Getting social with your video

I beheld firsthand the joy and whimsy of my first WistiaFest this week and I think I’ve found Tech Forum’s nerdy, conference soulmate. Before I get down to the nitty gritty, check out these awesome intro videos they made for their conference speakers!

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Though there were dozens of useful takeaways on everything from email marketing to creating animations for your videos, Phil Nottingham’s talk on building a social video strategy was particularly interesting, especially if your marketing includes video of any kind.

Here are a few points of note, and you can see his full presentation on SlideShare here.

Adopting a platform-first approach:

Don’t just make a video—whether it’s for product awareness or an uber-specific tutorial—and then plaster it everywhere. Instead, identify the platform that’s best suited to your target audience, and design your video content appropriately. (For example, Facebook videos should be immediately compelling without sound in the first few seconds, since they autoplay in the newsfeed.) And try to incorporate interactive elements, like YouTube annotations, into your concept from the very beginning. Wherever you choose to host your video, consider that the “canonical” version and use your other social channels to link back to it. This will make it easier to track how viewers are engaging with it.

Contextually broad vs. contextually specific videos:

It can be hard to pinpoint which platforms you should use to host your video content. Phil’s suggestion is to share contextually broad content (i.e., videos that don’t require prior knowledge about your product or industry to understand) on wider, more social sites like YouTube and Facebook, whereas contextually specific content (i.e., videos that only make sense to a segment of people familiar with your area of focus) can be hosted on sites like Wistia, and then embedded on your website. Keeping content on your website is also best if your goal is conversion, rather than general product awareness, as conversion rates are better for Wistia-hosted videos than those on YouTube.

Tracking success:

People can rely too heavily on number of plays when evaluating the success of a video. Phil’s alternate suggestion is slightly more comprehensive: engaged action rate = (shares + visits + comments + subscriptions) / views. Especially when you consider that viewers can click play and then drop off after a few seconds, this measurement makes a lot more sense than a simple tally of total views.

We’ll definitely be keeping these points in mind when creating future video content. In the meantime, I’m going to work on getting through my Fenway Park hotdog withdrawal…