Video Essentials

Promote Your Online Videos with a Smart Social Media Strategy

You know about using Twitter and Facebook. You know about making your videos “search engine friendly.” Now it’s time to take your knowledge to the next level.

To learn what separates the social media superstars from those just getting by, we turned to an expert. Jonathan Weitz is a partner with IBB Consulting, which consults for media, mobile, and cable companies. He’s a social media maven and he was happy to share his expertise with readers.

When he thinks about excelling with social media, Weitz breaks his lessons down into things you can do on your own site, things you can do on other video sites, and things you can do on social networking sites.

Things You Can Do on Your Own Site
Many sites that show videos are organized into menu pages (which offer rows of thumbnails) and asset pages (which show one video), Weitz explains. Typically, search engines send viewers to your asset pages, since that’s what viewers click on after running a search. The challenge is to drive people to your menu pages.

The key is to make your site search engine friendly, so that more people find it organically. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to appeal to search engines: The more that people find your site, the more they’ll tweet about it. To appeal to search engines, make your headlines descriptive of the video, and have other text on the page that describes the video.

“Very often, people forget that search engines don’t interpret video yet,” says Weitz. They will someday, but for now you have to tell them what’s in your videos.

One secret to getting good descriptions on your pages is to skip out on hiring a big editorial team and, instead, get your site’s superfans to do the work for you. Provide incentives for your top visitors to provide content, such as a badge system.

“The badge is a social media tool that basically rewards your visitors for providing content,” says Weitz.

Jonathan Weitz

Even B2B services can take advantage of badge systems, he says, as businesses use badges, too.

On your asset pages, it’s critical to have prominent icons that let people like, tweet, or bookmark your site. You might be doing this already, but it’s time to do it smarter: limit your icons to just two or three and make sure they’re prominent on the page. They should be right upfront and clearly show how many times a page has been liked or tweeted.

Your comment system should be just as easy. Many sites have comments, but fail on the execution, Weitz says. Make sure there’s no painful registration process. If you insist on registration, be sure that visitors stay registered as they go from page to page. If possible, don’t require registration at all.

“You’d be surprised how often people forget about these basic things,” says Weitz.

Things You Can Do on Other Video Sites
By “other video sites,” we’re really talking about YouTube. Make sure you have a YouTube channel and create viral clips to show on it. It’s important to keep the channel fresh by contributing to it regularly. This encourages viewers to subscribe. Provide links back to your website and even highlight your site’s URL in the videos themselves.

Things You Can Do on Social Networking Sites
You’ve got a corporate Twitter account, but again: are you using it intelligently? Too often companies think of Twitter as a news feed, says Weitz, a method for sending news to their customers. Instead, it should be a conversation. To use Twitter effectively, you need to create dialogs with your followers and others in your industry. Keep a look out for popular topics that have something to do with your business, then jump in. Get a feel for what your target customer is interested in and follow people in that area. Do it right and you’ll start attracting attention.

“The goal of Twitter is to get thought leaders to talk about your site and to post links to your site,” says Weitz.

Do it all, and you’ll have taken your social networking strategy to the next level.



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