How to use social video in your marketing strategy

Social media trends are constantly changing and it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to keep up. Video-based advertising is now becoming one of the front-runners of content-strategy, reaching the millennial demographic most effectively due to its less-obvious sales-driven approach. As we become savvier to obvious sales pitches whilst scrolling through our newsfeeds, something that comes across as ‘lifestyle’ marketing, or a conversation between you and a brand can feel more authentic and encourage you to engage. If you do it well, you’ll see higher levels of engagement from your audience.

In just 1 month, more video content is uploaded to the web than TV has produced in 30 years. And if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, Facebook and Snapchat are surpassing 8 billion views a day, whilst YouTube’s 1 billion+ users are watching millions of hours of content daily. So, it seems obvious to say that if your brand isn’t using social video to its advantage, you’re missing a trick.

But is social video really worth the hype?

I’ll just leave the facts here…

  • Companies that utilise video marketing see 49% faster annual revenue growth for those that don’t
  • 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI
  • 82% of Twitter users watch content on the platform
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined

Shocked cat gif

So how should you incorporate social video into your marketing strategy?

Decide on content and audience

First of all, work out what your primary goal is. Is it to educate? Build brand awareness? Act as a lead gen? Then ask yourself where your audience is – if it’s Facebook, should you create a pre-recorded video that can be shared, or should you post a Facebook Live to create ‘conversation’ with your audience? What about adding captions to the video for those who watch sneakily at work without sound?

Setting out these objectives before diving straight to the ‘upload’ button can help you make an informed decision on what kind of video to create.

Optimise for the platform

Social video is simply video content that can be shared across social media platforms. However, just because a video works well on Facebook, this doesn’t mean it’s going to do the same on say, Instagram, where the time limit is capped at 15 seconds. A large organisation with the budget to match can create refined videos that can be uploaded to YouTube or Facebook. For those with a smaller budget, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat will allow you to connect with your audience quicker and at less of a cost.

If your target audience is more present on a certain platform, leverage your content there. If you know your audience spend most of their time on Instagram, don’t post predominately to Facebook.

Short is sweet

Attention spans and platform restrictions. Should I say any more? Keep your videos short and snappy – Twitter is capped at 30 seconds, Instagram, 15 and Snapchat, 10. If your audience isn’t engaged within the first 30 seconds, they’re less likely to hang around and engage.

Think of those annoying YouTube ads that play before the video you’re waiting to watch – they’re only about 10 seconds long but you can’t wait for the magic ‘skip’ button to appear to take you to what you really want to see. We live busy lives, watching content on our mobile devices whilst on the move, so quick, snack-sized content is key to getting your video seen.

How-to videos

How-to videos are a great way to add value to your brand and are one of the most popular search queries on YouTube. Who’s headed straight to a YouTube tutorial to find out how to assemble flat-pack furniture rather than working out the instructions for themselves?!

These videos give you the chance to showcase your product and demonstrate how it works first-hand. There is such a huge expectation from your consumers to be shown an explanation of your product or service – it’s reported that 25% of consumers will lose interest in your brand if you don’t have this kind of content readily available before they decide to purchase.

Fitness guru Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach has taken Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat by storm with his step-by-step videos on how to create delicious, healthy meals and exercises you can do at home. With 1.9 million Instagram followers, this acts as the perfect platform to give his fans a taste of what can they find and purchase when they head to his website, including a range of books and tailor-made exercise plans. As well as this, he includes a call to action – to tag a friend who might like this recipe – increasing both engagement and getting his video seen by more people.

Showcase your skills

Similar to how-to videos, showcasing your organisation’s skills accompanied by a call to action brings interest to both your skill and the service you provide.

The Happy Ever Crafter showcases her enviable calligraphy skills, leaving you thinking ‘I want to learn how to do that’, which works to advertise her services, calligraphy workshops and leverage content on her other social media platforms.

Reveal a new product and showcase an event

Got a new product or service launching? Tease your audience with fun sneak peaks or ‘coming soon’ snippets. Giving a reveal date exclusively to your audience will build buzz around your brand and feed their curiosity. Everyone loves being the first to know.


Penguin used Facebook and YouTube to reveal the cover of Dan Brown’s new novel and tease the plot of the story. The call to action drives traffic to the Penguin website. From here,  there is a form to sign up to Dan Brown’s newsletter with links to buy his other novels.

Is there a popular, cultural or industry event coming up in the calendar? Be primed and ready to go with content that ties in with it and that people are going to want to share.

A sneaky peek behind the scenes

Give your audience a taste of what your company is really about – be it a tour of your office, team activities or footage from an event – it’s fun to find out more about you as a company, rather than just what you sell. Engaging your audience in short, video content that’s giving them a look into what they ‘shouldn’t’ be seeing will make them feel engaged with you on a more personal level.

Call to action

The most important part of social video marketing – make sure you’re giving your audience an action to carry out, whether it’s ‘buy now’, ‘download’ or ‘contact us’. This could be in the form of a button, part of the messaging copy or a segment at the end of the video telling the viewer what they should do next. You could also incorporate this into a pop-up, reminding the viewer to subscribe, like, share or comment.

Call to action

So which platform is best for me?

You could, if you really wanted to, publish video content across all social media platforms. However, the more targeted you are with your audience, what type of video you’ve produced and where the video will fit in the customer journey, the more successful it will be. There is always at least one social media platform that will suit the needs of your business and in most cases, you can share your content across different platforms, albeit in slightly different ways.

So, next time you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, take note of the video content brands are sharing and see what sparks your interest and what doesn’t.

Ready to implement your video marketing strategy and want some help? Sign up to the next in our SL/CED seminar series, Video Marketing SL/CED.

Or just need some general social media advice? Get in touch to find out how we can help.

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