How many times have you been mindlessly scrolling through the ‘Gram when a video stopped you in your tracks? You paused, reacted in some way (laugh, cried, sat awestruck at your desk), and maybe even saved the video for later. This, folks, is what you want your audience to do. That’s the power of social media video—it helps you engage, interact, and bring your brand to life.
Social media video: the posting trifecta
Social media video can take on many different forms for your brand. Some of these include tutorials or how-tos, Q&As, behind-the-scenes (BTS), product reveals, or user-generated content (UGC). While the platforms may constantly be evolving, these main types of video remain pretty much the same. The end goal is to engage your audience and show off your brand and all its beautiful, dynamic facets.
For this blog, we’ll focus on three platforms and how brands are using videos (and video ads) to excite audiences.
When we brought up TikTok in early 2020, we were just beginning to understand how popular the video-sharing app would be. The difference between this app and others is that anyone can be a content creator and skyrocket to TikTok fame. This “lifestyle platform” has 689 million active users worldwide and has beat Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Facebook in overall downloads (33 million, if you’re wondering). As a result, brands have flocked to the platform to engage millennials and Gen Zers, 62 percent of whom regularly engage with the app. And with an average of one billion video views a day, brands have a big opportunity here.
The catch? What we know of this younger demographic is that they’re wary of ads and allergic to inauthenticity.
The solution? Brands have to be seamlessly integrated into the app and become creative content producers. They need to make videos that inspire, engage, and entertain––and don’t shove product benefits down anyone’s throats. Videos that use influencers or become part of trends through hashtag challenges or brand takeovers will be more successful than tone-deaf one-offs.
Snapchat launched in 2011, so its friendly-ghost icon is probably familiar to you. Unlike TikTok, Snapchat videos disappear (hence, the ghost) after 24 hours. In other words, your brand doesn’t have long to make an impression. According to stats, 238 million people use the app each day with over 60 percent identifying as female and 82 percent 34 years and younger. Like TikTok, Snapchat also only consists of videos so to stand out, brands need to contribute positively to their users’ scrolling. This means following trends, providing entertainment and value, and telling the brand story in a relatable way. It also means knowing when not to post––or when following a trend seems like a reach. Even though “most effective Snapchat ads are only 5 to 6 seconds long,” 55 percent of Gen Zers have recall after only two seconds of an ad.
Instagram is up there with overall app downloads and takes a significant portion of the everyday usage pie. One billion people use the app every month, split fairly evenly between male and female users, and use the app about 30 minutes every day. While it’s possible (and recommended) to post in-feed videos on your brand’s business account, the other two social media video tools popping up on the platform give your brand further opportunities to connect.
500 million people tune into Stories every day. In this group, over half say they become more interested in a brand (or product) after seeing it in Stories. Plus, half then visit the brand’s site to make a purchase. For Stories, brands can explore products in different ways, tell their brand stories better, share user-generated content, and connect to new audiences. Where an Instagram page often has meticulously curated content, Stories are where brands can embrace their human side. It’s also where you can integrate ads that stop your audience mid-swipe.
One of the newest social media marketing tools to become popular is Instagram’s Reels. Digital technology changes quickly and, in the app space, imitation is not only flattery. It’s competition. Instagram recently launched Reels, their response to TikTok with Reels, the 30-second video platform to TikTok’s 60 seconds. And while brands have typically tapped influencers to spread awareness on Reels, the platform has begun testing sticker ads for social media purchases. Like TikTok, social media video use on Reels needs to be, first and foremost, entertaining. It’s more about making customers like you than selling them a product.
Why video makes such an impact
We know that video takes more time and strategy to pull off. But it’s well worth the effort. Social media video helps to:
These days, if people don’t trust your brand they won’t buy. Promotional videos, for example, can attract users who may not have otherwise seen your product in action. Seeing is believing, and the stats don’t lie: “57 percent of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to purchase online.”
Search engines find your brand
Here’s motivation for you: “81 percent of all traffic will consist of video by 2021.” Search engines see videos as high-quality content, which is why they prioritize them. And search engines liking your content means that they’ll put your videos in front of your customers. Plus, things like Reels or TikTok use algorithms to target your audience to a T.
Video content can boost conversions by up to 80 percent. They break up the monotony of social scrolling and engage with audiences in such a way that they feel compelled to convert. When users can see a product in action, view an influencer’s take on a brand, or even connect with a brand more personally, they’re more likely to become brand advocates.
Some of our favorite brand uses of social media video
When you consider the dozens of tools, platforms, and apps at marketers’ disposal, it’s overwhelming. But, when done with solid strategy and some creative brilliance, the results are memorable. Here are some of our favorite social media video brand examples.
Chipotle’s Relevant Challenges
It can be hard for brands to make it on TikTok. However, Chipotle has shown a few times now that they understand their audience and have earned their following on the platform. (Their “Less Tok, More Guac” bio says it all). Over Halloween, they launched a “boorito” challenge that racked up four billion views for its entertainment value, food incentives, and social responsibility (encouraging people to stay at home).
Bumble’s Digital Dating
The dating app took advantage of a locked-down world with its engaging Snapchat videos. The campaign partnered with Cosmopolitan and targeted London-based women in takeover movies titled “Lockdown Love Lessons.” Their influencer marketing strategy hit their target demographic and showed the brand was “culturally aware and understood what their audience wanted to see.”
National Geographic’s Creative Stories
The classic nature magazine has adapted to the digital world without losing its classic charm. Like their Planet or Plastic campaign, the brand’s use of Stories drives their conservation mission and keeps their educational tone and stunning imagery.
Redbull’s Reel Wings
If you know anything about Redbull, you know they’re always pushing some limit. Their #KeepItReels campaign coincided with the platform launch and emerged the user into the brand experience with adrenaline-pumping content. The videos they showcased (like extreme cliff diving) attracted brand users drawn to this content and the brand itself.
Is your brand taking advantage of social media video?
If it’s not obvious by now, social media video can make your brand more dynamic, relatable, and relevant. Of course, the platforms will evolve in the coming years, but the basic concepts behind video content will remain. So, what is your brand waiting for?
Although it was almost obvious, I admit I did not realize until now that “81 percent of all traffic will consist of video by 2021.” I have to start making videos.