Oreo, a company that sells a lot of cookies with its short form videos on Instagram.
Long Form Social Media Videos
Longer clips are good for platforms such as YouTube, when you have a story to tell.
Here’s a social media video for UNICEF that puts the crisis in Syria into relatable, humanitarian terms.
This social media video promoting Tech Insider uses animation and live-action inserts to explore the ocean depths. At 3/12 minutes, it covers a tremendous amount of information in visually arresting ways.
Soup and seasonings company Knorr created this social media video connecting food with love. The result was 31 million views in a single week.
When/Where to use.
Deciding where to post your social media video, which is to say, choosing the right online platforms to use, depends on your answer to these questions:
- Who is the audience I am trying to reach?
- Are they already aware of my company/engaged with us on social media or will we need to introduce ourselves?
- What message will attract my audience to my business? Generally, Facebook skews to audiences of all ages, while YouTube and Instagram, both just as popular, typically draw a younger crowd, people age 30 and under.
Because social media videos must be brief to be effective, they are most useful in the awareness and consideration stages of a buyer’s journey. Follow-up messaging then moves prospective customers through your funnel to the buying stage.
Why use it.
Reaching potential new customers means taking the message to them. You have to go where your customers congregate, and of all the hours invested in online activity, more than a third of that time now involves watching videos.
Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook attract billions of people every day. Establishing a connection on social media is often the first step in guiding new customers to your website, making them aware of your brand or nudging them toward a store where they can buy your products.
For small businesses, social media videos are an affordable option to television advertising, which may be cost prohibitive. Once your video is created and posted, there are no further expenses, while with television you will pay for every time your message is broadcast.
How to use and Analyse/Measure
Measuring the success of a social media video is fairly easy. Most platforms provide reaction tools for your audience to respond to your content. On Facebook, one glance at your social media posting will reveal how many people viewed the video, how many liked what they saw, and how many forwarded the content to someone else. Just below those statistics you’ll see any comments that viewers left for you. All of this information provides invaluable feedback as you gauge the response to your message. Viewers by their own comments and reactions are telling you what you’re doing right -- or wrong. Another measurement of success is to compare conversions or sales before and after your social media video is posted. A spike in web traffic to your site or a bump in sales soon after the video is posted can be taken as a clear sign the social media video is a success.
There are many types of video formats that can be used effectively on social media. Here are some of the most popular:
Feature demonstrations of products
According to one study, 78% of people said that their buying decisions have been influenced by brands’ social media posts. Video is a great way to highlight a product or demonstrate a specific feature. An informal social media post can seem more authentic than an ad, and encourage people to click “buy.”
This has become a hugely popular feature on Facebook and other platforms. Companies can live stream an event, take questions directly from Facebook users and conduct live interviews. Live videos lend an immediacy to your message and create a “you are there” sense of participation, which can spark excitement.
These types of videos are so popular we’ve devoted an entire article to their benefits. How-to and explanatory videos are among the most searched-for content on the Internet. For social media postings, the video must be brief, but this style can be incredibly effective when you’re rolling out a new product and want to demonstrate some of its features that will prompt your viewers to buy.
Planning a new product line or other offering? Announcement videos build excitement.
Deals and Promotions
Offer your social media fans a special deal and grab their attention with a video promoting your sales event.
People love to see what’s happening in the back room. You get to show off the people behind your business, which builds customer trust in everything you do.
You can demonstrate the manufacturing process of a new product, show employees engaging with the product or take your audience on a tour of your facilities.
Raise your brand awareness and customer goodwill by highlighting details of a contest or giveaway in a social media video. This boosts customer engagement and encourages viewers to share your video with their friends and contacts, expanding the reach of your production.
You can make a follow-up video to announce the winners or even live-stream a social media video where you pick the winners in real time.
Heard of FOMO? That’s what Millennials call the “Fear of Missing Out” and it’s a powerful phenomenon that gets an audience involved. You can offer a sneak preview of coming events you want customers to attend or be aware of, and you can present social media views offering a recap of an event so your audience sees what they’re missing. To help your online audience feel included, offer a glimpse of some aspect of the event that even actual attendees might not get to see. That sense of exclusivity is a powerful tool for connecting with customers.
Process to create
Determine the concept and message
Your video production company can help you brainstorm ideas for your videos. To help you get started here are suggestions for identifying a good concept for the video.
Which of your web pages get the most traffic? That’s what your existing audience is most interested in learning about.
If you already have a social media presence, such as a dedicated company page on Facebook, take time to evaluate what your visitors have engaged with the most. Which of your posts received the most “likes”? Which posts were shared most often? You can do this quickly by checking the Pages to Watch tab on your Facebook page. Go to your page, click on Insights and then the Overview tab. Pages to Watch is listed at the bottom.
On Instagram use the Explore feature to measure engagement. Social Bearing is Twitter’s version of the engagement tool.
Next, check out what your competitors are posting. This can give you an idea of what’s working in your industry (or not working).
The next step is planning the video production. This usually involves writing a script and drawing up a storyboard that provides a rough illustration of each planned scene in your video. Scripts and storyboards give you a blueprint to follow, saving time and money as opposed to making it up on the fly.
The first shot in the video is arguably the most important, because you’ll have about 3 seconds to grab viewer attention before people scroll down to the next item in their news feed. Because most platforms will launch a video with the audio turned off (the user has to click manually on a speaker icon to hear your video), it’s important to tell your story in visual terms.
Your video production company will create a polished video ready to post on social media platforms. As soon as your video is online, you’re ready to start tracking viewer engagement and conversions.
The current average cost social media video projects start at $5,000.
The scope of the production will largely determine the final cost. Elaborate productions requiring numerous locations, sets and props, research time -- and other expenses that vary with each project -- can impact the cost of your production.
An experienced video production company will discuss all of these factors with you while working collaboratively on the concept for your video. Then an accurate production estimate can be made.
There are three main factors that drive production costs: time, talent and tools.
The more time you can invest in pre-production, the better your social media video will almost certainly be. Pre-production is far less expensive than actual production, when you’re paying for the time of a crew and the talent they are filming.
Tools include the use of high-definition video cameras, audio recording equipment, lighting kits, transportation vehicles, as well as post-production computer resources for any motion graphics and animation your video might require to sell the message.
Always vet 2 or 3 video production companies before choosing one to work with. Check their portfolios to be sure your style and vision are compatible. Calling a few of the video company’s prior clients will also be helpful as you narrow your choices.
At Digital Media Collab, you can review our portfolio right here.
Plan on a minimum of four weeks to conceive, create and post your social media video. The actual production time depends on the scope of your vision for the social media video. A simple product demo could be produced at your company offices. A more elaborate video that tells a story with actors on location will take more time. Once the concept for the video is worked out, your video production company should be able to give you an accurate estimate for time to completion.
Social media videos reach your audience where they live -- on social media. If you’ve already developed a following on, say, Facebook, then you’re ahead of the game when it comes to getting attention in a crowded online world. If you’re just starting out with a social media presence, a few well-produced videos can help make your introductions and get you on the way to building a devoted fan base.
One of the lesser-known functions on Facebook is the “following” feature. When someone clicks “Liked” on your page, everything you post from then on will appear in their news feed whenever they log into Facebook -- unless they take the extra step to click on “Unfollow.” By providing good content that excites and engages, you will never give your followers reason to abandon your social media posts and videos.
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-- Mike Crow, Orthofix.
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-- Brian Czock, SonLight Productions.