Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine what the social media landscape would look like without video content. No matter what platform you frequent -- Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat -- you’re likely to find video not only as a functionality, but also as one of that platform’s most popular types of content.
Even LinkedIn (the not-so-fun platform) has jumped on the video band wagon and top marketers and businessmen like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robbins are taking full advantage.
It’s not surprising that video has continued to expand to the most unlikely social platforms, as research has shown video to be extremely effective in capturing the attention of the online audience. It’s interesting, then, to examine the history of how video came to become more prominent and popular on social media, where the shift began, and how we came to realize that video content would be such a major hit.
Where it all began: YouTube
The very first video on YouTube published in 2005:
Nearly 13 years ago, a website with a then-unheard of concept showed up and planted the seeds for a content revolution we never could have seen coming. YouTube allowed users to upload their own videos for the viewing pleasure of their families, their friends, and the rest of the Internet.
The fact that YouTube remains popular to this day attests to the power of video content and the platform as a whole. Countless multimedia influencers and stars rose to fame because of YouTube, proving that as long as you have unique and engaging content to offer your audiences, waving and saying “hello” to the camera could be the start of something awesome for you.
It would take almost a decade before another social media platform would even dare to play in the same sandbox as YouTube.
YouTube has withstood the test of time especially as far as long-form video content is concerned. Have you ever found yourself searching YouTube to find the answer to a problem or step by step instructions on how to do something or maybe you wanted to watch an old music video or movie excerpt. Video watch time and increased views over time tends to be higher on YouTube versus a social platform like Facebook. Derek Halpern makes some interesting points on why YouTube is 1000x better than Facebok video.
The ever-growing competition and the dawn of livestreaming
With such steep competition in the industry, how could one put a new spin on the same old approach? “By making content a limited-time-only commodity” was Snapchat’s answer. Launched in 2011, it was the first platform to introduce vanishing photo and video content, creating an air of exclusivity and excitement that capitalizes on the rush one feels while shopping.
Twitter launched its video-sharing app Vine, which enabled users to share 6-second video loops with their contacts. While amusing and definitely compelling at first, it ultimately fell prey to smarter, craftier competition. What effectively killed Vine -- or at least started its decline -- was the launch of Instagram’s video uploading feature, which was essentially what Vine offered, but better. In addition to being able to share their videos, users could also spice them up with filters and other basic editing tools. Unfortunately (though unsurprisingly), Twitter opted to pull the plug on Vine a short time later. Twitter bounced back a few years later with livestreaming via Periscope.
Livestreaming, which is essentially the act of capturing an event on video and streaming it online as it happens, became a major hit in 2015 with Meerkat and Periscope. These two platforms offered the livestreaming functionality, and both competitors were determined to up their game. In the end, Meerkat just couldn’t keep up with Periscope’s sheer size (and partnership with Twitter), prompting it to cease operations a short time later.
Mark Zuckerberg would later join in on the fun with Facebook Live, the world-famous social media network’s then-new livestreaming application, and Stories, after the social media giant acquired Instagram. According to Social Media Examiner, Facebook can give you the largest audience of any social platform when using the live feature.
Facebook is my personal favorite (at least currently) of the social platforms that offer live streaming. You can easily live stream from your phone or desktop and use a live stream integration like Be Live to make your branding stand out and to create a very professional looking live stream video (sort of like an online show!):
With the scheduling feature on Facebook, you can notify your audience in advance to promote your event and potentially increase the number of views. Not to be outdone, YouTube also launched its own livestreaming arm, Connect, built by Google.
Each social platform has its benefits as far as video is concerned. With the multitude of video tools (Lumen5, Animoto, etc.) and apps (Ripl, Legend, etc.) available, anyone can get started posting video on social media. There are tons of different video tools and apps so do some research and find one or two that you can use to add some variety to your social media video.
Continue to be informed of the changes and upgrades to video on the many social platforms but work with the one you enjoy. If you don’t care for YouTube but you are in love with Instagram then stick with Instagram and vice versa. If you hate live streaming then don’t do it. You can also get creative and enlist others on your team to do video. Ultimately, whichever platform you choose, video is here to stay -- and it’s time for you to make the most of it.
How are you currently utilizing video within your social media marketing or where do you feel stuck?