Jemma Goba: The importance of social video

With such dramatic expectation and hysterical excitement surrounding the annual unveiling of the John Lewis Christmas advert, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.
The John Lewis adverts have become a Christmas institution. Picture: ContributedThe John Lewis adverts have become a Christmas institution. Picture: Contributed
The John Lewis adverts have become a Christmas institution. Picture: Contributed

Does the figure of 20 million YouTube views (and counting) help crystallise things for you? With retailers as diverse as TK Maxx and Burberry revealing their Christmas video blockbusters, there can be no greater demonstration of the power of video-based marketing to engage an audience – nor of the willingness of an audience to be engaged.

In essence, a social video is one that is created to be shared. We fundamentally love to share; to grow relationships with those around us, to help define ourselves to others and spread the word about causes that matter to us. Video has an immediacy to it that you just don’t get from more traditional marketing methods.

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However, before grabbing a camera crew and perfecting your pitch, it’s important to think clearly about your goals for the campaign and, crucially, about how this will add value for the audience.

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Does the video share information, entertain, or provide a different viewpoint to a familiar issue? We are all vying for the “currency of attention”, and it’s vital to ensure that any social video is worth your audience’s time.

As Bernadette Jiwa describes in her book Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly: “Our customers are more than just passive consumers of our products and services. They are partners, co-creators, patrons, advocates, evangelists, collaborators and community members.”

Nurturing that relationship with your customer means providing them with social video that gets their pulse racing, appeals to their emotions and reflects their values – allowing them to engage with you and your video on their own terms.

In one of Tanami’s recent projects for Chevrolet, we followed Manchester United super-fan Martyn Murphy on an emotionally-charged day, as he was taken by surprise to receive the “Chevrolet Fan of the Year” accolade. We saw a phenomenal response to this video – sharing the content made Manchester United fans feel that bit more connected to their club, and it was impossible not to be touched by everyman Martyn’s heartfelt reactions to meeting his heroes.

Social media platforms are online spaces that allow conversations to take place with potential customers – they are not soapboxes. The aim should always be to create content that will captivate viewers, encourage them to learn more about your organisation or brand and engage with you, through an irresistible call to action. Using social video to bring your audience with you helps to build brand loyalty and trust – and shareability never hurts!

As Twitter, Facebook and others declare video an integral part of their growth plans, social video is becoming essential as a way to nurture and grow your customer base. You only need to take note of who directed and who starred in H&M’s festive ad this year to see how seriously top brands view the matter…

• Jemma Goba is managing director of Edinburgh-based social video producer Tanami