Should your small business be using video on social media? Regardless of how experienced you are with video production or video marketing, the answer is yes. Using video to promote your product or service on social is a great way to get your brand in front of the right eyes.
Before you get to posting, ask yourself the following questions to assess the scope of your social video strategy. Where do you plan on posting this content? Which channels will give you the biggest bang for your buck? How much time and effort will you be able to devote to social video?
And if you're still on the fence about whether or not you should even be using social video, check out this helpful flowchart:
In all seriousness, we totally get it. You're part of a small operation and might only have one person on your marketing team, if you have a marketing team at all. Here at Wistia, our co-founder and CEO Chris Savage managed the social decks for quite some time before we hired our first official "marketer."
Whatever the case may be, using video on social media can help you get your message across faster and in a more authentic way.
If this sounds good to you, keep reading to learn which channels are best for your videos and your small business!
Find the right channels
When you're strapped for time and resources, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of social networks that exist today. That's why we recommend putting a concerted effort behind the channels that will actually pay off for your small business in the long run. You might be surprised to find that some of the channels you think you should be on aren't actually the best fit for your social video strategy.
Here's a quick run-down of some of the most popular social platforms that exist today and the types of video content that works well on each. Take a look at this list and try to narrow down where it makes the most sense for your business to start sharing.
Posting social video on Facebook is a no-brainer for any small businesses for two specific reasons. For one, Facebook favors video content in their feed above all other types of content. The chances of you getting in front of your audience is much more likely here than on other channels. Users who log in to Facebook are also expecting light-hearted, entertaining content, which means you can experiment with lo-fi videos.
Check out this one-shot video from MailChimp. With 96,000 views, this 17-second video managed to pack quite the punch!
Second, you can stream a live broadcast with the new Facebook Live feature. Utilizing this feature is a great way to generate buzz (it's still relatively uncharted territory), promote your brand, boost engagement, and show your true selves to your potential customers. It's also an excellent way to get comfortable in front of the camera AND you can shoot everything with your iPhone. Users expect real, unedited footage, so give the people what they want!
If you've already taken my advice and plan on using Facebook in your video strategy, Instagram is probably your next-best channel, especially if you intend on putting any spend behind your video content. Facebook owns Instagram, which means that both platforms use the same dashboard for ad creation. If you want to publish a video you created for Facebook on Instagram, it's as simple as the click of a button, which is pretty sweet!
You can also take advantage of Instagram's Story feature, if you'd rather make scrappy, spur-of-the-moment content. Instagram "Stories" are temporary videos or still images that build upon one another to tell, well, a story. The benefit of posting here is that whoever follows you on this channel will have the opportunity to watch your video right from within their main feed. The placement of the Stories feature is actually quite favorable for businesses. As you might imagine, this feature was created in reaction to Snapchat's unprecedented growth this past year.
Contrary to popular belief, I would recommend that small businesses avoid using Snapchat as a marketing channel. Unless, of course, your target demographic is made up of young adults.
If your goal on social media is to expand your reach, try a platform that makes it easier to build an audience. Snapchat users have to manually search for your name in order to follow you. There's just no easy way to discover you otherwise. Snapchat is a land where hashtags and "Recommend You Follow" features do not exist. Even if you do happen to build a small following on Snapchat, these individuals are probably already superfans rather than potential customers.
Another reason I would hold off on making Snapchat a priority in your social video strategy is because of the Instagram Stories feature that I mentioned above. It's more likely that small businesses have already established an audience on Instagram, which means the likelihood of your marketing messages resonating there will be much higher.
A few weeks ago, Twitter announced it was closing its doors on Vine, a social video app. It's also been a tough year for Twitter with regard to generating revenue and acquiring new users. That being said, it may not be worth it to create an entire social video strategy for this channel, as its future is a little bit unknown.
So, should your small business spend time and effort creating videos specifically for this channel? I would say no, probably not. However, you could certainly edit and re-post videos that you've already made for Facebook.
If you're looking to experiment a bit more, try posting one-to-one response videos to tweets, or maybe even a product announcement. We recommend that you keep it brief though, as this is core to Twitter's ethos. Stick to short clips that are easy to consume, and you could see a healthy engagement boost on this network.
If you want to try out using video on Twitter while also providing more quantitative ROI, you might have to get a little more creative! When you're a Wistia customer, you have the ability to collect leads with our Turnstile feature right from within your videos – this could be a great way to use video on Twitter!
This channel is a different beast than all the others listed above. For example, when you're deciding whether or not to post video on Instagram or Facebook, you might ask yourself, "Does my audience exist there?" With a few of these channels (depending on the type of business you have), the answer might be super clear right away. With YouTube, the answer is more complex.
YouTube is more like a video library, or a location where people navigate to in order to find specific information. So, if it makes sense for your small business to create content that is super informative, teachable, or entertaining, YouTube could be a great channel for you. Just make sure that the content you post here is unique to this channel – you still want to ensure that your website is the primary destination for your viewers.
Check out GoPro's YouTube channel. They post tons of visually-compelling videos that embody their motto of living in the moment and taking risks.
I'd venture to guess that unless you have a video producer at your business, you won't be able to make the highly entertaining and share-worthy content that performs best on YouTube, so I would recommend putting that time and energy elsewhere where you can see higher returns (for now!).
It looks like it will be a little while before your videos make it onto LinkedIn's newstream. Up until recently, videos that existed on this professional network always came in the form of a link to a video hosted elsewhere on the web. Back in August, LinkedIn finally announced that video would be available on the platform, but only to an invitation-only group of LinkedIn 'influencers.'
This feature will likely be expanded to users in the future, according to TechCrunch, but until then we'll have to hold our horses! Use your time and resources elsewhere when it comes to social video – it might be a while before LinkedIn is video-friendly.
Social video success
As a small business, you're probably aware of how important it is to make awesome content. Video is not an exception – it's an incredibly valuable tool and while it might seem costly to create, it can actually be quite affordable, especially for social media!
If you don't have a ton of video gear at your disposal, take advantage of social platforms where the production value doesn't need to be super high. As always, consider your audience when deciding which platforms to use. It doesn't matter what you post if no one's there to watch it. I bet once you see that engagement rolling in, you'll be ready to invest even more in the power of video!