The problem with trying to come up with formulas for a one size fits all strategy is often the antithetical approach to ‘good practice’ can achieve cut through and stand out from all the other copy cats or established techniques become out of date.
Having said that, there are some principles that can help inform your content & distribution strategy for reaching and impacting your audience and I’ve listed them out into questions to help you find the best match for you.
Go deep, not wide.
It pays to go deep into one or two platforms rather than dividing your focus across everything.
Gone are the days when you could just post your same YouTube video on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, your blog, email and expect it to do well across all these destinations.
Audiences are spending more time on these platforms and have come to expect their content to be tailored to the platform’s structural nuances and community, in other words, micro-content. It’s also in the social network’s own interest to encourage publishers to natively publish micro-content to keep users on their site for longer so native posts will usually outperform cross promoted links from other networks if it’s allowed at all.
Question 1: What would the viewer’s intent be in consuming your content?
Your content will probably swing more towards one of these two main intent categories which will largely determine how your content is best discovered. There are others intents but the majority of business is done within these two.
INTENT 1 - Educate Me In Something Specific (Search Oriented)
Some examples include:
INTENT 2 - Entertain, Distract, or Inspire me (Social Oriented)
Some examples include:
- Celebrity & personality content
- Funny home videos
Search: If the intent to watch is educational, then the method of discovery inherent in this content is search as it provides the context for that content. People will search for “how to draw” and “samsung note review” for example. Viewers are usually more highly engaged with this content as they are trying to learn something and thus absorb the content more deeply than if they were just looking for a distraction.
Social: If the intent is entertainment based, your content provides an insight into another world that distracts the viewer from their own, or a funny event or circumstance. This content’s primary means of discovery is via social sharing. This kind of content is usually more widely appealing that specific educational content and thus if a user is to share it, they're more likely to receive social validation and recognition.
There’s certainly benefits for appealing to both of these intents.
If you can make your educational content also entertaining, you’ll draw a wider audience.
If you can make your entertaining/inspiring content also educational, you’ll engage your audience on a deeper level.
Once you’ve determined the context of your content, you would focus on one of these two groups of networks.
- YouTube (The biggest video search engine)
- Google (Embed your videos on your site, good option is Wistia)
- LinkedIn - (I would argue that people will find your videos based on your personality and reputation so this is largely social)
BOTH SOCIAL & SEARCH
- Periscope & Meerkat (Live video, connected to Twitter)
Question 2 - Where does your audience hang out?
What platforms do your targets users go to on a regular basis?
There’s lot of data analysis and reports on the internet about the demographics of different platforms, which ones are most popular among interest groups etc. The problem with using this information as your only source for choosing a platform is it’s often out of date and there are so many outliers that aren’t mentioned in these reports and you just get lazy.
For example Snapchat used to be just 14-18 year olds interested in fashion and makeup but in the last 12 months we’re seeing theplatform is reaching an older audience of much wider interests, much the same ageing movement has happened to Facebook.
Talk to people.
The best way to really find out where your target niche audience spend their time is to interview them.
Particularly if you already have a group of viewers or customers, sit down and ask them or send them a survey, “What social platform is your favourite?”
"How many times a day do you use it and when?” “How do you use it, can you show me?”
This takes time but this information straight from your customers or viewers is gold and far more valuable than any Nielsen report on global trends.
Question 3 - How long is your content?
The length of content permitted on these platforms varies and therefore people’s attention span differs widely between platforms.
If you’re able to convey your message in under 6 seconds and your content is primarily social driven then Vine could be a great option, the longest attention span platforms tends to be Vimeo and your own websites.
There seems to be a consensus online that shorter videos are better. This is often the case but not always, while working with one of my clients, CarAdvice.com.au, we found that videos longer than 15 minutes got better traction in YouTube because this community wanted detail. YouTube also loves watch time and ranks these videos higher.
Vimeo - As far as I can tell there is no time limit in Vimeo, it may just be limited by your account bandwidth allowance
Wistia - Unlimited
Youtube - 15 minutes, if verified up to 11 hours
Facebook - 40 minutes
Twitter - 30 seconds
Vine - 6 seconds
Instagram - 15 seconds
Snapchat - 10 second clips which can be grouped into a story
Tumblr - 5 minute daily limit
Question 4: Which community can you add the most value.
Again you can use all the reports to target your potential user base but there’s no substitute for lurking in the communities you want to impact and discovering what are their pain points, what benefits would delight them?
Then match what platform your community is spending their time on what video platform would best enable you to facilitate that?
At the end of the day you need to experiment with placing your content on different social networks and see what works for you in your specific context, but next time before just posting your next video Facebook and hoping for the best, try asking some of these questions and you might be surprised by the results.