By 2019, 80-82 per cent of all Internet traffic will be video – it’s at 64 per cent and growing as of 2014.

And on social media, video is already king. It is shared 1200% more than links and text. It’s so much more engaging than other forms of media that some social websites, like YouTube and Vine, are built exclusively for video.

So what does this mean for your brand? How can your business make the most of social media marketing with video?

The answer is both simple and complicated. If you want to get ahead with video marketing on social media, you need to create the kind of content that gets noticed, gets watched, and gets results – whether it’s likes, shares, or traffic.

But when it comes to creating high-quality social videos, there are many mistakes lying in wait that could prevent you from accomplishing your marketing goals.

Want to make sure your social media video marketing is up to snuff? Then read on as we expose 6 of those most common mistakes… and see how many of them you are committing!


Mistake #1. Videos with no clear goal

When you create video content for social media, you’re not doing it just so your feed could look pretty. You have a specific result in mind.

It could be boosting awareness about a new product or service, signing people up to your email list, or getting more shares on your content – you name it.

So before you hit “Publish” on a social video, you need to consider why you are doing this. What is the goal?

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of goals when it comes to video marketing on social media:

  1. Traffic generation – getting people back to your website.
  2. Engagement – getting views, shares, likes, and comments from your audience on the social platform you’re using.

You can optimize your video content depending on the goal.

For example, if you want to funnel traffic to your website, a compelling call to action is a must-have. And if you’d like to get more likes and shares, an entertaining video can work better than a purely educational one.

How to solve it: Before start creating any video, ask yourself what the purpose is – getting traffic, or raising engagement. If you want to, you can get even more specific. But the most important thing is to have a clear idea of what you’re after at a high level.

Mistake #2. Starting off weak

Marketing is all about capturing and channeling your customers’ attention – and nowhere is this more true than on social media.

Video content is excellent at engaging people on social, but only if it opens strong. Remember: it’s extremely easy for people to scroll past your social videos in their feed. So you need to make sure they become immersed in your content within the first few seconds.

Think of the classic A.I.D.A. copywriting formula, and think about what you can do to maximize that first A, which stands for “Attention”.

If you’re unsure how to do that, check out our post on whiteboard and cartoon animation video intros for useful ideas.

How to solve it: The obvious way to fix this mistake is to create an amazing opening for your social video. But there’s one more thing that helps a lot, but most people overlook – choosing a visually striking thumbnail (the still image displayed before the video starts playing). YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram let you pick a thumbnail by hand – so take advantage of it.

Mistake #3. No call to action

Even if your goal is purely engagement, a good social video needs a compelling call to action at the end. You don’t want people to consume your content passively and then get back to their cat videos and memes – you want them to do something.

If your audience on social media likes what they see in your video, then a specific, low-pressure call to action can turn that initial positive impression into a meaningful interaction.

How to solve it: If your goal is traffic, provide people with a link to click, or a website URL to visit. Think of what could be a small but meaningful request that would benefit your brand. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask a question and tell people to leave a comment with an answer.
  • Invite them to subscribe to you or follow you.
  • If it’s a useful video (e.g. a tutorial on how to solve a problem), encourage people to show the video to their friends who struggle with a similar issue.
  • Ask them to share or like the video.

Keep in mind that some types of requests work better on certain social media platforms than others.

For example, it’s very easy to Like something on Instagram… but reposting content is a huge pain. Similarly, inviting people to subscribe works extremely well on YouTube, and asking for retweets on Twitter is proven to boost shares.

Mistake #4. Too much syndication, not enough creation

Syndication is when you make a video for one platform, like your website, and then you methodically adapt it for every video-enabled social channel you can, and re-post it there.

It’s a perfectly valid strategy when you’re starting out. So… what’s the mistake we are talking about? The mistake is relying only on syndicated content to promote your brand on social media.

If you want to succeed with social video, you want to create original content in addition to re-publishing your “main” videos. Content that fits the format and gets results on a specific social media platform you post it.

How to solve it: Have a strategy in place for creating videos that speak to your audience on a particular platform.

Study how different brands are producing videos for social sites like Snapchat, YouTube, or Instagram – content like that wouldn’t work well on their main websites… but it proves extremely engaging as platform-specific content.

If you’d like a specific example of someone killing it at a niche social media site, just look at how Airbnb use super-short Vine videos to promote their brand.

Mistake #5. Ignoring the viewing experience

If you had to watch a movie in black-and-white, would you choose an old classic made for that format, or a modern blockbuster?

And similarly, if you could only play a movie in 3D, would you choose one that was filmed in 3D to begin with – or one that was converted to 3D: with blurry visuals, lack of brightness, and all the other shortcomings?

You would probably stick with whatever movie looks best in a particular format, wouldn’t you? The same is true for social media – if your audience’s viewing experience is limited by the social platform they are using, you will have to act within those constraints.

How to solve it: Think hard about how your audience is going to experience your social videos, and what you can do to optimize for that.

For instance:

  • On YouTube, it matters very much what kind of thumbnail you pick – that’s how your video can stand out in someone’s feed, or search results.
  • And on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram videos tend to autoplay silently. So the key thing would be to make sure that your video is interesting enough even with no sound – so people feel compelled to turn on the audio and experience it in full. Here’s a perfect recent example of a viral video that works perfectly without sound… and gets even better with audio.

Mistake #6. Not experimenting

When it comes to video marketing on social media, most companies do what everyone else is doing, without ever stopping to ask, “Is this what makes the most sense for my market and my brand?”

And that’s usually the biggest mistake any business could make – swiping strategies and tactics that worked for someone else… when maybe, with a bit more effort and slightly more thought put into this, they could do things differently and get better results!

Following social media “best practices” and producing the same video content everyone else is publishing makes you much like everybody else competing for your customers’ attention. Even if that was the only disadvantage, it would still be enough.

How to solve it: Find out what works and what doesn’t. Experiment with different video topics, different runtime, different formats and tone. Test the limits of what your audience would like to see, and what the platform will allow.

Of course, we don’t mean that you should set out to offend people, or break the rules of the social media sites you’re posting on. That’s not what this is about. This is about trying new things, and learning as you go along.

Here’s a great and inspiring example: not long ago, Medium decided they would experiment with real-time video replies to their users, using Twitter video. This is the definition of delighting customers with video, and people loved it.

If Medium had stuck with boring “best practices”, they would never have tried this!

You should strive to create original, engaging video content for every social media platform where you want to attract a sizable following – that is, every social site where your best customers are likely to discover your brand.

It starts with understanding what your target market wants, and what kind of video content works best for them on the platform of your choice. Avoiding the six mistakes we’ve described in today’s post will help you put together a rock-solid strategy for high-engagement, irresistible social videos!