10 Tips for Successful Social Video Marketing

Katja Kupka Last updated 20.10.2020
6 Min.
Social Media Video Marketing
Last updated 20.10.2020

Social video marketing transports messages and values using short films, live streams and stories. Whether YouTube, TikTok or Instagram is best suited for your business depends on your target audience and topics. With the right strategy and our top ten tips, even small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a small budget can benefit.

Why Video Content Works

Why are videos so popular on the web? Classic and linear TV is going out of fashion and Internet users are becoming their own lead director. YouTube, being the market leader worldwide, uploads 400+ hours of video material every minute. Most people think of YouTube when hearing the keyword social video or video marketing. But we don't want to forget niche providers like Twitch or rising stars like TikTok in this blog post.  

The right format

Videos can be used in a variety of ways: from appealing commercials that bring brands to life with clever storytelling to explainer videos.

Explaining to your customers how your products work in helpful short films fulfils two goals: 

  1. Your customers are happy to get a short and snappy explanation rather than slogging through pages and pages of instructions. People's attention span has been reduced more and more by the internet and social media. 
  2. With good explanatory videos, you relieve your hotline and customer service. Colleagues no longer need to answer questions about the application ten times a day, but perhaps only once a day. 

Publish social videos

You can embed videos on your website, blog or webshop and share them on social media platforms. If you publish videos regularly as a company, it's best to create your own channel on YouTube. 

The right platform

In addition to carefully produced films for image and branding, there are numerous moving images that are only shown temporarily. These include livestreams on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, but also short videos on Snapchat or the stories on Instagram or Facebook.

Even if your videos are only visible for a short time, you should take care. Let's take a livestream as an example. Think about what you want to do before you start, and at least prepare the entry well. Also, take into account that viewers come and go at will during a livestream. Therefore, it doesn't hurt to always come back to the core topic and repeat yourself. 

10 tips for your social video marketing

Tip 1: Get to know your target group

You can't go wrong with videos, as they are popular across all age groups. Nevertheless, the platforms differ. YouTube has long since become a cross-age platform where even Silver Surfers look for instructions or reminisce with clips from "Dalli Dalli". Best Agers also have a strong presence on Facebook and consume videos there as well.

Twitch and the rapidly growing app TikTok are only gradually attracting people over the age of 30. Twitch still hangs on to its origins in the e-game scene, and many TikTok users know that it used to be called musical.ly and was mainly used by female teenagers. Those days are long gone and on TikTok we even find the Tagesschau, which is working hard towards half a million users, or lawyers and pharmacists. Anyone who is active there has to present content to the point and must not bore with their films. 

Nevertheless, style and story differ considerably. If you reach your very young customers with quick image changes and bright colors, the age group 40+ prefers something more serious. As usual in marketing, it can help you to work with personas. Instead of addressing the working mother in the terraced house, you then have a concrete person in mind with Monika. 

Tip 2: Choose the right equipment in combination with a smart strategy

Now the exciting question: Do I need a professional cameraman with expensive equipment or are my mobile phone camera and a free editing program enough? 

The basic technical equipment in video marketing includes:

  • a high-quality smartphone or digital camera
  • a tripod
  • an external microphone and 
  • a simple tool for post-processing.

As you can see, the necessary equipment can be put together without high costs. This is an advantage, but it can lead to "just shoot it". But here, too, a well thought-out strategy should come first - because what really counts is the story you want to convey.

Tip 3: Score with relevant content and quality

The web is overflowing with content - and there are now an inflationary number of videos. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need relevant content and a creative implementation. The quality should also be right, although your film does not have to be Hollywood-ready. Ideally, your content should be informative or entertaining, or both at the same time.

If you want to produce an explainer video, feel free to add humor. What is important is the recognition value. Take the retail chain Edeka as an example. Their commercials have their own narrative language, which usually shows where the advertising video comes from within seconds.

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Tip 4: Don't forget the core message and the call-to-action

You have a good idea and a creative approach. It can become a compelling film, but have you conveyed your core message?

