How to Use Video on Different Online Channels

  • 9 min. reading time
  • 31 march 2017

In recent years video has become increasingly popular. For some time there was really no alternative to YouTube, but nowadays there are a number of different channels and ways for using online video. How to use online video differs per channel. For example, a video showing an elaborate explanation of one thing or another is not very suitable for a social media channel like Instagram, while an informal ‘behind the scenes’ video probably wouldn’t get much reach on LinkedIn. In order to get the most out of your video strategy, it’s important to understand the difference between these channels. That’s why in this blog we’ll be illustrating how video can be used for different online channels, using a number of examples.

Video on YouTube

Over ten years ago, YouTube introduced online video as a marketing tool. Where it used to be people only saw video commercials on tv or at the cinema, now also YouTube had become a platform through which brands and companies tried to reach their target audience with appealing movies. With this, YouTube paved the way for other channels to share video as well. Nowadays YouTube, being owned by Google, is the world’s largest search engine. The channel is widely used as a kind of depository for all types of videos: corporate videos, product promotions, vlogs, feature films, interviews, and much more.

Pro’s and con’s to video on YouTube
A big advantage of online video on YouTube is that it significantly increases the online findability of your brand or organization. Besides just your website, Google also indexes the videos you share on YouTube, which can organically result in multiple positions on Google’s first results page. This means YouTube has the potential to generate a very wide reach. Another advantage of YouTube is that it’s a very suitable platform for longer videos. Viewers on this channel often have the intention to watch longer videos, provided that the videos meet their wishes. A disadvantage of YouTube is that your videos are often shown next to competitors’ and other parties’ videos. This makes it difficult to bind the viewer to your channel.

How to Effectively Use Video on YouTube
• Use long tail content
Create videos that will still be interesting or relevant after a couple of months.
• Organize your videos
Create different playlists to create distinction between your content. This way YouTube will know which videos go together.
• Make sure your video is rollable
With a rollable video you’ll deliver the most important part of message right at the start of the video. This allows you to draw and longer retain your viewer’s attention
• Make your video more appealing by using a captivating thumbnail
Make sure a potential viewer clicks on your video by using a captivating thumbnail
• Create a trailer for your channel
By creating a trailer for your channel, viewers will know exactly what kind of videos to expect from you.

A good example of an organization taking full advantage of YouTube’s capabilities is NOSop3. Their YouTube channel is filled with all kinds of long tail content and is organized based on different playlists. With the playlists a distinction is made between different types of content. Each playlist, i.e. type of content, has its own thumbnail, partially showing what the video is about.

NOSop3’s YouTube Channel

Video on Facebook

In recent years Facebook has joined the online video major league. With the arrival of Facebook Video, it became easier to generate a wide reach with videos on Facebook. For example, Facebook Video has an autoplay feature, which automatically starts playing the video as soon a user sees it on their timeline. In addition, the Newsfeed Algorithm gives priority to posts containing a video. And when a live video is recorded, your page’s followers will even receive a notification.

Pro’s and con’s to video on Facebook
Videos on Facebook are especially good for your position on people’s’ timelines. This means you’ll reach more followers with a video post than with a photo or a post containing a link. In addition, Facebook Video can be very effective when you want create more engagement with your posts: video posts are shared more than any other type of post. A downside to video on Facebook is that nowadays users’ timelines are cluttered with content, so users scroll through their timeline very quickly. Also, users often have certain demands or preferences when it comes to watching a video, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture and keep someone’s attention.

How to Effectively Use Video on Facebook
• Deliver your message within the first couple of seconds
On Facebook people tend to quickly scroll through their timeline, and don’t want to stop and take the time to watch a long video. So try to deliver your message as quick as possible and perhaps link to a blog or article on your website that provides more in depth information.
• Make use of additional options
Add subtitles to ensure that your message is delivered even without sound. Besides, Facebook’s autoplay is often toggled off, so make sure you use an appealing thumbnail that will convince someone to watch your video.

‘Tasty’ is a great example of using appealing thumbnails

A good example of how to utilize video on Facebook is ‘Tasty’. The widely known food account posts short videos of easy-to-prepare meals on a daily basis. By keeping the videos short and the dishes simple, Tasty responds to the viewer’s need for being able to quickly prepare tasty food. In the comments below the video Tasty posts a link to their website, where a detailed recipe is made available. The videos are very shareable, generate a tremendous reach, and trigger a lot of engagement in the form of comments. The perfect food-pics they use for their videos’ thumbnails persuade many people to watch their videos.

Video on Instagram

Since Instagram was taken over Facebook, the available options for video on this channel have increased significantly. Where it used to only be possible to share video of up to 15 seconds, now we’re able to post videos of up to 60 seconds. That’s four times as long! And Instagram Stories makes video on Instagram even more interesting. This feature, which is comparable to Stories on Snapchat, gives you the possibility to share the things your organization or brand experience. It’s even possible to do this live.

