Social – video – marketing: the holy tri-factor of the digital marketing age. In this article, we’ll first breakdown the three elements for you, and then show how they all come together to form a symbiosis that represents one of the best marketing tactics you can use in today’s digital age.

Breaking down the equation

1. Social media

What makes social media so attractive to both the everyday man/woman and the marketer? For one, people are increasingly virtual-fying their interactions with other human beings. There are family members who message each other across the hallways, and then there’s the guy who Facetimed his own oven.

There are numerous applied differences. Firstly, VR requires bulky and oftentimes expensive headsets. AR, on the other hand, is now getting increasingly integrated into mobile devices – thanks to Apple’s ARKit and (to a lesser extent) Google’s Tango. In fact, most people are already acquainted with one form of AR or another. Snapchat, Instagram, and Pokemon Go are just some examples of apps that carry AR functions.

While VR has its place in gaming, it is still a niche area. AR, on the other hand, holds numerous foreseeable applications to daily life. And since Apple is once again in the lead, it is expected that other mobile makers will be scrambling to match up with Apple’s AR technology. We can expect an exponential growth in the number of AR-supported mobile devices, as well as increasing sophistication of AR technology in the near future.

Image Credits: Brandon Stanton/HONY 
Since Its Inception In 2010, HONY’s Reach Has Extended Far Beyond New York.

The sense of community on HONY’s Facebook page is palpable. Each image garners at least thousands of likes and shares, with comments originating from around the world that are just as moving as the image captions themselves. On the occasions when Stanton raised funds for his photographic subjects, his appeals have always been met with an outpouring of support. A fundraising campaign launched in 2015, in support of liberating bonded labourers of Pakistan, raised $1,000,000 within the first 12 hours. This is an achievement that many NGOs can only dream of.

In the real world, people who live on the fringes – homeless people, racial minorities, disabled people – are invisible at best, discriminated and abused at worst. What is it about HONY that makes us so charitable? Besides the emotional value HONY delivers, the other linchpin is trust. When people get a glimpse of your deepest self, they tend to trust you more. And when people trust you, they will buy into what you say – literally and metaphorically. Both of Stanton’s books topped the NYTimes bestsellers list when they were launched in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

How Would You Respond If You Saw This Man From Across The Street?

2. Video

Videos are everywhere. If you use the internet regularly, then chances are, you would also be consuming video information, whether you consciously recognize it or not.

Studies & have attested time and again that people are spending more of their entertainment time consuming videos online. More than 1 billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day5. While this still doesn’t compare to the 1.25 billion hours spent watching the television by Americans alone, online video viewership is on a rapid upward trend, while TV viewership is going down. It’s not implausible to think that, in the next decade or so, TV content may just become obliterated by evermore innovative forms of video content.

It’s Not Uncommon To Be Using Multiple Digital Devices At The Same Time. Research Shows That 65% Of Mobile Video Users In The US Watch The TV And Mobile Videos Simultaneously6.

In the world of online videos, Youtube sits solidly on the throne – there are no precedents on par with it and no successors yet in sight.

While Dailymotion and Vimeo offer similar functionalities, it’s the distant social media cousins like Facebook and Snapchat that are competing most strongly with Youtube. With continuous efforts to optimize the online video viewing experience on all these platforms, it will only become more convenient for people to watch internet videos in future.

Online videos are a powerful conduit for information. As with social media, online videos can exert a normative influence on the way we think and behave. From the Evolution of Dance, to Charlie Bit My Finger, to Psy’s Gangnam Style, a number of videos have become successfully incorporated into the internet zeitgeist after going viral for sustained periods of time – a rare honour indeed, amidst the constant flood of digital information.

I See A Video… I See A Man… UGHH! How Did This Get Viral???

Developers are catching on

Businesses, it seems, are also well aware of the privileged position which viral videos occupy in our collective memories. Many of them seek to create this virality in their digital marketing campaigns. As one of the early adopters of internet video marketing, Dove has become synonymous with the championing of diversity. Its online marketing videos were watched by a large number of people, in a time when the word ‘viral’ hasn’t even been incorporated into the internet vocabulary.

Dove Understood That It Wasn’t Enough To Tell People That They Were Beautiful; They Had To Show People That They Are Beautiful.

Admittedly, Dove is backed by a large parent company. But even for companies that do not have the financial resources which Dove has, there are still some serious ROI to be gained from using a video marketing strategy. For what it’s worth, videos consistently outperform other content in generating conversions7, and many marketers believe that the ROI on video marketing is only going to get better8. Even if you do not have a comprehensive video marketing strategy, simply adding a video tutorial or webinar to your landing page can boost your SEO efforts significantly. Everyone can do this – you really don’t need much more than a smartphone and internet connection.

3. Marketing

Bill Gates once said that “content is King”. But over and against this, marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk declared that “context is God”9. While Gates was right in predicting the rise of internet content, Vaynerchuk’s statement hits the nail on the head: The larger context will always be inextricable to how businesses conduct marketing, and marketing will evolve for as long as people and situations change. The only way you can provide value to your customers is to make them happy, and the achievement of this goal depends upon how context-sensitive you are.

If context is God, then this will rule out any possibilities of an unchanging and non-context responsive marketing rule. But if there is to be just one predominant principle of marketing within our social milieu, then it may have to be that a digital marketing strategy is a necessity, not a luxury. Why is this the case? Just think about it: if you’re trying to find a product or a service, where do you look?

Even Yellow Pages Has Gone Online And Partnered With – You Guessed It – Google.

When we want to find out about a business, we typically take to Google in the first instance. Increasingly, we’re also looking on Yelp, Facebook, and review websites to get a better sense of the business. Internet usage is not limited to affluent millennials: Internet penetration rates around the world, including developing nations, continue to rise. Even our grandparents are catching up: Certain segments of the 65+ age group in the US are using the internet at a rate exceeding that of the general population. There are good reasons to think that in the foreseeable future, the internet will become an integral part of most people’s lives.

Who Said That Elderly People Can’t Keep Up With The Fun?

In the age of the digital media, not having online visibility means that your business is about as good as dead. Why? Because all your customers are (or will soon to be) online. If context is indeed God, then there’s really no question as to whether your business should be online as well.

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