Published on April 5th, 2017
A question clients often ask us is which social media platforms they should post their videos on. Hate to be that guy, but there is no simple answer to this.
A lot depends on where a video fits on the buyer’s journey and your persona’s behavior. In an omnichannel world, this only becomes more complex.
As you may know, the customer journey begins as soon a prospect becomes aware of their pain point.
The role of your marketing, including your videos, is to lead the prospect from being aware of what you offer to solve that pain to ultimately buying it.
Different videos perform different roles along this journey, as do social media channels.
As we look at the distinct qualities and users of each in this article, you’ll find that one or two platforms are likely to make more sense for a specific piece of video content than others -- but first, let’s go into a few of the different types of video you may want to create.
Video Marketing Through the Buyer’s Journey
Like written content, video content needs to deliver different messages to users in different stages of the buyer’s journey. In the awareness stage, for example, you’ll most likely want a video that grabs people’s attention about what you do or sell -- aka something that builds awareness.
I like to think of this as the video version of an elevator pitch. The aim is to introduce your brand as a solution and create an emotional bond with your viewers. This is about showing your values and what you represent rather than explicitly selling goods or services.
One company that does this brilliantly is GoPro.
Its videos sell adventure and excitement, with buyers, the future or current star of each video. Just check out their Best of 2016 video and you’ll notice that there isn’t a single reference in it to any of their products. In under a month, this video was viewed 1.6 million times!
This is just one of numerous videos they produce, all shot on GoPros. A personal favorite are the heart-stopping Line of the Winter skiing videos (including this one viewed more than two million times) but that’s a little off-topic.
Testimonial videos serve a different purpose -- and find themselves most useful in the consideration and decision stages. This is the video equivalent of a word-of-mouth recommendation.
You want prospects to watch these when they are deciding whether or not to buy from you. A great example of a testimonial film is this one by Salesforce.
In this type of film, the customer (American Express) is the hero of the story but in it, they provide a ringing endorsement for their supplier (Salesforce).
It helps prospective buyers build trust. It gives them solid proof of your claims and lets them hear from the horse’s mouth what they experience if they choose to work with you.
Other types of video you may find useful in your marketing include:
- Product videos (that show features and benefits of your products, which are useful in the awareness and consideration stages)
- Services videos (that focus on your processes; useful in consideration)
- Culture videos (that humanize your brand and give people a reason to choose you above your competition; great in all stages!).
Whether you have some of these videos already or are just starting to create them, keep their position in the buyer’s journey in mind. This insight will come in handy when producing them and choosing a social media channel to host them.
Not All Social Media is Created Alike
Research by PewResearchCentre reveals that 69% of American adults use some form of social media, and that isn’t just for catching up with the news and friends or sharing viral videos. In fact, a study by Hootsuite found that nearly half have interacted with companies on at least one social media channel.
Marketers are taking notice of this, but it is important to bear in mind that not all social media channels function or perform in the same way.
Some, like Instagram and Twitter, use a timeline to bring information to users’ attention, while YouTube relies heavily on users searching for exactly what they want.
Facebook’s timeline and the ease with which the user can comment and/or share makes it a powerful channel for raising awareness and engagement, but if you want to use this video to get found, you’re probably better off with YouTube.
And let’s not forget about user demographics!
As we will see, Snapchat is predominantly a platform for younger audiences whereas Facebook is popular pretty much across the board. (Younger audiences use Facebook on mobile while the boom generations are more likely to visit on a desktop.)
It is also important to think about the way your prospects behave and why they go onto social media in the first place. For many, it’s to be entertained and interact with friends, which is why videos that make an emotional connection usually do well.
Doritos, for example, has a history of producing funny ads that do this successfully, like its Ultrasound Super Bowl ad in 2016.
Although initially aired as a TV ad, they followed up using it as content on social media, gaining nearly 900,000 Facebook shares and so far, more than 16 million YouTube views.
Another way people use social media is to find out what people are saying about a brand or its products. This is further along the customer journey (usually in consideration, decision, or even delight). Sharing video testimonials or emotional stories from your customers will connect with them and help them picture themselves using your product.
All these differences matter when choosing the right channel (or channels) for your video marketing. To help you determine which platform is best for your video marketing, let’s start with arguably the video king, YouTube.
Video Marketing on YouTube
YouTube has many plus points, one of which is that every day, people watch one billion hours of YouTube videos. (For those of you wondering, that would take one person 100,000 years – not including bathroom breaks.)
People use YouTube to watch music videos and clips of cats climbing up curtains, but they also search for educational information and to find out how things work, so educational, awareness content usually does well here.
