Virility is easier to achieve than virality. There’s no pill that can pump up your video efforts with Gangnam Style. But there is good, sound advice from proven practitioners like Tom Fishman. Who would know more about the selling power of video than the director of social media at MTV, inventors of the music video? Fishman gives direct marketers four rules to video by:
1. Keep it short. Three minutes is a good over-under. “Consciously or not, every time people click on a link to an interesting-sounding video, they reflexively look at the total running time in the lower right hand corner and their brains do a split-second evaluation to answer the question: ‘Do I want to commit this amount of time to this video?’” Fishman observes. Shares, after all are the KPI of video, and the Music Video Man says the marketer’s goal should be to have “Worth watching the whole thing!” accompany their mini-masterpieces in Facebook newsfeeds.
2. Once more, with emotion. Think anatomy when devising a content strategy for videos, namely heart strings and funny bones. “There’s a reason videos like Susan Boyle’s X Factor appearance,’Kony 2012,’ and ‘David Goes to the Dentist’ have hundreds of millions of views,” Fishman says. “They engage an audience emotionally in a way that they don’t want to experience alone. Delight, laughter, and tears are all emotions people want to share.”
3. Socialize with the big guys. You don’t have to waste time strategizing about where to plant your videos to reach the most people. Just go where most of the people are. “Facebook is a great platform for video because it is huge in scale, and allows people to connect to both their social graph and their interest graph. Shared interest and shared connections in one place allow for maximum viral potential,” he says. “YouTube is also essential for discoverability. It’s the source.” Fishman is a fan of using Vimeo for high production value spots. Instagram, too, is a favorite: “Its robust user base and 15-second time limit has emerged as a favorite for bite-sized works, or even mini-promos that tease longer-form videos.”
4. Sharing isn’t free. If social media is all about sharing, then social media strategy should include some budget to boost the share factor. If you expect your customers to share your videos or engage with you by adding their own content, you’d better have a payoff for them. “This flat out will not work at meaningful scale without an incentive,” Fishman says. “Ask them to submit Vines or Instagram videos using a distinct hashtag to tell you about their brand experience. Every month, reward participants and publicize that you have done so.”