Social Enterprise

Rolling video into social media

Online video is poised to take social media to new levels of engagement and is reported to increase landing page effectiveness while lowering bounce rates.

There is no shortage of social media advice suggesting you should make video a part of your social media efforts. According to multiple sources, online video is increasingly popular and being viewed for longer periods by more people each year. For example, reported the time people spent viewing video increased from 10 minutes a day to 24 minutes a day between 2010 and 2012.

Google's YouTube platform is watched closely as an indicator of where online video has been, and where it might be headed. According to Google, people watch more than 6 billion hours of video on YouTube each month, and 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. It might surprise you to learn that 70% of YouTube's traffic originates outside the United States. 

In its announcement on May 1, 2013 that the video sharing service hit one billion monthly visitors, YouTube released this anthem-driven video to celebrate the community that has grown up around the platform.

It naturally follows that all the interest in video also spawns interest in how to use it for advancing brands, advertising, making connections with potential customers and clients, and ultimately for expanding social media reach. For three years in a row, YouTube has topped the list of social media networks where marketers are increasing their efforts, according to Social Media Examiner's annual social media marketing report (PDF).

Mobile connections

With the proliferation of so many mobile devices fueling new and easy ways to create and share video, much of it through social media platforms, it's easy to see why some view mobile as the final catalyst to launching a deluge of video and video watching. YouTube reports that mobile views account for 25% of the global watch time on that platform, and according to Unlocking the Power of Multimedia Content, a new ebook from PR Newswire, people used mobile devices to watch 10% of all online video during Q1 2013.

The YouTube presence

As the dominant video platform, YouTube is a likely starting point for enterprises and brands looking to expand their presences in video. According to Sendible's Social Media Comparison 2013, YouTube is good for customer communication, brand exposure, and SEO, and is "okay" for generating traffic to a website. That places it on par with Google+ in all categories compared by Sendible, and equally as effective in brand exposure as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. YouTube is also just as effective for customer communication as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, and is superior to Google+ and LinkedIn for bringing traffic to your site, although not as good at that as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The video 10 Things You Didn't Know About YouTube tells about its history and milestones.

This video is about social media and provides statistics with a variety of musical scores in the background. Beginning at 1:39, it focuses on video in general and includes statistics such as: 58% of video viewers share video; video on your landing page makes it 53% more likely to show up on page one of search results; and websites with video hold people 88% longer.

PR Newswire's ebook encourages video as part of a social media plan for at least a couple of reasons. It adds sophistication (provided it's done right), and it opens up your messages to websites that heavily use video.

Video's mounting attractions

Others point to video as providing new ways of communicating information, such as biographical information. Linda Fanaras, president of millennium integrated marketing, suggests making corporate bios into videos to "bridge the offline-online marketing gap and enable prospects to place a face with a name." She also writes that video bios can showcase the abilities and personalities of key people and those who work directly with clients. Others point to video's power in educating clients, boosting brand messages, and lowering customer service costs.

While there can be many advantages to incorporating video into your social media efforts, there can be pitfalls. And, there is always the possibility that your message will get lost in a sea of sameness, or an ocean of irrelevancy.

In my next social media article, I will cover video planning and provide tips on putting it all together.


Duane Craig reports and writes on technology, construction, finance, food, and agriculture. He's been published in trade print magazines, the Washington Post, and widely on the web.

Editor's Picks