How To Make Your Social Media Video Marketing Better

There's a bad habit among some video marketers that needs to be addressed. As one who regularly produces video content, I see this trend popping up far too often and it is hurting the effectiveness of your video marketing efforts.

The Problem

Here's the bad habit: Some marketers believe that they can take the long-form promotional video designated for their website and simply "cut it down" for use on their social media channels. Here's how the question is usually asked during client meetings, "After you create the video for our website, can you just go ahead and edit a :60 version for Facebook and a :15 or :30 version for Instagram?"

Now, any video editor can take a long-form video and create multiple versions for social media, but that tactic isn't the most effective strategy for your video campaign. Why? Because each social media platform has its own nuances, audience demographics, and internal "Best Practices" for using video effectively.

You can't communicate the exact same message in the exact same way when you take a 3-minute video and try to cut it down to :30. Something will get lost in the translation and the resulting video will feel like a quickly stitched together patchwork with muddled messaging, rather than a nice, simple, concise story.

The Cause

So, what's at the root of this problem? Based solely on my experiences, I find that this issue is caused by marketers who have not first thoroughly thought out their video strategy. They like video. They want a video. They want the production company to produce that video, but they haven't first decided what exactly they want to say in the video and what they're going to do with the video. But their thought is that it's better just to go ahead and get the video and then figure out what to do with it later.

The Solution 

1. Messaging

As mentioned earlier, clients have asked me to create different versions of a video for use on social media, but then later they wonder why certain messages from the long-form video are missing from the :30 or :60 video. Well, time is a funny thing. You simply cannot communicate everything from the 3-minute video in a :30 video. So, it's important to decide which messaging will be used for each social media platform.

Users for each social network engage with the site for different reasons and in different ways, so it's important to tailor your message to fit the social network. Twitter users, for example, are accustomed to to brevity. Everything they see on the platform is 140 characters or less. So, Twitter is probably a better place to embed a teaser video. Get in and then get out while encouraging the viewer to click through to your website or landing page.

Instagram is a good place for a demonstrative video, or a video that gives the viewer high-level bullet points about your product, service, or organization. Take a look at the BBC, Lowe's, or Staples for inspiration on how to tailor video for Instagram.     

2. Research

Take the time to review each social platform's internal "Best Practices" for using video on their sites. Most users on these platforms will see videos as they quickly scroll through their News Feed, and those videos will be muted. So, how will you decide to open your video as a result? Most likely you will select a compelling visual element that will hook your viewer right from the start. This opening visual might be different from the video on your landing page, but that's okay.

As you look at the other brands who are really nailing this whole "social-media-video-marketing" thing, you will notice that the videos they post on Instagram are different from those posted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or their websites. And that's important. The message and the "packaging" of your video will vary depending on the social platform. 

As always, if you have something to add to the conversation, please do so in the Comments section below.