Welcome to post #4 in a 7 part series examining the top trends in social media for 2015, brought to you by @natureclicker (with much assistance from the rest of the internet). Check back to see #5 in the series.
Welcome to 2015, where images have replaced text and video has replaced images.
Although Google remains the number one go-to-guide for all things internet, YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. It processes more than 3 billion searches a month, which is more than Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and Ask combined. Nearly half of all internet users are on YouTube, and the site uploads an average of 100 hours of video content every minute. In the average month, 6 billion hours of video are watched, with its mobile application delivering about 25% of its total views — which clock in at around 4 billion per day.
Clearly, people like watching videos, and YouTube isn’t the only platform with an interest in sharing. In fact, Facebook now averages even more total minutes watched than YouTube, which illustrates that YouTube is no longer a necessity for organizations and businesses looking to share visuals of their projects, landscapes, or products. With the implementation of video support on platforms like Facebook, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, social video is quickly becoming one of the most appealing engagement tools in 2015 — and you don’t even need an app for that.
What makes video so engaging?
There are a lot of reasons we’re drawn to video content, and even some TED talk worthy science behind it. This Forbes article details a few of the attractions, including Dr. Susan Weinschenk’s four core psychological reasons our brains enjoy watching videos.
In a nutshell, they are:
#1: The Fusiform Facial area makes us pay attention to faces – this is an actual brain function that hard-wires us to use the human face as a gathering point for information and believability.
#2: Voice conveys rich information – yes, the simple sound of a human voice speaking to us has an amazing way of converting information into meaningful content.
#3: Emotions are contagious – here’s a subtle but powerful aspect that we may take for granted. The body language of emotions is an appealing and we naturally love to share.
#4: Movement grabs attention – another trait that runs deep in our collective anthropological DNA is the power of peripheral motion. Since the stone age, we’ve survived by noticing things in motion – looks like we still do!
Aside from the psychology, videos are appealing because they’re new and different, although some would argue that Facebook’s autoplay feature just about killed the internet’s love of video clips, thanks to the sheer number of times we were collectively forced to watch every video ever made or suffered painfully slow page loads.
Instagram, arguably one of the more popular video and image based platforms, reported 50 times more engagement than Twitter in 2014, and grew an awe-inspiring 50% between March and December of the same year — exceeding 300 million users. Meanwhile, Vine (owned by Twitter) now allows direct video messaging between users, which may be a sign of things to come for Twitter itself.
It’s also important to note that all videos are not equally adored, and there is a significant time component to creating one. Video might not be for everyone, but if you think it could be for you — here are some handy tips to making the most of your time and resources:
1. Where to post? Be cognizant of the platform you’re posting to. This might sound like a no-brainer, and it’s no secret that there are subtle differences between the ways that most brands, organizations, or businesses are using their platforms of choice. The same rules apply to posting methods.
If you typically use Twitter for action alerts or political advocacy, that’s a great place for a video action alert, and your 12-follower Vine or Snapchat account might not have the same effect — despite their optimization for video. If you’re posting to YouTube, pay attention to your keywords, title, and channels — and don’t skimp on production details. Visitors to YouTube are watching a billion videos a second, and there are 10 other options just to the right of where yours is playing. Similarly, if you’re posting video to Instagram, do so sparingly and make sure that your video is suitable for mobile devices. Read more best platform practices here.
2. A video isn’t a video — it’s a “cinematic social object” — or something.
Whatever you want to call it, the important lesson here is an old one: Be a storyteller — and stop trying to sell something. No one likes commercials (especially not in the middle of their social experiences), so use the video as a vehicle for your story instead of an ask. You don’t need to be a Coppola to make a decent video, but emotional storytelling creates an *emotional connection ( I know, right?) between subject, brand, and user that is more valuable in the long run than, “yes, you’ve convinced me to give you my $5.”
* Obviously, only use this power for good and never for evil.
There are a ton of articles and blogs out there that will teach you to harness the power of human emotion to sell products, but I don’t feel great about most of them. Instead, here are some great videos with information on powerful storytelling strategies.
3. Start strong, and keep it short and sweet.
According to Social Media Today, a Jupiter research study “found that people decide — in the first two seconds — whether or not they will watch the remainder of a video.” That doesn’t mean you need to start off each video you create with an explosion of fireworks or an ask (please don’t do that), but make sure the overall feel and pacing of your video are made clear from the start. Personally, I hate 5 second fade-ins on text. It makes every video feel like a part of the Star Wars saga, not to mention that if your goal is for people to read a paragraph of text — you’re wasting your time putting together a video.
People also have shorter attention spans when it comes to video, so don’t worry about producing your brand’s version of Gone with the Wind. Keep the focus on a single message and invite viewers to discover more by including your page/website information in the video. Make sure that your call to action is clear, but don’t beat down the doors with it.
See more from Social Media Today here.
4. Be true to yourself and your message.
The best social media (and especially video) comes from the heart, so stay true to yourself, your message, and your audience. Don’t let all those pesky strategies, gimmicks, and metrics get in the way. Sure, rage travels faster through social media platforms than joy, but do you really want to be the brand that sticks to making people angry as a storytelling point? Incidentally, There’s only one emotion that clocked a speed faster than rage when it came to shareable media — awe. So, show people why what you do is important and make it personal to yourself as well as them. Your videos will be awesome in no time!
Have you used video in your social media? What were the results? Do you have any tips for others?