On why you can’t afford to not create video…

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With all of the compelling stats behind the need for video today, brands should be sprinting to get in the game, yet many are still mostly on the sidelines. I would say that the number one reason I hear as to why, is that they “can’t afford it right now” and will revisit it later. In my opinion this is a big mistake and I would strongly argue that they cannot afford not to spend on video. Let me explain.

If they are already committed to social media, trying to grow their own e-commerce platform (to earn better margins, have a direct dialogue with consumers rather than a 3rd party partner such as Amazon etc.) and really any type of online messaging, and they actually care about results and ROI, then video has to be a part of the mix.  It offers increased exposure, cheaper CPM’s and higher engagement. So if you are in digital marketing and looking to optimize your game, then you cant leave your 7 iron in the bag.  It is literally your number one tool to improve performance and get more for your dollar.

I think one of the fears with video is that it is just cost prohibitive. Historically this has been true as the market pricing has been high and for the most part is still out of whack. So if and when a brand actually takes the leap to create a brand video and shells out a lot of money, they say to themselves or their provider that the video “has to go viral”. They say that because they need massive reach and game changing results to rationalize the high price tag. You don’t need video to “go viral” (what does that really even mean anyway?) you need it to help augment your social content and storytelling and improve your website experience, email marketing and paid social efforts. With video, the performance in all of these categories skyrockets. You immediately compromise your results by not finding a way to “afford” video.

Now the problem is that most pure play video shops don’t really want to create micro content videos for social media, as they see it as the underbelly of the video space. They want to do longer form, higher priced and more intricate pieces. I get it, those are great, profitable and more fun. That doesn’t mean that the market doesn’t still need these videos in a very big way. On the other end of the spectrum there are interns, freelancers and even young and resourceful internal employees who can create one off videos. The issue there is the messaging is typically disjointed, not pursuant to a real strategy and these players don’t typically understand what works and does not work on social/digital. You really need a partner who gets it.  (ahem…Sircle Media…ahem)

Most brands (especially in a crowded category such as the healthy CPG space) need at least 3 core videos:

Product Front and Center Video: Puts your main product(s) on display so potential customers see your packaging and/or get a feel for what your product is. We recommend you feature your hero lineup and present that on Facebook and Instagram.  This you would boost to fans of competitors perhaps.

Describe The Product Video: Puts your main USP’s on display and can highlight the WHY behind the WHAT for one or all of your products.  This would target special interest groups for your ingredients or perhaps even be used as part of your retargeting efforts to move buyers further down the funnel that have already signed up for your email, visited your website and/or even engaged with your Facebook or Instagram content.

Retailer Call Out Video: Lets consumers know where to find you (i.e. Whole Foods) and conveys that the brand is “bigger/better” as it is in many stores/doors. These can be used to target fans of that retailer AND/OR can be used as part of your dark posting strategy, set to really drive foot traffic locally into a specific retailer without muddying up your timeline.  This is a very important tool to help your sales people out in the field, who are trying to get and keep your products on shelves.

All three of these video types are simple, yet impactful for your business online. The game has changed and brands need to adapt to it.  I spoke with a prospect this week and they had a brand/hero video (they paid a lot for back in 2015) front and center on their website.  It was actually uploaded on YouTube (because that was the default back then) and was just playing through a viewer. The video is cute and actually had thousands of views, but the problem was that YouTube was actually showing ads against the video and those ads were for another CPG. So if a consumer saw that and then clicked on the ad, it would actually take them away from the brand. In that sense it actually hurt that the video had a lot of views on YouTube.

So the bottomline is that any brand or business looking to win online needs to rethink video completely. They need to solve for a way to get videos made, to create many rather than one (why put all eggs in one basket?) and to understand how and where to use them in today’s online ecosystem.  Our recommendation is to not sit back and watch others in your space do it, while you wait til you can afford it. That is something you definitely cannot afford to do.

 

 

 

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On Facebook TV…

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Facebook is making moves to get onto your TV screen and it is coming sooner than most think.  Mark Zuckerberg said back in 2014 that the platform would be mostly video within 5 years and they are moving quickly to carry through on that prediction.

This piece on CNN Tech back in February highlighted some updates on this front and shared insight from a Facebook earnings call:

“I see video as a megatrend on the same order as mobile,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and cofounder, said on an earnings call this month. “That’s why we’re going to keep putting video first across our family of apps and making it easier for people to capture and share video in new ways.”

Facebook advertising is already the most powerful and competitively priced marketing vehicle out there and this represents a potential new frontier for marketers and the social network. It is an interesting and exciting time for both parties.

