Social Video Ideas For Schools

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Unlike household brands, schools don’t have the luxury of a big marketing department to help them create and push out video content on social media on a daily basis so making Social Video part of your marketing plan may seem daunting. But schools have a natural advantage over many consumer brands when it comes to social media: they already have an invested, loyal community in place – parents, staff, pupils – who can help amplify their video posts.

Scroll through any of your social media feeds and you’ll quickly notice the predominance of video in it. Video tweets have increased by 50% since the beginning of 2016. Facebook’s algorithm favours video, so if you want to cut through, it’s becoming more and more important to make video part of your plan.

Here are three examples of types of Social Video schools can create:

The Cinemagraph: no schools have an unlimited library of professionally shot video to constantly draw upon, but they all have professionally shot stills commissioned for the prospectus. Using those as a base you can make a cinemagraph. A cinemagraph is essentially a still photo with subtle motion. The video at the top of this blog is an example of a cinemagraph. This example also shows how you can use motion text to bring a still to life.

Live: using Facebook Live, Periscope or Meerkat, schools can involve their communities in the action as it happens. Taunton School used live video really well  to involve us in the moment when pupils and staff took on the impressive challenge to swim across the English Channel. Not every activity is suited to “live video” but this event had all the elements it needed to make it compelling watching: drama, anticipation, unpredictability, and with the functionality on these live platforms for viewer interaction, you could ask questions that were answered instantly and send messages of encouragement to the swimmers. Thanks to its real-time nature the Facebook algorithm places a high priority on “Live Video” so it’s a great way of getting seen in news feeds.

The topical tie-in: take a look the calendar, what events are coming up that you can tie your Social Video in to? In this example, we re-purposed this footage shot for a film we’d already made for Homefield School about their sports programme so they could tap into a trending topic at the time, The Rugby World Cup, and share in the celebration of the UK’s win.

Homefield School Case Study

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Video has come of age on social media and is now the most engaging type of post we see in our news feeds. You don’t have to be a big household brand to run a social video campaign, you just need to plan with social video in mind.

Here’s a case study video of how we have been working with Homefield School to extend their video communications onto their social media platforms.

May The Corporate Video Rest In Peace

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In the past we were often getting briefs to make films and when we delivered the finished film(s) the question would come up about how best to distribute them.  Not only did it highlight a need for our clients to have some form of support when it came to distribution, but it also flagged up something far more fundamental: if we had had the discussion around distribution at the outset we would probably have produced different films for them in different forms. So whenever we start working on a new film brief we think about Social Video opportunities from the outset, and we now offer our clients support with Social Video distribution.

The notion of spending 2 or 3 days shooting footage at various locations and then producing a 2 minute corporate film is an expensive wasted opportunity and is only going to be watched by people who are already very interested in your organisation. May the traditional corporate video rest in peace!

These days if you want to create video that is going to engage a wider audience then a corporate video about how wonderful your organisation is ain’t going to cut it.

So the question remains, how can it be done differently?

  1. Change your mindset: set out with the intention of making many videos (it doesn’t have to cost any more than making that single corporate video).
  2. Develop creative concepts for your videos that are adaptable for different audiences and platforms.
  3. Whether you can afford to shoot for 1 or 20 days, make sure you get as much quality video footage out of each day as possible.
  4. Develop a look and feel for your films that you can use consistently. It’s good practice for branding but also more cost effective: re-inventing the wheel each time you make a new film takes time and time is money.
  5. Build up a library of video footage and assets that you can draw upon on an ongoing basis.
  6. Build a relationship with your video supplier that will enable you to produce new films from your existing video library quickly as topical opportunities or new needs arise.

The Re-Emergence Of The Silent Movie

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A recent report states that 85% of auto-play films viewed in Facebook are watched without sound*. It is probably fair to assume a similar trend is happening for autoplay in-feed videos on Twitter as well. This statistic gives further credence to the case for versioning your videos for each platform.

The most effective way of getting your videos seen on Facebook timelines is to upload them directly to Facebook rather than via a YouTube link. This approach means your film auto-plays in a user’s feed as they scroll down.

So this poses the question of how best to approach designing a mute video? After all, the audio on a film plays as important a role in creating mood and emotion as the visual content.

The most common solution is to use subtitles or captions, and while they can’t do the same job in creating mood a soundtrack does, it is a simple solution. The savvier video content makers are all over this and as a result the subtitled/captioned Facebook film is already starting to look a bit too familiar and perhaps a little tired already.

When devising your video concepts serious consideration needs to be taken as to whether there is a version of it that will work well in silence. Maybe it’s time we looked back at some of the great films from the silent movie era to see what we can learn from them?

*Source: various publishers including LittleThings, Mic and PopSugar as well as data gathered by MEC North America from their client base.

Video By Far The Most Engaging Type Of Post

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It is perhaps not surprising that, in a study conducted by Buffer, video came out on top as the most engaging type of post on Facebook. What is remarkable is the extent to which this is the case, out-stripping other types by a country mile.

