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Video is the way social media is going.  Instagram and Twitter are pushing it.  Platforms like Tok-Tok are bringing brands huge success.  How can you join in?

Amber Leach is the founder of Audacious Lives Coaching and Mentoring.  She has also set up a specialist marketing company, Established by Her.   Amber reminded me that businesses who use video are growing their revenue 49% faster than non -video users.  Online video is an astonishing 500% more effective as a marketing tool than print and direct mail.   Pretty convincing figures.

Amber suggests checking which of your social media or blog posts have performed best in recent weeks and turn some of that content into a winner.   As you know, with marketing, it is always about measuring.

Amber explains that content length varies from site to site.  Instagram stories need 15 seconds of top tips, thoughts, updates.  Reels and Tiktok need 15-60 seconds of something fun, colorful, montages, and infographics work well – though TikTok is in the process of rolling out a three-minute version.

With LinkedIn, Instagram’s IGTV, or Facebook lives, you are looking at anything between ten minutes to an hour.  Amber says these suit interviews, how-to guides, masterclasses, and update announcements.

The importance of mastering video is very much what I heard from Austin Schneider of Brantegic in my recent interview with him.

Isn’t TikTok just for kids?

Video in social media

I wondered if TikTok should be a contender for businesses and turned to TikTok growth coach Lawrence Finn of the Travorium Club.  Lawrence says that on Christmas Day 2020, he swore he would never get involved in TikTok, but three highly successful businessmen approached him in January 21 to run a three-month trial.  With a current viewership of around 2m per month, he hasn’t looked back.

TikTok, he says, is the ONLY social media platform in the world where you can create a post today with zero following and go insanely viral.  Every video on TikTok gets evaluated by the algorithm and stands alone in its potential reach. That means you could post six or seven terrible videos, but your eight video stands on its own and can go completely viral. 

Many of us have associated TikTok with entertainment or children.  The algorithms will monitor your preferences and point you in that direction if that is for you.  But TikTok want to become the go-to social media platform for e-learning and are advertising on UK TV.  The new 3-minute videos are aimed at business tips, coaching, e-learning.  Big brands are coming to TikTok.

“To learn TikTok effectively, you need to learn how to tell your story and tell that story precisely and accurately,” Laurence advises.  You need to get traction and get it fast.  Once you have 10,000 followers, there is a fund called the creator fund, where TikTok pays creators to make content.  Laurence believes TikTok to be the most significant opportunity on social media both in 2021 and 2022.  It won’t last forever, but it has monstrous potential right now.  

Strategy for video-marketing

Jon Berg’s company Digital Tiger offers digital marketing, web design, and video marketing.  He agrees that the opportunities have never been greater than with video in digital marketing.  Where else can you have your business show up alongside Coca-Cola or Landrover?  

But it is also very daunting for many people.  While everyone has a phone, meaning video has never been easier, only the younger generations feel truly comfortable on it.  The rest of us are inclined to feel stupid, pointing a camera at our faces.  I was keen to ask Jon how people can develop a strategy for video.

Firstly, Jon says it is about being more than just interesting.  People want to be entertained.  And it needs to be very quick.  The first question clients always ask him is about what content they should use.  However much we might hate to admit it, social media is fake, so it is about producing entertaining and interesting content.  That means you need to think about what sort of personae you are creating.

Jon advises always to use a script.  It makes a huge difference.  People think they can wing it, and they can’t.  To create that content, Jon gives this great tip.   Go to google and type in words surrounding your content, putting yourself in a customer’s shoes.  Let us suppose you are an accountant:  try “accountants near me” or accountant to help with a late tax return.”  Google will come up with predictive text subjects around those questions, listing them underneath.  And what is especially effective about this is that these are questions that people are typing in, so you get guaranteed traction.  Let Google choose your best content.

Another stumbling block for many people is the concept of being entertaining.   It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, nor is it suited for all topics.  Medical research might be an obvious example.   Think first and foremost of your audience and what approach to the subject matter would be well received.

Size is important.  Select the topic you want to put across and break it down into eight or ten tiny bite-size pieces.  That way, you get your best audience retention.  Many people are on social when they should be doing something else.  If their attention is grabbed, they will return another time, and visual will catch them quickest.

Jon agrees that equipment doesn’t matter.  No one cares about the quality, so your phone will be just fine unless you are going for a full YouTube cinematic production.  If you are investing in anything, let it be a microphone.  People will forgive poor-quality video but not struggling to hear.

I asked Jon how necessary it is to mix personal with business information.  He says that every business needs a face, not necessarily the founder, not necessarily the tea maker, but someone comfortable with being face-to-face. 

For some sectors, where it truly isn’t needed, or you just don’t have anyone, another option is to do what is known as “front-loading,” where you put your punchiest content first.  Instead of introducing the person, have short, interesting 30 second clips of content that educates and informs.  Then at the end, you can use just a voice-over to do the marketing with an “if you enjoyed this content – then an offer.”

Video is a huge opportunity, and the businesses using it are getting massive success with it.   Don’t let being too shy hold you back.  No one cares if your hair isn’t right.  Jon gives the example of a recent YouTube phenomenon of John Butler, an 84 year old former farmer from Derbyshire who became massively popular talking about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) to help people in COVID times. Did he care about his hair?  No.  Did it affect his success?  Far from it.

Another reason for video being such a super-charged marketing tool is this.  When someone goes on one of the platforms and watches a piece of content on, say video marketing, Facebook, or YouTube will register your interest.  They will keep showing that person content about video marketing.  Sooner or later, the chances are high that yours will appear to that person.  The big platforms are paying to do your marketing.   That is where the real power of content lies right now.

Jon told me about a forager called Craig Evens.  Craig had foraged all his life.  One day a friend came up to North Wales and took some footage of the foraging they did that day and then loaded it onto YouTube.  It had over a million views and kick-started Craig into doing courses commercially and a whole new career.   He is now a client of Jon’s.

Jon suggested that there is no need when you are starting to spend money on an agency.  Not least, the agency will offer lots of extras from lighting to additional effects, none of which will make much difference to your success.  If you are going to spend the money, opt for a marketing company that will track the people online and ensures that more content is shown to people already interested. 

Like all digital media, it is only as good as the ROI.  You can easily fall into the trap of spending vast amounts with no return.  Part of success is also ensuring your offer is right.

Jon’s final tip is to watch Ryan Reynolds on YouTube.  Ryan produces a lot of content, and part of that is for his company Mint Mobile.  Mint Mobile makes videos on a shoestring budget that use humor and entertainment to catch people’s attention.  As Jon says, they are a great way to learn the art of video for digital media.

If you want to read all our series on digital marketing, this is the first one here on how to achieve it on a budget.