How does a video become “social?”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/5547478429/
Part three in a series on social video and storytelling.

“Once an organization decides to start using online videos in their marketing mix – how do they become social? “

Social video parallels the “viral video” distribution model – in which YouTube videos become an overnight success – generating millions of views (think about all those cat videos on YouTube). Where it differs is that it’s a little more thought out – actually, a lot more.

Developing an audience

The first step in content marketing is to develop an audience. While an audience can certainly be developed from distributing social videos online, it helps immensely to already have an audience there, watching. Many brands have already begun this by developing blogs, email lists, Twitter and Facebook followings. If you haven’t, check out Facebook’s guide to pages and the Twitter for business guide.

Research + strategy

In order for a brand to create content that is valuable and relevant to their customers and supporters, they must understand their interests, needs and values. Most brands have already performed some of this in the form of market research, which is a nice first step – but it has to get a bit more personal.

From there, a storytelling strategy can be developed to ensure that the right stories are told – so that the videos aren’t just interesting, but resonate with and inspire viewers, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be shared. Remember that with social video, the viewer ultimately controls the distribution – so skipping this step is not an option.

Producing + distributing stories

After bringing aboard the right people to produce your social video campaign (we’ll talk about this in the next post), it’s time for distribution. Utilizing existing email marketing, social media and blog channels is a great place to start. Influencers can help your stories to thrive online, and expand to new audiences.

Identifying appropriate influencers (prominent bloggers, Twitter “stars,” loyal fans or customers, celebrities), sharing content with them and/or tagging them in posts can increase the effectiveness of a social video campaign’s launch. There are also several new agencies that specialize in launching content produced for social sharing. Sharethrough is doing some excellent work in this space.

It’s not an exact science

Throughout this process it’s important to remember that, by its very nature, social video is an ever-changing medium – there are no formulas for success – at the end of the day, content is still king. No matter how intelligent and innovative the distribution strategy, videos of cats and babies with NO release strategy will still garner hundreds of millions of views. Because people like cats and babies. The most important part of the social video landscape is the video itself.

Have you or has your company launched a social video?

We’d love to hear about some of your success and/or failures at producing and distributing social videos. After all – we’re all still learning.
Image by smemon licensed under Creative Commons

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