6 Ways to Make Your Videos Thrive on Social Media

If you’ve been a video producer in a pre-social media world, your videos may be missing the mark on social media. When I produced a video series for the Smithsonian catered to reaching millennial audiences online, I discovered that there were several key features that my videos had to include to give viewers on social media the best experience possible.

1. Use text and captions in your videos

Most viewers who watch videos through social media watch on mute on their smartphones. This means that you have to make your video make sense without sound.

If you feature a speaker on screen or a use a voiceover, include captions that can easily be read from a small phone screen.

2. Keep it short

Attention spans are short on social media, so make your video as long as it needs to be to get your message across, but no longer. Show your most compelling imagery at the beginning of the video to hook viewers from the start.

3. Use a great thumbnail

When you upload your video to social media, select a thumbnail that 1) represents what your video will be about and 2) entices viewers. If none of the stills from your video capture the full story, create a title card with text for your video to use as your thumbnail.

4. Be aware of video orientation

Widescreen “horizontal” videos may have ruled the screens before social media, but nowadays most social media platforms favor “vertical” or square videos. Vertical and square videos will take up more space on your followers’ feeds and will therefore give you more time to capture their attention.

5. Cross promote your social media videos

Did you collaborate with a partner on your video? Have your partners cross promote your video by sharing it with their audiences and tagging you. Leverage the social aspect of social media to give your video a boost in traction and viewership. Leverage any partnerships your company already has to produce videos together and cross promote them.

6. Share often

Due to algorithms, only a fraction of your followers will ever see your posts. For that reason, you can’t spend a bunch of time creating videos just to share them once on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Distribute the video multiple times in various ways:

  • Share the same video again at different times with new captions.

  • Share teasers and shorter cuts of your video.

  • Link to a longer version of the video on your site.

6 Ways to Make Your Videos Thrive on Social Media

When you include marketing as part of the creative video production process, you’ll be able to create more engaging videos that will help you get new customers, and lead to increased revenue.

How to Vet Influencers to find the Right Partnerships for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

When partnering with influencers to market your product or brand, it’s crucial to make sure that you are working with influencers who will reach the right audiences and give you the best return on your investment. Here are the questions to ask to find the right partnerships for your influencer marketing campaign.

  • What are my goals for this campaign? Having a business outcome in mind will help you stay focused while finding the right influencers to work with.

  • Who am I trying to reach? Having a target audience in mind will help you pick the right influencers to work with. You probably won’t want to work with a mommy blogger if your product is intended for college students.

  • How large is the influencer’s audience? You can determine the size of an influencer’s audience by adding up the his/her social media followers, and seeking information about web traffic and subscribers from a blogger’s media kit.

  • Has this influencer bought followers? If an influencer has a massive following on social media, but gets a measly amount of comments and likes, the influencers has likely paid for followers. This method leads to an audience full of fake accounts, which are useless to you, the brand, because they won’t engage with your company or buy your product. Based on my own research, Instagram accounts with 4,000 followers should be getting about ~100 likes per post.

  • Who is the influencer’s audience? The influencer’s media kit should give you insight into who his/her brand attracts.

  • Has the influencer worked with brands before? Ask to see samples of sponsored posts the influencer has done in the past to see if his/her work is up to your standards.

  • Has the influencer worked with your competitors? If an influencer has done partnered posts for your competitors, it’s best for you to look for a different partner.

  • How responsive is the influencer to your emails? If you’ve had to follow up multiple times to get a response from an influencer, chances are (s)he’s too busy to work with you and it will be hard to communicate with him/her during the campaign and afterwards to collect analytics.

  • What does the influencer expect in return? Some influencers are happy to promote brands for free, while others will only promote you in exchange for products and/or monetary compensation. While asking for compensation can seem frustrating for brands who are looking for free press, working with an influencer who knows what (s)he is doing is like working with a creative director, account manager, copywriter, photographer, and editor all in one. Think about how much money went into producing your last traditional advertising campaign. Chances are, influencer marketing will cost you less, and will help you reach more engaged audiences. When an influencer gives you his/her rate, determine whether working together will be worth it for your brand in terms of ROI.

Now that you know what to look for when choosing influencers to work with, find out how to launch your first influencer marketing campaign.

Influencer Marketing for Brands: What to Expect from Your First Influencer Marketing Partnership

Influencer marketing is an important tool for brands that want their advertising efforts to stick. As ad blockers are on the rise, traditional online advertising is becoming less and less effective. Influencer marketing helps spread the word about your brand to a receptive audience through a source they trust.

