The seven steps of social video: let your brand do the talking

As a zeitgeist of the millennial’s demographic landscape, social networks are virtual IV tubes of information, channeling data and content to a ready and waiting audience via digital and mobile platforms galore. The lines between television and online shows have truly blurred. To that millennial audience, content reigns supreme.

Evidence of this phenomenon’s reach lies in the numbers – YouTube has 11 million users in Australia, making it the nation’s second most popular social network. It’s a totally different game player to TV ads – social video has changed the dynamic of brand recognition by allowing creators to form special relationships with their eager audiences, rather than haphazardly force-feeding ads to overstuffed viewers.

So, what are some key aspects that marketers should consider when using social video? Here are some important concepts to keep in mind to make the most of social video’s power:

1. Shift your mindset from telling and selling to building relationships 

Social video is an multi-way relationship. Creators make and share content that audiences view and actively provide feedback on, recommend and publicise. It’s not just a way to get products sold, brands seen and units shifted. It’s so much more. If we look at YouTube, the dominant platform for online video, viewers here are keen to engage with the content creators by expressing ideas, thoughts and opinions. The audiences are super-social. Subscribers will share, comment and like content they’ve just watched which will amplify your brand.

There are some fantastic examples of creators that have launched highly successful campaigns with this mind-set shift put into action. Three, the UK telco (video here), didn’t just create an instantly funny video, it bolstered it with an interactive tool that allowed viewers to get creative and make their own responses. It was viewed over five million times and shared a whopping 880,000 times. Now that’s social.

2. Content is king

Content will always trump the brand. In today’s content rich world, how can brands use online video to cut through the noise to engage their audiences? The answer is with content that packs a serious punch. Millennial audiences prefer to spend time on Facebook, flick through Instagram or Pinterest than watch a 30-second TVC, but they will avidly sit through a masterful five to 10-minute story broadcast via social video. When audiences are exposed to content that is valuable, entertaining, emotive and inspirational -even if it is branded – they will happily spend their time watching it and sharing it.

3. Be authentic

It is important to have a firm grip on who you want to influence with your content and not to lose sight of this in the quest for megahits. The YouTube ecosystem can give precious insight into how authenticity works. Beneath the surface of YouTube are hundreds of thousands of channels that have built their own niche communities. These are YouTube broadcasters who have created these communities and understand how to present brands in an authentic way that resonates with millions of people around the globe. Brands can learn a lot from them.

4. Consumers trust what their peers are saying 

With social video and networking, good news travels fast and bad news travels instantly. Moreover, there’s a valuable credibility in social video which is made by the people, for the people. For the millennials, this is the dawn of the post-advertising age in which the only messages they want to see and hear are the ones they choose to see and hear. What’s more, if they like what they see, happy viewers go on to evangelise about it to their peers in glorious word-of-mouth melodies. Advertisers’ biggest competitor, it would appear, is the elusive trust of consumers and their peers…

5. Get key influencers on board

Brands would be foolish to rely exclusively on their own influence when using social video. Your name is nothing if peddling a lousy form of content. Instead, be wise enough to engage content creators who can help push the envelope. It can be an outside celebrity, a pop star or a famous movie star sibling that you use to drive engagement. But targeted influencers don’t have to be household names to pack a punch and capture attention- YouTube has its own celebrities and communities with their own captive audiences already in place to boost brands’ messages to their online social networks. Key influencers and advocates are more than just fans – they can be brand ambassadors when brands give them the right content to disseminate.

6. Impact with sharing

Your campaign can have a much greater impact with the participation of influencers who are share-happy. The YouTube channel will be most important to advertisers this year as brands will focus less on building their own campaign-based audiences and communities and instead credibly buy into existing and engaged communities by integrating into those channels. It’s clear to see how YouTube influencers can make a huge impact on a campaign as their engaged audiences can help share and start the social conversation about your brand.  If this is executed well, consumers will see the message reverberate through the channel’s fan base which will also build you a larger macro-audience.

7. Don’t get carried away by easy metrics as a success indicator

So, you’ve created the dazzling content, engaged the right social networks, got credible influencers and have cultivated a strong following that links the brand to the content. How do you know if your brand can call this a success? There are many different metrics for social video – from views, to engagement and click-throughs, to sales conversation rates. To truly evaluate success, remember that the genuine measure of social video is how online consumers view your brand.

 

Spiro Pissas
BY Spiro Pissas ON 26 April 2013
Spiro Pissas is co-founder and commercial director of Boom Video, a social video company that connects brands and agencies with communities through online video. Boom started Australia's first YouTube partner network which now has over 200 Australian channels.