Getting Past The Ad: 5 Types of Video for Social Media
SocialCam, Viddy, Qik, Truveo, Viddler, Blip.tv, Dailymotion, Vevo. Is there an end to them?
As I scan my Facebook news feed (‘Most Recent’ setting please – I want all of it!), it’s hard to get past how many video sharing tools there are. Frankly, I’m not sure if the people using these tools to share videos know it, or if they long ago agreed to share their digital travels on these apps with Facebook and have forgotten that their friends are browsing along with them.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s switch to Timeline has allowed these video sharing apps to rise to the top, and now new ones seem to pop up every day. Some are tooled for specific markets, like Qik, which is aimed at sharing video from mobile devices, or Viddler, which targets business users of video. By far, SocialCam seems to be the biggest perpetrator of embarrassing video shares that show risque still frames and controversial titles, revealing that your friends may be wasting their employer’s time.
Why Is Video So Huge?
Video is a great way to share content and get a message across quickly. The originator is sharing talent and trying to gain an audience. Those who view and share the video are (usually) expressing their own personality through someone else’s work. At the end of the line are people who view the videos and don’t share, probably the vast majority of viewers, who just want to be entertained.
It’s the entertainment value that matters most. It’s much easier to view a few moving images for a minute or two than to read a long article, and it’s more likely that the message will be retained. You can more easily remember a television ad or YouTube video you saw two years ago than to remember a specific news article you read. This is why businesses of all kinds seek to use social video sharing to gain an audience and sell their stuff.
Obviously, users of social platforms aren’t as interested in buying things while they socialize. GM has discovered this and is one of the first large companies to pull their Facebook ad budget. Think about it – if you want to shop, you go to the mall, and if you want to play, you go to the park. That’s why Amazon will always be a better place to advertise than Facebook and any other social platform.
What Can Businesses Do?
Television networks and advertisers figured out long ago that people will indeed respond to ads they see while receiving entertainment, so perhaps GM’s decision is not a harbinger of things to come. Whether or not social platform users respond to ads, it is still more important, and more authentic, to produce honest content that engages, entertains and informs first, and sells later or not at all.
Here are five types of video to attract social users to your business:
- Branded: This is the most straightforward kind of ad. It’s just like television, where your company’s pitch is unhindered by trickery and the value of your message is clear. The only difference is that there are no vanilla ads, because you’re trying to impress people with humor, drama or elevation worthy of sharing.
- Sponsored: This is a video about almost anything, like a viral trend or a music video. In this case, somebody creates an unrelated video that is preceded by your ad randomly or using a keyword-driven schema. It seems like more than half of viral videos these days, especially the ones that become popular, are preceded by an ad, and it’s become pretty annoying. So in addition to irritating viewers, you may have no control over the content you’re associated with.
- Cheap: If you have creative talent in-house (and what company doesn’t have a few developers who play guitar in a punk band?), they’re probably chomping at the bit to do something that showcases their skills. Even if the next Sid Vicious doesn’t work for you, you can hire in-house talent and make the videos yourself. Hubspot has built a huge catalog of clever videos that makes you question what their primary business is (it’s still software).
- Crowdsourced: Sometimes the audience is your best advocate. If your brand has the cachet to appeal to a large enough market base, you can host a contest to gather video entries for your brand. You’ll get more than one video from all kinds of street performers and college dudes that you can use to build a bit of buzz, both in the gathering of the videos and in their publication.
- Demonstration: Google’s product launch videos get pretty viral whenever they have something to announce. Usually the activity relies on the gee whiz factor of their products, but it can also be the artistic approach they sometimes take. We’re not all Google, but that’s no reason not to produce videos that dig into your product or services in creative ways, and share them on your social networks.
When you’re creating or modifying a video strategy, and it’s best to think about a video strategy for the long-term, the types of videos you create for sharing on social platforms should match your brand’s personality. There are plenty of competitors, but adherence to a well-planned strategy will help you cut through the noise and connect with people, in a way they want to be connected with.
You don’t have to be the next dancing baby. All you have to do is produce videos that are consistent with your brand and appeal to your target group, and make them widely available. People want video. Give them video.
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