At this point, YouTube is the second most successful social media site, trailing only behind Facebook. With 1 billion+ unique visitors (not all have accounts like on Facebook), and 6 million hours of videos watched each month, it’s no longer a channel that brands can ignore. It doesn’t really take much these days to make a quality video. Grab your iPhone, step in front and go to work. Free software pre-installed on most computers will help get the job done to let you easily produce and post custom video content. Not only will it be better received among audience members (multimedia > textual content), but it will help you build a library within YouTube to help be found on the web and increase traffic back to your website.
In 2008 or so, Twitter really took off among the general public. And at the same time, SMS and other text messaging apps were becoming widely popular. This issued a revolution amongst the masses. We began (whether we knew it or not) to alter the way we communicated. Everything written had to be more concise and straight to the point. We had to fit our ideas within 140 character messages. This was huge. “Text speak” and other shorthand helped to cut down on length, and hashtags and emoticons helped to describe elaborate emotions in just a few characters.
Fast forward to 2013 and we don’t want to be bothered with long pieces of communication. So now, that same revolution is becoming evident within the video world. You may have been taught that YouTube videos shouldn’t exceed 3-4 minutes or so. And it’s true, no one is going to sit there for 10 minutes to just take away a few key points. We must keep our vlogs and detailed pieces of video content short and sweet. But in addition to that, we need to be serving up content in short form.
Two key apps are driving this revolution. Vine allows users to create 6 second looped videos, animated gifs in a sense. Instagram launched video sharing not long ago but decided to offer a 15 second restriction – maintaining a short limit but giving more than double the amount of time for those who may feel constricted by Vine. Last week, my co-worker Melinda did a wonderful job at comparing and contrasting Vine and Instagram, so I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of each. Instead, I wanted to share some tips on how to develop great content. The apps are free and super easy to set-up, since there is very little branding involved (unlike YouTube). What makes this even more of an equalizing for brands is that everything has to be recorded strictly within the apps themselves. This means no $100,000 worth of production can be put into videos. It has to be made with the standard, stock smartphone camera. Everyone is on the same level, making brands use their imagination rather than leaning on costly equipment and special effects.
We, as consumers, are becoming spoiled by short videos. It’s now a must for brands to get their messages across in a very short amount of time. Here are some tips to get you thinking and help you pull it off:
- First, who’s your target audience? Right now, Vine skews slightly younger and caters to the tweens, teens and 20-something-year-old audiences. Instagram is just a bit older. Perhaps your demographic does not even make this investment worthwhile yet. I say “yet” because Facebook and Twitter started out the same way. So it’s better to understand the platforms now so if/when your demographic does enter, you’re already prepared.
- Be creative. Be concise. Make it fun, if possible. Take the emphasis off advertising and focus on entertainment. Sometimes the video shouldn’t even have to do with your brand’s products at all. But do make sure the personality of the video matches that of your brand’s messaging.
- The more creative the better. Think about infographics. We see so many these days that the only ones worth checking out are the ones that stand out. So take some time to develop a great idea and then set the wheels in motion. The idea behind a 6-second video might take hours or even days to develop (if it’s a great one!). And that’s okay.
- Find ways to graphically display your ideas so they don’t have to take up time to be said. Use pictures. Animation. Even stick drawings. Don’t stand there like it’s a college lecture or even showcase a talking head like a YouTube vlog. That’s too boring here!
- Create your notes ahead of time to determine what point you’d like to make. Yes, one point per video. Time isn’t on your side. You have an unlimited number of posts you can share, but each video should live on its own as a unique message. Consider creating a series so you can tie multiple videos together with a main theme, but give each its own key message.
The attention span no longer exists and people want to engage with your brand seconds at a time. Keep it simple, stupid. Video is where it’s at and you can’t babble on anymore. The apps won’t let you. Know that short videos are a trend that we will continue to see in the coming years, so jump on board and start getting involved on these video sharing apps. There’s a number of ways that your brand can take advantage. Start following brands now to see some great examples.