The latter half of 2018 saw the proverbial social media pendulum swing dramatically back to its roots of authentic human connection, with users focused on relationships with friends, family and people they know. Couple this push with the rise in popularity of video, and 2019 is poised to be the year of video for social media, but in a different way than you may expect.
In our annual Social Trends Report, Hootsuite surveyed more than 3,000 businesses, from small agencies to global enterprises, and what became clear was that leading brands must make the shift back to the roots of social media, creating meaningful, 1:1 connections. Video will help brands make the shift.
Like the authentic, in-the-moment, often raw videos that users share and consume on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, brands will need to let down their guard and get real. While there still may be a time and a place for polished, high-production videos on social, organizations will need to rely on more low-fi, grassroots videos to truly engage their audiences.
One of the best outlets for social authenticity is via Stories, growing fifteen times faster than feed-based sharing. What we’ve termed the ‘Storification of Social’ in our report is the widespread pivot from text and still images to more visually captivating videos – think of it more as ‘storyliving’ than the traditional ‘storytelling’ where you, as a viewer, are living and participating in the moment.
Additional survey data seems to reveal a roadblock: 52% of businesses cited a lack of video creation, both skills and budget, as a challenge. But the reality is, with consumer preference for lower production value video on the rise, these concerns begin to fall by the wayside.
With that hurdle removed, here are a few tips:
- Think about your audience first, brand second. Serve up video content that’s important, interesting and timely to your audience that is still authentic and genuine to your brand.
- People like to be able to see themselves in the brand. Featuring real customers and their success stories, rather than celebrity influencers, will help followers see themselves.
- Mix it up. You’ll want to continue serving up a variety of video types to audiences on social, and despite wanting them to feel more raw and in-the-moment, you’ll want to plan in advance. Build and follow an editorial calendar, deliberately incorporating a Stories-style execution.
- Tie video and broader social strategies to business objectives. The most compelling role for video might be in cracking the commerce code. In Asia, social commerce adoption has been swift with 70% of China’s Gen Zers now opting to buy direct from social, but elsewhere social commerce hasn’t kept pace. Video will prove to be a critical bridge to encourage social buying. A study of 5,500 consumers by video marketing company BrightCove determined that 74% of people could draw a connection between watching a video on social and purchasing the product.
While it may not be quite in the way that marketing, customer experience and social leaders expect, video will be a driving force across social media in 2019. The brands that think about it differently to create meaningful connections with customers, fans and followers will be the brands that win.