Connecting With Your Audience Through Video

By Shari LeGate

Type the words “video marketing” into Google and a little more than 1.6 million results pop up in just 0.65 seconds. It’s an avalanche of answers to the very simple question: “What exactly is video marketing and how do you use it?” The Wikipedia answer: “Social video marketing is a component of an integrated marketing communications plan designed to increase audience engagement through social activity around a given video.” Glad we cleared that up.

Defining (and using) video marketing is much easier when thinking on the global or national level of a manufacturer or a distributor. A smaller retailer with only one or two storefronts might not think this type of advertising and marketing can impact their bottom line or increase foot traffic, because social video marketing is considered global and far-reaching.

Think Globally, Act Locally

The internet has made the world very small and even though this connection to parts unknown has made us more globally available, it’s really just the little corners we live in we’re trying to impact. Reaching those little corners with a tool thought of as global and far-reaching isn’t unreasonable, but we need to bring this tool — social video marketing — down to the local level where it can serve our purpose, our customers and our neighborhoods.

The first step in this process is to rethink all the platforms available for social video marketing. Of course, when thinking of online video, an obvious choice is YouTube. A library of video content (300 hours of video) is uploaded to YouTube every minute, and almost 5 billion videos are watched every single day. The total number of people who use YouTube: 1,300,000,000.

Labeling YouTube as the big online global gorilla is an understatement, which is why it might not be the right platform for your business. Due to its sheer size, the competition for your video to be seen and rise above the noise is fierce. Cutting through it all can make hosting your content on this particular platform less valuable and much more impersonal than intended. Plus, it may not have the capability offered by some of the other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. So, don’t ignore the other social channels that could be more in tune with what your overall strategy is and what you want the call to action to be. I’m not suggesting leaving YouTube. It’s still very relevant and the most used, recognizable platform out there. But broadening your horizons won’t hurt, either.

Being Local Is Being Personal

Taking a global medium like social video marketing and bringing it down to the local level is simpler than it seems, but it does take a little thought. Deciding on the message, what the call to action is and what the desired end result will be makes the decision of which platform to use effortless.

Facebook started as a personal, local platform and blossomed into a gigantic global phenomenon. But a good thing about Facebook is, it still can be used as a local outreach medium. Targeted, shareable and personable, Facebook videos are good for everything. This is not cross-channel promotion by pasting a link to YouTube on your Facebook page as a status update. This is uploading the video natively to Facebook, so it lives in your Facebook page’s video content, keeping your customer where you want them — on the store’s Facebook page. According to Quintly, the social media analytics company, Facebook native videos perform up to four times better than all other video formats. This, in itself, is a huge reason to upload to Facebook — but there’s more. Video posts receive 135 percent greater organic reach than photo posts. Now, that’s a drop-the-mic stat.

Even though you’re using Facebook as a business tool and it’s a global platform, create your page to be local and personal. There is a lot of data available from Facebook and if you have the time, utilize those tools, but don’t get too caught up in the analysis. It can be paralyzing and make you second-guess yourself. No one knows your customer better than you and as a local dealer/retailer, treat your customers like family, not as an analytical statistic.

So Many Platforms … So Little Time

An option overlooked more than it should be is Twitter, considering Twitter reaches customers in real time, wherever they are. Twitter connects with the customer by engagement, which is a huge advantage for the platform. It’s a responsive platform as it draws the customer in by asking for a “retweet” or a “like.” In a matter of a few seconds, there’s interaction. According to Twitter’s own research, Tweets with video generate nine times more engagement than basic text updates. A tweet can only be 120 characters and a message can get lost in translation. With a Twitter video, now expanded to 2 minutes and 20 seconds, the message comes across clearer and commands more attention, instead of a quick 3-second glance at a text message. Using video on Twitter is immediate and can get immediate results. Because of the immediacy of the platform, the call to action can be immediate as well.

Another platform making headway with video is Instagram. Owned by Facebook, Instagram is racking up new users every day. About 800 million people use Instagram every month, with 400 million of them checking in daily. An Instagram video can range 3–60 seconds in length. It doesn’t have the same immediacy as Twitter — nor does it offer the same level of interaction with retweets, etc. — but it still is a viable option for video due to its word-of-mouth appeal on the local and personal level. With the ability to upload video directly with the app, it’s great for quick customer testimonials or an important last-minute event worth sharing.

(Editor’s Note: In the October 2018 issue’s Outdoor Marketplace column, Taylor Smithfield calls attention to Instagram TV’s [IGTV] potential role as a developing outlet to reach customers.)

Lastly, there’s Snapchat. Over 170 million people use Snapchat daily and watch 10 billion videos every day. Snapchat offers ads for businesses, but it’s not the personal, local use of Snapchat suggested here. There are so many different ways to use Snapchat to generate excitement, particularly because Snapchat now allows 60-second Snap videos. What I like about this platform is it has a maximum life of 24 hours or less if the user chooses to make it so.
If the lifespan of the message is so short, why use it? Because the urgency to see something before itdisappears is very compelling and there are ways to manipulate a Snap video for a longer life span. Snapchat is still new and confusing to many, but just because we don’t really understand how people are talking to each other on it, doesn’t mean we should ignore it.

Do Less Better

There’s a lot going on in social video marketing right now and using all the platforms available may not necessarily be as productive as using just a few. It’s important to remember we can’t do it all. As Michael Dell, founder of Dell said, “Ideas are a commodity. The difference between greatness and mediocrity is in the execution. We must challenge ourselves to be disciplined enough to do less better — to do five things exceptionally well rather than 10 things poorly.”

Each one of these platforms uses video differently and determining which ones are best suited for the corner you’re trying to reach is the biggest discussion. Perhaps concentrating on utilizing only two platforms with the most reach in your community is the best use of your time, your customer’s time and the video.

It’s also not necessary to create multiple videos when using different platforms; one video with slight modifications can do the trick. However, I suggest making one good video no more than two to three minutes in length and using it as the main starting point. From one full-length video, shorter variants can be created for the more immediate platforms of Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Having all these social video marketing platforms available is great and you could upload dozens of videos, but what good are they if no one is around to watch them? Building a social media audience is as necessary as having the right video content. Each of these platforms reaches a different type of consumer and audience building doesn’t happen immediately.

When working locally, growing an audience and a customer base is simply about understanding who they are, where they are and how to connect with them. Small, personal touches are very effective.

Next month, we’ll look at how to build the local audience and what type of content works best on which platform. It may be just a little corner of the world we’re talking about, but it’s your corner and those are the most important.

How are you using social video marketing to drive awareness of your brand? We want to hear from you!

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