Social video is a broad term and it can be difficult to define. My definition of social video is—digital video designed to be shared through social networks.
That might not seem like much of a definition, but there’s a lot of information contained in those few words:
- Social media videos needs to be digital, or optimized for digital channels. Videos that work on television may not work on an iPad.
- Social video also needs to be shareable. You’re not just optimizing for the channel, but for sharability as well. Different things make content shareable, from the emotions it induces to the traditional story structures it uses. More on that below.
- And finally, these videos needs to be designed for social networks. Video appears in different ways on different social networks, and each network has a unique audience. You need to keep these things in mind when creating social media videos and potentially edit the same video in different ways for each network.
Many people confuse social video with viral video, but there’s a key difference. Social media videos may not get millions of views and still be a big success. If your company sells enterprise software, a video that tells the story of how your software can help might be a success with only 600 views (if those views come from your target market, or generate leads). Yes it’s about shareability, but shareability among your target market is key.
Even if you know what social video is, it might not be immediately clear why it is important. If you’re looking to explain to your boss why it’s important that you invest in video, try the following five points:
- Social video’s importance can be seen in rise of platforms like Instagram video, Vine and even Snapchat in 2013. It can also be seen in more recent developments, from Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift, a virtual reality platform whose applications are as-of-yet really unknown, and the launch of Instagram’s Hyperlapse this past summer. Facebook is so convinced of the importance of social video, they purchased a technology whose applications they weren’t even sure of yet.”
- Social video is also important because of its primary audience. Its growth is fueled by millennials (approx 18-33) who grew up with online video and spend a growing number of hours on their phones and laptops and a shrinking number of hours in front of the television. In 2013, 1 in 3 millennials watched mostly online video and no broadcast TV at all. By 2030 millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce, making it hard to ignore video platforms that resonate so well with this immense audience.
- Video is also unique in its ability to convey a powerful message to viewers, in a way that static forms of content can’t. Social networks also favour video in their algorithms, knowing that this rich form of content is more appreciated by users. Plus, video comes with special advantages on social networks and online in general. You may only have 140 characters for your Tweet, but you can also include a video in a Twitter Card for greater appeal to your followers. Videos get a thumbnail preview in Google search results that make them more clickable as well.
- Businesses that don’t invest in video risk being left behind. In a recent surveyby the Content Marketing Institute, over 73 per cent of B2B marketers reported using video as a content marketing tactic. Sixty-nine per cent of businesses create videos specifically for social media, according to another report. In that same survey, almost 70 per cent of businesses said their budgets for online videos would increase in 2014. It’s clear that companies are beginning to recognize the power of these videos. If you’re not investing in social video, your competitors probably are.
- Social media videos can deliver impressive ROI. This is probably the only point your boss cares about. Production and distribution costs associated with video have plummeted in recent years. That coupled with the value of earned media you can drive from a truly shareable video makes this one of the most effective forms of content marketing.