Social Video – 3 Brands That Get It Right

In 2015, video accounted for a full 70% of all Internet traffic worldwide—a figure that infrastructure giant Cisco says will exceed 80% by the year 2020. Social networking sites, meanwhile, have the second-highest penetration of any online media and are also enjoying the second-fastest rate of adoption (with digital TV coming in first on both counts).

Add in the facts that 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with their friends and that social media sites now drive about a third of ALL visits to other websites (more than Google!), and you’ve got a pretty compelling case for the power of social video.

But that doesn’t mean all video is created equal. If you want to see real results for your brand and your business, it pays to take a lesson or two (or three) from companies who are already seeing success. After all, why reinvent the wheel if you can go just as far using the same techniques?

These brands and their videos can teach you how to use social video to capture attention, speak straight to your audience’s heart, and turn them into your brand champions by sharing a journey. Build your network and grow your reach, just by getting social video right!

CitiBank’s Video Bears Results on Facebook

When Citibank US posted this video, there was little doubt it was going to go viral:

First, they made the brilliant choice to use an already-viral video. The original video was posted on YouTube back in 2010 and currently has more than 16 million views; CitiBank has already racked up nearly 900,000 since April of this year. Using content they knew a social media audience would respond to made this a brilliant marketing move.

But even if they didn’t have that, there’s a whole lot going for this video.

It captures your attention immediately. You see the bear, you wonder what’s going to happen, the woman waves, the bear waves, you’re laughing, you’re hooked. All in under three seconds. And of course, you want to see it again right away…but wait, what’s this? They know it, and they’re playing it again for you?

Now I’m totally on board!

That they take that replay impulse and tie it directly to their product earns CitiBank extra points, but even without that level of genius, there are some great social video lessons here:

  • Grab attention quickly. Three seconds really may be all you have, so don’t “bury the lead.” Get your audience engaged immediately.
  • Focus on the viewer. Make the video valuable to your audience first. The value to you comes second (and we promise, there’s a whole lot more of it if you wait).
  • Play into the platform. Funny animal videos are a social media staple. Using one to build a quick video advertisement for social media? So simple, so effective.

AARP Makes New Media Look Like Old Hat

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of AARP’s recent “What Old Looks Like” video:

Again, AARP is a brand that understands the social media platform and the audiences it’s trying to reach—in this case, its usual target of those 50 and older as well as the Millennial generation it knows is key to its policy-driven initiatives. The point of the video is to build bridges between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, and by reaching out on social media it’s already more successful than many other efforts.

But one thing the video doesn’t do is talk down to anyone. It doesn’t preach or dictate to get its message across. It shows real representatives of each generation interacting with each other, and learning from each other. It shows communication going two ways, which is exactly how effective brands use social media, too.

In other words, both the platform and the content make the subject approachable. A somewhat sensitive subject becomes a source for heartwarming bonding and togetherness. There’s no lecture, just a reminder of the humanity in all of us and everything we can learn from each other.

For instance…

  • Invite your audience in. We see young faces first, but the video is called “Millennials Show US What ‘Old’ Looks Like.” That “us,” of course, means AARP members (or prospective members). Both intended viewerships are represented immediately.
  • Keep the information flowing. Audiences of all ages are getting bored quicker. This video’s pace builds our anticipation in the beginning, giving us a big payoff later.
  • Be honest and heartfelt. Funny works well on social media, but authenticity works even better. There’s no faking being real, though, so make sure you’re feeling it when you make your social videos.

Saucony’s Story Has Viewers Sprinting for Sales

Everyone loves a good redemption story, and Saucony’s video about runner Jared Ward is no exception:

A runner who let it go during what could have been his peak years, making his way back to the top step by step. It’s the stuff Hollywood (and its audiences) love. But more important than being a good story for a general audience, this video’s narrative—and the way the story is told—makes it a GREAT video for the specific target audience.

Runners, that is.

We make stories out of our lives by reflex. When you pause to reflect at the end of a long day, you don’t remember a series of disconnected tasks and events. You think of a series of obstacles, triumphs, villains, and heroes that gave your day a clear beginning, middle, and end, with each moment informing the next.

Great marketing, and great videos, use the same narrative structure to play into our natural inclinations. Here, the narrative shows a good runner (beginning) who fell out of shape (conflict-laden middle) and is now triumphally returning to his sport (end). All with the subtle, silent help of Saucony’s shoes around his feet.

Tell stories your viewers want as their stories. Have you noticed the pattern of always representing or focusing on your viewers? Yeah, it’s that important.
Narrative thrives on conflict. Conflict doesn’t have to mean negativity. There’s something someone wants, and something else in the way. How do they fix the problem?
You can be a silent partner. You could watch this video a hundred times and never know it’s a piece of marketing for Saucony. If viewers are on your channel, you can assume they’re on board already. Use social video to engage, not simply to sell.

The Key to Quality Video

We wish we could say that all it took was the right idea and the drive to succeed, but the fact is good video demands know-how and usually decent equipment. And those aren’t as easy to come by as smartphones and YouTubers might have you think. For a quality partner in your social video production efforts—a team that has what it needs and knows how to use it— keep Lava Studio in mind!