Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook Live Video
So, let’s be realistic. Unless you’re a large multinational company with hundreds of employees and a marketing budget with so many 0s in it your eyes would water, you’re probably not going to spend on professionally produced video content every month.
BUT not having the budget of Bruce Wayne doesn’t mean you can’t still develop and share your own video content while you wait for your next big production. Today, we’re going to look at three cost-effective video marketing alternatives that will help you to keep in touch with your customers, reinforce your brand identity, and develop your team building skills along the way.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – it’s all filters, dodgy selfies, and digital amnesia (i.e. instantaneous messages which are instantaneously deleted). But there’s actually a lot more to Snapchat than you might expect, particularly when it comes to marketing your business, whether you’re an SME or a corporate giant. While you can invest in Snap Ads (long-form videos) and even create your own custom filters and lenses to increase brand awareness, we’re going to focus exclusively here on Snapchat Stories.
So, what are Snapchat Stories? Well, they’re basically your own unique composition of images, text and videos. They’re a chance for you to update others on the latest goings on in your world: events you’ve been organising or attending, the addition of new products or services, an introduction to new clients or to new staff members, a behind the scenes glimpse at your process. They’re a fantastic promotional tool and a great way of remaining visible to clients, affording greater access to you, your business, and your team. Here’s an example from the Formula 1 2017 finale in Abu Dhabi:
One important thing to remember, though: they last for 24 hours only! So, unlike a professional video production where you might spend hours pouring over every line and every detail, planning shots meticulously, Snapchat Stories are spontaneous, quirky and direct. They don’t last forever! But that often means you can be a bit more fun, show some personality, and encourage interaction from friends/followers. As this 2016 advert from Domino’s Pizza shows, you can also offer incentives in your snaps, feature exclusive offers and drive users to your website:
The spontaneity of Snapchat Stories also means that you can get members of your team involved, and any customers willing to feature too. The format presents a fantastic opportunity to build rapport with both, and to showcase the personality of your business. With potential for interactions, you can also encourage users to engage directly with your content. For example, you can encourage them to vote in your own polls, answer questions, or to swipe up to visit your website. The Story itself, then, is just the starting point.
The key thing to all of this, however, is getting more Snapchat friends. So, encourage existing clients, networks, friends, social media followers to jump on board and follow your story. Hootsuite has a fantastic blog telling you how to get more Snapchat friends and develop your own Snapchat strategy, which you can check out here.
You can also employ a similar strategy with your Instagram Stories, putting the reality of your daily working life front and centre. By increasing and sustaining your visibility online, you create more opportunities for brand recognition and customer engagement. Perhaps most significantly, though, with Instagram you can also share content that lasts more than 24 hours, in the form of images and videos on your timeline. This is exactly the same as sharing content on Twitter or Facebook, sharing those significant moments that you want to keep. This flexibility in content is ideal as it lets you indulge the spontaneity and quirky nature of Stories, while providing your brand with a clear legacy and sense of continuity, too. Basically, you’ll have a variety of content that might appeal to both new and existing users.
So, why should you think about trying out Instagram Stories for your business? Well, as we’ve already hinted at, Stories are actually a really fun, creative and enjoyable form of marketing for your followers to engage with. They also require a minimal amount of time and effort to produce – all that’s needed is a good idea! (Remember, you can only upload 15 seconds’ worth of video at a time) And then, with the available editing tools, which allow you to add text, drawings, and filters to your images or videos, you can really let your personality and the strength of your business offering shine through. This adaptable toolkit is the perfect way to take control of your own day-to-day video content online. Again, here’s another look at the Formula 1 2017 Abu Dhabi GP, but this time as it was promoted on Instagram Stories:
Perhaps the most important takeaway here, though, is that while this type of content is quick and easy to produce, it’s still a good idea to have a clear strategy in mind, just as you would with any social media content. Make sure that your Instagram Stories (or your Snapchat Stories, for that matter) support your other promotional content and work for your brand and your current marketing objectives. Establishing your goals (daily, weekly, monthly) is crucial here, so why not gather your team and get creative?
#3 Facebook Live
Should you ‘go live’? Live streaming has become hugely popular over the last couple of years. Research from Livestream indicates that 80% of brand audiences in 2016 would rather watch live video than read a blog, while 82% preferred live video to social posts. Perhaps most importantly here, they report that, in 2016, 78% of online audiences were already watching video on Facebook Live. So, if you host the right kind of content, you could be golden!
As was the case with Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, Facebook Live is a really cost effective video marketing tool that’s ready and waiting for you. It’s also an ideal way of driving users to your Facebook Business Page and making them aware of your latest products, services, events or offers. In effect, when you ‘go live’, you’re announcing to existing fans and friends that you’ve got something exciting to share with them (as in most cases they will receive a notification when you go live). You’re proclaiming to Facebook that you’re worth talking about, and it’s this event-like status of Facebook Live that we really want to emphasise here.
What Facebook Live provides you with is a platform to make your own broadcasts, kind of like a live TV show or weekly vlog. With the right PR, you can develop a dedicated audience and turn your content into an eagerly anticipated event, week after week. What’s more, perhaps the most significant advantage of Facebook Live is that it allows you to interact with customers and influencers in real time, to position yourself as an expert, but also to humanise your business or brand and make it even more accessible. This behind the scenes access is hugely important when it comes to instilling trust and increasing conversion rates. Whether you decide to host your own show, stream live events or conferences, or sit down and have a chat on-screen with some of your best customers, Facebook Live could do wonders for your business.
So, there you have it, some cost-effective video marketing alternatives to tide you over until your next professional video production!