Social Video Tips: Considering Time-of-Day, Picking Your Battles & Avoiding “TV for the Internet”
Earlier this month Publishing Executive hosted a very popular webinar on social video strategies and best practices called, How To Use Social Video To Drive Audience Growth & Monetization. The social video experts shared their insights on the latest trends they’re seeing in social video content and the common characteristics and formats of videos that engage social audiences best.
Our speakers couldn’t get to the many questions attendees asked during the live webcast, so we asked them to answer a few follow-up questions.
Following are responses from Jareen Imam, head of social media at CBS News and Garrett Goodman, VP of business development in EMEA at Wochit.
View the full webinar here.
Jareen Imam mentioned that CBS News doesn’t focus on different videos for different platforms. This seems counter to what many consider a best practice for social strategy. Can you explain the strategy behind this?
Imam: Due to limited resources, we found that it is better to be strategic about which stories we choose to produce into social videos than to try to make different videos for different platforms. We choose video ideas that are most likely to perform across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We do re-cut videos for specific platforms when we need to. For example, we may publish a two-minute social video on Facebook and then re-cut it to a minute in order to post it on Instagram.
Is CBS News using social video to drive newsletter subscriptions or email acquisition of any sort?
Imam: We have started to use some sort of animation, gif, or small video clip at the top of newsletters in order to promote engagement and dwell time for some of our newsletters. This change has definitely contributed to increased engagement and time spent.
Goodman: Social video is about growing reach and engaging with your audience where they are. It can help drive subscriptions by raising brand awareness and staying “front of mind” with audiences. That said, social videos that are basically teasers usually don’t drive very good click-throughs in our experience. Best practice is to create a video that can stand on its own, that is shareable in its own merit. These highly shared videos boost the reach of the subsequent links you share to your site.
Do you find that the time of day a video is posted on social channels makes a difference?
Imam: Yes, absolutely. If the social video is not related to breaking news, then we like to save certain videos and post them in the evening because we found that we have higher video views later in the day -- possibly because people are at home and have more time to consume content. We found that human interest videos tend to do best between the hours of 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm for us. We also found that social videos related to crime generally perform best for us between the hours of 9:00 pm to midnight.
What are common mistakes publishers make when starting out with social videos?
Goodman: A common mistake we see made by media companies is trying to create “TV for the internet.” That standard format of a journalist in front of a camera talking about news is expensive, time consuming, and it usually falls flat on social. Another mistake is publishing at the wrong time. It’s important to be aware of when your audience is most active on social. One of our publishing partners used to get most of their engagement around midnight, when audiences were leaving bars or settling in for a Facebook session before sleep. It’s a counter-intuitive strategy but paid off big time for them.
How can I minimize the effort for social videos but get unique videos for my users that don’t look like everyone else's?
Goodman: Make sure to identify a couple formats that really speak to your brand voice. Think of them as recipes that you can repeat for specific stories. It will help you to be more efficient when producing, and it will give you something distinct that audiences start to recognize. And make sure your brand guidelines are set so every video reinforces your style and identity.
How can a publisher determine the best channels for social video if they don’t have the resources to be “everywhere?” What should I be asking myself when looking at the different options to reach the most in-market consumers?
Goodman: Think editorially about where your audiences are most present, and also maybe what is least saturated by your competitors. It could be something obscure like BBM, or something obvious like Instagram. Whichever platform you chose, make sure you understand the rules of engagement, and what users expectations are while they’re there. For example, Instagram users are there for beautiful imagery, so craft your stories accordingly.
What do you think of LinkedIn’s new native video feature in terms of opportunity for B2B publishers?
Goodman: NewsWhip just published a great article on this: LinkedIn video: How is it different, and what can you use it for?
Denis Wilson is editor-in-chief of Book Business and Publishing Executive. In this role, he analyzes and reports on the fundamental changes affecting the publishing industry and aims to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.