The brand impact of social video

This blog entry was written for iMedia Asia .

If you are not publishing videos in social networks online, you are missing an opportunity to extend the impact of your brand online.

The situation with video is comparable to the beginning of the Web. Then, only the big brands were quick to embrace the new medium and have a representation on it - mostly a simple Website that re-enforced the existence of the company and its brands online and provided information for the online community. Web presence matured over time as the medium became mainstream, and it spread out to smaller organisations and brands.

Now, 15 years later, we are at the beginning of another era: video has become a medium online. For many, YouTube has become their default entry into the Web and they spend most of their time online on YouTube. For the majority, YouTube is the dominant search engine and the second largest search engine after Google overall .

What do people find when they search for your brand on YouTube? Go and try it out - you may be surprised what your community is posting about you! Would a YouTube user find your message amongst all the other chitter-chatter? What impact will that have on your brand?

Some of the larger brands understand. There are some very good YouTube brand channels online. For example, check out the Nike Football channel . With 8,326 subscribers, it is the number one most subscribed sponsor channel of all time. It hosts 207 videos of diverse football highlights involving Nike. Or look at a new channel like the MINI channel which already has 41 videos after only having been created on the 1st January 2009.

In Australia, other than the political parties and bloggers, not many YouTube channels have been set up. Probably the best are Cricket Australia , XXXX , and Tooheys . Comparing just the two beer brands, it is easy to notice that Tooheys uses the channel just for re-publishing TVCs, while XXXX uses it to create brand engagement - a difference that is also reflected in the number of videos, subscribers, channel views, and friends.

Why are they spending money on social video?

Video has huge advantages over other content. Videos are able to provide a direct and rememberable explanation of what a brand stands for - much more so than text or pictures. Video is therefore twice as effective for conversion actions than text only. An Australian study showed that 57% of online users have watched online videos before making a purchase decision.

But not only does video help in the actual act of selling. Video also has an advantage when it comes to exposure to eyeballs on the Web. In Google universal search, video is 50 times more likely than other Web content to turn up on the first search result page. Yes, you read correctly: 50 times more likely - just think about all the SEO that you'd have to do with other content to have such an effect. On top of that, users are more likely to click on the video thumbnails on the Google result page than on any other results - the thumbnails are strong in directing eyeballs.

Now that we've seen the upsides of video, you will ask yourself what the kind of content may be that you should publish about your brand. What would be the purpose of publishing video to social networks? Video is a communication channel like any other. You can use it for any brand strategy that you may be preparing. You might consider creating videos to launch a new brand, to diversify an existing brand, to educate about products, or to start a conversation with your customers.

Here are some examples of what companies have used their YouTube channels for:

My recommendation is not just to upload the videos to YouTube, but also to pick some other social networks that focus more on your actual target audience, e.g. Dailymotion for a European focus or for a young males focus. Also make sure to consider your release strategy and video SEO to reach a maximum number of eyeballs for your content. And finally: don't forget to measure your success over and over again - with metrics tools like Vquence's VQmetrics service you can learn which content and strategy works for your audience and which doesn't. It is such attention to numbers that Natalie Tran who publishes Australia's most subscribed YouTube channel reckons has helped her make it such a success.

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