If your company is just getting started with influencer marketing, here are the steps you need to take and what you can expect from your fist influencer marketing campaign

1. Identify your goals

Why do you want to do an influencer marketing campaign? Is it to promote the new product your company launched? Is it to change public opinion about a product you already have on the market? Having a concrete business goal in mind will make sure your influencer marketing campaign focused.

Who are you trying to reach with this influencer marketing campaign? Having a target audience in mind will help you select the right influencers to work with. You probably won’t want to work with a mommy blogger if your target demographic is college-aged.

2. Create messaging points and campaign requirements

After your influencer marketing goals are set, you’ll need to come up with the messaging points that you’ll use during influencer outreach. These messaging points will help you streamline communication with influencers during the next step. They will also help you keep your business objectives in mind. Your messaging points can help you create an email template that you’ll customize before sending to each influencer to invite him/her to join your campaign. Besides having messaging points for the specific campaign, you’ll also want to have general information and FAQs about your product available in case they

When you reach out to influencers, you should send them at least two pieces of information (in your initial email, attached as a PDF, or in a landing page you’ve created for the campaign):

  • Key messaging points about your product/campaign that the influencers must use in their final deliverables (blog posts, Instagram posts, videos, etc.).

  • General information and/or FAQs about the product and your company to give the influencer context if (s)he isn’t already familiar with your brand.

3. Identify influencers to work with

Once you have your goals set and your key messaging points established, you’ll need to identify influencers to work with on your campaign. Start a spreadsheet to keep a list of influencers who may be a good fit to talk about your brand.

Find influencers to work with using these methods:

  • A quick Google search can lead you to lots of influencers. If you are looking for influencers in a specific area, make sure to include your city/region in your search terms. Also include the type of influencer you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a diaper brand based in Boston, you may search “boston mommy bloggers.”

  • Ask your colleagues if they have connections to influencers or read any blogs that might be a good fit for your campaign. Make networking with influencers a regular part of your job by looking for events created for or by influencers in your area.

  • Reach out to blogger networks. Some cities have local blogger networks, which have directories of bloggers in their area. When I was blogging on behalf of my food blog, Better Than Ramen, while living in Chicago, I was a member of the Windy City Blogger Collective.

  • If all else fails, there are lots of free and paid influencer databases you can use to identify bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers.

When finding influencers to work with, record the name of their blog/account, their name, and contact info in a spreadsheet.

4. Influencer outreach

Influencer outreach is a numbers game. Influencers with large followings get many requests to participate in campaigns each day, so you have to reach out to lots of them in order to get a response from them.

Reach out to influencers individually, rather than by sending a mass email. Mass emails indicate to influencers that they are replaceable, and that you don’t want to work with any one of them specifically. Using an email template tool (Hubspot has a great free one) will let you reach out to many influencers individually while saving time and letting you customize each email.

I recommend customizing each email by starting off by telling the influencer about a great post that (s)he recently wrote.

In addition to sharing information about your campaign with the influencers, you should also ask the influencer the following questions in your initial email:

  • Are you interested in working with my brand?

  • Can you send me your media kit (this will help with step #5)

5. Vetting Influencers

Once you start getting responses from influences, you will hopefully have more interest than your budget allows. Now it’s time to vet influencers to find which ones would be the best fit for your marketing campaign.

Here are questions you should ask before working with an influencer:

  • How large is his/her audience? You can determine this by checking out the influencer’s social media following, and looking for information about web traffic and newsletter subscribers from a blogger’s media kit.

  • Has this influencer bought followers? If an influencer has an impressive following on Instagram, but gets only a handful of likes and hardly an comments, the influencers has likely paid for followers. This method leads to an audience full of fake accounts, which while they look impressive, are useless to you, the brand, because they won’t engage with your brand or buy your product as a result of your collaboration with the influencer! Based on my research, Instagram accounts with ~4,000 followers should be getting about 100 likes per post.

  • Has the influencer worked with brands in the past? Ask to see samples of sponsored posts (s)he’s done in the past to see if his/her work is up to your standards.

  • How responsive is the influencer to email? If you’ve had to follow up multiple times to get a response from an influencer, chances are (s)he’s too busy to work with you and it will be difficult to get what you need out of your campaign from him/her.

