With all the rage of viral videos, companies become enamored with trying to create one, as this will propel their company into the next level of stardom. The trouble is, having some piece of electronic media (video, audio, images) go viral is tough to capitalize on. Just because a lot of people have viewed your video or other digital asset, doesn't spell any kind of success because there's no follow-up action done by the viewer – they just view and leave. Does that spell success?
There are no cookie-cutter solutions to creating viral content either. Depending on moods, trends, value propositions, and even cultural influences, finding the right ingredients at the right time to turn all of your digital pieces of content into viral phenomena over and over again is a tall order. Instead of focusing on becoming a viral sensation, taking a look at your goals in relation to your content production is a better way to focus on social media marketing success.
There are at least four different tactics you can employ with videos that can help you reach your desired goals when it comes to social media marketing – beyond going viral:
How-to Videos Show Viewers "They Can Do It too"
One of the most popular channels on YouTube is the DIY (Do It Yourself) channel. Viewers are constantly in search of visually-engaging ways to learn how to do something. No longer are they satisfied with printed instructions or photos of a process, they want to see an actual representative from your company use your product or service with success. If it looks easy enough to accomplish and they feel that value – that they can do it too – they will most likely convert.
Product Viewing/Informational Videos Show Viewers What They're Getting
Pictures can do amazing things for the selling of products, but adding video into your site can enhance the possibility of a conversion immensely. When viewers aren't sure of what they're getting from "pre-formed" shots of a product and there's nothing else there to show the product or service in action, they will be less likely to buy.
Consider videos that run 15 to 30 seconds to accompany your product descriptions. Showing what's contained in a pre-packaged item or lot, showing a piece of jewelry from several different angles, demonstrating how your clothing can be utilized with many different outfits, or even giving examples of different styles or colors in a video can help that visitor convert.
Audience Participation Videos Show Real People Using Your Products
Videos that feature actual customers using your product or service in their everyday life can be very compelling to other potential customers. The caveat here is that you have to be open to giving up some control of your image. Your customers might not always use your product or service in the conventional way you designed it, or they might not be the most perfect looking spokesperson. However, if they aren't being abusive and they're adding value, utilizing their videos and shining the light on them can speak volumes to audience members.
Changing Brand Perception With Videos Can Be Powerful
This is where viral can take off, especially if you're trying to change a perception with a small amount of humor. Think about last year's phenomena, Isaiah Mustafa – aka "The Old Spice Guy." Sure, Old Spice wanted to sell its products, that's always an end goal, but that wasn't the only goal Procter & Gamble had in mind for these commercials and the combined campaign of videos on YouTube and tweets. The goal was to change the perception of Old Spice in the minds of women.
Old Spice used to be that brand of "Soap on a Rope" or "My Granddad's Aftershave." Now, thanks in part to clever messaging, positioning, and a good looking man paired with the ease of sharing via YouTube and Twitter, Old Spice's brand perception has changed. Procter & Gamble actually accomplished two goals with its videos: it's now selling more of its products, and its perception to women has completely changed.
The key to understanding if you should be utilizing video as a marketing tactic in your strategy is measurement. Making sure that you measure what matters the most to your bottom line is key. In Procter & Gamble's case it was buzz and sentiment among its target demographic (along with increase in product sales). For your company, it could be how many people converted after they watched a "how-to," "DIY," or "product example" type of video that is embedded in your product/service description page. Perhaps another goal could be how much quality engagement you received with your audience participation contest of videos. There are many ways of employing successful tactics and measuring them; make sure you plan all of that into your strategy.
For more on measuring social media marketing, I highly recommend picking up "Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships" by KD Paine or "Social Media Metrics" by Jim Sterne.
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Liana "Li" Evans is the author of the award winning social media marketing book, "Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media" and she is the president and CEO of Da Li Social, as well as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University's Mini MBA Program. Liana has also been featured in the books "Online Marketing Heroes" and "Video Marketing An Hour a Day." As an established online marketing industry veteran with over 15 years of experience she's focused her unique skillset to specialize in integrated marketing and how companies can successfully strategize integrating all online marketing channels as well as offline traditional media. Her deep technical combined with a public relations background enables her to partner with clients for establishing successful online marketing campaigns that combine cross-channel tactics cohesively.
Li was the search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing architect for such companies as QVC and Comcast (Fancast) and has consulted with several other different sized companies such as AOL MovieFone. Her wealth of knowledge in dealing with large e-commerce and content sites allows her a wider perspective into what it takes to launch successful marketing campaigns in the online space.
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