Editor’s note: this post and the accompanying video originally appeared in a short-form blog post on February 9th, 2016, published by Dana Fugate. We have since updated to provide more resources and 1500+ additional words of guidance. Enjoy!
Often we are asked by both prospects and customers alike: “where do I post my video?” Or more recently, speaking to some marketers at conferences, “you mean, I don’t have to use YouTube?” While these questions seem simple, video distribution is actually quite nuanced. We get it. Frankly, your strategy will differ depending on the stage of the customer journey, the video content, call-to-action, and desired result. Blended video distribution strategy, utilizes both free social video sites, like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook, as well as that of a premium online video player (OVP) is most often the path to success. Let’s explain why.
Why a Blended Video Distribution Strategy Works
Many marketers think social video sites like YouTube solve their most pressing problems: reach and spend. And to a degree they’re right – YouTube and Vimeo get millions of viewers without impacting the marketing budget. But when these free video campaigns don’t convert, have you really made it off scot-free?
Social video sites like YouTube and Vimeo are a great way to get started, and now with the popularity of native Facebook and Twitter video (not to mention Instagram and Snapchat), the social landscape just became a whole lot more vast and varied. Each social media network has an audience, or sometimes several communities that gather there to consume content. In the past, marketers solely used social media as a driver of social traffic to our website or blog. And while video is a great tool for conversion, we’ve realized that not all interactions are destined for conversion. Digital interactions follow a spectrum (that little thing called the Customer Journey we like to harp on quite a bit). The ways in which social networks communicate are all different as well, meaning our messages have to become more personalized. We have to cater to each social video site and recognize that in many cases the consumption will take place on this platform, and the interaction ends there. To move beyond this takes time, dedication and a plan.
Sophisticated video marketers leverage the benefits of all social sites, adding these to their multi-channel video strategy. Depending on the social channel, you can utilize Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in a variety of methods, charting one customer journey throughout all three and interspersing your own site and other owned properties within this experience. A blended video distribution strategy allows marketers to take advantage of social video sites but also uses an online video player (OVP) to deliver features where the benefits of social media end. OVPs offer a branded, white label, video player with aggregate analytics across all properties and marketing technology integrations which give us insight into customer interactions, relationship management, and ROI. In fact, in the above video, our marketing mentors give insight and advice on achieving the greatest video reach, earning the highest SEO, driving engaged parties to your own site, and then using your owned video platform to deliver the video experiences that convert and retain those customers.
Before we dive into the benefits of blended distribution, if you wish to create a better strategy for any one of the customer journey stages, check out the following series. Each blog features an at-a-glance guide that answers the question, “Which video should I put where?”
Awareness: How to Craft a Video Awareness Campaign that Turns Heads
Engagement: How to: Content Creation and Promotion for a Video Engagement Campaign
Conversion: 8 Videos, 8 Channels. Where and How to Convert with Video
Retention: 3 Key Questions for Better Video Conversations with Customers
Advocacy: Win Brand Fans: How to Launch a Customer Advocacy Campaign with Video
Blended Distribution: Key Social Video Benefits
Social media sites and the social video contained therein, have a lot of benefits, with some of the key strengths being around the awareness, engagement, and advocacy stages of the customer journey. Be sure to interact with your prospects and customers, this is social media after all!
1. Expand reach and pull in more prospects: social video can capture your audience's attention before they’re even aware that there is a problem that needs to be solved.
2. Find and talk to communities: some social networks like YouTube and LinkedIn already have communities baked in. Building an audience or corralling followers just got a whole lot easier with online video distribution through social networks.
3. Use content recommendations to your advantage: whether you’ve made content that viewers feel passionately about, or it’s just innately shareable and interesting, you can leverage the power of social video recommendations. In many cases, these shares act as an endorsement of your product or service and offer valuable social proof across social networks.
4. Build anticipation: have a new product release coming up or attending an event? Create a set of video teasers to excite your audience.
5. Generate credibility: in the same way that a presence in social media became a standard in the business community a few years ago, video is becoming the trendiest way to communicate. Social feeds full of visual content like images, infographics, gifs, and videos take your thought leadership even further.
