With one-third of online activity spent watching video, it is clear that video marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract new business.

According to a recent study in the US, the pace of video creation is now accelerating at an even faster speed as companies seek to better cater to millennials – the first digitally native generation. More than half of businesses in the study said they create video content at least once a week. Social media is an enormous influence, and has encouraged a trend for word-of-mouth and desire for authenticity. Video has emerged as the perfect medium to take advantage of this movement.

Consumers are impressed by creativity and innovation from a business, through mediums such as video. In fact, a study from McKinsey found that the most creative companies, based on their ACS, did better than peer firms on two key business metrics: financial performance and McKinsey’s Innovation Score. As such, you are sure to want your business to be part of this growing phenomenon, but it is important to get it right first time and every time.

Define what makes you distinctive

Whatever your area of expertise, you need to make sure that you carve out a niche. You need to offer something a bit different in the current bottom-up culture where the customer is in control.

In an already flooded beauty market, celebrity makeup artist Christina Flach stayed ahead of the competition because she made herself personable in her business. She did this by brand building the business image through social media. Christina uses make up tutorial videos to build up a visual relationship with her viewers. By using video she familiarises herself with her viewers. She knew she did not have a physical shop window to ‘wow’ her customers and attract big name luxury brands, so her online presence was crucial for her image.

Beauty vloggers – including household names such as Zoella and Tanya Burr – build their brand exclusively through video. If you want customers to choose you, then you need to position yourself through your video marketing strategy against the competition in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Choose your target market and grab their attention early

With over half of video content viewed on mobile devices, it’s key to remember that many videos are played on the move. Even if we’re checking a mobile screen at home, our hyperconnected lives include a need for instant gratification and loss of patience.

Aim to capture a viewer’s attention in the first 10 seconds or less. Many solutions are given in the first few seconds and if that is not possible, ensure there are hooks to keep the viewer watching.

Use calls to action and answer questions

It’s most effective to place CTAs at the end of a video, even if you just add a few words telling users that they can ‘learn more at (insert URL)’.

A benefit to posting YouTube videos across social media are the clickable annotations, which you can turn into clickable CTAs.

Aiming to answering questions within your video gives value and adds credibility to your brand as an expert. Research the most frequently searched for questions on your topic and answer them concisely.

Tailor your video to each platform

The growth of video marketing has come from a growing focus on video from media channels as well as an increase in consumer preference to receive information this way.

Naturally, the successful impact of any video marketing campaign hinges on knowing your audience, and where they are likely to be hanging out.

Once you have chosen your video platform, you will need to tailor the video to the platform. Some platforms require more slick video production – so not necessarily the best for SMEs where this comes at a high cost. Snapchat and Instagram will open up your brand up to a younger audience (if that’s who you are targeting!) – and the younger audience will be more likely to appreciate the authenticity of a more natural and less produced video.

Finally, it is worth noting that different platforms have different maximum lengths for video so you will need to plan accordingly:

  • Facebook: 120 minutes
  • Twitter: recommends keeping videos under 30 seconds
  • Instagram: 60 seconds
  • Snapchat: 10 seconds

Test and measure your video marketing activities

As with any marketing strategy, accurately measuring Return of Investment is important to ensure that you are investing in the right platforms, with the right video subject matter, that will yield the most positive results.

This means regularly reviewing your data to ensure your tactics and campaigns are working and then acting accordingly if they aren’t. Analyze the view count, play rate, watch time, click through, new leads and social shares.

Facebook Live video lets businesses broadcast videos to their audiences in real time. You can see the number of users watching and users can comment on the video and you can answer their questions live.

Users automatically receive notifications when someone they follow is going live which increases visibility. This is another way to build relationships with your viewers.

The featured video functionality on your Facebook business page is an ideal opportunity to make a first impression with your business. You could highlight a product, tell a story or give an overview.

With Facebook automatically playing videos with sound, some users are turning the sound off completely. Make sure that you include subtitles for use where sound is turned off.

Facebook Insights has a screen devoted to video analytics, showing you the number of video views your page has had and the number of 10-second views your video had.

You can also see all the statistics for individual videos. This means that you can easily track the success of a video and see what works to ensure ROI.

Optimisation can make all the difference when it comes to relevant users finding you and your video. The headline and descriptions you post with your video will show up in searches. Add keywords or key phrases to help users find your content on all platforms to boost search results.

The stats are considerable, with:

Communicate your business benefits with breaking news and announcements

Sharing developments on social media offers value to your customers and keeps them in the loop. Introducing a new product or announcing a change to your business then sharing this information with your followers via video can be exciting and is an ideal way of engaging your customers – both existing and potential.

If there’s a trending topic or hashtag, adding a video with your voice to the topic can result in big view numbers and engagement as it is relevant content.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news on voice recognition

With the ongoing popularity of voice recognition from technology such as Alexa, video marketers need to optimize for voice search for phrases that are derived from more of a conversational approach. It is clear that this is an area that will continue to evolve – imagine watching a video in the future and asking a question to get additional information through speech technology.

Creative videos can be spread and shared on the internet in a matter of hours, potentially receiving millions of views. You need to be innovative with your content to survive and video is the way forward.

Creating an effective video marketing strategy is fundamental to your business success. Video marketing should be integrated with all the other components of your marketing strategy including social media, copy and SEO.

Your business is individual and the videos created will uniquely align to your business strengths to identify specific methods for improved lead generation and sales.

The video may be an art form – but the strategy behind it can be a science.