Films are a great way to get a message across. Don't overload the short film: concentrate on the one message you want to address and don't try to send out several appeals at the same time. To ensure that even unfocused viewers understand the message, it should ideally appear twice or even three times: at the beginning, during the film and again at the end. If you want to lure viewers into your webshop as a call-to-action, your endcard should show the URL.

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Tip 5: Attract viewers with a snappy introduction and storytelling

In order to get noticed in the background noise of the internet, you need a great cover image and an understandable title that attracts attention. Of course, that alone isn't enough. The first few seconds need to captivate viewers. For the video to go viral, it needs to appeal to emotions and motivate users to share the message with their network.

Maybe you remember Edeka's successful #homecoming commercial. That was highly emotional storytelling at its best, but perhaps a little too predictable. With a dramatic development, a hero and an antagonist, you are sure to get the attention of your viewers. 

Tip 6: Not too long and not too short

Due to the "information overload" of most internet users, their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time suffers. Therefore, there are few long formats that still work. Explainer videos belong to this category if they are well made as well as films of celebrities. The well-known saying "brevity is the spice of life" seems to have been invented for YouTube and Co. In addition, it should be clear after a few seconds what it's about - otherwise the impatient user immediately switches to the next film. 

Tip 7: Regularly perform a success analysis

You can see how well your video is received on YouTube by looking at the likes and dislikes. To learn from the results of your monitoring, you should go deeper into the analysis. YouTube's analytics show you where viewers are coming from, when they bounce, and what percentage watches the movie to the end. If a lot of viewers bounce after 20 seconds, there's something wrong with your film at that point. Is it becoming boring or incomprehensible? It also helps if you identify the hotspot of your filmWhere in the video do my users watch repeatedly?

If you compare your previously published videos, you may find that your viewers prefer longer films. Also, look at your competitors' videos: How long are their most successful films?

Important metrics include the number of video views and the number of subscribers. In addition, the view-through rate and the engagement rate are meaningful. The engagement rate puts likes and comments in relation to the views of the video. In YouTube, the like/dislike ratio is another important parameter.

Tip 8: Think about the subtitles

Since many people watch videos without sound, you should provide subtitles. Another reason for subtitles is to make your movies accessible. YouTube can automatically create subtitles. You should check these before uploading the video. Depending on how clearly the people in your video speak, there may be errors. 

Tip 9: Publish a video regularly

On social media platforms, it's nice to have a regular posting schedule, such as once a week or once a month. If you stick to this sequence, loyal fans know when they can expect new content. With a weekly rhythm, a fixed day of the week is ideal for uploading the new film. But here, too, it is important to take a close look at your own target group and ask the analytics mentioned in point 7: Does it cost followers if you publish a new video too often or, conversely, do you lose fans if you offer a new film too seldom? 

Tip 10: Nurture the community

Check out the comments of your fans and react to them promptly and publicly, unless they are trolls. Take possible criticism from your fans seriously and benefit from the free market research through viewer feedback. If you activate the "community" tab on YouTube, you can exchange views with your fans and communicate with them between uploads of videos. For example, you can give an insight into the making-of of a particularly popular video. You can also link and anteaser other contributions.

Final thoughts 

With videos and stories, you can clearly convey your products and topics. Which platform is suitable depends on your target group: You're more likely to reach older people via YouTube, younger people on TikTok or Twitch. With a captivating introduction, an engaging story and a cleverly chosen call-to-action, you can reach fans and customers in a targeted way. Nurture your community, check your stats regularly, and don't forget to make sure your films are accessible. 

Do you have questions for Katja about social video marketing?

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Katja Kupka is a specialist for social media and PR. She writes for blogs, trade and online magazines and manages social media channels. She advises and trains companies, NPOs and freelancers on social media marketing and copywriting for online and social media. She has long worked in finance, industry and auditing. O'Reilly publishes her practical handbook "Social Media Marketing".

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