The Social Video Blueprint: Branded Social Video Marketing Explained

by Rachel Toole  28 July 2011

Every week MEDIAmobz will bring you highlights from a nine-part REELSEO series on how brands are turing to social video to better reach and engage customers. We will cover social video marketing from all angles, including case studies, best practices, strategies, and more. For this first installment, we will discuss social video as a concept, defining it, and setting the stage for the rest of the series.

Social Video Defined & Differentiated

In order to define what social video is, it’s important to differentiate it from viral video, because a lot of websites use the terms interchangeably and it’s easy for people to get confused.

Where “viral video” is more of a destination (“We did it, we’ve gone viral!”), social video is all about intent on the part of the brand. Social media has woven itself into the fabric of our society. It’s how we share good news, movie reviews, photos, or videos. It’s the new front porch… the new water cooler… social media is where our communication with each other is taking place. So social video is all about an intentional brand strategy that leverages the powerful communication capabilities of social media by appealing to the emotions that cause viewers to share.

A social video can go viral, and a viral video can have social elements. Viral is the end product… a video that gets a ton of views has reached viral status. But social video is the genesis of the content… it begins with a brand saying, “How can we interact with our customers more over video, and what kinds of video are they more likely to share and discuss with each other?”

Social video seeks more than views, it seeks shares. It seeks interaction and discussion. Most of all, social video seeks a long-term relationship with consumers over a short-term sale.

Branded Social Video Examples

Social video is pushing brands away from the old ad conventions and into an entirely new era where brands create their own content. Let’s look at an example: a piece of social video marketing from Pretty-Social. The company sells a line of products printed with the images of your Facebook friends. Now, they could easily have produced the same-old boring voice-over spot we’ve seen on television for decades, with a narrator simply explaining and showing off the products and services.

And while there’s definitely a time and place for that kind of ad, it would never go viral. For a video to go viral–especially a branded video–it’s got to do so much more than advertise. It needs to entertain, and create an emotional response in the viewer, which then spurs on that sharing behavior social video is really after.

So instead of going that route, Pretty-Social went for content creation, and produced a video of a woman getting her Facebook friends’ faces tattooed on her arm. It was a hoax–the tattoo was temporary–but the video grabbed nearly 3 million views. Why? Because it was a lot more compelling. Here’s the video:


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