Video’s Evolving Role in Social Media
We all know that channels like Twitter and Facebook enable quick response and interaction betweenbrands and their consumers. Today brands are finding ways to be charming, sarcastic, and irreverent;they’re personalizing their communications, and successfully so. After all, when a company takes thetime to write a response to someone’s tweet or Facebook post, it can demonstrate the brand as having apersonality – a critical feature of social channels. For instance, Domino’s asked @AmazingPhil to packhis bags and move out after he declared that he cheated on them with Pizza Hut. Taco Bell (a client ofours) and Old Spice have bantered about their use of ingredients.Yet as clever as these examples are, there are ways that we can go further. Many marketers havelargely treated video as a cumbersome and costly effort, primarily repurposed from TV instead ofpurpose-built for social platforms. But today we’re seeing the emergence of responsive video,broadening the channels in which brands can interact with people in a more engaging way.Unfortunately, while all social channels have risks that fly in the face of traditional brand reticence, videohas the added problem of bucking the trend of pre-produced, corporate, commercial communication—expensive and slow. That said, technology has democratized the use and reduced the cost of videoproduction, so we’re starting to see some brands embrace the ability to create swift, inexpensive video.Here are just a few ways that video can be used in social; quickly and with great effect.
Traditionally, big brands have been cautious, deliberate, and slow when reacting to major issues, andresponse channels have been limited to press releases and news interviews. But responses with a quickand raw feel, projecting transparency, can be used to a brand’s advantage, as seen with Federal Expresslast year. When one of its customers posted a video showing a destructive activity by an employee(something that went viral almost immediately), the brand responded with a video apology on its YouTubepage. What FedEx quickly produced was an inexpensive video explanation of its view of the event andsubsequent actions. A slickly produced video would have been untimely and might have brought furtherwrath. But this straightforward, transparent production helped stabilize the public outcry.
In October, Bodyform received a mocking complaint on its Facebook page about how the brand had longdeceived men into thinking that woman always had fun-filled menstrual cycles, easily participating inactivities such as rock climbing and horseback riding. Bodyform used this as an opportunity andresponded with a now-famous video “apologizing” and explaining that the company was just trying toprotect the complainer from the truth.Last summer, Tide responded within two days to an article in
describing a massive viral videohit that Tide produced -- except that the video never existed. We worked with Tide to make the fictitiousvideo real, with the brand tweeting that perhaps the article’s author may have forgotten to post the link.In both cases, these videos were relatively simple, humorous, and self-aware -- all qualities easily amongthe top-10 components of a successful video.
We’re starting to see some companies provide real-time, on-the-fly, personalized videos based oncustomer data collection. The earliest successes focus on simple topics like electric or gasutility billing explanations. Customers receive a communication containing audio and videobased precisely on their account, including info on billing cycle and opportunities for savings.