Let me start by saying you shouldn’t even think about posting a video on social media unless it’s a good one!
The days when B2B companies got a free pass and were able to choose dullness over creativity are long gone. Intel, for one, got that memo, as you can see from its campaign ‘If cables were people’.
Intel has cottoned on to the fact that the name of the game for B2B video is the same as it is for B2C video – make the viewers feel something. In this case, it aims to raise a smile. But it could just as easily be to make them cry or even scream at the screen, so long as it creates a gut response in those watching.
Video’s ability to generate emotion is the reason it works so well on social media. In fact, video on social media generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined (Adelie Studios). So, it’s no surprises that in 2016, 62% of B2B marketers rated video an effective content marketing tactic (Content Marketing Institute).
Which begs the question: with so many social media platforms to choose from, which ones are best for you to post your B2B video on?
Video And The Buyer’s Journey
To answer that question, we need to take a step back and think about why you made your video. In other words, where does the video fit in the buyer’s journey for your business’s goods or services?
That journey starts when a potential buyer becomes aware of what you offer. A video at the awareness stage needs to grab people’s attention about what you sell or do. It should create an emotional connection with the viewer in the way the Intel video does. The more a video gets people talking, and sharing on social media, the more people it is going to reach.
One B2B company that does this brilliantly is Adobe. It’s Secret Agent: How’s Your Customer Experience? video promoting Adobe Marketing Cloud is one of a series aimed squarely at making potential customers aware of its product. There’s no explanation at all about what the product does or how it works.
Other types of videos along the buyer’s journey include:
- Product or services videos that show how your products or services work. Buyers will watch these when they have moved beyond the awareness stage and are actively considering whether to buy from you.
- Culture videos. These show your business’s culture, with the aim of transforming you from a faceless corporation to one that has a human side. I love this example from Schneider Electric, Llama Superstar, which has bags of personality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfrPFc5mK3o
- Testimonial videos that act like old-fashioned word-of-mouth endorsements.
Which Social Media Channel Should You Choose?
Where your video fits on the buyer’s journey will help inform your decision about which social media platforms you can use for your videos. You also need to consider how the platform functions and its audience. In most cases you will want to take an omni-channel approach with your video marketing and place different content on different platforms. Let’s look at each social media channel in turn.
Video on Facebook generates around 32 billion views per day. If each video were watched for only three seconds, Facebook would generate over 3,000 years’ worth of watch time every single day.
With staggering statistics like this, you may think that posting your video on Facebook is a no brainer. And it’s true, if you are looking to raise awareness, Facebook can be an excellent platform. It’s easy to ‘like’ video on Facebook and the more likes your video gets the higher it will appear on people’s timelines. It is also very personal so you can engage with people directly.
It has downsides, though, one of which is due to the way Facebook works. You are only relevant for so long as you appear on people’s timelines. Once you drop off you are nowhere to be seen. Also, because Facebook content is within a ‘walled garden’ it is all but invisible to search engines. Plus, you can’t embed calls to action in Facebook videos in the way you can on YouTube (see below).
Videos that work best on Facebook are snappy lifestyle pieces, news items and funny meme-type videos. Anything too corporate will get ignored, so your video needs to be authentic and preferably either shocking or amusing. Remember video published natively to Facebook will out-perform embedded video content so if you decide to use Facebook to reach your audience you will see better results by publishing that video content directly to Facebook itself.
One billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every single day. Content on YouTube tends to have a broader range than it does on Facebook and includes videos that inform and educate as well as those that entertain.
As a result, people search for videos on YouTube – something you can’t do on Facebook. And, as YouTube is owned by Google, videos hosted on the platform rank higher in search results than ones hosted elsewhere. Also, YouTube allows you to annotate your videos and add ‘Cards’ – clickable hotspots – that link to other videos on your channel or back to your website.
YouTube gives you the potential to reach a vast audience and because of its versatility works well for all sorts of videos: awareness, culture, testimonial, etc.
On the flip side, your video can easily get lost in such an enormous sea. Plus, if you post a video both on your website and YouTube, people searching online are likely to be sucked away from your site and onto YouTube. Once there, it may be hard for them to stay focused on your video and they might be distracted down a YouTube rabbit hole. We’ve all done it!
Instagram has more than 500 million active monthly users who on average share 95 million photos and videos per day. These are several million reasons why you should consider Instagram, but there are drawbacks.
The platform only allows videos of up to 60 seconds, although its Stories feature allows you to post a series of videos that will play like a slideshow. These disappear at the end of the day though, so there is no permanence as there is with YouTube.
Bear in mind Instagram’s demographic when considering it for your B2B videos. Unlike Facebook and YouTube, which span the generations, Instagram’s audience tends to be younger. I would say it has uses for awareness videos so long as they are short and breezy but doesn’t work so well for other types of video content on the buyer’s journey.
Like Instagram, Snapchat’s is mainly aimed at a younger demographic, with 18 to 24 year-olds making up 45% of its audience.
Two weakness of Snapchat stand out for the B2B market. First, it has no hashtag feature so it can be hard for new people to find you. Second, the content only lasts for 24 hours and once it’s gone, it’s vanished for good. It can be a good platform for edgier original content that raises awareness of your business but beyond that its use for B2B videos is limited.
Twitter claims that a tweet with video is six times more likely to be retweeted than one with photos. That means it should be an excellent platform for raising awareness. However, one downside of Twitter is that you don’t know who your tweet (and video) is going to reach (beyond your own followers) as its journey is at the whim of the audience. Like Facebook, the ‘feed’ nature of Twitter means that any tweet you post has a limited lifespan.
Twitter lends itself to sharp, original content and whilst it is good for awareness video, it really comes into it’s own when tied together with events. The best use cases for for video on Twitter comes in the form of reportage content. We’re live from this or that event.
LinkedIn only jumped onto the video bandwagon this summer when it allowed users to upload video for the first time. This should be of great interest to B2B marketers given that 80% of leads sourced through social media for B2B marketers come from LinkedIn.
It’s too early to say how effective video will prove to be on the platform but I think the fact that the audience is so clearly defined makes LinkedIn a ‘must-use’ for B2B videos. Videos can last up to 10 minutes though LinkedIn recommends videos of between 30 seconds and five minutes.
Drawbacks of LinkedIn are the fact that although it has more than 500 million members, only 23% use the platform on a monthly basis and when they do they average just two minutes a day on the site. I for one will be watching how video fares on LinkedIn with interest.
As with all your B2B marketing the starting point is to make great content. I encourage all my clients to have at least one video for each stage along the buyer’s journey and place these strategically on the social media channel that suits it best depending on the nature of the content and the target audience.