Done well, branded social video content persuades nearly two in three consumers to make a purchase. But what does "done well" actually mean? How will you know whether you nailed the attempt to capture customers' attention?
Video content that performs well is engaging, helpful, and creative. No single element is responsible for that; it's about creating something that works as a package. Here's how you can do it:
1. Take the focus off your product.
Nobody likes feeling sold to. Basing your videos solely on your product or your service features is a sure way to turn people off.
Think about what you like in videos: Make people laugh. Intrigue them. Use data, real-world examples, or newsworthy events to grab their attention. There are dozens of ways to do it; the only wrong way is to center your videos on what you're selling.
2. Lean on user-generated content.
Authenticity is a must. Viewers want to know the content they see is the "real deal," and there's no better way to do that than by leaning on content created by someone else.
User-generated content fits well with a recent sea change in advertising. In fact, consumers are less likely to skip videos that engage them in ways that mean something to them. For your business, that means featuring people whom your consumers view as peers and writing content in your ideal user's voice, not your company's "brand voice." Thanks to that cultural shift, user-generated videos tend to be not only cheaper but also more effective than the slick ones produced by the major brands.
3. Make sure it's mobile-friendly.
Most viewers watch social video content on their mobile devices. If people pull up a video that doesn't look right on their smartphone, don't expect them to boot up their desktop computer just to finish watching it.
Think too about how people watch video content on mobile. They're often on the go, so videos shouldn't be longer than a minute or two. And because it's taboo to disturb others on public transportation or in coffee shops, 92 percent view mobile video content with the sound off, according to a Verizon Media study. Use captions to get your message across.
4. Include people who look like your customers.
Part of the shift toward accessible, authentic content is an increasing emphasis on diversity. Storyblocks CEO TJ Leonard sees this as a cross-platform, cross-audience trend.
Viewers expect content to reflect their everyday lives. If they feel the people portrayed in that content are unlikable or unfamiliar, they aren't likely to identify with your brand.
Make sure you do your research: Who's your target audience? What's their age, ethnicity, gender, nationality, household income, and educational background? The more detailed a picture you have of your customers, the better.
5. Focus on the hook.
A few years ago, Microsoft famously found the typical consumer's attention span is only eight seconds long. Although its findings have been disputed, the point stands: Create a plan to grab your viewer's attention in that first scene.
Strong emotions are the way to do that. Surprise, glee, awe, shock, and even fear can work. Deliver the most attention-grabbing details up front, and be sure your brand's image or name isn't far behind.
6. Close it the right way.
Most branded video content ends with a call to action. It makes sense: Viewers want to know what to do next after they see an engaging video, and you need to see a return on your investment.
The trouble is most calls to action are little more than sales pitches. Even if you have done a good job of creating story-driven video content, pushy calls to action put the focus back on the product.
Make it valuable to the reader. Is there a free guide you can offer to viewers who click through? Can they enter to win a getaway or another experience on your site?
There's no excuse for boring video content. Give them a reason to watch: Hook them with engaging imagery, show them actors and actresses who look like them, keep products out of the picture, and ensure they can see it all on their mobile device. Get it right, and you'll both see the difference.