Why is video the future of social media?

Jun 04, 2017

​Do we even have to ask, “Is video on social media the future?’’

No. No, we don’t. Because it just is. As proof, open up your Facebook and try to scroll down even once without 40,000 videos autoplaying directly into your face. You can’t. Because video is now synonymous with social media, and social marketers need to get with video. And the best way to do that is to first understand why video has become so popular on social media, and why video is the future for content marketing.

1. Videos are effective for communication

Even outside the realm of social media, video is valuable for its ability to communicate information in an interesting, memorable, and effective way.

By communicating information through multiple senses at once (visually and aurally) it is more likely to be encoded by the brain, and retained in long-term memory. Furthermore, you can actually explain a concept more effectively by having information represented visually, which is especially helpful when getting customers to understand how your products work. This is why having video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%.

2. Algorithms share videos

So, now you know how video helps you communicate with customers. But why does this specifically relate to social media? Because of… *thunder sound effects*... algorithms.

Social media sites like Facebook pick which posts to push out based on Animal Farm-style algorithms stating whilst all posts are created equal, some posts are created more equal. The Facebook machine learning algorithm likes pushing out video because it knows users prefer to see video. Long story short, if you share video on social media, more people will see the post.

3. People are more likely to share videos

Let’s forget about the inevitable rise of machines, stop talking about what the robots like, and instead ask what people like to share.

People don’t share facts, they share emotions, and video is the best medium for capturing that emotion. Video on social media almost always expresses some form of emotion, whether it be happiness, sadness, laughter, nostalgia, or something else. This is why video is shared more often than text-based posts.

4. Video is getting easier

Another reason video is the future of social media is because it’s getting easier and easier to produce videos, so more companies are jumping on board.

The driving force that makes video more accessible is technology. It's getting cheaper. You can now film high-quality video on your smartphone, like this Sundance film shot on an iPhone 5s.

Need audio? Use a budget lapel mic that integrates with your smartphone as a field recorder. Additionally, the expectation of quality is decreasing. There are award-winning short films on Vimeo with under 1,000 views, whilst a shaky cam video on Facebook about gluten-free dogs will get four million views. Having said that, the option to shoot low video quality isn't realistic for most big companies with a specific brand. If you are a premium company who wants to be seen as a leader in your field, then you will still need to invest in a full video production. Check out our advice on taking your b-roll to a-roll.

5. Everyone else is doing it, so you will get left behind if you don’t.

With more companies and people creating social media videos, the cost of not doing video is becoming even higher.

Put simply, since everyone else is utilising video on social media, you have to as well, or you will stand out like a sore thumb. Not having social media video in the future will be like not having a website today. Now, that's a bit of a tautology. Video is the future of social media because everyone is doing video. Everyone is doing video because video is the future of social media. But it's true.

6. You can, and must, tailor video to different social media channels.

You need to be aware of which social media channel you'll be sharing through, and edit the video accordingly. For example, 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound, so you need to make sure the clip engages the audience visually and includes subtitles.

As someone who loves the art of film, it hurts me to say that subtlety and visual nuance are pretty much out the window with social media video production. Sometimes it’s best to slap some black bars on the top and bottom, add a click bait title in big white capital letters, and make a few pop culture references.

However, you do need to be careful with this method. It will get you shares, but won't build brand trust or respect. To earn those you'll need a premium film production crew, and it will still need to be tailored to each social media channel.

So, there you have it. If you're interested in learning more about optimising your video output, check out some of our other video blogs and get shooting!

Light Creative is a Melbourne-based creative, content, and digital agency.