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Social Media Videos: The Custom Creative Paradox

Would you send your friend a Pampers TV commercial to watch?  Of course you wouldn't, unless it happened to be unusually funny or otherwise compelling.  He or she could see that on TV any day of the week.<

This is the crux of the problem with social media videos:  In their anxiousness to get involved with social media, marketers continue to repurpose the same old TV commercials on Facebook and other social platforms for their friends and followers.  And that's just wrong. 

The "lean into" social media environment is not the same as that comfy living room couch world where TV commercials operate.  This is not a broad dispersal media environment. It's a targeted world your friends and advocates have voluntarily joined to hook up with you and your brand. It's different, and that difference necessitates custom creative to be really effective. 

When friends are communicating on Facebook, for example, they are sharing news and tips.  They are also seeking entertainment and education, and shared appreciations. Marketers need to speak to these people in the same way, as friends and supporters, if they are going to succeed in these social venues. 

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Slapping a TV commercial up on your Facebook page that half the world has already seen seven times does nothing to enhance your brand, or communicate effectively to your core "friend" base. Instead, you should strive for entertaining, educating, and enlightening. 

Brands should consider things like what Bounce does on its website, showing all of the different uses for the product outside of the laundry.  For example, did you know that keeping a sheet of Bounce in your kid's pocket in the summer can keep away mosquitoes?  Or that WD40, when sprayed on the lower rails of your patio, can keep away pigeons?  How about manufacturers of anti-itch cream letting their Facebook friends know that applying a copper penny to a bee sting will eliminate most of the pain immediately? Videos addressing items like this can be easily produced, and can be so much more impactful than a traditional commercial about Calamine lotion. 

Tonality is also key for social media videos.  Videos that appear on sites like MySpace should reflect the type of content that exists on that site. MySpace is now all about music, so shouldn't any video posted on that site have a strong music track associated with it? Videos on Facebook should be light on studio production values, and include real people rather than highly paid personalities. 

Marketers must think carefully about the kind of videos they feature in social media platforms to ensure they are communicating appropriately to a friend.  Ask yourself the question of whether or not you would ask a real friend of yours to watch the video you are posting to Facebook.  Is it relevant? Is it friendly in tone? Will the video interest, inform, or even educate your friend? 

There is a cost to these custom videos, but it's not nearly as much as you may think.  Thanks to tactics like crowdsourcing, custom video production is easy and much more cost-efficient than ever before.  Your videos can be developed with real people instead of stylized actors; with a fun, engaging tone that might not suit your brand on television but is perfect within social media applications.   

Marketers should also consider using their in-house production services, as well. While they may not be able to produce broadcast-TV-quality work, they are certainly well suited for "how-to" or instructional video segments that could be perfect for Facebook or other social media uses. 

There are no longer any excuses for not appropriately developing or customizing videos to strengthen connections with social media fans.  When it comes to video production and deployment, brands and marketers who treat their fans as friends stand to have better and more lasting results from their social media engagements and experiences.

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