3 Steps to Crafting Can’t-Miss Social Video Content

Editor's note: At our Smart Social London event in June, Josh Rickel, Spredfast’s VP of Product Marketing, led Matt Guenigault, Global Content Development & Engagement Manager of LEGO Group in a discussion about the state of social video that included a primer on how brands should be using it today. This post explores those topics.

“Video is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.” Rickel spoke these words on stage at a recent event, and it's true: marketers can’t simply create video content and rely on the form alone to make that content strategic. Strategy—a careful plan or method with a specific goal in mind—is more substantial than a tactic. A tactic, after all, is just a method, and video is a method that marketers use to grab people’s attention in a noisy social landscape. That's not to say that attention-grabbing tactics aren't crucial: 90 percent of all content shared on social in 2017 was video. Video as a method to reach your target audience is a great place to start, but smart brands must then carefully craft a fleshed-out video content strategy—and tie it to the overarching strategy they already (hopefully!) have in place.

Video is a tactic that marketers use to grab people’s attention in a noisy social landscape.


Below, we've gathered the most valuable video content insights from this year’s Smart Social London session. Dial in and take notes:

Important Questions to Ask about Video

There are three key pillars involved in creating a strong and meaningful video content strategy, argued Rickel. First, you’ll need to figure out who you are creating your content for. Begin by considering who you are trying to reach and determining what kind of content these people are looking for. Then, you can focus on how to deliver your content to them.

Second, think carefully about the metrics you’ll use to measure your success. More specifically, determine how your team will know when you’ve gotten the attention of your target audience and what this attention looks like. It’s important to note that your ideal metrics might go beyond views. Your goal may be to have someone start a conversation about your video content, or you might want your audience to specifically recall your brand, product, or service.

And finally, Rickel explained, you need to know how you’ll test the performance of your video content. Testing is crucial because it will guide adjustments that will allow your team to optimize the effectiveness of your content. Social media offers a real-time feedback loop, so marketers can adjust video content as needed and then redistribute it as necessary.

Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to create your social video content.

How to Create Impactful Social-First Video

We already understand that social can no longer be an afterthought: social is important in its own right, especially when it comes to content. Matt Guenigault explained that creating social-first videos are crucial for brands. “What is social-first?,” Guenigault asked the audience. “It sounds like just another buzzword, but the concept of social-first is content made for social, first. Kind of sounds a bit obvious when I put it that way, but what we actually mean by that is it's trying to get away from the traditional marketing model that a lot of people have, which is ‘Let's create this amazing, hero piece of content that's a TV ad, and then afterwards, let's put it on social.’” Your social channels, said Guenigault, should not be digital dumping grounds for other people's content. Video content on your social channels needs to be created specifically for those channels.

The answer to how marketers can determine which social media platform to create content involves knowing who your audience is and how your content can fulfill their needs. You also need to understand the differences between platforms and how they function. There’s no point in making content that isn’t going to fit on the platform you plan to post it to, explained Guenigault. “I’ve had people say, ‘Here’s a lovely two-minute video. Can you put it on Instagram?’ And I have to say, well, no, because the platform won’t support it.” (Though now a two-minute video would work well on IGTV). Finally, as you determine which platform will house your video content, you must keep your marketing objectives top-of-mind. You need to know what you want your content to do. “I still think there’s quite a lot of people who are creating content for the sake of creating content—because you need to publish stuff on your channels to still be seen,” said Guenigault. But, he emphasized, doing so will just clog your channels. It won’t add value for your audience and in the long run, it won’t truly increase engagement with your brand.

Once you determine your audience’s needs, which platform you’ll use, and what you hope to accomplish with your social video content, you’ll need to choose a video type.

The 6 Most Important Types of Social Video Content

There are four primary recorded formats of social video that marketers work with: ephemeral, short-form, mid-form, and long-form. Rickel added that though the forms are relatively new, marketers should also consider Live Video and VR when crafting a video content strategy.

Below, we detail each type of video so that you can easily choose the one that will work best with your video content needs:

1. Ephemeral Videos

“We had someone come and speak to from Facebook at Spredfast, and they were telling us that Stories is the fastest-growing product in Facebook's history, our customers are flocking to Stories,” said Rickel. It makes sense: stories fit with what Instagram users are looking for—they’re a quick fix. Stories are attuned to the tone and playfulness that social audiences crave. Stories also allow marketers to share less polished content, which means an increase in intimacy and a decrease in production time. With Stories, velocity to the market is more important than polished perfection, said Rickel. Because customers are more forgiving of the content itself, it allows marketers to experiment with interesting content—content that might work, or might not, but in either case, it’ll be gone after 24 hours. The added capabilities within Stories are also a plus for marketers: marketers now have conversation opportunities with customers, and the Swipe Up option and product integrations allow marketers to drive real commerce opportunities.

Stories are attuned to the tone and playfulness that social audiences crave.


2. Short-Form Videos

Short-form video is the form marketers have been working with since the beginning of social video. A short-form video is anywhere from three to ten seconds. These videos stop users in their feed and the videos themselves are consumed quickly—they’re “snackable” video content.

3. Mid-Form Videos

With mid-form videos, which are 30 seconds to three minutes in length, storytelling starts to evolve. Media companies creating mid-form video content are able to monetize them by adding pre-roll and mid-roll advertising. Though you can tell a more in-depth story with mid-form content, there is also more investment required to create these videos.

4. Long-Form Videos

Long-form video content, naturally, requires a much more significant investment. But, you can tell a longer, more well-rounded story. The stories can be episodic—for example, they can go through a week or month-long campaign. Long-form videos are designed to be heavily engaging because they often tell an evolving story. These types of videos also introduce the opportunity for co-branded content and partnerships, both of which can help the videos gain even more traction.

5. Live Videos

We've seen Facebook Live grow significantly since it was introduced in 2016. In fact, there have been three-and-a-half billion live broadcasts on Facebook, and they've been consumed by over two billion people, said Rickel. Facebook Live is continuing to grow every day and has shown real potential in grabbing the attention of audiences. For more about Live video, check out our recent blog post.

6. Virtual Reality Videos

While VR is not necessarily inherently social, it holds the potential to be. This is because Facebook is investing so much in it, so much so that it's going to start to become more relevant to digital marketers, said Rickel. And as products like Oculus Go hit the market and becomes more available to consumers, marketers will need to start considering how to enter the immersive world of VR.

Social video is a crucial medium for today’s digital marketers. Because the field is so crowded, it’s more important than ever to create videos with a solid and focused strategy in mind.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.