Video Marketing Tips: How to Use Your Video Assets on Social Media in 2018

We live in a time when all it takes to make videos is a smartphone and an idea. It’s incredible. Imagine how different our view of history might be today if our great-great-grandparents had been filming their daily lives a hundred years ago.

For businesses, the proliferation of online video presents unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers anywhere in the world. Video stands as one of the top ways people consume content online. By the year 2020, it will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic.

Along with dedicated video sites like YouTube, all the major social media sites now serve as native video platforms (LinkedIn was late to the game when it joined in 2017.) Videos can also be embedded directly on a company website.

With so many ways to leverage video, it can be hard even to know where to start. Here, we focus on the major social media platforms. These video marketing tips will help you learn how to use your video assets to their fullest potential in 2018.

how to use video assets

The Importance of Video Marketing in 2018

Gone are the days when you needed a script, a camera crew, and a budget to make high-quality, engaging videos. But don’t be fooled by the lucky few that go viral. It takes a lot of planning and behind-the-scenes work to make your video content succeed.

Small businesses often question whether video marketing is worth the time and effort. If you are looking to connect with customers online, the answer is a resounding yes. Studies show that most consumers would rather watch a video about a product or service than read about it. People are more likely to consume and engage with video than any other kind of content, and on Facebook, video content reaches an average of 135% more people than photos.

From an SEO perspective, video can be an enormously powerful tool. Well-optimized YouTube videos can rank at the top of Google search results, especially for instructional content like How-To’s. Videos that perform well on social media can be a generous source of social signals. And if you do happen to go viral, you can expect to get a torrent of backlinks to your site (look at what happened to the Dollar Shave Club when their launch video struck gold.)

How to Use Your Video Assets

If you know how to use your video assets, they can significantly boost the reach of your marketing efforts online. Implementing the following video marketing tips is a great way to get started.

1. Optimize Your Videos for Mobile Browsing

Social media is primarily a mobile activity. People between the age of 18 and 34 use mobile devices for social 78% of the time. To reach these users, make sure your video content translates to the tiny screens and fast pace of mobile browsing. Bold visuals and a clear message are essential.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have all introduced vertical video formats so users can watch without rotating their screens. If mobile users are your target, craft content that fits this taller frame.

2. Use Custom Thumbnails

Thumbnails are an art in and of themselves. A compelling thumbnail image can make the difference between another ordinary video and a huge hit.

Look at popular videos in your niche and note the kind of thumbnails that generate the most clicks. Is it big text and bright colours? Tantalizing product photos? An influencer’s head shot? Spot the trends and borrow them for your videos.

3. Have a Strong Start

According to Facebook, 47% of the value in a video campaign comes in the first three seconds, and the first 10 seconds amount to 74%. It is in those crucial moments that viewers decide whether your content is worth watching.

Most videos on social media AutoPlay by default. You can use this to your advantage. Start the video with a hook: a compelling question, an exciting scene, or an offer they can’t refuse. Just be sure to deliver on the promise in the rest of the video!

4. Show, Don’t Tell

This is one point where social media best practice diverges from that of a video-based platform like YouTube. On social media sites, most videos AutoPlay without sound; as much as 85% of all video views on Facebook occur on mute.

Whereas YouTube is both an aural and visual medium, social media video marketing weighs heavily towards the visual. Your video’s story must unfold primarily via images and on-screen text. It’s not that the sound is irrelevant, but when it comes to social media, you should assume your viewers will not hear it.

5. Know Your Platform

The above tips will help you understand how to use video assets across various platforms. However, when it comes to a broader video marketing strategy, each platform will call for a different approach. Facebook has a different tone and audience than Twitter, for example. Optimizing videos for YouTube requires exploring the platform’s search engine algorithm.

Keep in mind the purpose of each platform when deciding how to use your video assets. If you plan to invest heavily in one site over others, tailor your content to match it.

