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BusinessColumnistsJamie Herzlich

Using videos on social media as a marketing tool

The Twitter application and logo are shown in

The Twitter application and logo are shown in this 2014 photo taken in Washington. Credit: Bloomberg / Andrew Harrer

If you scroll through Facebook or any other social media site, you’ll notice more and more videos appearing in your feed.

As consumers’ appetite for videos grows, smart companies will take advantage of them as a marketing tool, experts say.

The number of Americans who watch videos online is projected to grow from 213.2 million this year to 232.1 million in 2020, according to eMarketer.

“Video is growing at a rate where I think ignoring it is something you do at your own peril,” says Paul Verna, senior analyst at Manhattan-based eMarketer.

Growth is being fueled by several factors, including advances in technology, the proliferation of content via digital platforms, and a willing consumer, he says.

“People are simply in the habit of watching video,” he notes. “There’s this primed audience that’s ready to watch.”

Social media has certainly contributed to growth as well, says Verna.

Platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter have “become as much about video as they had been about photos or text,” he says.

With that said, not all videos are created equal.

“It’s more about brand awareness and getting your brand out there without pushing your product,” explains Gina DiMarco, social media director at RGD Marketing in Wantagh, a digital ad agency.

You generally only have a short period of time to engage your audience, she notes.

“If it’s longer than 15 seconds, you’re going to lose them,” she says.

How-to or behind-the-scenes videos can be engaging.

For instance, you can use video to reveal a new product or go behind the scenes at your company, notes DiMarco.

In general, the five key ingredients to video success are surprise, interest, intensity, positivity and action, explains Sam Rooeintan, creative director at Rockville, Maryland-based Marstudio, a brand strategy and creative marketing firm.

“You have to be willing to be different,” he notes, adding that the surprise element could include revealing certain product features or something about you or your company your audience didn’t know.

Whatever it is, it should be of interest to your audience and add some intensity, perhaps with a personal story or a soft spot you can highlight other than your normal day-to-day business, he explains. In general, you want to highlight positivity not negativity in your videos and incorporate some sort of action like perhaps following you onto a job site, says Rooeintan.

When choosing a social media site to post your videos, know your target audience.

Facebook is a proven entity for advertisers, but you shouldn’t ignore some of the newer platforms, says Verna. They may prove to be just as essential as Facebook in the future, he says.

When Hilary Topper of HJMT Public Relations, a Long Beach public relations and social media firm, wanted to promote her recent NY TRI EXPO, a showcase for triathlon-related products, she posted videos on Snapchat, which generally attracts a much younger audience than Facebook.

This included video of her bike training and riding indoors with a CompuTrainer, which can simulate bike routes throughout the world.

She posts shorter videos on social media and longer videos on YouTube, including an interview show she does called “Wearable on Air,” highlighting wearable technologies.

“Demonstrations and interviews have worked well,” says Topper, who uses her mobile phone to shoot video.

To be sure, you don’t have to spend a fortune on video equipment; there are editing apps on the market including Videohance and Hyperlapse, says DiMarco.

She also suggests creating a content calendar of posts and video to develop some consistency:

“It saves you time, because you don’t have to think every day about what you’re posting.”

US Digital video viewers

2014-196.1 million

2015-205.8 million

2016-213.2 million

2017-219.3 million

Source: eMarketer

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