If a picture is worth a thousand words, then, by my calculations, a two-minute video on YouTube played at thirty frames per second has got to be worth at least three-million-six-hundred-thousand words. But I’m no mathematician.
For such a pivotal form of media, the art of film is relatively young compared to pictures and written stories; it’s only been around since the late nineteenth century, and at that point it was just a novelty. Back then, there was no such thing as a feature length movie; instead, people would sit around and watch short, silent vignettes, brief on plot and characters and more experimental. Gradually, though, films, and the process of filmmaking, became more elaborate, and soon directors, actors, and writers were coming together to create stories. The camera served as a bulky pen, and movie set was paper.
Now we see videos everywhere. On the big screen, on the small screen, and, recently, on even smaller screens. Right under our thumbs, we have a catalogue of endless information, and included is a wealth of videos, from the six-second Vines, to the hour long lectures found in the more intellectual pockets of YouTube. Video has become an essential part of the time we spend on social media, so businesses and entrepreneurs should take care not to get left behind. Here are five reasons why it is crucial that you utilize video in your social media content strategy.

1. It’s a growing service:

Check your Facebook and scroll through your feed until you reach a video. Odds are, you won’t have to do much scrolling before you find yourself watching a montage of cats failing to mind the gap, or super-imposed Warriors participating in tag-team wrestling. In recent years, Facebook has almost become its own video service; it hosts around four billion video streams every day, and that number is only growing. Other outlets, like Vine and Snapchat, have taken it a step further with a specialization in short, punchy videos generally made for entertainment. People love watching videos, and people love sharing them. Which brings me to my next point…

image12. It’ll spread like wildfire

One of the great aspects about social media is its ability to spread anything and everything, from pop culture to breaking news stories. Going viral isn’t as hard as it used to be; with the right idea and a little bit of luck, your idea can become a sensation. And even if it doesn’t go Chewbacca Mom viral, a well-made, well-thought-out video is the fastest way to spread whatever content you come up with. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg himself cited video as one of the most shared formats on Facebook; he’s predicted that within five years, Facebook will be dominated by video.

3. It’s engaging

What catches your eye more? A block of text, or a video? Nowadays people are more likely to click on an embedded video than a link to an article. In the same way that, for better or worse, movies have drowned out books in terms of popularity, videos on Facebook are much more likely to be noticed and picked up than long rants. No one wants to read a novel when they’re browsing through Facebook.

4. It’s easier for the audience to understand

When you need to look up a how-to, odds are one of the first places you’ll check is YouTube. Seeing a step-by-step tutorial is simple and easy to follow, and that sort of simplicity applies to all types of videos. Take a look at Khan Academy, a channel that’s been helping students with their late night study binges for years. Their videos offer great, accessible lessons in all things math, from geometry to applied physics, and while you may not be catering to an audience of college kids studying Calculus III, making use of video will get your point across in a clear, concise way.

5. It can be whatever you want

Of course, that phrase can be said about any form of media–writing, pictures, photos–but I cannot stress enough how flexible video can be. Whether you want to make a formal, no-nonsense business announcement or a wacky, off-the-wall advertisement, video can do that for you. Some nuances can only be achieved with the direction and quick cuts of video editing. It’s an art form, and whether you want to make a quick vlog on life with your laptop camera or dramatic PSA with dark lighting and moody music, oftentimes the best way to get across what you want to say is with video.

Video is all about communicating with your audience, face-to-face. We live in a highly personal age, and video helps break down the impersonal barrier that lines of text often put up. To learn more about creating a social media strategy that doesn’t overlook the importance of video, sign up here: http://www.glowsocialmedia.com/go/learnsocial

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Courtney Lane Maki is the Founder and Managing Director at Glow Social Media, where she currently leads a team of 4 to provide agency-based content strategy and content creation, promoted through client branded social networks. Glow Social Media is located in REO Town in Lansing, Mi. Courtney can be reached at Courtney@glowsocialmedia.com