The Drum catches up with a selection of industry experts to ask their views on some of the big issues affecting the social media sector, such as video and data.
What do you think is the importance of video in the social media sector?
Jan Rezab, CEO, Socialbakers
YouTube is second biggest search engine on planet, and Facebook the biggest social media platform so being shared on these channels increases exposure massively. Video can also be resource effective in terms of solving a complex problem visually. It’s an opportunity to give customers answers in a concise constructive and graphic way. Especially if you have a large amount of customer service queries all relating to the same problem.
Freddie Young, community director, 1000heads
Countless studies tell us that, when it comes to consuming information online, people prefer watching videos to reading text. For this reason alone, video can be a fantastic way for brands to communicate. As platforms like Vine, Cinemagram, Viddy, Socialcam and Keek make it quick and easy to create video, there is an obvious opportunity for brands to use this medium more – but if it’s not done with a strong strategy in place, it’s just more brand noise.
David Cushman, strategy partner at The Social Partners
It's increasingly important because we are becoming an increasingly visual society. Watch kids search Google and they go image first, video second... words as a last resort. My fear is that praying at the altar of video can lead us into a TV-envy approach - trying to make perfect little moments of TV entertainment with the expectation that highest quality wins. And that could cloud judgement about the power of relevance in peer-to-peer environments.
Video that is just video is essentially hoping to use people as its broadcast mechanism. Take more advantage of what online enables, allow people to put something of themselves into the outputs, and there's the chance you'll make something more shareable than a TV ad because it'll be more valuable to the people you'd like to pass it on.
Paul Shepherd, CEO, Coup Media
Video as a content marketing mechanic will continue to increase in importance because it translates so perfectly to mobile screens (better than say... an image, copy or infographic). But video will only work for you if it's useful, funny, extraordinary or otherwise emotionally engaging. If you know your objectives, know your audience and deliver video content that resonates then video can be super effective especially as mobile screens become the normal way to consume content. If you can't do that then video becomes a more time consuming and expensive way to fail.
Steve Richards, MD, Yomego
Social, done well, tends to burn through a lot of content quickly. Video is a cornerstone of most social content plans but it can be time-consuming and expensive to produce and optimise. Video will continue to play an important, central role but, it can’t sustain engagement in the long term without a large commitment.
Dominic Sparkes, CEO and co-founder, Tempero
One area in which video is becoming increasingly important is product demos and customer service. The logic is clear - demonstrating the value of a product visually and using high quality tutorials are both powerful selling tools and reusable customer service assets. Consumer electronics are an obvious category but any market that benefits from a visual representation can integrate video. Even better are those organisations that encourage user generated video within their sales and service environments. For example, a 500,000 subscriber camera review channel is arguably more influential than a campaign of bland ads and documentation.
Leif Johnson, digital producer, Essence
Video used socially comes in different forms from direct response and Facebook connected video to interactive and bite-sized video like Vine. The biggest contributor is still YouTube with 4 billion hours of video watched per month.
We know that social media is unique because we can create a personal connection; this is the secret behind successful video campaigns. Social media platforms contribute to most video views with content that elicits a strong physiological response is the key to sharing success.
Jim Dowling, managing partner, Cake
It will become increasingly important as 4G rolls out across the UK. The early life of 4G with EE has shown that what people are enjoying the most is the ability to watch video out on the move. With mobile consumption of social networks on the rise, and a brilliant network, people will be able to access product demonstrations and reviews whilst studying a produce on a shop shelf.
In the consumer electronic space, people in the real world don't care for phrases like 'seamless user experience,' or 'convergence of technologies.' If someone shares a video with you, that shows your mobile phone firing your camera shutter and uploading it on Facebook – then that's going to help you when you go shopping in Dixon's at the weekend.
Jim Coleman, MD, We Are Social
Visual content is now much more important in Facebook posts because of the way that the Facebook algorithm has changed. Images are now ranked higher, with Facebook prioritising visual content over text. While we will have previously mixed content schedules fairly equally between text and video, the latter is now a much heavier focus. It also helps that recent developments, like Vine, are making video more accessible to social.
This shift is why brands are becoming more focused on content marketing and considering whether a publishing model is an appropriate approach. The magazine-style format that’s becoming popular in visual-led industries is a reflection of this move.
Martin Jordan, marketing director, Equator
I see video as an extension of the Instagram/Pinterest generation; it’s a natural next step as social media content becomes increasingly visual. The introduction of Twitter Vine (which just this weekend amassed more than 100,000 uploads) and increased interactivity of YouTube proves there is a demand for socially integrated and easily accessible video content. As a result brands will have to work to deliver a more visual – not to mention attractive - way to deliver their message to keep up.
Ben Hatton, managing director, Rippleffect
Content is key for social media and video is great content. However, video is not going to be right for every brand. There is no “type” of content that is more valuable than any other; it is the quality of what is being said and its use to a customer or fan that is the measure of success. A bad video is weaker than a strong straightforward 140 character tweet. Video is a great way to get across messages in a short amount of time and if you are a visual brand or product you have the opportunity to create fantastic content.
This piece is part of The Drum's social supplement, published in partnership with Yomego. The supplement is available for purchase or for subscribers to download.