Pro’s and con’s to video on Instagram
People on Instagram are looking for fun, distraction, and captivating content. You can respond to these demands by posting relevant videos, which could lead to more engagement. In addition, Instagram is the perfect channel to highlight your brand’s or organization’s creative and personal side. A downside to video on Instagram is that it can be tricky to get your message across. Instagram is a channel where people quickly scroll through the content, without giving much thought to what they see. If the beginning of your video is convincing you might get a like, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the video’s message was delivered. A downside to live video on Instagram is that you’re not able see or share the video afterwards. So if someone missed your livestream, they won’t have the chance to watch it at a later time.

How to Effectively Use Video on Instagram
• Make sure to use compelling and captivating visual content
Instagram users want to see appealing, engaging or funny visual content that relates to relevant or interesting subject matter.
• Activate the viewer within the first couple of seconds
Sound isn’t always toggled on with videos on Instagram. Try to appeal to the viewer within the first couple of seconds, so they’ll be triggered to turn on the sound. Or create a video that delivers the message even without sound.
• Use Instagram Stories
With Instagram Stories we’re now able to share content with our target audience on an even more personal level. When just one image isn’t enough to tell your story, you can use the Stories feature. Keep in mind that the content you post on Stories disappears after 24 hours, so keep it relevant and up-to-date. A good example of a brand successfully using Instagram is the American cookie brand Oreo. Through short videos, they highlight the fun and creative side of the beloved cookie.

Creatieve videos from Oreo on Instagram.

Video on Snapchat

Online video on Snapchat is very different from video on channels like YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. Snapchat is a real time platform, on which current, personal and spontaneous content is posted. Promotional and scripted content doesn’t really work on the platform yet.

Pro’s and con’s to video on Snapchat
What makes Snapchat a unique video channel is that it’s a reflection of everyday life, which allows you to communicate with your target audience on a very personal level. It’s why Snapchat is an interesting channel to display your brand’s personality: it allows you to build a relationship with your followers, or to activate a target audience. A downside to Snapchat is that people have to follow your account in order to be able to view your content. In addition, it doesn’t really provide insightful information on your post’s impact. It’s hard to tell whether people actually viewed your video to the end, or how they liked it.

How to Effectively Use Video on Snapchat
• Know what you want to say
Because a ‘snap’ can’t be longer than 10 seconds you’ll almost always need more than one snap to tell your story. Make sure you know what you want to say, and divide it up in 10-second ‘scenes’. This way you’ll get an idea of how many snaps you’ll have to use to deliver your message. Make sure your videos aren’t too scripted, it doesn’t fit the channel. Keep it spontaneous.
• Keep it short
People on Snapchat generally expect simple and snackable content. If your Story is too long, for example longer than 300 seconds, people will be more likely to lose interest.

Contrary to popular believe, video on Snapchat can be a useful tool for B2B. For example, we like looking at snaps from marketing website HubSpot. HubSpot’s Snapchat account is managed by a number of the company’s employees, and it allows you to take a look at what’s going on behind the curtain of a marketing agency. Among other things, they do previews with influential people, and live reports on events.


HubSpot reporting an event on Snapchat

Video on LinkedIn

Video on LinkedIn is a little less complicated than with other online channels. For example, videos are often too large to be shared directly on LinkedIn, so in most cases you’ll have to link to YouTube. Still, LinkedIn can be a great platform to reach your target audience through video.

Pro’s and con’s to video on LinkedIn
By using video on LinkedIn you can present yourself as a professional within your field, and thus make your organization more appealing. Additionally, if you look at LinkedIn as a kind of search engine used by your network, by using video you’ll get the search engine’s attention. And through your network, you can increase the reach of your video. A downside to LinkedIn is that it’s not possible to post video on the platform itself. You’ll have to link to YouTube or Vimeo. Because of this, the video won’t be very ‘easy accessible’, which might make people less inclined to watch it.

How to Effectively Use Video on LinkedIn
• Use informative, rich, and relevant content
LinkedIn is a professional platform that’s not very well suited for promotional videos. LinkedIn is best suited for rich, relevant and useful content. Recruitment videos and testimonials from partners or customers do well too.
• Use catchy titles, descriptions, and thumbnails
Because a video posted on your company’s profile page doesn’t really grab the attention, it’s important to use catchy titles, descriptions, and thumbnails to convince a user to view the video via YouTube.

A prime example of an organization that knows how to utilize video on LinkedIn is Rabobank. The Dutch bank uses their Dutch LinkedIn account to supply their target audience with information on important financial subject matters, and encourage them to start a discussion. When looking at the bank’s video content on LinkedIn compared to that on Facebook, it’s clear they understand the different requirements for the two platforms very well. By researching the needs of their followers on each individual channel carefully, Rabobank knows what type of content works best for which channel.

Use Your Strategy and Story as Your Starting Point

Creating different videos for different channels can prove to be a challenging task. Therefore, first consider what it is you want to achieve with your video, and what the story is you want to tell. Use the strategy or the goal of the video as your starting point when selecting the proper channels. Remember that it’s important to have people watch the video until the very end. A video might have a tremendous reach, but if people don’t watch the entire video, or if it doesn’t properly deliver the call-to-action, all that reach doesn’t mean very much. If you plan to use video on a regular basis, put down some guidelines that can help you create powerful and interesting content.

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