If you’re looking for an unforgettable video campaign, look no further than Lowe’s #lowesfixinsix Vine videos. Not only did the series boost the brand’s visibility on Vine, but it earned the company a ton of media coverage—and undoubtedly translated into extra revenue.

Social video marketing isn’t just a trend or one-off effort. Today more and more companies are starting to integrate these short length videos into their social media marketing strategies on a regular basis. Video marketing is no longer synonymous with just YouTube. With the success of platforms like Vine and Snapchat, and social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Google+ allowing you to upload videos directly, the possibilities are endless.

What Is Social Video Marketing

The focus word here is “social.” What differentiates social video marketing from traditional video marketing is that it takes places within social media sites. It’s not just about uploading a video to YouTube and embedding it on your site. It’s about using the actual social platform as the venue to spread your videos.

The other important thing to note is that these videos are usually very short—whether it’s a six-second Vine, a 15-second stop-motion Instagram video or a two-minute video on Facebook. Right now you might be concerned that this brevity hurts more than it helps. It’s a challenge to get your point across in a matter of seconds. But the fact of the matter is that your audience on social media actually prefers short videos.

video length statistics

With a shorter video clip there’s a much higher chance of people watching it in its entirety. This preference for short videos is influenced by a few different factors:

  • Our attention spans have decreased (from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8.5 seconds in 2015)
  • We’re always on the go, so time is limited
  • Shorter content is easier to digest

Here’s another interesting fact: People are starting to look beyond YouTube for video content. YouTube is still the king of video right now, but a recent survey from Mixpo showed that marketers are starting to shift their efforts to other platforms, most notably Facebook.

how advertising agencies use social video marketing

One of the reasons we’re seeing advertising agencies and marketers focus more on other sites for videos is because YouTube is very competitive. With over 1 billion users, trying to get your videos to stand out is becoming increasingly difficult.

Here’s a quick video of Gary Vaynerchuk explaining the basic philosophy of how social media sites eventually phase out. And he says it’s exactly what’s going on right now with YouTube.

The solution? Be the one of the first companies to attack the move toward social video marketing with sites other than YouTube.

Creative Social Video Marketing Examples

As seen in the Lowe’s example above, short videos force you to get creative. Anyone can put together a 10 minute video on how to make a peanut butter cheesecake, but try squeezing that into a 15-second Instagram video:

Not only is it fun to watch but it’s short enough for people to watch the entire thing, and it includes all the information you’d need to know to make it. There are plenty of other great examples of companies and people getting really creative with short videos on social media. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Demonstrate How to Do Something

This is by far one of the easiest ways to get started with social video marketing. Both of the examples we’ve highlighted so far are instructional videos. Showing your audience how to tackle a problem they’re having does two things:

  1. Helps them solve their problem
  2. Positions you as an expert/authority

Bacardi UK used Vine to create a six-second cocktail. In order to spread the word, the brand tweeted it out so the Vine clip would also show up in followers’ Twitter streams.

2. Promote a New Product

One of the most commonly repeated social media marketing tips is not to be overly-promotional. But if you’re able to do it in a way that’s not completely disruptive (i.e. tweeting “buy our new product” 10 times a day) and you’re creative, then it can be really effective.

Instead of just tweeting links about their QX camera, Sony Electronics took to Vine to put a fun twist on the Inception movie. A witty caption and a pop culture reference goes a long way on social media.

3. Crowdsource Content

Crowdsourcing content is a popular technique for content marketers. Instead of creating all of your own original content, why not reach out to your customers and fans to have them join in? Crowdsourcing content lets you:

  1. Get your audience involved by highlighting them
  2. Get your content shared naturally with the potential to go viral

One of the best examples of a company using social video marketing combined with crowdsourcing content is General Electric’s Science Lessons campaign. The concept: GE asked fans “How much science can you fit into six seconds?” Apparently a lot. The campaign landed GE:

4. Take Us Behind the Scenes

Have you ever thought about showing your followers and customers how the sausage gets made? Short video clips are a great way to give a quick behind-the-scenes look of your company or special event. In a world where people really want to feel some type of connection to the brands they buy from, transparency is key. You can’t get much more transparent than giving people a look behind closed doors.

That’s exactly what Burberry did. Luxury brands are pretty well known for their exclusivity and being inaccessible to everyone. For one of its fashion events, Burberry decided to take down the walls and give everyone a look at what the experience was like from the brand’s perspective using an Instagram video. Currently it has almost 20,000 shares, and we’re still talking about it today!

A video posted by Burberry (@burberry) on

5. Tell a Story

Storytelling is one of the most essential parts of building a brand. Your story tells people what you’re about and what you represent. Having an “About Us” page on your site is a great start, but why stop there? You can create a short video that visually represents what your company stands for.

Lululemon used Instagram to help create a visual representation of its brand and backstory. And the company did it without making it a blatant advertisement. The short clip shows its core product, which is yoga apparel, and infuses the playful side the brand is known for.

A video posted by lululemon (@lululemon) on

Now that your creative juices are flowing, the next step is to figure out how you make something similar.

Tools for Creating Videos for Social Media

The great thing about social video marketing is that you don’t have to have a gigantic budget to make your content. You’ll notice that most of the examples given above are made with just a camera (some of them with just a camera phone) and a dash of creativity. Here’s an awesome guide on how to make high quality videos on a budget.

The tools you’ll need will depend on the type of video you want to make (animated or live action).

