Why social video isn’t just for B2C

Solomon Radley08/11/2018

It’s not just B2C brands that stand to benefit from the surging popularity of social video. Here’s how any B2B organisation can add video into its social media strategy.

Some in B2B think their brands aren’t ‘exciting’ enough to publish the kinds of attention‐grabbing video that do well on social media.

After all, it’s one thing for consumer brands like GoPro or Nike to publish adrenaline‐fueled clips of athletes and extreme sports. But, how are you supposed to pull off the same feat when you’re selling accounting software or logistics solutions?

Well, if you sometimes have thoughts like that: think again. Because, there are some video types that virtually any B2B organisation can use to promote their content. Businesses like SAP, LinkedIn and MailChimp are already using them to create great content that racks up thousands of views on social media – and yours can, too.

As you’re about to see, there are many effective ways to build these videos into your content campaigns. All you need is the right approach to content strategy, creation and distribution.

As a marketer or business owner, you’re missing a huge opportunity to reach your customers if you’re not incorporating videos into your content strategy
Aaron Clossey, Vimeo

With video set to make up 82 per cent of all web traffic by 2021, the case for incorporating the medium into your content strategy now is clear. Almost half of B2B buyers watch more than 30 minutes of video content while researching a brand. And 70 per cent of B2B marketers say it’s the most effective medium for driving conversions.

But when it comes to reaping the benefits of video on social media, many B2B brands run into trouble.

The issue is, most of the videos in a typical B2B marketer’s arsenal aren’t designed for social media. People don’t visit Facebook to watch product demos or tune into old webinar recordings. They do it to interact with their friends and share content that inspires them.

That’s why more and more B2B brands are starting to invest in bespoke video content with a specific social platform and audience in mind – like this clip from LinkedIn:

Videos like this can be great for activating content campaigns on social media. It draws viewers in with the kind of bitesize, aspirational content they expect while scrolling through Twitter. Then, it provides a link they can click on to see the full story on LinkedIn’s business site.

Creating videos that do this well doesn’t have to break the bank. But, you do need to be strategic in your approach to ensure that the end result delivers real value for your business.

How to use social video in your campaigns

The human brain processes visual images 60,000 times faster than text on a page, making video an ideal way to capture someone’s attention as they scroll through their social media newsfeeds.

Social videos are most commonly used to funnel viewers towards a larger piece of content, such as a blog post or white paper. The World Economic Forum’s short video montages are a great example of videos that have been created solely for use on social media.

Videos like these are ideal for condensing a larger content piece into a bitesize clip tailored specifically to pique your audience’s interest – and you can achieve similar results yourself using programs like Wave.

The advent of livestreaming technologies provided marketers with a second way to create bespoke videos to engage audiences on social media. With the right person behind the camera, livestreaming can also be a powerful tool for creating ‘on the fly’ content around breaking news or extending the reach of in‐person marketing events.

Enterprise software provider SAP uses live videos to great effect at its annual conferences, broadcasting interviews with industry influencers live to tens of thousands of social media viewers each year.

When a Facebook livestream ends, the content is automatically uploaded to your brand’s page for playback – making it possible to create engaging, long‐form B2B video around your marketing activities.

More importantly, these videos generate almost twice as much engagement as pre‐recorded content on social media.

Of course, it goes without saying that creating either of these video types for the sake of it is a bad idea. But in the context of a broader marketing initiative, they can both be powerful promotional tools.

When designing a new campaign, consider how you might use video to support your flagship content pieces or events. Look for ways to either break down existing content into enticing smaller chunks or use it as the basis for a related piece of video content.

Remember that you’ll need to create something that’s immediately attention‐grabbing and shareable.

A recipe for engaging social video content

As the Harvard Business Review reports, emotional impact plays a key role in determining how viewers respond to videos on social media.

The most shared content provokes emotions that make people feel in control of their own destiny, like inspiration or admiration. Meanwhile, people are more likely to comment on content pieces which combine “high arousal” emotions like anger or happiness with emotions where people feel less in control, such as fear.

