The Do’s And Don’ts Of Video Marketing

Video is a powerful tool in any marketer’s toolbox. A well-executed and strategically-promoted video may quickly appear in news feeds, across an array of social media platforms, and screens around the world.

Video offers an immeasurable opportunity for every brand. Why? 

Videos are easy to view. Mobile networks are increasingly robust, reducing or eliminating load times. Video also lends itself to our attention economy. A video may inspire less resistance than a block of dry text, because it’s better able to masquerade as entertainment. 

Ideally, video should be genuinely entertaining – this is key. If a video provides real value, it is more likely to earn social shares.

Marton Varo, CEO, Brandefy, sat down with me near his company’s Santa Monica offices to go through the “do’s” and “don’ts” of video marketing.

DON’T: Shamelessly promote

“Don’t just go on there and make a video about how great you are, and your product is,” Varo said. “You’ve got to show and tell. Convince me that what you’re saying is not only accurate, but provides value to my life. And then maybe do a soft sell or a soft promotion towards the end of the video.”

DO: Have a clear-cut strategy from the outset

“Know what you need to do, before you do anything,” Varo said. This means identifying the target audience and considering the viewer’s journey. 

“Who are you trying to produce content for, and what is it that you’re going to produce?” Varo continued. “And then, how are you going to get it out there? How are you going to know if it’s working or not? You can’t just start putting stuff out there and hope it works. ’Cause it doesn’t.” 

Varo believes that the mantra “know your audience” is sometimes understated or glossed over. It ought to inspire a careful, and deliberate, thought process about the ideal viewer’s wants and needs.

“Are people out to be entertained? Are they out to learn something? Are they out to do research on something they want to buy?” Varo said. “These are sort of the points that you really need to understand and figure out before you start producing anything. Who are you catering to? Because you can’t hit everybody at once. You’ve got to go narrow and deep.”

DON’T: Neglect the analytics

“I’d be willing to bet that a good percentage of people don’t really know that there’s analytics on their videos, or they’ve at least never seen them,” Varo said.

Analytics can allow video marketers to see where viewers stop watching. By identifying this falloff point, marketers can adapt messaging in follow-up videos and annotations. This strategically beneficial data is sometimes underused. 

DO: Include a call-to-action in your videos

Varo suggests ending with a takeaway that leads viewers to further engage with the business, even if it’s something as simple as “subscribe to our channel” or “share this with your friends.”

DON’T: Have an inconsistent look

Varo argues that a series of videos could benefit from branding consistency. By applying the same fonts, colors, and logo, video marketers can make the content look cohesive, and branded. Random stylistic choices may represent a missed opportunity. 

DO: Make your videos mobile-friendly

Last year, Zenith, a media agency, found that mobile devices will account for 72 percent of all online video viewing by 2019. Video marketers should bear this in mind when creating content. Large and legible fonts are essential on tiny screens. 

DON’T: Restrict your content to one platform

“Don’t just put all your eggs in the YouTube basket. I feel like that’s an important one,” Varo said. “You’re going to have to repurpose your videos the proper way to make multiple videos from ‘X’ amount of content that you have.”

If brands want to optimize results on each platform, marketers need to invest in creative variations of raw video footage. 

“Don’t assume that all platforms are created equal,” Varo said. “You can’t just make one version of one video, post it to YouTube, post it to Facebook, post it to Instagram – and that’s it. You’ve got to understand the psychology of each one of those platforms: why people go on there, and what they expect to see.”

DO: Make your video clear and succinct

“There’s no golden rule but, typically speaking, two or three minutes is all that somebody is going to sit through for most brands and most videos, and I think that’s backed up by just average statistical analysis from the data,” Varo said.

DON’T: Have unrealistic expectations 

“Don’t bank on one video blowing up your brand or being the silver bullet to a massive sales increase, or whatever it is that you’re trying to use that video for. I mean, yes – it’s great to have one video that you really put a lot of thought and energy and time into creating,” Varo said.

Sometimes businesses dismiss the value of video marketing after failing to capture an audience immediately with one video. In such instances, Varo recommends pursuing a long-term strategy.

“Did you ever follow it up? Did you have supplementary videos? How did you release it? What was your distribution strategy?” Varo said. They [brands] don’t have an answer to any of that because people tend to think that ‘oh yeah we made a video.’ Like it’s just going to start bringing in business.”

Video content is a direct reflection and representation of a brand. Video offers an opportunity to appeal directly to a target market and establish brand voice. Businesses can strike the right balance by investing and strategizing carefully, without becoming paralyzed by perfectionism.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” Varo said. 

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