This morning I attended the Social Media Breakfast in Boston, the 8th one here (check out the site for events in your city). Firstly, Bryan Person, the original founder, did a great job of organizing, although it sounds like this isn’t his first time.
The topic was on the use of video in social media and the line up was
- Emily Belyea and Ben Grossman, principal at The Plenary Group
- Larry Lawfer, YourStorys founder and president
- Jeff Glasson, director of social media & technology at PerkettPR
- Rob Lane, CEO/co-founder of Overlay.TV
Each one had some really valuable key points that I’d like to share, without going through each presentation in their entirety.
Emily and Ben, in an advertising competition, came up with the concept of The Running Man for AOL. It’s an online community where users can share their stories about AIM (that’s the short and sweet of it). From their research came the following insights
- Storytelling works. People have interesting stories about the brand, and they want to share them.
- Viral also works. An unexpected consequence of the project, and closely tied to the previous comment, is that, when good storytelling happens, viewers want to participate, and they want to talk about it and pass it along. The website ended up wildly popular very quickly, which encouraged Ben and Emily to open it up to everyone to post their own stories.
- Video is a much more transparent, and therefore genuine, medium through which to connect to consumers. Because the videos include real people, real actions, can be seen and there’s very little perceived editing or scripting, viewers tend to take it as “more true.”
Larry Lawfer offered up the following:
- Social media is about engaging clients and customers in a dialog, the question is how to get them to join.
- Video can be effectively used for internal marketing purposes, without having a consumer see a second of the marketing footage.
- The real long-term value in video is the content. Larry suggests creating, gathering, and cataloging all content, and then save it and share it later both externally and internally, while also having it fully accessible to the employees and the sales force.
Jeff Glasson spoke a little more generally about the use of video, and offered the following words of wisdom:
- There are a few different ways to use video: build a huge community around video, Gary Vaynerchuk style; Invite the community in; make it contest-based; etc.
- All of this puts a human face on your company. Your users can see what others think of you, good or bad, and they want to interact.
- His advice? Don’t be afraid to experiment, but make sure you protect your brand (think about the quality and content).
- Also, while it may be tempting to distribute across platforms (this creates multiple touch points), this process separates your content into separate communities, each needing its own management and preventing interaction across communities.
Rob Lane’s presentation of Overlay.tv was neat. It was mostly a case study of some of Overlay’s users but offered the following:
- Overlay’s philosophy is to go beyond just video, and make the experience interactive for the user. The purpose is to both engage and communicate information.
- Overlay’s users vary, but it goes without saying that the more successful content is based on a clear-cut strategy.
The biggest take-aways from the Q&A were that, firstly, much of this technology is free, so affordability isn’t necessarily an issue. The real issue lies in what quality level you’re shooting for, who you’re trying to reach and what you’re trying to communicate. By and far one of the most important things is that, in order to be truly successful, there needs to be a lot of pre-content analysis, strategy building, and plan-making. It isn’t just about putting out a video….
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