Plus since YouTube is owned by Google, its videos are given higher ranks than those hosted elsewhere. So, if you’re trying to search engine optimize and rise in ranks, YouTube is your best bet!
Another advantage is that you can use YouTube videos to drive viewer action. The platform lets you add annotations to your videos and clickable hotspots (called Cards) linking back to your website or asking viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel.
In theory, this all makes it an excellent channel not just for awareness videos but ones further along the customer journey too. You can post your product and services videos, culture videos, or testimonial videos on YouTube and reach a large audience.
Unfortunately, we say “in theory” though as there are drawbacks.
For one, the site is huge. If not well-optimized to attract viewers and stand out, your video can easily get lost, but this isn’t even its biggest flaw.
The biggest problem is YouTube sucks viewers away from your website. You want prospects on your website when they are viewing a video that may tip the balance in favor of buying from you.
The goal is to drive them along the customer journey to the point of purchase using calls-to-action and relevant links. If they watch these types of video on YouTube, they may get distracted and click on another “related” video rather than taking the next step to making a purchase.
Unless you have already an established following, the success of a video on YouTube will to some extent depend on how much it and your channel are promoted by YouTube. This is determined by YouTube’s algorithm, which like Google’s is a closely guarded secret.
How to Succeed with Video on YouTube
Matt Gielen and Jeremy Rosen at tubefilter attempted to reverse engineer the YouTube algorithm to find out how it works and their conclusion was: “[F]ocus on one very specific niche interest and make as many 10-minute or longer videos as you can about that singular topic.”
Another point to keep in mind when posting to YouTube is that the majority of watching time is spent on mobile. So, make sure your video is as easy to view on a mobile device as it is on a laptop or desktop.
Video Marketing on Facebook
Facebook is great for posting awareness videos as you have a ready-made audience of followers who are predisposed to “like,” comment on, and share your posts.
If they do, this engagement will help it appear in more (and higher up) in people’s timelines very quickly.
The social nature of Facebook also makes it an excellent forum for engaging directly with the audience.
One of Facebook’s main drawbacks is that posts have a limited lifespan. As soon as a video stops receiving “likes” and shares it drops off timelines and disappears.
This is only exacerbated by Facebook’s reputation as a “walled garden,” a platform that ring-fences its content from the rest of the internet in order to keep you on their site for as long as possible.
Timelines won’t show up on searches so a video posted on Facebook is virtually invisible to the outside world. There’s also no easy way to embed calls-to-action or links into your videos as there is on YouTube. Links are sequestered to the video caption.
How to Succeed with Video on Facebook
This January, UK creators dominated Facebook video, taking four out of the first five slots for numbers of views.
UNILAD was at the top of the pile with 4.3 billion views, followed by another male-focused poster, The LAD Bible. Next, came viral feed Virtual Thread and two spaces behind, news outlet the Daily Mail. U.S. news channels, Tasty on BuzzFeed and CNN were both in the top 10 as well.
This tells us a lot about what type of content is popular on Facebook. People like news, and to be entertained by lifestyle and funny viral content.
In the non-news channels, there is a premium on authentic content that shows stacks of personality. People want to laugh or cry or go ‘wow’ and you don't need expensive kit to do this.
There’s nothing stopping a short video shot on a smartphone from going viral, like this one of a person shoveling snow from their yard dressed in a dinosaur outfit.
The popularity of informal, ‘real’ content is supported by some astounding numbers from Facebook Live. People comment 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than regular ones and Facebook says people watch a live video more than three times longer than non-live ones.
At the risk of bombarding you with statistics, another interesting fact is 22-second videos perform the best.
The takeaway from all this is that Facebook is excellent for building your brand and raising awareness of what you do. To do this well, you need snappy original content that shows plenty of individuality.
Video Marketing on Instagram
Instagram generates more than 4.2 billion likes a day and with 500 million active monthly users you can use it to reach a vast audience. In fact, when it first introduced videos, more than 5 million were shared in just 24 hours.
What’s more, the platform is owned by Facebook, which means you can take advantage of many of the same paid advertising data and segmentation options available on there.
For these reasons alone you would be crazy not to at least consider posting videos on Instagram – or at least snippets, as Instagram allows videos of up to 60 seconds only.
Instagram also has a useful Stories feature that lets you post photos and videos throughout the day that plays like a slideshow.
At the end of the day, the photos and videos disappear. Stories is a great feature for using either premade or live video promoting an event and combining them with still photos.
