Platform Specificity Is The Key To Winning At Social Video



In an ever-changing social video landscape, what makes up a good story that can catch your viewers’ attention fast on all platforms? David Schneider and David Levin from That Lot had the answers.


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The social media landscape is becoming more and more video-first. Just in the UK alone, 44 percent of people watch videos online every day, according to reports. For brands and agencies, it has become ever more evident that making sure their video content cut through should be a priority.

But how? At Social Media Week London 2018, That Lot’s David Schneider and David Levin guided the audience through what works and what doesn’t in creating and landing video on social. They discussed how to combine creativity, a platform-first approach, and what are the elements that make a video thumb-stopping.

Get to know “platform specificity”

Levin walked the audience through That Lot’s approaches in creating videos specifically for different platforms.

Instagram: engaging audiences with authentic Instagram Stories

Today, a lot of brands’ emphasis when it comes to marketing with videos on Instagram should be on Stories, according to Levin, citing stats as proof: 40 percent of Instagram Stories are videos. He thinks that the videos that work best should be those that “connect with people and feel authentic.” For example, low production budget, behind-the-scene Stories usually work better than carefully crafted and high-resolution videos, because viewers feel more connected and are generally more interested in the former.

Facebook: understanding the platform’s rules

For landing videos on Facebook, Levin summed up seven takeaways for content creators:

  1. The video should have a strong opening
  2. It should make sense with or without sound
  3. Branding should be placed in the video early on, instead of being pushed to the end
  4. Place text or explainers that tells the audience what emotion they should be getting from the video
  5. Keep it short, but accommodate the length to the habits of your platform’s viewers
  6. Content should be relatable to viewers

Twitter: Capture the golden moment

Twitter users usually expect short and snap content – anything that catches their attention fast, according to Levin. That said, content on Twitter should be about “what’s happening,” about “capturing the little moments.”

Snapchat and LinkedIn: Native and exclusive

For Snapchat specifically, That Lot has created content that lives natively and exclusively on the platform, according to Levin. The team also used a lot of Snapchat’s own tools like face filters to accommodate to what Snapchat users usually like to see, and that turned out working well. Likewise, for Linkedin, although not a whole lot people have started using the platform to upload videos when they do it natively, the stats are usually great, Levin said.

Understand “who you are” before diving into production

Schneider used his experience writing for films to help audiences break down on how to put together a video. The most important thing, before everything else, is human interest, according to Schneider.

“Whatever platform you choose, at the core of it, is a human story,” said Schneider, building upon Levin’s analysis of platform specificity.

He brought up four key elements of a successful video campaign.

  • Elevator pitch: it means a pitch so short and straightforward that even if you just had a few seconds in an elevator, you could make a pitch clear;
  • KPIs: brands should have a clear sense of what they hope to achieve through this campaign;
  • Demographic: brands need to know who is the group of people that this campaign is trying to reach;
  • Tone of voice: brands have to be very sure about who they are.

Moving the story forward

Schneider used shark as an example to illustrate how important it is to move the story forward in videos.

“Videos are like sharks. You have to keep moving and moving forward, and you want a series of steps that build on each other and reaching somewhere,” said Schneider.

By moving the story forward, he meant building tension through having steps that build upon each other to reach a climax point. This is how viewers will keep watching and not get bored away.

Breaking even further down, the trick is making sure that every frame is engaging. Schneider sees that as a way to “control” the viewers.

“It’s about guiding the eyes,” said Schneider. “Every frame should tell the right story, so that you can control the viewers and tell them where to look.”

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