From the rev­o­lu­tion­ary Tasty videos to the recent roll-out of Insta­gram TV, video as a social media mar­ket­ing tac­tic has become, “the new black.” The mad rush of busi­ness­es incor­po­rat­ing videos into their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing strate­gies may have you in a pan­ic, but before you dump a ton of dol­lars into video pro­duc­tion, first take a step back. It’s best to approach social video mar­ket­ing with a cool and col­lect­ed men­tal­i­ty. Dive into these tips to deter­mine how you can incor­po­rate video into your dig­i­tal strat­e­gy.

1. Know your audience

Know­ing your audi­ence is a key piece in any mar­ket­ing plan. Estab­lish­ing your tar­get audi­ence ear­ly on will help you deter­mine what type of con­tent to plan and post lat­er. Whether you’re imple­ment­ing video or still imagery, make sure it’s rel­e­vant to your tar­get audi­ence and true to your brand. Stick to use­ful, engag­ing con­tent, that doesn’t stray from your brand’s look and feel. Con­sis­ten­cy is key.

Make sure your visu­als com­pli­ment post copy. For exam­ple, if you are pro­mot­ing a blog post about tech­nol­o­gy trends, a cat pic­ture prob­a­bly isn’t the best idea. When the post copy and visu­al ele­ment are relat­ed, it ensures suc­cess and avoids con­fu­sion in the long-run.

If you decide to use video to pro­mote a blog post, or explain a prod­uct, try to not give every­thing away at first glance. The point of cre­at­ing a video or using a cap­ti­vat­ing image is to encour­age peo­ple to click through to your web­site or land­ing page. If you tell the view­er every­thing they need to know in one sit­ting, the chances of hold­ing their atten­tion after the video ends are slim-to-none. Images and videos can be the first point of con­tact with your poten­tial new cus­tomer. Keep them com­ing back for more!

2. Images should still have a place in your heart—and on your feed

The heavy focus on video these days almost makes still images seem like the MySpace of con­tent— out­dat­ed and obso­lete. Know that not every­thing on your feed needs to be video. Still images play an impor­tant role when it comes to visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion. In order to cre­ate a bal­anced strat­e­gy, it is impor­tant to rec­og­nize that some con­tent lends itself to video, while oth­er con­tent is more entic­ing with the use of an enhanced image. Infor­ma­tion­al videos are a great way to pro­mote new prod­ucts, fea­tures, or ser­vices by high­light­ing val­ue points in a con­cise and enter­tain­ing way. How­ev­er, using an image to pro­mote an upcom­ing event or pro­gram can be just as suc­cess­ful.

Post sub­ject mat­ter and top­ics that cre­ate audi­ence engage­ment, but avoid over­whelm­ing them with too much of one type of con­tent, or worse—boring them by not post­ing enough. As you dive into the world of dig­i­tal video mar­ket­ing, keep a well-round­ed approach to your strat­e­gy. Too many videos may cause your audi­ence to lose inter­est. Keep them on their feet by adding in vari­a­tion, and don’t be afraid to mix it up!

3. Test, test again, and keep testing

The rise of social video mar­ket­ing has encour­aged many busi­ness­es to incor­po­rate videos into their social strat­e­gy, but how do you know if it’s right for you?

The answer? Track­ing and test­ing.

A/B test­ing con­tent on social plat­forms is an ongo­ing process in any mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive. Before putting a big bud­get towards video pro­duc­tion, take it slow.

Here are a few A/B test­ing sug­ges­tions to get you start­ed:

  • Intro­duce sim­ple videos rang­ing from 15–60 sec­onds, each with dif­fer­ent mes­sag­ing.
  • Test closed cap­tioned videos ver­sus videos with sound nar­ra­tion.
  • Test videos with music and sound effects ver­sus those with­out.
  • Test infor­ma­tion­al videos ver­sus fun videos.

Track all of your efforts. A/B test­ing will pro­vide you with more data and knowl­edge on what your social media audi­ence likes and dis­likes. Knowl­edge is pow­er! Use your find­ings to give your audi­ence what they’re look­ing for, on whichev­er plat­form you’re test­ing. Remem­ber, you can nev­er be too thor­ough when it comes to test­ing dif­fer­ent types of con­tent. Some­thing that worked for anoth­er busi­ness, may not work for yours—and that’s ok. Try new things; yes, some ideas will flop, but oth­ers will fly! Make sure you learn from all of your results and apply your new knowl­edge to future ini­tia­tives.

4. Utilize platform insights and reporting

Mon­i­tor and report the suc­cess of each video. Notice how your audi­ence reacts, and whether or not the video cre­at­ed con­ver­sa­tions or engage­ment online. Did more peo­ple engage with your post than nor­mal? Were engage­ment rates high­er on cer­tain plat­forms and low­er on oth­ers? Did you gain any new fol­low­ers?

Ask­ing these ques­tions will help as you build out your con­tent cal­en­dar, and ulti­mate­ly, cre­ate a robust social media mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. Defin­ing and mon­i­tor­ing a vari­ety of key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) will deter­mine what types of con­tent to con­tin­ue mak­ing and post­ing to your social chan­nels. There are many KPIs to mon­i­tor but start with track­ing fol­low­er growth, link clicks and engage­ment met­rics.

Video is a pow­er­ful tool in the world of social media mar­ket­ing. How­ev­er, take pre­cau­tions when adding social video mar­ket­ing into your holis­tic dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. Be smart and strate­gic; get your feet wet with A/B test­ing and take the time need­ed to learn the likes/dislikes of your tar­get audi­ence. Last but not least, remem­ber that images are still impor­tant to sprin­kle into your over­all strat­e­gy. Have fun with it, and take risks! Hap­py video­ing!