In this piece on Social Media Today, Andrew Hutchinson breaks down some recent moves Facebook has been making on the “TV” front.  It is interesting to see them go after Houseparty marketshare. This is yet another example of FB listening to the success of a social media darling and fast growing platform, and then potentially taking it from them. Perhaps even more interesting is the prospect of watching The Ball Family on Facebook TV.  Whether you like them or not, original programming like this is likely to capture a lot of attention for sure.

What nobody can ignore, are the consumption trends when it comes to video and like it or not we will all be consuming content via very different channels in the coming years. For consumers this means more access to great content, in what many argue is already the golden age of programming. For marketers and storytellers it means thinking video first, as well as what formats they will be consumed on.

If you aren’t solving for how your brand or business will put out video content, including live action, motion graphics and Facebook Live, then you are already late to the party. That is something all brands should be looking to remedy….quickly!

 

 

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On video content and its current dominance in social media…

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At Sircle Media we have have been talking about the importance of video in your online content game plan for some time now and the momentum just keeps on increasing on the topic.  It really is a must have component up and down the communication funnel, from long form marketing pieces, down to short form social media communication assets.

Animoto released their The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video First World Report and the numbers were staggering when it came to proof that video is a force to be reckoned with.  The infographic offers many compelling stats that should make marketers pay attention, and we break down some key takeaways here:

  • 64% of consumers say watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision in the last month.

Facebook video is the main frontier, especially in crowded categories where you want to stand out from the clutter with your USP!

  • 81% of marketers are optimizing their social videos for mobile viewership, including 39% that are creating square and/or vertical videos.

Consumers are watching on mobile devices, so you must be thinking in that format first. Be native!

  • The report also found that social media video drives brand engagement and sales with 83% of marketers reporting they are confident Facebook video content will drive purchases

I repeat, 83% of marketers are confident that Facebook video content will drive purchases!

  • Marketers feel the most confident about reaching customers with video on Facebook and YouTube. Consumers are still viewing on these platforms, but are also starting to expand the platforms where they’re watching branded video content. The top three channels they’re watching videos from brands are Facebook, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat.

It is no longer the case that your video strategy is synonymous with YouTube.  The consumption is coming from other channels and you need to be thinking about how and where you will be distributing during the creation process.  The good news is that the consumers are there, the data clearly shows they are watching videos and then they are taking action based on those messages.

Any marketer not getting in on this action, is making a huge mistake!

 

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On Facebook Live (Part Deux)…

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Long live live video!  We talked about Facebook Live here in this blog a year ago and since then, the platform has exploded.  As Facebook continues to dominate the content scene, there is a real wave of momentum on their live video platform. The Social Network wants to be much more than families sharing pics and friends pushing memes (though both are great) and the ability for brands and personas to push out their message in a live format is killing it right now!

Facebook live (and Instagram live can be done at the same time with another phone/camera to kill two birds with one stone) is a definite recommendation for a brand looking for diverse ways to get content out to their audience and reach new people too. This piece on Mediakix breaks down some compelling stats, and we highlighted two below:

Facebook Live Videos Are Watched 3x Longer Than Videos That Aren’t Live Anymore

According to Facebook, users watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer than videos that aren’t live.

Users Comment On Facebook Live Videos At 10x The Rate Of Regular Videos

Facebook Live is a dream for engagement, driving comments at over ten times the rate of non-live videos. Again, because the focus of Facebook Live is a window into and interaction with a moment in time as it unfolds in real time, commenting is about being a part of a live conversation.

Here is a great piece on how to harness the power of FB Live and we have seen much of this work in practice for our clients over the past few months. Take our client Paula’s Choice Skincare for example.  They have a very charming and knowledgable Founder, who feels very comfortable getting in front of the camera.  Though not everyone needs to be quite as skilled and poised as her, it certainly helps their cause.

Before we go live, we announce it to the fanbase so they “tune in” to the time we will be broadcasting. This is much like a TV show (pre TIVO/DVR of course) and meant to get fans to adjust their schedules to digest some real interactive content.

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Also, after you run a FB live, you can edit the post and add a CTA to it, to get people back to your website. It is a good tactic to add a link and say something like “we’re sorry you missed us live, but if you want to hear the biggest takeaways from it, click here:” which could send users back to the website to consume a blog post about the live session. This is an excellent way to generate e-commerce sales and/or retargeting opportunities, as part of a conversion funnel.

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The (organic mind you) reach and engagement on these has been excellent.  Facebook rewards the effort with exposure in user’s feeds and wants to put this type of super relevant and useful content front and center. To top that off, we encourage brands to share and/or add something like:

“Never miss a live post again!  Make sure you LIKE us on Facebook and go to your settings and be sure to turn on notifications when we go live and “see first” to not miss any valuable posts.”  When you get people to take that action you will dramatically increase your reach and engagement on live.

