By the close of 2019, 74% of all internet traffic will come from video content. Increasingly, that content is coming directly from social media hubs like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. These social platforms offer brands the opportunity to engage authentically, honestly, and often, with their key target demographics. We know that in marketing, the best place to be is where your customers already are; this could not be more true in the case of video.

If you already have a robust following on Instagram, using newer forms of video content like Stories and IGTV can enhance your current connections, allowing your customers to see different perspectives of your brand. A lot of us advertise on Facebook, but using Facebook Live to create interactive, fresh video content allows brands to organically drive growth and awareness. Finally, some of you may consider YouTube the OG of video content, and you’d be right. But just because this behemoth platform is widespread and well-known, doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. In fact, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, right behind – you guessed it – Google.

Read on to learn some of the advantages of each particular platform and determine which might be best for your brand.

YouTube

Like I said, YouTube is one of the biggest and most popular networks in the world. We often fail to think of it when we think of social media, but this platform has incredible reach and immense possibilities when it comes to increasing brand awareness and engagement. People love coming to YouTube to watch videos every day from everywhere across the globe.

Consider that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds on mobile than any TV channel or cable TV network, and more 18-34 year olds in the US than any TV network. Your audience is already on YouTube and we know the golden role of marketing: go where your audience is already.

YouTube has its own unique challenges, of course. It can be more time consuming to create content for this platform, and creating video content here is less intuitive than on Instagram or Facebook. It is a great platform for longer, more informative content. YouTube is also well-suited for those leads at the top of our sales funnel: the platform is the perfect place to cultivate brand awareness and high-value content for an audience that is already searching for it. Educational and how-to videos thrive in this context.

Instagram

Instagram is your cool, hip friend who always knows the newest trends and the latest products. Every single brand, whether you are a dentist, a dogwalker, or a debutante, should have an Instagram Business Profile and share content designed for their target demographic. Instagram is a highly-visual platform and offers several options for sharing video content. Videos can be shared in Posts, Stories, or IGTV. Each has pros and cons to keep in mind. We’ll focus here on Posts versus Stories.

Instagram Posts

Your posts are the pictures and videos that you post to your Instagram profile. This is evergreen content that remains in your feed until deleted. Posts should be the backbone of building your brand image, and can showcase your products, services, industry, personnel, events, leaders, and more. Video content here should focus on brand awareness and brand storytelling to draw cold audiences to your content, further driving brand awareness and nurturing organic growth within your targeted demographic. This is content that tells your story and creates your image. It defines your unique value to the audience: it answers the question “Why should I follow this brand?”

Video content for posts could be serial, like weekly content delivered on a fixed schedule that shares a common theme. If you are a yoga studio, for example, you could post weekly “Wellness Wednesday” videos that explore different wellness subjects or ideas that your audience would be interested in. Serial content like this has two distinct advantages: first, it creates expectation so that your audience has something to look forward to, remember, enjoy, and share with friends; second, it is video content that can be easily planned, created, and executed ahead of time to compliment your other marketing campaigns, blog posts, events, or product launches. Video content for posts is currently limited to sixty seconds, and you should keep in mind that videos should only be as long as they need to be to be effective; don’t belabor your point to the extent that you risk losing a viewer’s attention. It is also helpful to know that Instagram Video Posts are automatically auto-played without sound.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a newer addition to the platform, and were created to mimic SnapChat videos by “disappearing” after 24 hours. Stories have proven to be wildly engaging and exceptionally popular, with 80% of users engaging with the feature on a daily basis. The best use of video on Stories is often behind-the-scenes, quirky, casual content. You can (and should) use stickers, emojis, geotags, GIFs, mentions, and hashtag capabilities to help your content stand out. Consider that stories need to be 15 seconds or less and are full-screen mobile-oriented content. And, as the name implies, you should use Stories to, well, tell stories! Break down a video into multiple chunks and use it to tell a cohesive story in smaller chunks. This gets your audience engaged in your content without risking attention loss. Stories is also a great place for user-generated content, like an authentic testimonial from one of your existing customers.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is Facebook’s live streaming video service. It allows users to broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook News Feed. Facebook Live has exploded in popularity since its launch in 2016, and Live videos see 3X the engagement of traditional videos. This platform is a little more complicated to use than Instagram Posts or Stories, but is well worth the learning curve. For an explicit tutorial, check out this article from HubSpot.

Facebook Live videos tend to be best suited for longer content of at least ten minutes. These videos should be engaging and spontaneous. Because of the longer length, you should make it a point to reintroduce yourself or your brand throughout the video, and encourage viewers to like and share the video with their friends. This is a great forum for interactive seminars or Q&A’s, product launches, or live events.

There are hundreds of options these days for creating, editing, and sharing video content. Get started on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook with simple video content designed to engage with your audience. Video content should be a key part of your overall content marketing strategy, and is essential to all brands and businesses. Use video content to tell your brand’s story, engage with your audience, and nurture your existing following. Remember, always go where your customers already are!

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