Social media is a cheap and powerful tool that small businesses shouldn't overlook. Social channels can be used for everything from customer service to marketing.
Since social media users love video, social media video marketing is accessible, affordable, and it's a smart move for every small business. It's also one of the easiest ways to increase consumer awareness of your brand and engage customers.
If you're not sure where to start with social media video marketing, here's a rundown of the top social media channels you can use to boost your brand with video.
YouTube is a video-sharing platform, and unlike other social media networks, it only hosts videos. With more than 1 billion users, it's a great place to market your business. According to Hubspot's State of Inbound Marketing, about 48 percent of all marketers plan to add YouTube to their marketing strategy in 2018.
Signing up for a YouTube account is simple and can be done by logging into a Google account. Once you sign up, you can customize your business channel with channel art, a header and a profile picture.
Once your channel is ready, you can start uploading videos and interacting with other users.
- Be consistent: Stick to a schedule so your subscribers know when to expect a new video.
- Include calls to action: Tell viewers directly to like the video they're watching, leave a comment or subscribe to your channel.
- Interact: The first rule of social media is to be social. Respond to feedback and thank viewers for leaving comments.
- Share: Share your YouTube videos on your other social media accounts. You can also embed your YouTube videos in posts on your website.
- Go live: YouTube has its own livestreaming feature, but your account must be verified to conduct a livestream.
To learn more about YouTube, read YouTube for Business: Everything You Need to Know.
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With more than 2 billion active users, taking your video marketing campaign to Facebook is a no-brainer. To get started, you'll need to set up a page for your business, which is quick and easy.
Pages can be fully customized to represent your business, with the information customers need to know, such as your address, hours, reviews and upcoming events. Users who "like" your page will see your posts, and those posts will appear automatically in their news feed.
- Don't create passive videos: In early 2018, Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize connections and engagements. To be given priority, your videos should promote engagement.
- Get interactive: Watch for comments and questions that viewers leave, and respond to them quickly and professionally.
- Be personable: People love social media, because it often gives a behind-the-scenes look into their favorite brands. Your audience didn't follow you to be bothered with sales-y posts.
- Monitor reactions: Facebook gives you the tools to see who likes and shares your videos. Watching to see which videos garner the most positive reactions helps you plan your next updates.
- Broadcast live: Facebook lets you broadcast live video using a feature called Facebook Live. It's a great way to boost engagement and give clients and customers an intimate look at your business. With this feature, you can have real-time conversations with your followers.
To learn more about Facebook, read Facebook for Business: Everything You Need to Know.
Twitter has a huge, diverse user base, and its regular users are extremely engaged with the platform. Twitter isn't just about short, text-based messages. The network also lets users embed videos directly into their tweets, which then pop up in the feed of anyone who follows your account. Videos can be up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds long – plenty of time to engage viewers with a short clip.
- Be concise: Twitter has always been about being brief. Users view their feeds sporadically, often for just a few seconds at a time, so stick to short, easily digestible clips.
- Engage: Part of Twitter's appeal is the ability it gives users to engage directly with the brands they care about. When users comment or share your videos, reward them with a response.
- Be timely: People go to Twitter to know what's happening right now. Use your videos to advertise special deals and ongoing sales. Let your followers know what's happening now.
- Go live: With Periscope, you can go live on Twitter. Going live can boost engagement, plus it lets you interact with followers instantly.
To learn more about Twitter, read Twitter for Business: Everything You Need to Know.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram is a social network dedicated solely to sharing photos and videos. For that reason, it might seem like a network where only highly visual businesses – such as those in food or fashion – succeed. But with a little creativity, you can make the platform work for just about any brand.
Using Instagram is simple. After you create an account, you can upload images, photos and videos. Users who follow your page will see those updates in their feed, where they can like or comment on them.
- Use Instagram Stories: Like Snapchat stories, Instagram Stories are pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours. This feature allows any business owner to get creative with tools such as polls, GIFS, stickers and basic text.
- Try out IGTV: In June 2018, Instagram rolled out IGTV, which is a standalone app and section in the Instagram app. It allows users to create vertical videos up to an hour in length.
According to Maxwell Fin, co-founder of the digital marketing e-learning platform Unicorn IQ, IGTV can be used in many ways to market your business, such as having influencers do in-depth product reviews, unveil new products and demo features, conducting webinar-style educational talks, and long FAQ sessions.
- Be engaging: Instagram Stories are the perfect place to engage with customers in real time. Ask them questions through polls or answer their questions.
- Show off: Share images of your new products or services on Instagram Stories, or with a regular post.
- Post deals: Share images with coupon codes and other information about how to redeem special deals. Doing so encourages consumers to follow your account closely so they don't miss out.
- Go behind the scenes: A good way to generate interest is to show people how your product is made, or perhaps give them a glimpse of your office.
To learn more about Instagram, read Instagram for Business: Everything You Need to Know.
Snapchat is a niche platform for small businesses. The app lets you upload short video clips, as well as images, and the content is sent directly to anyone who follows your account.
The trademark feature of Snapchat is that users can usually only view each video once before it disappears from their feed, but that restriction only applies to videos sent directly to individuals. Content uploaded to your account's story can be viewed by your followers an unlimited number of times for 24 hours.
The ephemeral nature of Snapchat posts – as well as the fact that the app's user base skews younger than any of the others on this list – means that most small businesses would be better off investing their resources elsewhere. But businesses that cater to young people would be wise to give it a chance.
- Keep it casual: While other platforms encourage highly curated content, Snapchat posts can be simple and casual. If a post isn't perfect, don't fret – it will disappear soon anyway.
- Make it fun: Clips of employees or customers having fun with your product will keep young Snapchat users engaged and coming back for more.
- Go behind the scenes: Snapchat is the perfect platform for taking viewers behind the scenes of your business for a glimpse of how it's run.
To learn more about Snapchat, read Snapchat for Business: Everything You Need to Know.
Additional reporting by Brett Nuckles.