Video has obvious applications to storytelling, but it is a relatively recent innovation that this is also applied to social media to become “social video”. Cameron Uganec, the Director of Marketing for the successful organisation Hootsuite says of this:
“What hasn’t changed is the power of motion picture story telling. A new form of communication is evolving that combines this power with social media: social video”.
Uganec defines social video as those videos that are specifically created and designed for the purposes of sharing on social media networks. He argues that these videos are not the TV 30 second advertising slots of the past and are very different. Indeed, Uganec argues that there are six principles that social video should be built around if it is to succeed. The first three are directly linked to audience engagement. Uganec states that the first is to listen, the second is to be agile and the third is to engage with the audience. However, listening is in itself engaging with the audience. This first step requires really doing research to understand what customers are sharing and what they care about. Being agile means being able to change what you are doing based on audience needs, and developing a video that will really capture their interest, through clever storytelling. This too is engaging with customers.
Uganec’s fourth step to creating good social video that embraces the most important features of storytelling is to “be emotive”. Videos need to inspire and/or provide other positive emotions to the audience that encourages them to share, as explained in the earlier parts of this series. Creating content that is shareable is fundamental to success with social video, and only those videos with compelling and rousing content are likely to go viral, drawing the desired attention to your brand.
Steps five and six are to build momentum and to create the viral effect according to Uganec. In terms of building momentum, like anything energy needs to be expended to get the video underway. Uganec argues for an approach of buying paid media heavily for the first two days, and also getting someone to share the video with influencers in your industry field. This will help the campaign to grow a momentum all of its own, leading to the viral effect occurring. Targeting influencers is explained to be particularly important as it can achieve an audience far greater than traditional broadcast ever could, and the fact that it is online forever means that it will continue to get hits after the initial campaign is over.
Social video can be hard to get right, but through sticking to the principles of storytelling that have already been described it is easier to achieve. An important recommendation from Uganec with regard to social video is the concept of keeping them short. While 30 minute videos have been known to succeed, usually short videos will be more effective because people have the time to be able to give to a one minute video, while a half an hour video is a major time commitment that many people will simply not be willing to make. At the same time it is argued to make the video strong at the start to draw people in. If the video is longer than 30 seconds evidence suggests that they will keep watching if their attention is drawn within those first 30 seconds, or even sooner.
Uganec explains that the customer should be the hero as this makes for a more powerful story that is more likely to engage the customers that you want to attract. Trying to make a video that will not age too quickly or is not too time sensitive can also be very helpful for making sure that you maintain interest in your social video over a longer period of time. It is also necessary to use the principles of search engine optimisation in videos, since YouTube is in itself a giant search engine. Giving the video titles that reflect your search terms, as well as including them in the description and in the video name can all help to bring an audience to your video.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.