For live action videos, some of the tools you’ll need are:

  • A camera: No need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a fancy DSLR camera. Most iPhones (5+) have very good video quality. And other smartphones have made video recording a priority too. Give your phone’s camera a try before buying an expensive alternative. Just make sure it shoots in HD.
  • Lighting: In some cases, great lighting can make the difference between a professional looking video and something that looks like it was shot with a flip phone from 2005. You can put together a DIY lighting kit for about $20.
  • A microphone: If you plan on doing something that needs voice recording, then you’ll want a decent microphone. The beauty of these shorter videos though is that you don’t have to speak in them. You can let your actions do all the talking.
  • Video editor: You’ll want to edit your videos to cut the time down. You can use something as simple as Windows Movie Maker or any of these free tools. And of course, platforms like Vine let you make your video right from the app.

If you want to get a little fancy and make an animated video, then here are some easy-to-use tools, even if you aren’t a professional animator. Or you could invest in Adobe Premiere if videos are going to be a big part of your social media marketing.

How to Promote Your Social Videos

It’d be great if all you had to do was create a video and it will get shared. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Just like with any other type of content you’re pushing through social media, you need to promote it in order for people to discover it.

The first step is knowing which social media site is the right one for your videos. A lot of this is going to depend on the length of your video because Vine and Instagram both have very similar demographics, and Instagram has more users than Vine (150 million vs. 40 million). Instagram also doesn’t have the six-second time restraint that Vine has.

The upside for Vine though is that it’s exclusively for video. With Instagram, users go through images and videos. So when people are on Vine, they’re there because they want to see videos, which is definitely something to consider. Also, a lot more creative types of video tend to get shared on Vine than Instagram. So if you have a really clever and creative clip that you want to get noticed, Vine could be the right choice.

If you want to make a longer video (30+ seconds), then you might want to consider using Facebook, assuming you have a good following on there.

Whichever platform you choose, here are some tips to get more eyes on your videos.

Vine Marketing Tips

The most important thing to keep in mind for Vine is that you have a limited amount of time to get your point across. Being successful with Vine starts and ends with making a clear, concise video. K.I.S.S.

Here’s what successful brands are doing on Vine:

  • Humanize: Don’t be afraid to show off your company’s fun and quirky side. People love it.
  • Brand it: The only thing wrong with that Lowe’s video mentioned in the beginning is that it doesn’t mention the brand at all in the video.
  • Hashtags: Hashtags are searchable and easy to share.
  • Cross promote: Post your Vine link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and your other social media channels.

Instagram Video Marketing Tips

Instagram has the advantage of being able to upload videos up to 15 seconds in length, which gives you a little more wiggle room to play with. Make sure you’re taking full advantage.

  • How-to: How-to and instructional videos are perfect for Instagram videos.
  • Say hello: Some of the top Instagram users aren’t huge, faceless corporations—they’re personalities. Put a face to your brand, and put that face in your Instagram videos.
  • Competitions & giveaways: Harness the power of hashtags to create and track competitions and giveaways on Instagram. Believe it or not, people love free stuff. Who knew??
  • Network: One of the best ways to build your following is to connect with people who already have a following on Instagram. Getting a shout-out from someone with a large following can immediately boost your recognition.

Facebook Video Marketing Tips

As you saw in the graph earlier, Facebook videos are quickly starting to gain traction on YouTube videos in terms of where companies are placing their focus. Here’s what you should be doing to stand out:

  • Educate: Showing your audience how to do something has been a really great tactic for companies like Social Media Examiner, who’s weekly educational videos get thousands of views.
  • Inspire: People love to share inspirational videos with their friends on Facebook. If your company is doing something positive, make a short video and post it on Facebook.
  • Keep it short: Even though your videos can be longer than they are on Instagram video or Vine, that doesn’t mean they should. Keep it within a couple of minutes for the highest engagement.
  • Boost it: Facebook’s algorithm has changed a lot over the years. If you can afford to spend a little money to boost a video post, it’ll get you a lot more reach.

Those are the “big three” sites. But even if you’re using Twitter, Tumblr or Snapchat, a lot of the same techniques apply.

Tracking Your Social Video Marketing Campaigns

You’re putting in a lot of work to make your videos, so you’ll probably want to make sure your efforts aren’t going to waste. There are a few different metrics you should keep track of:

  • Viewership: How many loops are your Vines getting? How many likes and shares are your Instagram videos getting? Knowing this will help you gauge how receptive your audience is of the videos you’re putting out. Use the data to determine what works and what doesn’t.
  • Profile growth: If you’re putting out a lot of great content that people like, your followers will naturally start to increase because people will want to see what you put up next.
  • Traffic: You can’t post clickable URL’s in Vine and Instagram posts. But you do have a profile link in Instagram. You can also get creative by having shortlinks for specific campaigns and incorporating them in your videos. Then, just track the traffic of that specific shortlink.
  • Brand mentions: Tools like Sprout Social let you see what people are saying about your brand on different social networks. Add a hashtag for your videos, and track the mentions of it over time.

For platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it’ll be a lot easier to get more accurate data on your campaigns. On Vine and Instagram, you can get a good picture of the impact your social videos are having by tracking the metrics above.

Social Video Marketing Isn’t the Future, It’s the Present

Now is the time to get started with social video marketing. Video has been on an upward trend for a while now, and it’s not slowing down. Break out your smartphone or camera, get some ideas together and start creating videos to connect with your audience on social media in a new and exciting way.

Are you using social video marketing for your company? Let us know how it worked out in the comments.