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By Shannon K. Murphy

Senior Content Manager at Brightcove

Best Practices in Social Video: Using Twitter for Business


In 2008, people were oversharing on Facebook. Yet a small “micro-blogging” platform, Twitter, was slowly starting to gain momentum. Limited to 140 characters, oversharing could now happen at a more rapid pace. You’re eating a grilled cheese right now? That’s nice. Wow, when I first discovered Twitter, I hated it.

Eventually, I came to understand that well-fleshed out social media profiles were part of being a superior marketer-- we could make the conversations better! So I grabbed the unbelievably long @shannonkmurphy and got to work.

Flash forward to 2016 and love it or hate it, you’re on Twitter too. If you’re a marketer, you use Twitter to read industry news, monitor competitors, and respond to customers. Yet, we struggle to craft, amplify, and track our messages. Beyond building a community, social network publishing updates can throw us for a loop. Remember when photos were released for tweets? Now, social video is the next big thing- it gains more traction in newsfeeds and your audiences love it. 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter. This popularity is hardly surprising when we consider it is short, visually-oriented communication. Let’s explore more how to better use social video Twitter to communicate the values of your brand.

Why Twitter Social Video Matters

Each social media network has its strengths. For marketers, Twitter and LinkedIn feel more professional than other social media forums, which is particularly important if you’re a B2B marketer. In fact, 65.8% of US companies with 100+ employees use Twitter for marketing. Linkedin Pulse has been a favorite of content marketers for quite some time, with embeddable video components, but in-feed video is just starting to be tested on LinkedIn, so we’ll turn our attention on Twitter for now.

Twitter wants to be a source of information that matters with live breaking news via trending hashtags and a “while you were out” section feeding you updates from the brands you interact with most. You can capitalize on these hyper-personalized algorithms by using a social video strategy that embraces both organic and paid strategies for building audiences and increasing engagement.

On Twitter, brands aren’t there to just push their messages, they’re also there to listen. Twitter is a great support vehicle. 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to. These types of interactions are expected at 140 characters. Twitter is a network that thrives on brevity and real-time. Craft social video messages that speak to these consumption habits.

Social video on Twitter Engagement Infographic
Source: Sprout Social

How to Tell Better Stories with Twitter Social Video

Social video is the best way to educate and inform potential prospects, succinctly, but you need to know your audience. Twitter skews slightly more male, and the audience is relatively young, in the 18-to-29 age range followed closely by 30-to-49. The older population isn’t on Twitter, with only 13% of internet users in the 50-64 range using Twitter. This population shrinks to 6% for those in the 65+ age range. Comparatively, Facebook is more for families and this is where the older demographic interacts more often.

Other demographics to note? The Twitter audience is more educated and residing in slightly more urban environments. So depending on the type of video content you’re posting to Twitter, this information could give you an advantage.

So what kind of content should you be creating? As always, the way you use video can differ, based on your goals. Commercials or brand stories that promote and educate can do well here, as Twitter is very well suited to awareness and engagement. Don’t forget, Twitter operates on the recency paradox, so newsjacking and live tweeting are options to explore.

More on that later.

What Kind of Video Content to Create for Twitter

At the engagement stage, we want to converse and create a two-way dialogue. Social videos like an explainer video, tip series, or how-to video are the perfect types of content. This type of video content extends goodwill and builds rapport. To answer this, consider creating product or service-specific content like demonstrations, Q&A sessions, customer testimonials and filming customer reviews. Video at this stage should highlight your solution but should also allow your viewer to share in the excitement, relief or satisfaction felt after purchasing.

Social video on Twitter hits on the grey area between engagement and conversion. They might choose to engage with more of your content or experience it on your site. The experience you create will differ as a result.

In a “soft conversion”, you want to get them to the site, to a branded experience you can control and then supplement your video content with accompanying content that keeps them entertained. To do this, we can go back to an old standard of placing static images with play buttons like we do in emails, soliciting a click.

Lastly, Twitter is a great channel to listen and connect with customers. But you need to ask yourself, what kind of content will keep making them choose you over others?

So even if you’re just getting started with video, I would urge you to dedicate some resources to a retention campaign. Enhance their experience and make it super easy for them to use your product or solution. To do this, videos should center on related products-- potentially how to use these products together, a tips series, or exciting company news, like a feature or product launch.

How to Optimize Social Video on Twitter

How to Optimize Twitter Video

Upload Native Video

We discussed in our post Best Practices in Social Video: How to Use Facebook Video for Business, Facebook favors native video, as does Twitter. But let’s put some numbers to that-- native video on Twitter drives more engagement with 2.5x more replies, 2.8x more retweets, 1.9x more favorites than third-party players.

Another benefit to native videos on Twitter? Some native videos will autoplay in your search results on Twitter! I recently searched for a flight provider and a video they created for customers, showcasing in-flight amenities, was playing at the top of the results page, before I even clicked into the branded page.

The way in which we find results on Twitter has become more and more dynamic and demonstrates it with video that has a high correlation to my terms displaying first in my search results.

Grab Attention and Keep It: Optimize for Facebook Autoplay

Like Facebook, native videos autoplay on Twitter and you need to have an interesting video lead-in. Optimize your video lead-in. Waste no time. Be interesting whether sound is on or off.

Twitter expanded the allowed length of videos from 30 seconds to 140 seconds, approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Professional publishers, however, can utilize up to 10 minutes. But it’s highly unlikely in a feed swimming with content that a user is going to stay on your video for 10 minutes.  Know that on Twitter, 80% of users will watch a full video if it's 30 seconds or less.

Utilize Copy Appropriately

Words that act as cues for content aid in attention, retention and ability to consume with no sound. Consider text within your video. These words and phrases can move dynamically and create visual interest. Also, optimize the copy surrounding your video as some viewers disable autoplay in their feeds, and so you need to solicit a click. Draw interest and set the stage for what videos are about to be consumed.

Embrace Conversation, Create a Community through Unique Hashtags

Utilize the unique attributes of Twitter. If you’re using social video on Twitter, host twitter chats, or public conversations. Individual tweets are linked through a hashtag and publicly searchable. The Content Marketing Institute’s weekly chats are some of my favorites. Here, the use of visual content helps your interactions stand out. This could easily be replaced by a video.

Twitter Timeline with Native Video

Remember, using mentions (@username) when posting a video are going to help get you attention from influencers. When responding within a chat, create a quick social video and keep the conversation going in an intimate and personal way. Not many businesses are doing this, so take advantage now.                                                                   Ready to start speaking to your audiences through social video on Twitter? Video works because it is naturally persuasive. Social video overcomes objections or a hesitancy to interact with the brand when paired with a specific cadence of communication. Twitter’s rapid-fire, short-form communications are curated by audiences who gravitate toward the brands that speak to them, craving real-time interactions.

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