As I noted in my last article, 2015 has apparently been dubbed “the year of video marketing.” Go ahead, Google it yourself — you’ll get about 356 million results.

Being the skeptic I am, I decided to dig a little deeper in order to look beyond the hype and PR spin to see what’s really going on with video marketing. It turns out there are some drawbacks and limitations to video marketing that aren’t going to result in video replacing text on the Internet anytime soon, if you ask me.

But that’s not to say that I don’t think there’s any use for video in your online marketing arsenal. In fact, I was just hired by a new client to write a script for a video that will be used to help promote an international conference on strategy that will be held later this year.

A Quick, Visually Appealing Overview

Since video marketing isn’t my area of expertise, I called Richard Sink, the founder of Critical Connections and a pioneer in social media marketing, to get his thoughts on how video might fit into your online marketing plans.

“Video can communicate key points to your target audience very quickly, which is why I think it can be a great online marketing tool,” Richard told me. An article I found on Forbes.com made the same point: “Videos give customers a quick overview of a product without overwhelming them with text,” it stated. “In less than 30 seconds, a customer can get the information he needs about a business through a short, visually appealing video.”

Richard is especially bullish when it comes to using video on social media channels. “Videos can easily be uploaded to social networks and shared instantly with a wide audience,” he said.

Here, it’s important to distinguish between true marketing videos and the thousands (if not millions) of funny and silly videos that go viral on social networks every day. (By the way, if you haven’t seen the video of the Star Trek crew watching Miley Cyrus twerk, click here — I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair!)

Richard stresses that video content doesn’t always have to be product focused. “Given its entertainment value and informative potential, video should be leveraged to explore industry insights, customer experiences and company culture,” he said. “For example, you can easily organize interviews with thought leaders into a series of short videos, or launch a campaign that lets customers submit their own video testimonials.”

Shorter is Better

In general, shorter appears to be better when it comes to video marketing, especially if you’re sharing your videos on social media channels. If you’re like me when you scroll through your social media news feeds, a video has to really grab your attention for you to stop and watch it. And even if you do, you probably won’t watch for more than 10 or 20 seconds (unless it’s Captain Kirk watching Miley twerk — I watched the entire minute and a half and you will too!).

There are now micro-video apps that can shorten videos to less than 10 seconds to be played automatically on social media feeds. Twitter’s Vine, for example, allows videos that are exactly 6 seconds long. “In this format, customers can quickly view a message as they scroll through their social media feeds,” the Forbes.com article notes.

The article adds that you should create a publishing schedule for your videos just like you schedule your e-newsletter, blog posts, tweets and social media posts. “Think of your (video) campaign in terms of a series,” it says. “What type of story can you tell that will allow you to post it in multiple parts over the course of several weeks?”

Tutorials and how-to’s are one of the best uses of online video. They provide “built-in series potential,” says the Forbes.com article. “Rarely will you post just one how-to video. Provided your tips are useful, you’ll likely find customers keep coming back to see the next video in the series.”

Richard suggests that businesses use YouTube as the repository for their videos. “Set up and optimize your YouTube channel to ensure that your brand and video content is well represented here. Customize your channel settings, create custom channel art and icons, optimize your channel profile, generate video playlists, and customize individual sections of your channel.”

Video Marketing and SEO

Apparently I got one thing wrong in my last article about video marketing: According to Richard, videos can be search engine optimized in order to increase your website’s SEO rankings.

“It’s important to optimize your videos to ensure that they’re indexed and ranked by the major search engines,” he said. Among other measures, he recommends including video title optimization, video description details, and category and tags optimization.

Finally, another article I found on video marketing talked in detail about how videos can be used as a lead generation and qualification tool. It suggested adding an email gate to the start of your videos or a lead collection form to the end in order to capture qualified leads.

“That information can now be tied directly to contact records in marketing automation and CRM systems, providing a qualified lead that can be tied back to actual engagement in your online content,” the article concluded.

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