YouTube: Digital Video Storyteller

5 Elements Online Video Needs

As humans, storytelling is ingrained in us. We tell stories as a way to connect with each other.  For marketers, stories are an integral part of our brands and products because associating emotion with your product or brand brings it to life for customers. In the social media world, stories are transformed into digital videos that are the source of engagement and sharing.

Storytelling is at core of YouTube, the home of online videos. Currently, 35 hours of video are added to YouTube every minute generating 2 billion video views per day, the equivalent of the populations of the U.S., China and the European Union combined.

5 Factors Online Video Needs

Online videos share five consistent elements.

  1. Inform your audience. Video stories should provide useful social media content. Learning has a new life online in the form of short how-to videos. knowledge is no longer confined to the dry, boring textbook. It comes alive through a more accessible medium. At their core, how-to videos have passion—one of the critical elements of story telling. Education’s not limited to reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s about how to do a wider range of every day tasks. Example: KhanAcademy is educating the world one short video at a time. Consisting of one guy with a video camera and a passion for sharing knowledge, Khan’s built an oeuvre of 17,000 videos. Marketing use: How-tos are one of YouTube’s fastest growing topics. They’re a prime area for marketers to show customers how to use and put together their products.
  2. Provide entertainment. Viewers just want to have fun and watching videos provides immediate entertainment. Good stories must amuse their audience and hold their attention. Further, they help build a following because people will share what they enjoy with their social graph. Example: Conan O’Brian wanted to reward his loyal fans and expand their experience. So, he created the 24/7 CoCo Cam to allow fans to see what was happening behind the scenes.

    By providing entertaining and engaging video spoofs such as a dancing taco who took requests from viewers for a full day, Conan rewarded his fans and attracted lots of press. Marketing use: If your product’s not very entertaining, then try a new spin on an old concept: sponsor streaming of a live event to extend the event’s reach and yours.
  3. Have a conversation. Video stories invite their audience into an exchange and enable community participation in terms of changing story details. From a social media perspective, this is a critical component since social media isn’t just about your story; it’s about your audience and what they do with your content. Example: In the midst of their PR gas pedal issue, Toyota launched the Swagger Wagon campaign for the Sienna to get their customers talking about other elements of their offering.

    Swagger Wagon was a rap story about where a couple’s kids were and customers made their own versions.
    Toyota integrated social media interaction into the campaign and inspired viewer activity. The TV campaign linked to YouTube and YouTube linked to Facebook. This campaign resulted in a spike in sales. Marketing use. Use videos to associate a story with your product or brand to help build its buzz.
  4. Be useful. Provide tools and information for your customers and the public as a means of engagment. Remember, it’s important to give people a voice. Example: Sponsored by Hundai, YouTube’s Symphony Orchestra
    held a competition. It allowed musicians from around the world to audition for a special performance in Sydney, Austraila. People competed for one of the orchestra 93 positions. Additionally, master classes in music were offered to anyone. Marketing use. Give customers and the public special opportunities to participate in an event or engage in a conversation with someone via video.
  5. Inspire others. Stories help us to realize our personal potential. Everyone has the ability to showcase their talent and tell their stories. Example: Known as Panacea81 on  YouTube, Lauren Luke, a British woman who’s not a model or beauty queen, has made a series of “How to make the most of your beauty” videos and has built a following with 104,274,397 views.
    As the second most subscribed guru in the UK, Lauren has deal with Sephora. Marketing use. Businesses can use this approach to engage their customers by showcasing their work and/or expertise related to the product.

With social media marketing, knowing what you want to say to your audience is as important for video as it is for any other story telling medium. While everyone wants their video to be the next viral success, it’s critical, as with any marketing program, to ensure that your objectives are in line with your business goals and have related metrics. It’s also necessary to engage your prospects. Like on other social media platforms, engage with your followers and answer their questions while continuing to provide useful information. Also, it’s important to respond to commenters to build a following.

Have you used online video to extend your story? If so, what were they results;

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are related resources on storytelling and branding that you may be interested in:

Note: This post was inspired and informed by YouTube’s Campfire presentation at JWT during Social Media Week New York. A tip of my hat to the YouTube presenters for a great Social Media Week presentation.

Photo credit: Normalityrelief via Flickr

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