Video Marketing Success for Branding and Performance
Video is hard to ignore nowadays. It seems to be everywhere. But that doesn't mean that it's getting easier to produce it – or to make it bring the right results. Today we'll talk about nailing video content on YouTube and Facebook.
Our guest, Rafi Chowdhury, has created, promoted, and monetized videos for Facebook that have received more than 86 million views. He was part of the original shortlist of creators for Facebook's experimental Launchpad program. He has also been named among the Top 10 Branding Experts to Follow by Sujan Patel – a hefty accolade for sure.
We talked with Rafi about the role of video marketing for branding and performance marketing, the steps you need to take to rank on YouTube search results, and the most important factors for Facebook video success.
The role of video
"Video marketing has been extremely important lately simply because of one thing: we are changing how we consume content," says Rafi. He explains what he means in detail. Our attention span is getting smaller and smaller. And video is ideally positioned to fit into our digital lifestyle:
"So if you consider how the Internet is changing how we consume content overall and learn things, video is an excellent way to promote and present content. And the reason is because it's interactive... and [it's] giving a persona that we can relate to." Video content "not only is more interactive but also can be paced accordingly. You can speed up video [...] so you can get more done at a faster pace."
That last point is especially important when the audience you're targeting ambitious learners and high achievers. Like digital business pros, for example.
Using video for branding
Video is a great content type for building your brand – no matter if you're a single creator, a consultant, or a startup founder. You need to put a face people want to connect with and talk to. And that happens through video:
"If you're reading a blog post you don't know who in the world wrote that, who that person is, what they're about. But in a video, you can answer all those questions. You can let the audience see who you are, what your company is about. They can immediately connect with that person, they can say "This is a person I feel like can help me with my problems." You're immediately putting a face or an image to the information that you're sharing."
Rafi is a big believer in adding personality to videos and standing at the center of your audience's attention. And this strategy has worked for him. Although he's not a regular creator of marketing content anymore, people would regularly reach out after seeing a YouTube video of his.
What Rafi deems instrumental for this to work is a small but important thing: leave your phone number in your videos! If you're catering to an international crowd, you might want to put a Whatsapp or a Skype number there, too. There's no clear reason why a phone convo is the right step your leads want to take. But we hypothesized that it has to do with the personal feel video content creates.
Although video works well for branding, it can be an amazing performance channel, too.
Video as a performance tactic
YouTube is right behind Google as the de facto second largest search engine out there. And it's the place where people go to specifically look for content. You have this intent-rich audience – so how do you take advantage of it?
Choosing the right topics
We already mentioned YouTube is essentially a search engine – so it will come as no surprise that keyword research is the first step to success.
To find out what keywords have potential for you, you might want to rely on KeywordTool.io or another preferred keyword research tool. The principle is the same. You need to find a niche with enough keyword volume to make your video efforts worthwhile and weak competition that will allow you to rank well.
Rafi's advice is to first focus on long-tail key phrases and ones that present strong buyer intent. "Maybe [there's] not so much demand for the keyword but there's a really high probability that you're going to rank."
Analyzing the competition
When reviewing your competition on YouTube, there's not as clear-cut a metric as Domain Rating is for traditional SEO. But there are still some signs you'd want to look at.
First, check out the size of the channels that are ranking at the top of your target phrase results page. If they are big players with 500K subscribers and you're just starting out, this is a sign that the phrase is too competitive for you at the moment.
Then you need to look at the actual videos and try to optimize your content better:
- look at the title, description, and tags (visible through a tool like Tube Buddy) and analyze how well do they employ the key phrase;
- watch the first few video results and see what they are missing in terms of content. You'll essentially want to create a much more thorough piece than what competitors offer;
- finally, look at the audience interactions and comments. What are people saying, are they asking any follow-up questions you can answer in your video?
This will already help you draft an outline for a video that's more thorough and satisfies the audience's needs better. Then you need to do some light technical optimization.
Optimizing your videos
The quick checklist for optimizing your videos Rafi gave us includes a few steps:
- include your main keyword in the title;
- create a long description for your video (even though people won't necessarily read it, YouTube will) with your keyword prominently present along with semantically connected phrases;
- add tags that also include your keyword;
- say your key phrase within the first few seconds of the video – speech recognition algorithms are getting better and better to understand it;
- add a thumbnail that attracts attention and will stand out on the search results page – after all, you don't want to just pop up on the results page, you want people to click and watch your video.
Of course, all of the technical optimizations come second. It all comes down to thoroughly answering your viewers' questions and creating good content.
We spent a lot of time talking about video on YouTube but I also wanted to return to Rafi's original video playground – Facebook. I wanted to hear his opinion on the main differences between the two platforms.
According to Rafi, Facebook video has completely different success criteria. Facebook has a lot more data when it comes to personalized video results. So what you'll see in your feed depends mainly on the type of content you've interacted with in the past or what people in your network prefer. So it's not about answering specific audience questions but leveraging the algorithm for serendipitous encounters with viewers in the News Feed.
The main predictor of a video's success has to do with your page's results. If you're cultivating an active engaged audience then a video will also attract lots of views. The second factor is consistency:
"You have to be consistent with video on Facebook. The moment that you stop and you take 3-4 months off, all your engagement is going to go down. And the next time you post something, they're not going to push the video the same way to all those followers as they did before. The reach is going to be significantly affected."
Rafi says that frequency is less important than video quality when it comes to Facebook. So you don't need to post videos daily or even weekly. As long as you're following a schedule and keep it consistent for your audience, posting 1-2 times per month can still give you good results.
The last part of our talk with Rafi was focused on starting with video production. And although we covered the key elements like lighting, a good microphone, and a steady camera, one thing he said was more important. Jump in and start speaking to the camera. Once you get used to it video will become easier and easier.
So if you're looking for the right next step after you finish reading this: just talk.