  • What is the influencer asking for in return? Some influencers are happy to promote brands for free, while others ask for free product and/or monetary compensation. While asking for compensation can seem frustrating for brands who are looking for free press, working with an influencer who knows what (s)he is doing is like working with a creative director, account manager, copywriter, photographer, and editor all in one. Think about how much money went into producing your last traditional advertising campaign. Chances are, influencer marketing will cost you less, and will let you reach new audiences. When an influencer gives you his/her rate, think about if working together will be worth it for you in terms of overall ROI.

6. Influencer marketing contracts

A partnership with influencers should be treated like any other business partnership, even if you’re just offering free product in exchange for a post. As the brand, you should send contracts to all of the influencers you will be engaging for your influencer marketing campaign. Don’t forget to include:

  • Deliverables - What are you asking the influencer to create? Is there any key messaging that the influencer MUST include in the deliverables? Are you asking for an analytics report after the campaign?

  • Compensation - What does the influencer get in return? When will (s)he get it? What are the payment terms?

  • Timeline - Be specific about deadlines for different phases of the project (When is the blog draft due? When does the post have to go live? When will you ask for analytics?).

  • Disclosure - Make sure influencers you work with are familiar with the FTC’s endorsement laws and understand how to disclose sponsored posts legally.

7. Working with influencers during an influencer marketing campaign

Before an influencer marketing campaign, your role as the brand is to give the influencer all of the information (s)he needs to accurately tell his/her audience about your brand.

During the post creation process, you should be hands off. You partnered with the influencer for his/her authentic storytelling. Meddling too much with the creation process will be apparent to the influencer’s audience and may actually hurt your business goals.

During the post creation process, your job as a brand is just to 1) make sure your contract requirements are met and 2) making sure your brand is used properly.

8. Influencer marketing campaign analytics

After your influencer marketing campaign has ended, you’ll want to measure the success of this campaign and its ROI. Besides tracking sales, web traffic, and other objectives through your company’s analytics software, you’ll also want the influencers you’ve worked with to send you analytics reports with data from their site.

For sponsored blog posts, ask for things like:

  • Post traffic - unique visits and total views

  • Link clicks

  • Bounce rate - how long did people stay on the page?

  • Social media analytics - If you required influencers to promote their sponsored blog post on social media, ask them for link clicks from their social posts, total post impressions, and engagement rate on the sponsored posts.

For sponsored social media posts, ask for the following KPIs:

  • Total post reach

  • Total post impressions

  • Post engagement

  • Link clicks

Influencer Marketing for Brands: What to Expect from Your First Influencer Marketing Partnership

Now you know what to expect from your first influencer marketing campaign and how to execute it. Best of luck!

Millennial Marketing Strategies for the Hospitality Industry

While creating an unforgettable in-person experience is the cornerstone of the hospitality industry, leaving your restaurant's or hotel's online experience as an afterthought will make you less competitive when trying to attract millennial consumers, who rely on online content for  making purchasing decisions. With millennial consumers spending more on experiences than on things, it is crucial for the hospitality industry to capture these digital natives by prioritizing online content.

Here are several marketing strategies your hotel or restaurant can adopt to attract millennial customers. 

1. Be active and on-trend on social media

Meet millennials where they spend their time online - on social media.

Instagram is especially useful for the hospitality industry, because it allows restaurants and hotels to show what kind of experiences they can offer customers instead of just telling them about it.

Facebook is essential because of its power as an advertising platform.

Twitter is becoming a powerful customer service tool in the hospitality industry. Check out how Hyatt is using Twitter to supplement its concierge team. For restaurants, bars and food trucks, Twitter is the best social medium for informing guests of daily specials, locations, and closings.

2. Tap into millennial FOMO with Influencer marketing campaigns

In a social media fueled world, it's no surprise that 7 in 10 millennials experience FOMO, or "fear of missing out." You can use this feeling to your advantage by partnering with bloggers and social media influencers to promote your business. Influencer marketing is more effective than traditional advertising because millennials trust their peers and not ads.

3. Use videos to your advantage. 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much a 10-second video can say about your business.

Creating and sharing video content on social media is advantageous because social networks like Facebook are giving videos priority in their algorithm because they allow advertisers to spend more on ads. This means that your organic (non-ad) video content will show up in more followers' feeds.

With YouTube search results appearing at the top of Google search result pages, posting videos on YouTube can help boost your website's search engine ranking. 

While there will always be a need for beautifully-produced, evergreen videos, there is also value in creating live and temporary videos. Facebook Live lets your followers interact with you on a real-time basis, while Instagram Stories are a fun way to show what is going on at your hotel, restaurant or bar in the moment.

