The Visual Side of Social Media Marketing

It’s easy to water down a dialogue about the day-to-day of a community manager with editorial calendar chit chat. But editorial strategy makes up only a sliver of social media marketing. Visual storytelling has emerged as a necessary component of digital marketing for brands, with video carving out an important place in the social spotlight for many years to come.

Facebook has staked its competitive claim to video, encouraging brands to evolve from curators to broadcasters. Brands have been challenged — rightfully so! — to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to content, especially video. In one of its many moves to refine its algorithm in favor of audience transparency and user control, Facebook announced this week that it would begin penalizing pages who post misleading video click-bait or static images masked as videos with a phony “play” button.

I’m honestly fascinated by the potential of video, and not just on Facebook. Instagram — which sure, you could argue is just an extension of Facebook — is a platform ripe with opportunity for video creation. For brands on a shoestring budget, Instagram has a suite of companion tools like Hyperlapse and Boomerang that offer up an element of experimentation with video formats.

While there’s room for a learning curve, production value does still reign supreme from small-scale videos through to Facebook or Instagram Live broadcasts. Nailing down a visual aesthetic that’s cohesive with social images and complements editorial tone is crucial. Planning also plays an important role; using a storyboarding process helps organize the narrative, while also ensuring that each respective video aligns with the broader brand social media strategy.

More than anything, video allows brands to offer a stronger social experience to their engaged audiences. Considering the prominent role that paid content continues to play across channels, promoting the right set of videos with a smart and strategic target will help draw new and curious users into your page.

If you’re ready to usher your brand into a more immersive social storytelling experience, keep these things in mind:

  • Plan wisely. Draft storyboards, scripts that are integrated with digital marketing messaging, etc.
  • Budget realistically for equipment, props, labor (producing/creative direction, filming, editing), social advertising
  • Establish a cadence. Build video content into your broader social media content strategy and calendar so that it’s a supporting player, and not the main event. Social content is about balance.
  • Listen to audience feedback. If video doesn’t perform well, consider things like length, production quality, topics/theme, and platform. What might work well on Facebook might not work as well on Instagram, and vice-versa.
  • Embrace small-scale tests. If you’re not ready to dive into Hollywood-quality video for your social channels, start small. Play around with Boomerang videos and GIFs to test resonance and engagement with your audiences across channels.
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