These findings aren’t just interesting for B2C marketers. They prove that a social video can only be as good as the original content it’s based on.

As B2B marketers, we must strive to tell stories people can engage with on a human level. That means producing content that provides your customers with useful insights, shares opinions from industry experts or simply pulls on your audience’s heart strings.

When it comes to repurposing existing content to create social media videos, pick out an emotionally charged angle to use as your hook. What business challenges will this content help your viewers overcome? Is there a fact or statistic that might surprise them? Are there any controversial or attention‐grabbing quotes you can highlight?

At the same time, it’s important to think about the needs of your audience and tailor the length of your content accordingly.

For example, a 10‐minute Q&A interview may look perfectly at home on your YouTube channel. But, you may see better results if you break it up into bitesize clips for Facebook or Twitter.

You might even decide not to include any quotes at all, like Mailchimp did for this case study video:

While there’s no hard‐and‐fast rule about how long videos should be on different social media platforms, 75 per cent of marketing videos published so far this year are less than two minutes long.

If you’re creating content for the top of the marketing funnel, it may make sense to stick to this convention. However, you could equally decide that certain videos deserve more time to explore a topic in depth – especially if they will sit further along the customer journey.

From a technical perspective, it’s important to optimise your videos for your chosen social media channels. Make sure they have great titles, give them eye‐catching thumbnail images and be sure to upload them separately to each platform’s native media player.

Given how much social media content is now viewed on mobile devices, it also makes sense to ensure your videos have subtitles to give them the best chances of catching someone’s attention. As much as 85 per cent of Facebook’s 8 billion daily video views happen without sound.

Once you’ve created a great social video and optimised it for your chosen platforms, the final step is to get it in front of the right eyeballs.

Reaching the right audience with social video

Before you create a single piece of content for any marketing campaign, you need to understand exactly who you’re trying to reach and how they like to consume their content.

Promoting your videos through the social platforms your target audience uses the most is a great start. But, few brands can expect to reach a broad social media audience organically these days.

Only a fraction of your followers will see the content you post organically on social media, and most of the people you’re trying to reach probably don’t follow your company’s pages anyway. So, it’s so important to build paid promotion into your company’s social media strategy.

If you aren’t paying to promote your social videos to your audience, you’re probably wasting your investment

Modern targeting techniques make it easy to ensure your promoted posts are seen by the right audience. LinkedIn lets you target people based on their job title, industry, company size and more. Meanwhile, you can use Facebook and Twitter to target fans of other pages with audiences that closely match your ideal prospects.

As marketing guru Neil Patel notes, promoting even a portion of your company’s posts can have a huge impact on a page’s overall performance.

“What Facebook’s doing is they’re looking at how much engagement you’re getting,” he says. “You should boost your posts, ideally your best ones, because it ensures that all of your fans are seeing them.”

Promoting videos for lead generation will require a larger budget than ones designed to extend the reach of your content campaigns. But either way, it’s a waste if you put time and resources into creating great social videos and then fail to promote them properly.

So, carve out a portion of your budget for promoting your social videos and use it to get them in front of the right eyeballs. It doesn’t cost much to boost your posts on social media, and it could give them the push they need to gain momentum and start delivering ROI.

Once a few people begin to engage with your videos, they can spread rapidly. Not every single one will resonate with your target audience. But, those that do will be shared far and wide.

Some of the world’s most recognisable B2B brands are already using these videos to extend the reach of their campaigns – and yours can, too. Social video isn’t just for B2C marketers anymore.

Simply use the steps we’ve outlined here to create and publish engaging videos that integrate seamlessly with your marketing strategy.

Key takeaways

  • B2B marketers can create great social videos. Repurpose larger content pieces or create live content to extend the reach of your marketing activities.
  • Go to where your customers are. Your audience’s content consumption habits will determine which platforms you target and the types of video you should make.
  • Give your videos a paid media push. This will ensure that your whole audience sees your posts and could be the boost your videos need to gather momentum.