Instead of engaging in small talk, content marketing – and especially video content – takes action by creating value for its intended audience.
For example: Don’t tell her you’re polite – open her door. Don’t just use social media to tell customers that you wish to serve them or create a relationship – go ahead and actually serve them by taking the initiative to create content that they find valuable. As in life, actions speak louder.
In the same breath, TV stations don’t create TV shows (or movies or magazines) to “fuel social media.” Instead, they create their content — i.e., their shows — to appeal to an audience. Once they have a show with intrinsic interest to a given audience, then they bring social media (and other tactics) into play as a way of generating awareness through a channel where their target demographic already exists.
“The Daily Show,” or other shows, movies or magazines, aren’t produced to “fuel social media.” Yes, they certainly do that, but only as a side effect to the real goal, which is to create value and appeal to the shows intended audience – which results in ad revenue.
And yet, somehow, once we’re online, we stand this simple relationship on its head, almost as if social media, rather than digitally amplifying our natural social selves, fundamentally changes our relationships.
However, my experience has shown me that online or off, we expect the same things from our interactions with people, depending on the nature of our relationships with them. For example, think of the difference between the last offline conversation you had with your parents vs. the last conversation you had with a business partner or sales professional:
- When it comes to calling your folks, there’s a good chance you engaged in seemingly purposeless small talk around how their day/week went, how they’re feeling, and such, because the purpose of that phone call IS truly social — it’s to let them know that they’re still part of your life and that you care, etc. The very act of connecting and talking IS the value, in and of itself.
- Business partners and salespeople, on the other hand, are expected to provide value apart from social interaction. They’re expected to help you solve problems, provide answers to questions, or help you purchase a needed piece of equipment or service. A “business” conversation with one of these people that doesn’t provide that task-oriented value is seen as a waste of time and perhaps even a reason to find a new business partner or a different sales person.
So the question becomes: Are the people you interact with online looking at your “conversations” as something with value in and of themselves, or are they expecting you to bring value in addition to the conversation? Do they see you as a business or as family?
The answer to that question should tell you all you need to know about the relationship between video content marketing and social media.
Why This Matters…
This matters because when you get it backwards, not only do you degrade your video marketing efforts, but you start producing inferior content.
Once content is seen as fuel for a “social” conversation — like the kind of small talk you’d have with your mom — “content marketing” becomes subservient to your social media strategy.
If content is just fuel for what is really important — those social “conversations” – then the creation of this content will reflect this purpose – and content without a genuine purpose is a turn off for all consumers.
And if content is fuel, then effectiveness gets measured by miles per gallon, or in this case, social media engagements generated by the video content. How much social media “activity” did this or that video generate?
While this metric is a necessary evil in the marketing world, a better question is did the audience watch the entire video? Did they watch another video on your channel? And so on.
And not only does the content = fuel mentality hurt the quality of your video content, but it can lead you to ignore the early warning signs that come from poor quality videos.
If you’re exclusively looking at “conversations” within social media, it can take a long time to see the effects of sliding content quality. Most likely you’ll just see a need for MORE videos, rather than better videos. More fuel for “engine” so to speak.
But if you’re looking at engagement metrics such as length of time viewed, channel subscription, and collateral views, you’ll know right away when your video content stops attracting, and keeping the attention of your audience.
The Sad Truth
As obviously bass ackwards as this approach to content marketing is, the sad fact remains that MOST marketing departments today default to this approach when discussing video content marketing.
The right way to look at your video content is to view it the same way your audience looks at it.
When consumers actually watch a video, they don’t care about the channels or platforms. They judge content based upon value. Is it relevant to their needs/desire/task? Is it entertaining? Will it help them?
Bottom Line: Stop thinking of video content as fuel for social media, and start creating videos that first and foremost appeal to and influence your target audience.
Once you’ve attracted your audience, THEN you can engage them in a conversation. By all means, circulate your content through social media, but if your content doesn’t attract and provide value to your chosen audience, then it will be of little help to your social channels, and your social channels will be of little help to it.