And this is precisely why we felt we needed to develop a new approach to video production to support organisations wanting to use video on their social media platforms. The traditional approach to video production just isn’t viable and agile enough to answer the demands of a social video campaign, but with a change of mindset and approach it can be.

Who Came Top Of The Class in 2016?

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Video content doesn’t always have to involve a live action shoot, schools can still use the power of video on their websites and social media channels by creating content pieces using motion graphics and data. Here’s an example we created to celebrate the achievement of those independent schools who came top of the class in their A Levels in 2016.

Have You Committed An Act Of Churnalism Today?

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I love the philosophy of content marketing. It forces marketers to produce work that is actually going to add value to our lives in some way. But, the demands of a good content marketing plan require that we produce new and fresh content on a regular basis and therein lies the challenge: how to keep coming up with original content ideas and not fall into the trap of churnalism in a bid to get some content out quickly?

We’ve all done it, we’ve sat our desks staring at our screens running Google searches, flicking through our Twitter feeds, in a vain search for inspiration for our next content piece. The results of that approach are evidenced all over the web with blogs, slideshares, infographics and videos, all regurgitating the same content. So what can you do to avoid falling into that trap?

Answer: walk away from your desk

Our corporate culture can make it difficult to walk away from our desks – “the boss might think I’m skiving off if I take a walk or head back to the cafe yet again” – it is a deep-seated work ethic that is hard to disobey. Even when I’m working alone from home I feel guilty if I’m not at my desk during normal work hours. But staring at your screen kills creativity and tempts us into repeated acts of churnalism.

When you walk away and let your own thoughts percolate, when you take inspiration from the natural world around you, that’s when the truly original ideas take hold, and when your idea has settled in your mind that’s the moment you should rush back to your desk and start creating your masterpiece.

So next time you find yourself about to commit an act of churnalism send your boss this blog and walk away from your desk.

The Scroll Stopper

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You might have some really insightful and useful content you want to share using social media but you’ve got to draw people in to engage with it in the first place, and that’s where “The Scroll Stopper” comes in.

So what is the best tactic to create scroll-stopping social media content?

Video. Video is by far the most engaging form of content and allows you to engage emotionally with viewers in the shortest possible time. It’s also an opportunity to stand out from your competitors because, for now at least, the majority of content in feeds are still photos and text.

When thinking about creating your next scroll-stopping videos you need to consider the following:

  1. Have a clear understanding of what the purpose of your video is. Is it to grab a viewer’s attention so they will click through to a more in depth piece of content? Is it part of a series of snackable pieces of video content designed to work together to deliver your core brand message?
  2. Versioning. One size doesn’t fit all, different visuals will trigger reactions in different people, so make multiple versions of your videos to appeal to each of your market segments.
  3. Repurpose each of your videos for the different platforms. The context and the demographic for your YouTube audience is different to your Facebook audience, is different to your Twitter audience, is different to your Instagram audience. Take the creative concept for your video and re-work it for each platform.
  4. Emotional appeal: in-stream videos really need to go big on the emotional appeal, and do so instantly. While your YouTube video can run longer and have a proper introduction, for the busy Facebooker or Tweeter you need to immediately tap into their emotions.
  5. Variety: don’t always serve up the same thing. While you want your social media content to have a consistent look, feel and tone, you also need to keep it fresh and interesting. You know you’ve reached social media nirvana when your followers start looking forward to seeing your latest piece of content, so keep it coming, keep it creative and keep it unique.

Social Video Is An Opportunity To Punch Above Your Weight

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There are no quick wins in the business of marketing, but if you can be the first in your sector to do something different you can punch above your weight.

Back in the late nineties having a website gave you an advantage over your competitors, today every business has a website. With Social Video there’s an opportunity still to be the first in your market to do it well, in a few years time everyone will be doing it.

Like any new marketing platform figuring out the best way to approach it requires some experimentation and you have to develop your own best practice, but the rewards for being brave and leading the way can quickly outweigh the pain of the learning curve as it can give you that rare opportunity to really stand out from your competitors even if you have a smaller marketing budget than them.

The Art of Reinvention

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Does creating a constant stream of original video content for your social media accounts seem like a daunting task? If so, it might be time to do a video stock-take. You might be surprised to discover what you’ve already got in stock that you can re-invent as a relevant, fun and engaging piece of social video content.

This “#CarryThemHome” Social Video we created for Homefield came from a longer film we had made for them showcasing the range of sports they offer. We’d shot far more on the rugby pitch than was needed for the final film, so we went back to the original video rushes and were able to produce this short piece to tie in with the Rugby World Cup last year.

Whenever you’re doing any filming, or running an event, it’s very easy just to remain focused on its core purpose, but as marketers we all need to develop a reflex to think about how else we can use the content we are creating and make sure we’re squeezing out the maximum value from it. And nowhere is this truer than on a film shoot where, in the old days, 95% of what was shot was left on the cutting room floor.  Today there’s an opportunity, often missed, to use so much more of what was shot.