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Social Video Package: How to perfect your social video mix

By Andrew Zimmer

The video revolution of the 2020s was so total, it can be hard to remember that things were ever any different, just look at the video marketing statistics. For huge swathes of users, "watching videos" and "using social media" are now one and the same thing—glance at your seatmate's phone on the subway and the odds are fairly high they'll be watching a TikTok or an Instagram Reel. People used to kill time by reading their friends' Facebook statuses or tweets (or, before that, picking up a magazine or flipping through daytime TV). Today, to an overwhelming extent, what people do when they're not working (or even when they are?) is watch videos on social media—an average of 18 hours a week, or 2.5 hours per day.

For that reason, a high-quality social video package is no longer just a luxury for brands, something that’s nice to have but not necessary. No business can hope to make a dent in the conversation without a comprehensive social video package. Video is now the default preference for consumers looking to learn more about your brand or your product. If they can’t find one—or if the video they find is subpar—they'll almost certainly hop to a competitor's channel. And that applies to B2B customers just as much as B2C ones.

Of course, many factors contribute to a successful social video package, some of which are out of a brand's control. But if you follow a few baseline rules (or work with a social media video agency)—for each individual video and for your social strategy as a whole—you give yourself a much better shot of cutting through the noise.

Best practices for social video

Intensively strategize

Nine times out of ten, a video's future success is predetermined long before the cameras roll. Ideally, by the time you're ready to shoot your video, you'll have strategized and know exactly what you’re getting. That means watching every similar video by your competitors, and figuring out well in advance what precisely you're trying to achieve with your campaign (more sign-ups? sales? general brand awareness?).

In the context of a social video package, it means figuring out well in advance how to optimize your content for different platforms. Some content will inevitably work across platforms, but it's often the case that the content that resonates most strongly is platform-specific—i.e., shot and edited with the conventions and requirements of a specific platform in mind, whether that's Instagram Reels or LInkedIn or TikTok. 

Make sure your content is high-quality

Last year, Instagram announced that its algorithm would be de-prioritizing low-resolution video on its feeds. This made official something that had more or less always been true: if you want to make an impact, your content has to be well-crafted.

Brands have two options here. If they're looking to make content on their own, the wisest thing they can do is invest in equipment—a tripod to stabilize the video, a microphone to make sure everything's crisp and audible (nothing cries out 'amateur' more than the sound of passing cars in a video), and a basic lighting set-up.

The other option is to collaborate on your social video package with an established video production company, which will already have the necessary equipment and can help you bring your vision to life.

Don't waste even a second of time

To be alive in 2023 is to be bombarded with content, from the moment you wake up to the moment you put your phone on silent and go to bed. On Instagram and TikTok and Facebook, every brand in America is jostling for attention simultaneously, right alongside influencers, comedians and your own friends and family. If you want to stand a chance of standing out in that maelstrom, you need to make sure that every second of your video is precision-engineered to grab and keep a viewer's attention.

The first few seconds are critical  here: trigger-happy social media users will instantly flick a video away if it doesn't instantly capture their attention. "Short and sweet" is the industry best practice here—you need to prune the fat from your video and ensure that every single millisecond is essential. Ideally, that video will have a distinct beginning, middle, and end as well. It might sound difficult, but constraints like these can actually help you refine your ideas and lead to more interesting work.

The hero, hub, and hygiene model

So we've established what makes for high-quality social video. But it's important to remember that when you're a brand putting out content, no video exists in a vacuum: each is part of a larger brand story you're trying to tell, and—ideally—a larger brand strategy.

A few years ago, Google formulated a helpful way for brands to think about this, and it's still the gold standard today: the hero, hub, hygiene model.

When you create content according to the hero, hub, and hygiene model, you're doing multiple important things at once: maintaining the customers you already have, attracting new ones, and—occasionally—making a major impact on the mainstream. It breaks down like this:

Hero content refers to your big swings—you're not going to have more than one or two of them a year, nor should you. For a huge national brand, the quintessential example here would be a Super Bowl commercial—but, of course, hero content comes in many forms. These are mass awareness campaigns, designed to grab the attention of as many people as possible. Do they always succeed? Of course not—but that's why the other kinds of content are so important.

Hub content, for instance, take the pressure off your hero content. Hub content should represent the bulk of your programming. This is your day-to-day content, the meat-and-potatoes, regularly-pushed-out material that maintains the loyalty of your pre-existing audience. Often, this content is episodic—if you're a high-end eco-conscious lightbulb brand, for instance, that could mean a quick-bite documentary series on the history of the lightbulb. The point is that this content is dependable—"regularly updated" and "valuable and engaging," per YouTube's guidelines.

Finally, hygiene content refers to content designed to pull in new audiences, usually tailored to specific search terms. Think of this as the SEO side of your overall social video package. FAQs and tutorials work great here—for instance, if you're a clothing company selling well-made basics, you could post a tutorial on the best way to fold a t-shirt, and bring people to your brand that way.

It's important to stress how essential the above is: a social strategy is one thing, high-quality videos are another, but none of it will mean anything without the right content infrastructure to prop it all up. Content strategy is the backbone of any quality social strategy, and without a social video package, you won't get either off the ground. 

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