Social video – What does the future hold?

Only a few weeks ago, the Twitter-owned platform, Vine announced it was “discontinuing its mobile app”, which came as a surprise to many; especially those who’d found their ‘fame’ via its six-second looping videos. So, with all the predictions for 2016 talking about the ‘rise of social video’, how can it be that one of the original video-first social platforms is soon to be no more? Naturally, with social video being hailed as the next big thing, the major players in the market have spent the past year evolving their platforms. It was only yesterday that Instagram shared two big updates to its platform – both video related.

New ways to share in the moment

If live streaming through Facebook and Twitter wasn’t enough, Instagram announced that users will now be able to live stream via Instagram Stories (Stories was launched back in August). The second update will let you send disappearing videos and photos via Instagram Direct Messages – a feature very similar to Snapchat’s primary function. Unsurprisingly, you’ll be able to edit these posts by adding icons and drawing on them. Yep, pretty much like Snapchat. With competition rife, other players in the field are promoting their offerings with a big above the line push. Facebook’s been publicising its live streaming capabilities with TV ads and YouTube’s taken a similar route, with a new advertising campaign highlighting influencers like Tanya Burr and Cupcake Jemma, who were both catapulted to fame by the platform. Let’s not forget about Snapchat, especially in light of Instagram’s newest features. For now, Snapchat’s taken a different route, with a move into the hardware space; yesterday opening its very own store in NYC – Spectacles. Hundreds queued to have a chance to get their very own pair of picture-snapping spectacles from the sole vending machine in the store. It’ll be interesting to see over the coming months how the big players will continue to evolve; hoping to capture more of the social video market – especially with the rise of 360 video and VR. Equally, with publishers and brands alike still trying to figure out how to develop strategies for these platforms, time will tell how integrated social video will turn out to be in the marketing mix.

My top 3 tips for marketers

  1. Choose wisely – Diversification of channels is important, but you have to question whether EVERY platform is right for your brand. In a former life, I had a client in the B2B accounting software space suggest that they should adopt Tumblr as its next platform. Seeing as its audience was as far from being teenage girls as you could get, this was never going to work. You have to ask – is my audience already engaged with and regularly using this platform?
  2. Consider your scope – Social video is all about being reactive; jumping on trending topics, whilst being engaging, creative, and most importantly, authentic. If you’re a B2B tech brand whose video content to date has been primarily talking heads, you need to consider what kind of social video you can actually ‘do’. It’s all very well taking a stab at a mannequin video, but are you ready to adopt an always-on approach and invest in quality video?
  3. The bigger picture – Aside from your audience and content, the most important part is thinking about how social video ties into your overarching marketing strategy. Social video shouldn’t just be a bolt on (like social media in general used to be). If you’re going to adopt social video, you need to ask how does this integrate with everything else we’re doing?