Over the last few years, one of the greatest challenges facing social media managers has been working out how to condense their brand’s marketing messages to meet the character limitations imposed by sites such as Twitter. I myself am all too familiar with the intense frustration of writing “that perfect tweet”, only to see the character count reading “-3”.
Even though the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook are much more relaxed when it comes to character limits in updates, you still want to try and stay as concise as possible. With mobile usage taking up an ever-increasing share of social media use, brevity is as important as ever.
There have of course been solutions to this problem. Writing a blog article with all your content and then linking to it is all good and well, but the fact of the matter remains that not everybody is going to click the link, no matter how enticing your hook is.
The use of pictures, meanwhile, is something that has gone from strength to strength. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, and if you have the means to take photos or produce graphics, they’re a great way to convey information in a visually engaging manner.
However, thanks to the advances in mobile technology, and a reduction in the price of internet bills for your smartphone, another media source is starting to gain ground – video.
Using videos as a marketing tool online is of course nothing new – however the rate at which it is consumed is increasing dramatically. It is estimated that 100 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube every minute, and that this year, an estimated 21,00 petabytes (that’s 21,000,000,000 gigabytes) of video will be consumed each month – more than double the figure for 2011.
The important statistic however is this – it is expected that that mobile video will represent 66% of mobile data traffic by 2017. It’s now easy and affordable for people to watch videos on their mobile devices – and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
The social media giants have of course responded to this. Earlier this year Twitter released Vine, the much-hyped social platform that allows users to record and send 6-second videos. More recently, Facebook have responded by including similar functionality with the image sharing network Instagram. Google+ already has a respectful focus on video content (unsurprising considering Google’s ownership of Youtube), and the upcoming Google Glass will undoubtedly add to this.
The social networks have provided the means, now it’s time for the users to take advantage of them. Not every company has the means to create professional, high quality promotional videos to share, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the benefits. Vines and Instagram videos are designed to have that mobile phone recorded “home-made” feel about them, so don’t be afraid to do exactly that!
The same rules that you would apply to written content apply to videos, so make sure what you produce and share has value, represents you or your brand well, and would be of interest to your followers. Other than that, get creative! New tools and functionalities are constantly being developed, and making use of the latest trends is a fantastic way to drive engagement with your brand.