Video is ubiquitous online these days. Brands, publishers, and media companies are putting a lot of resources into video creation for their own sites, for social, and for marketing and advertising. At a glance, some of these efforts – especially social video and video marketing deployed on social platforms – may appear to be one and the same. But social video and social marketing are distinct creations. Understanding the differences is key to pursuing any kind of video strategy successfully.
Social video is about content creation
A social video strategy is one focused on connecting with viewers through unique stories and original content. The goal isn’t to drive a viewer directly to a subscription or sale. Rather, it is to grow your audience and foster their loyalty through familiarity with your brand.
Naturally, this sets up your social audience for conversion down the road or simply pushes them to become regular visitors of your own site. Having a consistent social viewership and regular visitors to your own site mean you can mine ad dollars from your social video efforts. That revenue is a serious focus for many publishers working in social video.
But that revenue stream can only be created by having and growing a loyal viewership. Social video is all about developing that loyalty. By delivering valuable, original content, you transform one-off viewers into dedicated followers who trust and engage with your creations.
Video marketing is about promotion
On the other hand, video marketing is a decidedly promotional and often sales-focused tool. It relies on the same foundational format of video and may utilize some of the same best practices, like short length and attention-grabbing production.
But the content of marketing videos is focused on specific promotion – of a brand, product, or service of some kind. This is in contrast to social video, where the content is meant to be a unique, engaging story, not just a sales pitch.
This is all not to say that social video isn’t or can’t be a form of marketing unto itself. But social video works in wholly different ways than standard video marketing.
Social video is content marketing
One goal of nearly every social video effort is building brand recognition, as we noted. That is where the goals of traditional video marketing and social video overlap directly. But the main goal of social video, specific building recognition by delivering valuable content to target audiences.
Consider this example: a new lifestyle publisher focused on women’s fashion and health is trying to grow their social audience. Traditional video marketing would see them place ads or sponsor videos that would highlight their brand and the content they bring audiences. Content marketing sort of cuts the middle-man out of that equation. This new publisher would simply start crafting social video for their target demographic, focusing on stories about fashion trends or health advice.
The content of those videos would speak to the core audience they want to reach, who in turn are more likely to engage with and share the videos across their own networks. This naturally builds brand recognition and loyalty, as those interested in the publisher’s content come to recognize their style and see their logo again and again.
While not exactly a shortcut, content marketing has proven to be exceptionally more effective than traditional video marketing. This is especially true on social media, where users are interested in original content and interesting stories, not in being bombarded with ads.
Instead of feeling like they are being sold on a brand, viewers become natural followers as a result of valuable content that meets their expectations and desires. Helping new audiences discover that value in your brand or organization is the best way to keep them tuned in for the long run.