Online video is an important tool for marketers as it offers a great opportunity for building consumer engagement and developing a brand image.

You only need to look at the runaway success (and subsequent demise) of Kony 2012 to see the power of social video in spreading a brand message.

But producing video content that users will watch and share through social media isn’t easy.

Brands need to work out how to translate their creative ideas to the social web and ensure their content drives traffic and conversions on their other digital platforms.

Econsultancy’s new Online Video Best Practice Guide covers all you need to know about what’s happening in online video, including best practice tips, platforms and techniques.

Social video platform Ebuzzing has also put together five golden rules for making the most of video content on the social web…

1. Promote high levels of engagement

Engaging with an audience in a social setting where users have high intention and a propensity to engage with a brand is less intrusive than other forms of video advertising and also leads to deeper engagement and brand advocacy in the long term.

Ebuzzing says that half of online video viewers discuss content with friends and family, whilst a quarter of this group shares content via email/social media, interacts with it and has conversations about it with fellow viewers.

The benefits of creating engaging social content are obviously clear, although getting it right isn’t quite as simple.

2. Utilise video’s scope for creativity

According to Ebuzzing: 

Videos are a dynamic format that allow for creative input and more elaborate messaging than banner or pre-roll advertising, so there are almost limitless options for originality and experimentation.

Producing creative, entertaining content will ultimately drive the high levels of engagement mentioned in the first point. Your video needs to appeal to the interests of your target audience, tell a story and encourage further brand interaction.

3. Make sharing easy

Marketers can buy impressions but cannot buy likes, shares and talkability and this is the true potential of social video.

Ebuzzing states that a video link received via a social share will be watched three times as much and for three times as long as a paid for ad, “thereby radically increasing user engagement.”

Our Online Video Best Practice Guide looks at the best way to seed videos for sharing, including looking at which platforms are most effective.

While YouTube is still the best option for achieving widespread exposure, marketers need to consider the third-party ads that may appear before their videos on YouTube and how they will encourage users to engage with their content.

4. Make your video highly targeted

The winning formula for brands is to distribute their content to a highly engaged, tightly defined audience in a social environment where users are attentive.

Therefore, it is vital for marketers to be aware of the specific demographics they want to speak to and distribute content to popular bloggers and social publishers that have a high level of influence over their target audience.

5. If you can’t measure it, why do it?

Measuring ROI is vitally important for marketing campaigns, but particularly so for a relatively new medium like social.

Beyond the basic measure of page views, marketers should be tracking the number of interactions/actions on social media channels; whether the content engaged the target audience; conversation sentiment; and the share of voice your brand receives as a result.

Our Online Video Best Practice Guide says that it is important to compare the cost of your video campaign and the number of new customer acquisitions to the price you normally pay for new customers through PPC.

This logic is the mechanism by which you will define and demonstrate the success of your online video strategy.