Online video has made considerable strides in the past couple of years and will impact B2B marketing in 2021. Video was responsible for an overwhelming percentage of consumer Internet traffic in 2020 and according to Cisco, by 2022, online video will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic—15 times higher than it was in 2017.
It’s clear that consumers want video. What kind of video, where, and when are the questions B2B marketers have always asked. B2C publishers have mastered the art of online video. BuzzFeed’s Tasty channel, which first launched on Facebook, has garnered millions upon millions of views since its launch. This makes sense; it’s consumer-oriented and focused on food, which is relatively straightforward.
The question, and challenge, is how B2B brands can take advantage of the video trend without appearing stuffy, boring, and irrelevant. Let’s face it, most B2B brands will not follow the same winning formula as a consumer brand like Buzzfeed. But there are key elements B2B marketers can take from consumer-driven video publishers, with their billions of views and millions of subscribers. Though it can seem daunting to create a video for your B2B brand, trust me, it’s well worth the investment.
Here are five recommendations to keep in mind when considering adding video marketing for your B2B brand.
1. Develop a Plan and Set Goals.
Online videos can build awareness, engage prospects, and nurture sales leads, but a single video will not accomplish all these goals at once. When developing a B2B video marketing strategy, don’t just create random videos. Identify what you wish to accomplish from the entire video strategy and craft a series focused on specific themes and topics.
For example, an e-commerce software company may want to drive signups by creating a how-to or DIY video series that uses their product to solve a common customer challenge. That same brand can also engage prospects by starting a video series on best practices for growing your eCommerce audience on social.
The key point is this: don’t focus on selling your product. Your video series should be focused on helping your audience solve problems. If it makes sense to include your product in a few of the videos, drop it in, but creating videos with the sole intention of selling will not achieve the desired results.
2. Optimize Placement and Distribution.
Producing a marketing video costs time and money, so don’t just throw it on your website and cross your fingers. Many B2B brands use YouTube to host videos, making it easy to create a brand channel and share on other platforms. For example, don’t forget to share your video on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even TikTok, which all help increase brand awareness and discovery.
Where you post your video depends on your audience. For content marketing purposes, most B2B companies use LinkedIn (94 per cent), followed by Twitter (87 per cent) and Facebook (84 per cent). If you are just getting started with video marketing, the best approach is to create a YouTube channel as your central location. From there, you can embed the video on your website, share the link across social, and use the virtual real-estate of YouTube to cross-link to your owned assets—website, social channels, and directory listings.
It’s important to remember, optimizing video placement and distribution is not a ‘one-and-done’ task. Social moves fast, so don’t be afraid to post links to your video multiple times in the weeks that follow. A good rule of thumb is to plan out four weeks of posting and promotion activity for each video you create.
3. Keep a schedule.
Everyone seems to want a hard and fast rule for the frequency you should follow when pushing out video content, but it’s not that simple. In my opinion, there is only one golden rule: keep it consistent. While it can be exciting to take on this new and popular form of marketing B2B products, don’t overcommit until the process optimized. Focus on creating a rhythm that allows the time and space to ideate, record, edit, polish, and publish. Give yourself ample time when you are just getting started.
If you think you can publish two videos a month when you first start, cut that number in half and focus on one video per month. The most common failure of B2B brands who venture into video marketing is setting goals that are too ambitious—trying to push a video every week and then going silent for a month, quarter, or forever. Consistency is critical, and if your video content is helpful to your audience it will build momentum and anticipation.
4. Stay on top of trends and events
Online video is continually changing, so don’t wait for the next new thing to pass before you get acquainted. One of the newest trends is live streaming, which a lot of marketers said they would increase in 2021. Don’t be afraid to embrace new platforms like Twitch, Facebook Live, or stream live on IG, but don’t jump in unless it’s a part of the overall video strategy.
Live streaming should be approached differently. When creating video content, you have the time to review, edit, and polish the final product. If you are streaming live, think about the context of what you are streaming. Is it engaging? Does it provide value in real-time? A good rule of thumb, if it’s a tutorial or complex topic, create a video. If it’s an interview or Q&A, those are great topics to stream live. And don’t forget, you should always record your live stream and make it available on your YouTube channel.
5. Don’t forget about SEO.
B2B brands can’t count on prospects simply finding their content among the billions of choices available. To improve the chance of your video being seen and shared, it must be treated like any other piece of content you optimize. Hosting your video on YouTube is a good start, as it has a built-in user base, and with the proper SEO optimization, you give your video a fighting chance to be discovered.
Google itself requires three items to index a video: a title, description, and thumbnail. The search engine also recommends including video sitemaps and structured data markup. It’s also recommended that videos with spoken audio include a transcript. While these items are secondary to the content of the video, do not rush through these elements. The strategic importance of titles, descriptions, and thumbnails will have a measurable impact on your views, discoverability, and click-through rates. Take the time to conduct proper research on topics, keywords, trends, and visuals to maximize discovery and engagement.
Start Recording. Like Nike, Just Do It.
Though video marketing has exploded, only a small number of B2B marketers are embracing it. It may be due to the overwhelming number of competing priorities or the perceived effort required to execute a video marketing strategy.
The most common issue preventing B2B brands from launching a video marketing strategy is paralysis through analysis. As marketers and specifically B2B marketers, we are a unique breed of data-driven analytical professionals. We live and die by the data. And when it comes to video, predicting ROI on effort and time spent can be hard. However, given the saturation of every other channel and medium, video is one area where you can grow awareness and differentiate your brand from competitors.
Chances are you’ve fully optimized other channels. You’ve more than likely captured the low hanging fruit. Give video marketing the consideration it deserves. With the right goals, strategy, and approach, eB2B businesses can use video marketing to generate more signups, leads, and sales.