The biggest drawback of Instagram is probably its audience. Unlike Facebook which transcends most age barriers, Instagram has a relatively young demographic limiting its usefulness for some.
As a result, it can be hard to direct viewers away from Instagram to your website. Another thing to keep in mind is that Instagram is primarily a visual medium, leaving very little room for “next steps” and links.
While “see more” links are enabled for verified brands in Stories, average accounts only get one link on their profiles and that’s the one in their bio.
For all of these reasons, Instagram may only work best in the awareness and delight stages of a buyer’s cycle.
How to Succeed with Video on Instagram
The 60-second limit for Instagram videos should dictate the way you use it.
By necessity, that means videos should be sharp, fast moving, and quick to grab the viewer’s attention. Their purpose is to promote the brand’s ‘lifestyle’ and cement the viewer’s emotional connection to it.
One brand that does this well is co-working space provider WeWork. They use Instagram to demonstration the company’s relaxed culture and show off some of its stunning workspaces.
You must make sure to optimize your caption. Direct individuals to the link in your bio (or elsewhere) and use relevant hashtags to expand your reach.
Video Marketing on Snapchat
According to Bloomberg, Snapchat’s daily video views grew in the year to May 2016 from two billion to 10 billion. If they keep up the same rate of growth, daily views will exceed 18 billion by May this year.
This huge audience is Snapchat’s biggest benefit.
Brands often use Snapchat to give behind the scenes access to followers, exclusive previews, or even time-sensitive promotions, but they can also take advantage of the platform’s paid video advertising to get new users’ eyes on their content.
These successes don't necessarily mean you should post your videos to Snapchat, however.
Like Instagram, Snapchat has a predominantly young demographic, with 18 to 24 year-olds making up 45% of its audience. So, it won't suit all businesses.
Another drawback is that it doesn't use hashtags or anything else to help new people find your brand. That makes it much harder to build an audience on the platform beyond those who already know you.
The other biggest drawback of Snapchat for brands is the fact that content only lasts 24-hours. There is no way to preserve your content on Snapchat to be seen again or even shared in the future.
This inability to pass on content also hurts your ability to “go viral” per say on Snapchat.
How to Succeed with Video on Snapchat
Snapchat lends itself to informal and amusing content. It’s a great channel for trying out creative, off the wall ideas and inviting feedback from your audience.
Gatorade, for example, did this to incredible effect for the SuperBowl 2016. It sponsored a Snapchat lens of Gatorade being dumped on someone’s head and showed it off using tennis star Serena Williams. The SuperBowl lens got 160m impressions and was so successful it was reprised again this year.
Also, you can use a series of snaps to tell a story with a reveal at the end.
Online food delivery company GrubHub used this idea, showing slices of pizza being removed from a take out box snap by snap until a discount code appeared in the last. Ideas like this pique curiosity and give users a reason to keep coming back to your feed.
Video Marketing on Twitter
While often overshadowed in recent year’s, Twitter can tout over 320 million users. In addition to being the go-to destination for real-time news, Twitter reports that video is the most shared type of media on its platform and that tweets with video are six times more likely to be retweeted that tweets with photos.
Like Facebook, Twitter has also jumped on the live video bandwagon with Periscope and the ability to host live streaming events and launches directly on the platform.
One drawback of Twitter is that it can be difficult to target specific demographics as the audience is self-selected. Also, you have no way of controlling how far your tweets will go as this will depend on the retweets and likes your tweets receive.
The fast-paced nature of Twitter also means that content has an extremely short shelf-line. Even with a ton of engagement, your video or tweet is unlikely to stay high on timelines for long, as millions of tweets are sent every second.
How to Succeed with Video on Twitter
Drinks company, Innocent is a brand that has always been innovative on social media and their use of video on Twitter is no different. Its Twitter feed is all about showing off the brand’s quirkiness and humor, as you can see from this video tweet featuring Lionel Ritchie.
Considering the rapid-fire pace of Twitter, companies that succeed with video there, keep things light, casual, and quick. They also engage with their audience by following loads of people, retweeting, and liking tweets on their feed and, most importantly, responding to tweets.
So Which Platform is Right For You?
In short, you could choose to publish your video content to each and every social channel out there and many businesses do, but their success will depend on a type of video you have produced, your target demographic, and where the video fits on the customer journey.
One thing I hope I have shown is that there is at least one social media channel for every type of video and every demographic. And in most cases, you will want to use your video on more than one channel (though in different ways).
Regardless of the channel, you choose I urge you to produce a number of films. Producing a singular film is often less effective than producing a series of content which can be published regularly. Good luck and I look forward watching your content.