Why Your Corporate Video Needs a Social Media Plan
Would you start a new company without assembling a business plan? Would you try to get venture capital funding without making a plan for how the money would be spent? Then why would you ever produce a corporate video without having a plan on how to distribute it on social media?
A corporate video is not like a movie that hordes of people will be clamoring to see. Like anything else business-related, there must be a plan in place in order for it to accomplish its goals.
Why produce a video?
The very first part of this plan should center around the underlying purpose of the video itself. In other words, the company must answer the question, “Why are we making this video?” There are four common objectives for corporate videos.
- 1. Raising brand awareness. These videos identify the company and its products or services to viewers who are somewhat or completely unfamiliar with them. Brand awareness videos, which were being produced long before the Internet became omnipresent, frequently have the same structure as TV commercials or infomercials.
- 2. Formulating the company’s brand. Unlike brand awareness videos which focus on highlighting a brand, these videos actually try to shape and augment the brand itself by providing additional information about the company. Videos showing the company culture and/or “behind the scenes” images fall into this category.
- 3. Spreading news. Sometimes called a “press release video,” news videos simply inform the public about a company’s new product, initiative, recognition, or event – something a written press release accomplishes in text format. These videos often are promoted as “major announcements” from a company that they want everyone to know about.
- 4. Customer engagement. These videos emphasize the company’s customers (and stakeholders) much more so than the company itself. Engagement videos can be used to generate input from customers about the company or spotlight the postings of social media followers. They are very important in the social media era because they serve to bring customers together into a community of people with like-minded interests – which is the main goal of social media itself.
This video from HootSuite showcases its company culture – and invites viewers to become part of the team.
Where will the video be displayed?
Once the “why” of a video has been determined, the next step is to figure out where it will be distributed online. While some companies simply post the video on all of their social media channels, those who plan ahead can optimize their video for each specific online platform. Here are some tips for maximizing the impact of a corporate video on several of the most popular social media sites:
YouTube. More than any other social media portal, YouTube is the site where people go specifically to watch videos (almost five billion of them every day). Therefore, since visitors to the company’s YouTube channel are already familiar with the brand, the top priority for a video appearing there should be content.
That’s why companies often utilize their YouTube channel for regularly-scheduled online programming, instructional videos or tutorials, or similar types of content that appeal explicitly to the company’s prospects and their needs. Moreover, the “Annotations” feature allows companies to display call-to-action icons or images over the video as it is playing.
Facebook. Since mid-2015, Facebook has been using “time spent viewing a story” as one of its key metrics for choosing which content to display in users’ news feeds. Since video tends to grab and keep a person’s attention, it’s a natural fit for social media – especially since Facebook videos can be embedded on many different online platforms.
The Facebook videos that are most successful tend to feature highly-visual content that doesn’t require sound (which must be turned on by the user) but might incorporate subtitles and text. Companies like to feature corporate culture videos on Facebook, as well as those which “tease” other content that’s on their website (like whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, etc.). Finally, the platform’s Facebook Live feature permits companies to live-stream announcements, Q&A sessions, and other timely events of importance to their “friends.”
Twitter. As on Facebook, Twitter videos automatically begin playing when they appear on a viewer’s feed. As a result, attention-grabbing imagery and/or visual movement are important when designing a video for these social media platforms.
Companies like to use Twitter videos to tease fresh content on a blog, YouTube channel, or company website. But more and more entities are embracing Twitter videos as an engagement tool. That’s why you’re seeing lots of videos where employees read customer testimonials or even answer questions posed by their followers.
The Children’s Inn at NIH produced a video to address some of its frequently asked questions.
Snapchat. Although Snapchat amassed 166 million daily users in less than six years, many companies might not be aware of its “Story” feature. This allows a video message to remain visible to followers for 24 hours instead of disappearing right after it is viewed as it otherwise would. The Story tool provides more flexibility to companies wanting to distribute their videos on Snapchat.
Because of Snapchat’s “disappearing message” reputation, many companies leverage this idea by posting videos that aim to create a sense of urgency. These may include special time-sensitive product offers or discounts, teaser segments for upcoming events (or video releases), or daily pieces of content during a week- (or even month-) long digital marketing campaign.
Instagram. Because of its 60-second time limit for videos, lengthy pieces of content aren’t suitable for this platform. But since Instagram is the most visually-oriented social media offering (other than YouTube, of course), it lends itself well to catchy, fun, and non-actionable content.
Companies utilize Instagram as sort of a “permanent” hub for much of its Snapchat content. But they can also display behind-the-scenes, company culture, and even engagement videos that are appropriate for other social media.
How will the video be promoted?
Once the company is in possession of a completed video, the next step is to decide how to promote its upcoming release (and ongoing presence on the web). A skilled marketing director can tease the release of the video on social media as well as the company blog, perhaps incorporating short video clips into the messages in order to pique readers’ curiosity. This promotion schedule is almost as important as the production of the video itself.
Sprout Social made this video to introduce its new “Smart Inbox” feature to the marketplace.
When will people get to see the video?
An accomplished social media plan isn’t finished once the distribution platforms are established and the promotion strategy is in place. It’s also vital to figure out when the video will be released – or more precisely, what the release schedule will be for which social media networks.
It’s not uncommon for a company to “blast” its video across all platforms simultaneously. But if the video isn’t optimized for each channel, it may not have the impact the company is seeking. So it may be wise to edit the video to suit each platform – like, say, cutting an eight-minute video into four, two-minute videos and rotating them among the Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. If this approach is successful, it can help build and maintain online momentum more effectively.
Planning for success
While it is your job to create and implement the social media plan, Crews Control can help your company create the very best content for your distribution channel. For more ideas on creating content for internal and external distribution sign up for the Crews Control newsletter. After all, corporate videos don’t become strong sales or branding tools by accident, but rather as a result of thoughtful and meticulous planning from pre-production through distribution.