Our recommendation is to not overthink it, and to just get started. Get on with an iPhone or a camera with an inexpensive tripod and just get talking. Some easy topics are: a new product announcement, new location opening, new branding explained and/or just some interactive Q&A about products or services.  Do it, and then assess and adjust as you go along. This is definitely about documenting rather that carefully crafting and creating.  Once you see momentum, you can better stage the presentation and create a more structured model.

You need to take that first step and remember that this is about hacking underpriced attention AND riding the Facebook Live video wave. FB wants to push it hard, and you should grab their fin and let them take you with them on the ride…

 

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On native Facebook video…

If you are trying to sell products or services of any kind, you need to be creating video content, posting it natively to Facebook AND putting money behind said content, to promote it on the social network. In the video above we talked about the importance of video in your online storytelling efforts, and in this post we talked about the benefits of posting it directly on Facebook.

If you are making video and you are thinking about how to best distribute and/or use it, then you should read this report to learn about the compelling stats behind Facebook video that is posted natively Vs. linked elsewhere.  The numbers are staggering and make a very strong argument to think Facebook first when creating. If you already have an inventory of videos, then you should be uploading the video file and not the link to the video on YouTube or Vimeo. Don’t compromise your results by doing the latter.

We also recommend that brands seriously consider allocating a unique budget to Instagram advertising right now, with video as the creative. We are doing this because we are seeing CPM’s that are very low, when optimizing for reach and this represents very underpriced attention on a platform where attention is the most likely given. The smart hack is to post creative content, seeking video views with an optimization for reach, because it is the best way to get the most visibility.

You earn really solid exposure, with low cost and you put some of your best content in front of targeted eyeballs. The added bonus with this tactic, is that it is a surefire way to get new followers (which everyone is looking for these days) as an ancillary benefit too. The reasoning being that with all of these new eyeballs, comes new followers once they see your content and learn your story.

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On playing the content game the right way…

The Fhitting Room, knows how to play the content game the right way. It doesn’t hurt that their Founder is a marketing maven and super savvy Entrepreneur, but they also clearly understand how to leverage the tools at their disposal in today’s digital landscape.

They came to Sircle for some help with content creation and together we crafted some videos about their incredible staff. In the crowded personal fitness space, especially in NYC, it is hard to stand out from the clutter. Besides being a one of a kind, excellent workout, they realized that their people are the foundation of what makes them special and represent a real unique selling proposition in the market.

We created a video series that highlights the stories behind these amazing humans and we used that social content natively on Facebook to draw users in. In doing so we leveraged the platform’s love for video, to hack increased organic and paid reach for targeted visibility in Manhattan. The content strategy/journey only begins there…

Once the user clicks through to consume more, they land on a FHITPRO profile page that takes you into a much deeper conversation about the trainer. You learn about their back story, a 21 question series about their personality, their Spotify playlist (content a prospect or customer can enjoy from home or work) and then it even links to their schedule, so people can book a class and experience them for themselves.

This funnel directly leads to bookings and email captures for future marketing. It also leads to retargeting opportunities that can be custom tailored based on the trainer(s) that the visitor viewed while on the site. This way the business can use content and strategic marketing to covert them later on, if they don’t transact up front, which is highly likely.

For those who do book, they now have a more intimate relationship with that trainer when they arrive. As a direct result, the customers are becoming more transformational than transactional and more sticky to The Fhitting Room brand in the process. This is mission critical for any small business looking to flourish. #wellplayed

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On using video to hack better exposure on Facebook

If you are an online marketer, then you probably know that video content is all the rage right now.  It is a mission critical component for any content marketing plan and a surefire way to help you win online.

Facebook in particular, loves videos and continues to reward brands with increased exposure and engagement on its platform. It does this because users prefer this type of content and FB is focused entirely on creating an excellent user experience, to ensure the social network remains sticky and that they don’t lose their users to the competition. If you are a marketer you should be riding this wave.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 8.19.07 PMOur client Natalie’s launched some new flavors this month and wanted to create awareness and excitement around it. We created a simple, yet attention grabbing video (see above) and pushed it out with a nominal budget on their Facebook fan page.  We set the promoted post to optimize for engagement and earned some really nice metrics, as you can see to the left. Added bonus, were the many shares it earned, which helped us also grab a reach of over 18000 people.