6. Assess video content resonance: perhaps a majority of your audience may not have gotten past consuming 66% of your video, but their feedback on Facebook may be overwhelmingly positive. Or a few viewers will tell you why they couldn’t bear to watch another second. Social sites are the perfect place to a/b test content, garnering an immediate reaction from audiences, in words, not metrics. Rework the content and then put it out there again once you receive this feedback.
7. Interact with partners: good business practices teach us, partners are important. Customers of one company may be the perfect fit for another. Utilize Facebook branding guidelines to specifically mention some of your partners by name, strengthening the numbers of the audience for both brands. You can also create co-sponsored video content on YouTube or host a Twitter chat together. It’s social media, get social.
8. Respond to customers and advocates on a personal level: social video gives you the opportunity to delight and surprise your brand advocates (or redirect any frustration) by posting a personal video response.
Blended Distribution: Key OVP Benefits for Video Marketing
An online video player allows you to take the vital next steps in engaging prospects by bringing them to your site for a branded experience. This should include video, blogs, pdfs and other branded content for your audiences to be educated (these hubs can be for customers as well). As they engage and have their questions answered, prospects will choose to convert on forms, building on the relationship and allowing a discourse through nurture campaigns and personalized video follow-ups from sales. OVPs are critical for the conversion and retention stages as well as sales and marketing alignment.
9. Drive SEO growth for your site: YouTube isn’t the only way to get your videos discovered. Through video SEO best practices and the use of schema, you can still get your video to rank in search results. Better yet, this work you’re putting into your SEO is on a space you own, your own website, not a (rented) social property. An online video distribution strategy should never neglect opportunities for engagement within your own website.
10. Maintain brand messaging and limit distractions: no “suggested content” here!
Keep all video content specific to your messaging. As much as you try to customize your Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages, there are limits to each platform. You still want to use video to generate leads and accelerate lead velocity. Video can do this but only in a place where you can promote whitepapers, add lead forms, or create shoppable video- typically, your site.
11. Convey your brand visually: businesses work hard to convey the values of their brand through logos and color choices. Your website conveys this, but your social media properties do not, and free video players are often branded to promote the video service, not your business. Use a player you can customize to fit your brand on your homepage, product pages, blog and landing pages.
12. Avoid interrupting your audience, instead build them an experience: users on social media can be passive. But chances are, if someone has come to your site to watch video content, they’re interested in what you have to say. You can supplement your distribution strategy by adding more written content, suggested articles, a playlist, or even add interactive elements like polls and quizzes to the online video currently living on your site.
13. Restrict access and permissions: with most social media networks, if you give someone access to the account, they have full unlimited access. Nevermind that they’re a member of the creative team tasked with uploading just a video. Campaign managers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their social accounts aren’t vulnerable to well-meant snafus.
14. Connect to the B2B crowd: if you’re hoping to court B2B decision makers over social media, remember this- some offices (and countries) block social video sites. And of those that don’t? Well often times prospects don’t want others in the office to see them on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, even if it is for work.
15. Gain deeper insights and create more robust conversations: A premium online video platform allows you to track viewership at the individual viewer level and analyze how much of the video they watched and what they did afterwards. We’re going beyond likes and shares here. When you integrate with a marketing automation platform (MAP) like Marketo and Oracle Eloqua, viewer analytics tie to lead scoring. Now you can identify when viewers convert to leads and more effectively track video ROI and campaign outcomes.
Social channels are valuable destinations in a multi-channel video marketing strategy, reaching audiences where they work and play. Marketers can utilize Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in a variety of methods, charting the customer journey and providing touchpoints with video throughout all three, while interspersing on-site content in the customer journey. A video distribution strategy shouldn’t be divisive but blended, creating a supremely better experience for prospects and customers. OVPs make up for the shortcomings of social video with branded video experiences and actionable insights, whereas social video sites expand a brand’s base and reach. All this means more video marketing ROI.
Want to get in on the action? With the upcoming release of Brightcove Social, you’ll be able to optimize, distribute and analyze online video across owned and social properties all from within a single platform. If you’re interested in learning more about Brightcove Social, contact an online video consultant!