Getting social with your video can mean big gains in brand engagement. Social networks have reacted by prioritizing video content in feeds, rewarding advertisers that use video and rolling out video-friendly design features.

Top 3 ways to use video in social media
Recent examples are:
  • Video autoplay on Facebook and its removal of YouTube from the site
  • Instagram taking on the “micro-video” craze (and Vine) with 15-second videos
  • Twitter rolling out 30-second videos for tweets and offering Promoted Video ads
  • Pinterest unveiling GIF-like video called Cinematic Pins

The payoffs are starting to roll in, particularly for Facebook. Recent stats by socialbakers show Facebook now outperforming YouTube in the total share of online video posts.

Share of Number of Video Posts
With video posts moving away from the dominance of YouTube, brands need to start exploring how to diversify their social video strategy. This can be tricky for marketers, as many of the social networks are relatively new with a narrow audience.

To begin your exploration, don’t look to the networks first. Start by going back to the main goal of social media video and identify where the best opportunities exist to be successful.

The main goal of social media video for brands is to make a connection, get shared and start a dialogue with the target audience.

To diversify your social video strategy, content marketers must first take into account the psychology behind social sharing. You need to understand why your target audience is in social in the first place (Hint: it’s not because your brand is there) and how your video content can satisfy their motivations enough to win attention. If your audience isn’t on a particular social network, then don’t feel pressure to create a presence there. Much like looking for a party to attend, your brand is looking to find the right social scene. You’ll fit into the party if you are fun, interesting and relevant to the conversations you’re trying to join.

Here are the top three ways to use video in social media so that your brand is making connections, getting shared and starting a dialogue:

1. Educate.
Social sharers enjoy being entertained while learning something useful. The results expose your brand’s expertise and value in a new light. A great example is #LowesFixInSix, a series of 6 second DIY tips on Vine that are a part of its “Never Stop Improving” brand campaign.

2. Inspire.
Emotions motivate social sharing. A great way to create an emotional connection is by showing the human side of your brand. Think about how to visually show what drives innovation and ignites the passion of your employees. GE’s #6SecondScience Vines are an example of how they’ve used social video to convey what inspires and motives them – science. What started out as lessons has now transformed into a user-generated campaign stimulating dialogue with future generations of GE employees called the #6SecondScience Fair.

This is a place you can also tie in causes that your organization cares about, whether that be a charity or a fundamental belief. An example of using social video to convey a brand belief is Unilever’s Dove Real Beauty Sketches in which they shared their commitment to women’s self-esteem by documenting a social experiment on video. The video gained enormous traction for the brand and went viral quickly.

3. Reveal.
Social sharers have an ego. Reward your loyal fans and attract new ones by letting them in on a secret. Sharing a part of your production process can make viewers feel special, like they’ve been allowed inside a back door. Offering an exclusive look at an upcoming launch or event can generate excitement and buzz.

The fashion industry does this well. For example, fashion brands are using Instagram video to connect fans with the creative process and offer a glimpse into what’s coming next. Many now release behind-the-scenes videos for editorial photo shoots as well as backstage/onstage videos of Fashion Week in social. They are finding ways to take fans along on a ride they normally aren’t privileged to see.

Another twist on this is fast food brand Wendy’s using Cinematic Pins in a Pinterest campaign to promote its strawberry fields salad. The GIF-like video pins are used to reveal a key differentiator of their brand that engages the female demographic on Pinterest: Wendy’s serves naturally ripened strawberries, not frozen strawberries like other food chains. The pins celebrate the beauty of a strawberry ripening and being served at just the right time.

In social, always bear in mind the delicate balance between information and entertainment. A simple litmus test for your strategy is asking why my target audience would watch and share this. If it satisfies one of these three points – it’s teaching something in a fun way, it’s inspiring or it’s revealing something not widely known – then you have likely found the vein to a gold mine of social video content for your brand.

After you have the right strategy in place that can achieve the main goal of social video, you can then evaluate which network is best to distribute it and reach your target audience. Evaluate where they are most active and how you can use the formats offered on that network to make the most sense for your message.

Want to learn even more about how to create great video content for social media? Download the Content Marketer’s Guide to Video eBook series. It covers video content strategy, video SEO and video mastery in three steps.

(This post originally appeared on Social Media Today.)