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Social Media Marketing Tips On Engaging Social Video Content

January 27, 2024
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Branded social video content can’t just be entertainment. Then the viewers will watch it and not think of your brand at all.  It also can’t be just about your brand, for then viewers won’t watch it in the first place. In this post a social media manager explores what it takes to create killer video content.

Creating engaging social video content that will hold the attention of audiences is a challenge. Companies produce social videos using lots of resources but the videos either fail to launch or fail to attract attention. Marketers now know better. They know that they have to tell stories and tell them well. Branded content is hot but it needs to have a good story. For the purpose of understanding lets define branded content. It means ‘video entertainment that subtly blends the brand and products being advertised into the storyline and in a way that does not disrupt the pleasure of watching ‘.

The Art of the Story

Strong branded video content needs strong storytelling. What’s common among Dove, Chipotle or Pantene? They think like Hollywood creatives. They produce content that people will want to watch. But how does one think like a Hollywood creative? What is the process?

In order to learn the art of storytelling, marketers can ask themselves these questions-

1] Does your branded content have ‘lean-in’ quality?

2] Does Your Branded Content Build on Current Social Discussions?

3] Is Your Branded Content Actually Branded?

What is ‘lean-in’ quality?

‘Lean in’ quality is that ‘special something’ that makes the viewer stop mid-sneeze, mid-breath, and lean in to the screen to watch what is playing.

1] Does your branded content have ‘lean-in’ quality?

If your video concept has everyone is the room genuinely floored by its wit, irreverence, intelligence, depth of emotions, then it has the ‘lean in quality.’ Still, identifying when ‘everyone in the room is floored’ may be at best, a vague method of going about this.

So ask this practical question : Will people pay to watch your video content?

Does not matter if it is a dime, or a nickel, but if they have to pay some money to get the content, would your target audience do so? If each of us had only 10 credits per month to watch 10 videos online, would people use their one credit to watch your branded content video? The answer has to be yes. If you think no one will pay for the content, go back to the drawing and avoid an expensive mistake. You do not want your content to die quietly on the corners of the Internet.

2] Lean-In content affects you

Remember: ‘Lean in’ is not synonymous with sad, happy, or witty etc. type of content. The video content can be silly or serious.  But it must be able to make a room stop and watch or break into riotous laughter, or sit in silence and fight tears, or start deep, passionate debates. Lean-in content affects you.

Does Your Branded Content Build on Current Social Discussions?

Good branded content is powerful because it engages us on issues that we care about – family, health, sex, careers, self-fulfilment etc. We have discussions about these issues with friends and partners. Good branded content builds on these discussions by adding value and making us appreciate, or question, our points of view. The content is in tune with the things that matter to its audience.

How does your brand touch the lives of your customers?

Content that responds to important topical issues is likely to find supporters for the point of view that it presents. If the content is strong enough, the supporters will become evangelists. They will spread the content far and wide across the hubs and portals of the Internet, helping it go viral. The performance of the content depends on laser-focus targeting of these supporters. They are the first responders to your campaign.  They hold the key in taking your campaign performance from tepid to successful.

Case Study: Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches
Dove’s customer base are women in the ages of 18 – 34. This audience have historically been manipulated by advertising to view themselves as inadequate and in need of ‘repair’. As a result of this conditioning, majority of women across all walks of life can identify with issues of poor body image and low self-esteem. Dove decided to address this issue with the concept –  ‘Pause. Breathe. You are beautiful.’ This is why it worked. Dove listened to its customers and became part of everyday conversations. Apparently, Real Sketches Beauty Ad is the most watched ad on Internet of all time. A year later bloggers are still spewing ink online praising – or critiquing – its message.


3] Is Your Branded Content Actually Branded?

Even as marketers are now forced to think like Hollywood executives, they actually are not. They serve a brand and its products.  The branded content that they are producing should tell stories that are tied firmly to the brand’s values, identity and positioning.

As a social media production company, it is our duty at Sinematic to keep up with what is being currently produced in advertising. There are several instances in which we have walked away from watching a branded content video wondering how it relates to the brand itself. This should not be the case.

Good branded entertainment has to master the art of coy. It may not feature the brand or its products but it should offer subtle clues that we are watching something about your brand. Just slapping your logo at the end of the video is not enough. One way to solve this is by having your product be the centerpiece of the storyline. Your product should melt into the storyline and in a way that does not disrupt the pleasure of watching.

Case study: BMW Film Series

The BMW film series nails the branded content. The BMWs get ample screen time, and that too organically. The films are stylish and made by a coteries of highly accomplished artists – Clive Owen, Forest Whitaker, Wong Kar Wai, Madonna, Ang Lee. These film capture the fancy of the targeted aspirational middle class audience that buys into the BMW brand. The demand for this series was so high that BMW ran out of the free DVDs that they were giving out in their stores.



Lastly, and even more importantly, is that branded content can’t be boring. Life’s too short for producing boring branded content.