In Short: How to Use Your Video Assets

  1. Optimize for mobile browsing. Chances are, your audience will be watching on a 2×4’’ screen.
  2. Use custom thumbnails. Learn from successful competitors in your niche.
  3. Hook viewers in the first three seconds. That is where most of your value is.
  4. Assume your viewers are not Create content that resonates on mute.
  5. Tailor video to your platform of choice. Understand how different sites have different audiences and a unique tone.

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Why You Should Dump Sliders On Your Website

Content sliders, also known as carousels, showcase multiple links and images inside one box. The slider rotates through a sequence of content at a set interval, displaying each ‘slide’ for only a moment before moving onto the next.

It was not long ago that sliders were the go-to homepage design. There’s a reason for that: sliders are dynamic and eye-catching, and they let you easily to swap content in and out to keep the homepage current.

So why are so many sites ditching them?

Just look at this post showing examples of beautiful slider design. How many of those sites still have homepage sliders today?

In short, the downsides of sliders outweigh their visual appeal. Sliders hurt a site’s search engine visibility, frustrate its users, and do little to drive conversions. We’ll take you through the reasons why you should dump content sliders on your website.

why you should dump sliders on your website

Page Speed Reduction

Page speed matters when it comes to search engine visibility. Most people will wait no more than three seconds for a webpage to load before they abandon it, and Google’s search engine algorithm penalizes sites that are too slow.

One of the downsides of sliders is that they weigh the page down with extra images and Javascript. This leads to longer load times and a higher bounce rate, meaning many people will turn and leave before they have a chance to see your content.

Too Many H1 Tags

Search engine algorithms look to H1 tags for clues to the subject of a page. Best practice is to have one H1 tag with relevant keywords per page. The more H1 tags you have on a page, the less clear it is what the page is about.

Trouble is, content sliders usually have a separate H1 tag for each slide. Each time it shifts from one slide to the next, the H1 tag changes as well. Search engines have a harder time contextualizing the page as a result, dampening the impact of those keywords.

Bad for Mobile Browsing

Soon, Google will begin ranking websites based on the mobile browsing experience rather than the desktop version. That’s bad news for sites with content sliders.

Not only do sliders reduce page speed (which leads to even longer load times on mobile devices), but they translate poorly to touchscreens. The images shrink, the text loses formatting, and the tiny controls are even harder to use than on desktop.

Low Clickthrough Rate

Many firms have done studies on the clickthrough rate of content sliders (Yoast has a great round-up here.) While different sites have had varying success, they all support the same troubling finding: few visitors click sliders at all, and the clickthrough rate decreases with each successive slide.

There are several reasons why sliders don’t click. For one, they often resemble banner ads, so the banner blindness effect leads people to ignore them. One company that ran tests on sliders found that users had a hard time locating information in a slider, even though it was in a large font at the top of the homepage.

Usability is another factor. People don’t want to wait for the slider to rotate, nor spend time figuring out how to go back to a slide they missed. As a result, many users either leave the site or find another route to the content they want.

Dominates Above the Fold

The space above the fold (meaning the part of a page users can see without scrolling) is a site’s most valuable real estate. If the content above the fold doesn’t make the right impression, people are less likely to explore the rest of the site.

Considering how few people engage with them, sliders are a poor use of that space. So what’s the alternative?

Take another look at the list we mentioned at the start. Many of those sites have switched to what’s called the hero layout – a single bold image and a compelling tagline. Given that the first image in a slider always gets the most clicks, this one-message approach makes a lot of sense.

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The Gutenberg Update: What You Should Know About the WordPress Overhaul Coming in 2018

The world’s largest website management system is about to change. How will the Gutenberg update impact the 60 million websites that run on WordPress?

Gutenberg update

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the web. The platform powers over 29% of the top 10 million websites, including heavyweight publishers like The New York Times, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal.

WordPress is also the CMS of choice for millions of bloggers and small businesses worldwide — including yours truly.

The key to its popularity can be summed up in one word: flexibility. As an open-source platform, WordPress is open to extensive customization.