4. Focus on reviews

Online reviews are word-of-mouth marketing for the digital era. Online reviews can make or break a purchasing decision for millennials. Ask satisfied clients to leave you reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Google and Trip Advisor, and offer an incentive, like a small discount or free drink, for doing so. Don't forget to check these reviews regularly to get customer feedback and conduct damage control!

Millennial Marketing Strategies for the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry must put social media, reviews, videos and influencers at the forefront of their digital marketing strategy if they want to attract valuable millennial customers.

Which millennial marketing strategy has worked best for your hospitality business?

Let us know in the comments below.

If you found this article helpful you might enjoy...

Why the Hospitality Industry Needs to Be Marketing to Millennials on Boston Content's blog

5 Ways to Use Videos in Your Restaurant’s Social Media Strategy

So you’ve learned that video marketing is here to stay and you’d like to use it to turn your restaurant’s social media followers into repeat customers. With a smartphone in your pocket, you and your staff have access to the tools you need to capture and upload engaging videos, but what should you film?

Whether you’re uploading produced videos, going on Facebook Live or sharing Instagram Stories, here are five ways to incorporate videos into your restaurant’s social media strategy.

1. Tantalize hungry followers with food porn on social media

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth at least a thousand pictures. Videography is the ultimate visual medium, so leverage it for what it’s worth. Capture your most attractive menu items by creating some food porn.

If you're a pizza shop, film the gooey cheese oozing off of a slice of pizza as you pick it up from the pie, a la Chicago's Gino's East below.

If you have a bakery, cut into a cake to show off the chocolatey layers inside. Show steaming hot croissants being taken out of the oven.

Hungry social media followers are easy to attract with food porn, so get creative and share videos of menu items that look just as good as they taste.

2. Share recipes and how-to videos on your restaurant’s social media

The folks at Buzzfeed’s Tasty are arguably the pioneers of recipe videos optimized for social media. Their bite-size square format, time lapse recipe videos with text graphics are perfect for consumption in their followers’ news feeds. How many of these videos have you shared on Facebook?

Learn from the experts of all things viral and shoot a simple recipe video to share with your restaurant’s followers. While you shouldn’t give away the recipe to your secret sauce, consider showing your followers what goes into a popular cocktail or a new menu item to get them in the door.

The following is a video we produced, directed, shot and edited for online food magazine Better Than Ramen illustrating an original recipe.

Videos like this require a bit of editing, so if you don’t have these capabilities in-house, consider finding a video producer who specializes in social media videos.

3. Promote new menu items on your restaurant’s social media

Besides capturing your menu’s most attractive items for your restaurant’s social media followers, you can use videos to introduce new or seasonal menu items to your online audience. If you have daily or weekly specials, pique diners’ curiosity by shooting a short video showing off these new dishes and explaining what they are.

Below you'll find a video we created of bartenders preparing a new cocktail for the summer menu at Chicago's iconic Pump Room bar for Better Than Ramen.

This type of content will be especially appealing to regulars who have tried most of what your menu has to offer.

4. Gives social media followers a behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant

The beauty of social media is that it helps businesses connect with their followers in new ways and helps them tell their brand story. One way to connect with your followers and thank them for following you online is to share a look behind-the-scenes of your restaurant.

Take your followers where they typically can’t go at your restaurant. Film a video in your kitchen and introduce your chefs. Show followers how their favorite dish is prepared. Show your customers how your team preps your space for special events. 

Below A&J King Artisan Bakers in Salem, MA take their followers behind-the-scenes to the kitchen to show how their signature loaves come out of the oven.

5. Share news and updates about your food business through social media

Sharing news through social media videos is a fun way to keep your followers up to date on what’s happening at your restaurant.

If you’re opening a new location, share a time lapse of the progress to build anticipation. If you’re making a big announcement, considering making it via Facebook Live, and tell your visitors and followers when to tune in to hear the big news.

Instead of posting a job listing on LinkedIn, Boston's Little Donkey shared this fun video of their staff to announce that they have an opening on their team.

How to incorporate videos into your restaurant’s social media strategy

We hope this article inspired you to grab your smartphone or camera and start filming around your restaurant, bar, food truck or cafe.

If you find that the do-it-yourself approach isn’t for you, contact BLOOM Digital Marketing to learn how we can help your restaurant or food business grow with video social media marketing.

Are you a restaurant owner or manager? What would you take videos of to share with your restaurant’s social media followers?

Let us know in the comments below.