Video is one of the most popular content types on the web today, and according to the numbers, it’s only going up from here. By 2021, an estimated 82% of global internet traffic will come from video. That’s a lot of traffic.

So what does this mean for marketers?

For one thing, it’s more important than ever to be regularly creating and sharing videos — especially on social media. And with LinkedIn rolling out native video and Instagram overhauling IGTV to keep up with new video-sharing platforms, that need is growing and changing every day.

To help get you up to speed on effectively adding video to your social media strategy, we’ve compiled a list of achievable tips for teams of all sizes. From content planning to creation, channel mix to measurement, we’ve got you covered. 

1. Establish your video goals

Whether you’re looking to increase engagement, generate leads, or drive conversions, make sure to define your primary goals before you start making videos. Once you have some key objectives in mind, think about what kind of videos will help you get there.

For example, if you want to increase engagement, you may want to consider launching a video series that speaks to your customers’ interests. To drive conversions, it may be helpful to create product-focused content emphasizing what makes your brand the best option out there.

Next, consider creating a calendar specifically for your social video strategy. Here, you’ll map out upcoming product launches, campaigns, holidays, and anything else on your marketing roadmap. Having a general overview of what you want to promote will help establish a timeline for execution. It will also be helpful for establishing a regular cadence for your video content.

2. Know your platforms and your audience

Identifying your target audience and the social platforms where they hang out is key. This will help ensure you reach the right people at the right time. It is also important to know if your fans (and soon-to-be fans) spend their time on mobile or desktop. This will help determine the optimal length, format, and overall makeup of your videos — specific to each social platform.

If you don’t already have an analytics tool at your disposal, consider investing in one. Google Analytics is a great place to start; here, you can identify which social platforms are driving the most referral traffic to your site. Marketers who use custom tracking UTMs will also be able to see exactly which social posts are driving the most traffic. 

Social listening tools like Social Studio, Talkwalker, or Sprout Social can also be a worthwhile investment if your budget allows. These tools are made to help you understand your audience demographics on each social platform. They also allow you to monitor post-level engagement metrics, which are useful for learning what’s working (more on that later).

Finally, when you’re thinking about which platforms to focus on, do your research so you understand how the API prioritizes or deprioritizes brands and businesses. Make sure you know which platforms support hashtags and which don’t. Try to get a sense of each platform’s user demographics so you can further tailor your content, and post in places that are relevant for your message.

For example, if you’re targeting millennial shoppers, Instagram and IGTV are better homes for your videos than Facebook. If you’re a software company announcing a new product, LinkedIn and Twitter are ideal places to share your news via video, since they’re well-known hubs for newsworthy announcements and businesses.

The bottom line? Do your research, know your audience, and be strategic about where you’re sharing your videos (and why).

3. Get creative with your video content

One of the best things about video is the breadth of approaches you can take to highlight your brand and set your products apart. So the advice here is simple: get creative! Experiment with different formats to figure out which ones communicate your message in the most authentic, engaging way.

Even after you establish your style, ideally, you’ll be sharing videos in a variety of formats. This will help keep your content feeling fresh, and it will help you cut through the noise of traditional advertising, which your audience is likely to scroll right past. To that end, consider how you can make videos that tell a story. Your goal is to demonstrate the value of your product in a compelling way that’s on-brand for your business.

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Need some inspiration? Here’s how Vissla — a brand of sustainable surf wear — uses video to showcase their products in action. Instead of telling consumers how great their wetsuits are, they made a film that follows a group of Vissla-clad surfers on a surfing adventure.

Professional-quality films are not the only key to successful marketing. If you don’t have the resources or the budget to go big, consider using online video editor tools like Magisto and Adobe Spark to create high-quality, engaging brand videos in a pinch.

And finally, once you have a look and feel you like, turn it into a template! This will save you valuable time on the production side, and it will also help your followers recognize your videos and associate them as part of a larger content series. A win-win.

4. Focus on paid, owned, and earned media

Once you’ve made a video and decided where you want to promote it, the hard part is done. The next step is making sure as many people as possible (potential customers and brand loyalists) see it. This comes down to how you promote your video — and where.

To dive into this piece of the puzzle, let’s take a look at distribution from a paid, owned, and earned media perspective.

Owned media is a no-brainer. If you made the video, promote it on your social channels. Once you’ve established where your audience lives, get sharing. Take advantage of popular hashtags in order to boost organic reach and make sure to tag relevant handles. For example, if your video stars a famous surfer with a huge social following, tag them! This will make your video more visible to their followers, and grow your reach in the process.

If you have a large contributor or influencer network, invite them to share or engage with your video. Organic promotion boosts organic reach, which boosts engagement and conversions. If an influencer in your network has an audience that is already interested in your brand, they’re more likely to engage than an audience that has never heard of you. This is the gist of earned media promotion; it’s a great way to build brand loyalty at no additional cost.

Lastly, let’s talk about paid. Before you put spend behind anything, do research on how each platform treats sponsored posts. Set realistic expectations in terms of KPIs. If you choose to put spend behind your video, make sure the campaign goals align with your overall video strategy — and that you’re not putting too much spend behind one video and not enough behind another. Prioritize videos that drive your brand goals the most.

No matter what type of promotion you do, follow up with community management. Engaging with comments on your video does a surprising amount to boost brand trust and create a connection between you and your consumers. When appropriate, respond to negative comments in a polite and constructive way. It helps make your audience feel seen and heard, and it can even turn a hater into a brand follower.

5. Track and report your video metrics

Measuring the success of your content is the final step to effectively adding video to your social strategy. To do this, make sure you have the appropriate tracking and measurement programs in place. 

Start by deciding on a regular reporting cadence. Weekly or monthly is usually sufficient. When the time comes, record metrics across platforms. You may discover one type of video or platform is more successful than another. The learnings you gather here will help inform how you make your next video, so you can keep improving as you gather more insights.

And speaking of insights, make sure you’re recording both hard numbers and your own observations. Observations help tell a more human story than metrics. For instance, if you notice that the most successful videos all share a similar narrative arc, incorporate that story format into future videos. If the least successful videos all lack closed captioning, adjust future videos accordingly.

Once you’ve accumulated a significant amount of metrics and observations on your videos, create reports that outline your video success. Share these reports with your team, and anyone else who has a hand in your brand’s marketing strategy. If you’re a one-person team or business, regular reporting is still worthwhile as it helps paint a picture of growth over time and can help you set achievable goals for the future.

A final word

There isn’t an exact science to incorporating video into your social strategy. Once you have the basics down, it’s all trial and error. Figure out what works and iterate accordingly. Leverage the resources at your disposal, try not to stray too far from your brand identity, and aim to create video content that moves you.

Because if you’re moved, chances are your audience will be, too.

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