If you look under the hood of a well-crafted WordPress site, you’ll find an assortment of custom WordPress plugins, themes, and HTML codes. In fact, while WordPress itself is free to use, there’s an entire industry around developing premium WordPress themes and plugins for businesses.

But that’s all about to change in 2018.

Last year, the development team behind WordPress announced Gutenberg, a project in WordPress 5.0 that will transform how we build and manage WordPress sites.

While there’s no release date for Gutenberg yet, it’s time for bloggers and businesses who use WordPress to start thinking about how to adapt to Gutenberg.

What is Gutenberg for WordPress?

Gutenberg is a coming update to the WordPress post and page editing interface that replaces many of the plugins and widgets we use today with elements called Blocks. As of March 2018, the project is still in the beta phase. There is an optional Gutenberg plugin available to any WordPress developers who want to give feedback before the big launch.

Eventually, the Gutenberg editor will replace the editing interface WordPress users have come to know. The WordPress team has yet to say when this will occur, but the plan is to merge Gutenberg into WordPress 5.0 and launch by the end of 2018.

And that’s just phase one. According to the Gutenberg project page, the team also has its sights set on simplifying custom page templates and, ultimately, full WordPress site customization.

About Gutenberg’s Block System

Blocks will enable users to insert rich content like forms, social media posts, and multimedia within the WordPress post editor itself. The system resembles the editing interface on sites like Medium, which uses a similar drag-and-drop system for inserting rich content into posts.

The idea behind Gutenberg blocks is an ambitious one. Blocks are meant to simplify the patchwork of formatting elements used to build custom WordPress posts today, like plugins, widgets, and custom shortcodes.

Say you’re building a site for your business on WordPress. You want to create an ‘About Us’ page with employee bio’s. Rather than searching for a theme with a fitting template, or installing an ‘About Us’ plugin, you could ideally insert an ‘Employee Block’ that automatically embeds a photo, name, and biography.

Or, if you’re a food blogger, you could drag and drop a ‘Recipe Block’ that generates fields for ingredients, instructions, and photos into your posts.

There’s lots of potential in Gutenberg Blocks. But it also raises a big question: what will happen to all the custom WordPress sites out there today?

How Gutenberg Will Effect Your WordPress Site

 “Will Gutenberg break my website?”

That’s what many developers are asking ahead of the coming change. And it’s fair for them to worry. After all, many of the custom elements they rely on are set to become obsolete.

The good news is, Gutenberg will not break the part of your website users see when they visit. The update won’t change the WordPress front-end.  In other words, it should not impact your customers’ experience on your site.

The back-end is a different story. If your site relies on custom meta boxes and plugins, you may encounter issues the next time you edit a post. It will be up to the developers of your chosen plugins to bring their product up-to-speed with the changes, and if they don’t, you will have to find another solution.

One alternative is the Classic Editor plugin, which restores the classic editing interface and enables any WordPress plugins that extend it. The plugin can entirely replace the Gutenberg editor or add alternate “Edit” links that let you open a single post or page in the Classic editor, acting as a failsafe to keep the back-end of your site working as it should Gutenberg update drops.

Preparing for the Gutenberg Update

While the change has some developers wary, others are embracing the opportunity to modernize. The devs behind the incredibly popular Yoast SEO plugin are already talking about how to use Gutenberg to improve the user experience.

We’re still waiting on an official launch date, but there are things you can do in the meantime to prepare for Gutenberg: 

  1. Download the Gutenberg plugin and test it on your site. This is the best way to see how the Gutenberg update will effect your site. The project isn’t ready for production, but it will help you predict whether you will encounter problems when it’s
  2. Review the Gutenberg FAQ and documentation. The official documentation answers many of the common questions people have about the Gutenberg update.
  3. If your site relies on plugins, follow the development process. Popular plugins with a large user base are likely to be brought up to speed by their developers, but smaller ones could go obsolete. Now is a good time to review your plugins and make sure they’re up to speed.

We’re big fans of WordPress over here at TS, so we’re keeping a close eye on Gutenberg as it develops. We’ll be sharing our ongoing insights on this through our newsletter.

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