While we like to balance their social content between photography, graphics and short form video (all of which perform well and have their place) we felt that video was warranted given the freshness of the message (new flavors) and the fact that they wanted to get the best bang for their buck. For the moment, that is video all day, every day.

If you want to have more potential customers consume your content and see more tangible success out of your social media efforts (read: every brand) then you need to really pay attention and deal yourself into the video game. Your prospects are watchin…

 

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On video and why you need to get serious about it.

Video is no longer a “nice to have” part of your marketing plan. It is a “must have” ingredient, if you want to story tell and succeed online. Most brands know it, though historically have not done much about it. This is going to be the year that all of that changes.

Video tops the list of consumed content and allows brands to add additional context and depth to their messages. People stay on websites with video longer and are more likely to pay attention to and share social media messages if brands use video.  You also hack increased organic reach and better brand recall because Facebook is a big fan and favors video.

This piece by Small Business Trends breaks down some more compelling statistics, and here are some highlights:

Video Increases Your Marketing Reach and Duration

If you want to stay top of mind, you’ll be glad to know that 80 percent of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.

Videos turn watchers into advocates as 92 percent of mobile video consumers share videos with others while social video generates 1200 percent more shares than text and images combined.

You’ll also get more visitors on your website using video because companies using video enjoy 41 percent more web traffic from search than non-users and video drives a whopping 157 percent increase in organic traffic from search engines.

Video Drives More Sales

According to 70 percent of marketers, video produces more conversions than any other type of content. This pays off nicely for e-commerce sellers who have found that using product videos can increase product purchases on an online store by 144 percent

Even if you don’t have an online store, including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80 percent and after watching video, 64 percent of users are likely to buy a product online.

Video is effective on both desktop and mobile devices: the average conversion rate for websites using video is 4.8 percent compared to 2.9 percent for those that do not use video while 40 percent of customers state that video increases the chance that they’ll purchase a product on their mobile device.

Simply put, videos drive sales: 74 percent of users who watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service subsequently bought it and 77 percent of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.

Finally, 90 percent of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision making process and that’s a good thing.

Video Contributes to the Bottom Line

The biggest advocates for video marketing seem to be the businesses and marketers who use the approach. In fact, 76.5 percent of marketers and SMB owners that have used video marketing said that it had a direct impact on their business.

And finally, a doozy of a statistic: businesses using video grow company revenue 49 percent faster year-over-year than organizations without video.

Small businesses need to pay attention to these compelling statistics. The problem is that if/when they do, most don’t have the talent or capacity to create those videos internally.  The good news is that Sircle Media has got you covered.  Let’s get started!

 

 

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Video Content: Take Your Shot

Video content has really become a must have for any brand that is serious about leveraging social media for their business. It is very important to create content that stands out from the clutter and if you want to accelerate reach and visibility on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, then you need to get serious about moving beyond still photos and graphics in your content mix.

This video above was created for our client Michter’s Whiskey, one of our favorite clients for obvious reasons.  They have unbelievable, award winning products and a very loyal following on social media.  Since they are in the spirits business, e-commerce is not an option or part of their digital focus. For them, it is all about reach and storytelling to help them be relevant in a very crowded vertical.

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A key metric for success in our engagement, is our ability to earn them consumption (pun intended) of their content marketing. We aim to create simple, yet compelling assets and then get them the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to visibility. They do very well both organically and via paid media on Facebook, because it is a well known and widely appreciated international liquor brand. That being said, they want to really stretch beyond their fan base and get in front of new eyeballs whenever they can.

Here we deployed some paid efforts ($10) to help accelerate the reach and impressions on this particular creative. We targeted users who have an interest in whiskey, bourbon and rye and earned some excellent results. Nearly 15,000 people were reached and 2892 people viewed the video within 24 hours. For reference, their photos generally earn about half of that reach number with the same type of targeting and budget allocation.

Both are important and necessary, but the videos generally add a little more gasoline to the fire…Get involved!

 

 

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Video Content Success!

We preach about the value and need for video content constantly at Sircle Media, and that is because if done right it can really turn into something special. We recently posted this very simple video that we created for our client ginnybakes and it earned massive organic reach for the brand.  The video is under a minute (recommended), was posted on #NationalCookieDay (a trending hashtag for that day) and we pushed it out via Facebook and Twitter. The results:

227,035 people reached (branding opportunity), 5494 actual views (content fully consumed) and 400 clicks to the website, which offers direct sales opportunities and retargeting ammunition for other marketing messages. This was a home run across the board.

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We didn’t even have to pay to boost this particular piece of content, it did the work on its own.  So for those who feel that Facebook is no longer a place to market their messages without paid efforts, think again.  As always, if the content is good – great things can happen.

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