Will social and video rescue the fragmented digital marketing industry?

Everybody knows the growing importance of digital marketing to a business – and many understand that it’s in a constant state of flux – but having video and social working cohesively within your business’ marketing strategy is another thing.

Video and social complement each other in numerous ways. After all, social media sites are where brands and their videos thrive. However, creating original and relevant video is the easy part – the challenge is how you use social media to build and sustain your user base and ensure the content is viewed by the right people.

The ability to target customers is more fragmented than ever. Marketers are now required to tailor their content more specifically. As such, copy and marketing messages needs to be customised across each platform – both online and offline – to reach target audiences.

Visual content is set to become more commonplace as a method for cutting through the increasing level of digital noise. Using such a method as part of a wider marketing strategy is better for inspiring emotion – something that tends to connect with consumers more successfully.

One thing that is clear is that online video has matured hugely over the past 18 months and, along with it, marketers’ attitudes. I regularly have conversations with clients about diverting 10–20 percent of TV advertisingbudgets to online video simply because we can demonstrably drive a broader and more effective reach by doing so. Whoever the key players in video content end up being, there’s going to be a big prize to be won. The competition to actually create the content – from old school agencies, new media partners, or even super users – will no doubt be just as fierce.

Whilst video provides customers and clients with entertainment and relevant information in a package that consumers prefer, social media delivers the video to the people who want to see it. Incorporating video into your social media content can work to improve that all important shareability and search engine rankings, whilst injecting trust and personality into a brand.

It’s expected that the vast majority of social media platforms will follow Facebook’s lead by introducing a combination of paid-for-content and native advertising. As such, more social media platforms will begin to fulfil their potential as a commercial entity, as well as a greater user experience.

As social media and search converge, content sharing is translating into credible links and better domain authority. As a result, brands that engage with their social communities with shareable, inspiring and relevant content will be successful. Conversely, social influencers are now more aware of their worth and aren’t shy in letting brands know this!

Whilst the use of video for marketing purposes has grown steadily over the last few years, this trend is set to grow at a dramatic rate over the next year, as more companies turn to ‘explainer videos’. Social media will move towards being video-centric as the number of video producing resources, such as Vine and Periscope, continues to grow. This will most likely result in promoted video content becoming more affordable. In addition, in this era of smartphones, when people are constantly connected with the world via social media, video-friendly mobile technology will reach your consumers more quickly and easily than ever.

Video-viewing audiences are getting more diverse than ever. Studies have revealed that the unique monthly consumers of video have more than doubled in recent years. The yearly increase in video consumption pretty much proves that videos are not just alluring young people, but the general population from all walks of life.

Social sites are doing everything in their power to attract branded content. The question is, why is there such a push to merge the two? Video is becoming a force to be reckoned with, particularly in general when it comes to inciting a response with consumers more likely to make a purchase if they see a product video beforehand. Consumers perceptions of  brand video is that it delivers a positive impression of the company and induces a higher level of trustworthiness.

That said, businesses should only look to use video or social if there’s an audience for it and an even better reason to do it. This strategy is not something that will work for every business and none should do it for the sake of it, or to jump on the bandwagon.

If brands are to leverage the link between video and social media, they must create content that people can emphasise with. When consumers share, they are telling their followers or friends something about themselves. Brands need to look at a synergy between what they want to create and what consumers want to see, in order to make videos relevant and, ultimately, increase online brand exposure.

Consumers seek out videos that incorporate humour and feel light to watch. Brands want to tell a story, but it has to be one that your audience wants to hear. Brands need to bear in mind that the audience they’re targeting is exploring video in the context of an abundance of other content. There is a key difference between searching for a video on YouTube and watching one on social media; when a video is actively sought out, a user is more likely to tolerate longer, heavier content than when a video pops up on their feeds.

Beyond posting to your social media accounts, it’s important to optimise online videos to improve their discoverability. URLs should be short and contain your most important keywords. On sites like YouTube, elements such as title, description, and captions should be optimised for search. Videos should always include social media share buttons. These things all lay the groundwork for content marketing success.

Regardless of where else you’re hosting video content, it still makes sense to upload to YouTube. Maintaining a YouTube channel has done wonders for brands like Warner Bros. Pictures, Playstation, Red Bull and GoPro, all of which are now synonymous with great video content. YouTube holds about 20 percent of all online video content. Until that changes, it’s still a go-to site, so don’t go writing it off just yet.

Video related content and social media are not magic wands that will bring in customers, but if they are used as part of a strategic marketing plan, they can be really beneficial. In the end, the biggest incentive for any brand manager will be to expand their budget in video marketing in 2015 to gain maximum benefits and ROI from the digital world.


Daniel Nolan

Contributor


Daniel Nolan is Managing Director of theEword.

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