In my recent article for Mashable, I interviewed Kevin Kearney and Phil Leif, the founders of New York City creative firm ALLDAYEVERYDAY and the creative geniuses behind many big brand Tumblr blogs. While Leif and Kearney are becoming known for their use of Tumblr as a micro community/blogging platform for fashion brands, they are also what I’d call digital marketing savants that have five insights for brands and designers to consider when marketing their brands in 2011.
1. Video: Think of creating intelligent news, not branded content. Create something with SUBSTANCE. Ask yourself why you are making videos.
“A lot of times, we feel that creating video content for its own sake is a waste. If the budget, talent, and creative are not there, the video is a waste of money. It is generally better to focus on programming centered around photography and effective copy to ensure a higher caliber of output,” says Kearney.
“We have noticed that blog distribution of videos doesn’t always result in video plays. Another good point this brings up is that if you want to drive video plays, you can’t rely on press placement alone unless the content quality is extremely unique, the director name is substantial , and your model / actor / talent is a big name. Otherwise it is better to focus your effort and media spending on video platforms like YouTube where users are there to watch videos. More often than not, blog traffic are users browsing and skimming through photo content.” says Leif.
This year for MilkMade, ALLDAYEVERDAY is adding live streaming video and video clip submission from POV devices like cell phones and digital cameras. This will allow them to document fashion week via motion through the eyes of 40 different influential contributors. The public will be able to take part and upload their own video content as well. This will result in crowd sourced footage and a multifaceted portrayal of fashion week from the eyes of those on the ground and part of the Milk world of fashion.
2. Only invest in creative film if you have the budget. Otherwise you’re better off focusing on photography and copyrighting.
It is a waste to try and deliver something that doesn’t hit the mark creatively. Not only is it a waste of money, but is a bad brand representation. Additionally, we advise reserving money to buy media for the film and not just relying on content to go viral. The internet is extremely saturated with content these days and you have to spend money to get guaranteed results.
3. The video market is over saturated.
Fashion bloggers don’t watch videos. While impressions are up, there are not a lot of plays coming from the video platform. How many times can you watch a runway show or behind the scenes footage from a photo shoot?
- What am I communicating? What story am I trying to tell?
- How does this reflect upon my brand? Who am I trying to reach with this video?
- Do I have the budget to execute and distribute the film? Is this a content series or one off video?
Leif and Kearney recommend looking into using budgets for ongoing programming, not just big one off film hits. You still need these bigger films to get the wider attention, but what happens after a week once the film has run its course? ALL DAY EVERY DAY has been creating editorial platforms for brands to release their own daily, weekly, monthly programming. This guarantees a residual, builds a community and drives further engagement.
4. Brands need to view video as a component of the community. Find the community surrounding the brand and create content that suites it.
Aim to be a creative mosaic — small groups, intimate portraits. This is what Live.MilkMade.com did when it was launched during August’s New York Fashion Week. It created an intimate yet comprehensive view of New York Fashion Week. The viewer had content from parties, designer and bloggers. It showed that no matter what was written, the fashion bloggers attending NYFW still had an outsiders perspective. That perspective, juxtaposed against the perspective of a model that came home at 2AM and uploaded a photo — that was a story that could never be told from an agency’s point of view. In essence, this the definition of co-creation in 2011.
As a brand, how are you going to activate your communities?
2009 was an amazing year for fashion brands and retailers, not only in terms of their embracing of social media, but also in terms of how they’re getting creative and dynamic with their content.
2010 is going to be about refinement of social media as it relates to marketing apparel and accessories to consumers.
Not every social tool available is relevant to marketing fashion; consumers treat certain social networks the way that they treat fast fashion.
That being said, we know that Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are most brands’ top marketing mediums online. I’ve discussed the basic and advanced marketing aspects of Facebook and discussed Twitter in-depth in video. Now it’s time to talk about YouTube.
YouTube Marketing For Brands & Retailers
YouTube is an outlet where most brands are missing the mark. Why? Because they are only using it for one purpose and not connecting it to multiple marketing objectives.
Brands and retailers that are using YouTube need to ensure that their content is engaging community members through channel participation. At the same time, brands and retailers need to use Youtube to drive online traffic to select destinations and enhance website search engine optimization strategies.
Creating Participation & Community Engagement
The first thing fashion brands, retailers and marketers must understand is that YouTube is a platform built entirely around the concept of engagement; its community is built around connections related to the website’s content. The second thing you must understand is that YouTube community members are very vocal about the content they do and don’t like; they are going to voice their opinions via comments, likes, share, or even direct video replies to your posted videos.
Just before YouTube launched branded channels in 2006, Tony Nethercutt offered great insights for creating community engagement via YouTube video marketing: “Create video ads that are built for the audience that is viewing it; make it as unique and as engaging as possible. Avoid the interruption model.”
In order for brands or retailers to maximize YouTube as a community building tool, they have to make their content accessible. This means moderating comments democratically; deleting profane, vulgar comments is okay, but make sure you refrain from silencing consumers in the name of “brand control”. Your customers have opinions, these opinions serve as valuable market research.
Don’t Put A Muzzle On Your Audience
Brands shouldn’t disable video sharing capabilities. Let your community members spread content. After all, wasn’t it the brand that approved the video and its content? Why wouldn’t a viewer be allowed to embed the video to their blog or share the video via another social network?
Brands that want to get the most from YouTube in terms of RETAIL ROI (sales, new customers and traffic) should actively participate in the YouTube community. They need to take part in the discussion of the community members’ content that’s relevant to their brand. This will increase positive votes of the brand’s main content which then boosts the visibility on YouTube and search engines.
What’s Search Got To Do With It?
Most YouTube videos, as well as YouTube channels, aren’t properly optimized for higher ranking on search engines. This presents an amazing opportunity for smaller retailers to gain online market share and traffic by outranking larger retailers.
According to comScore, YouTube ranks #2 in terms of search engines; it’s second only to Google (which now owns YouTube) and outranks Bing, Yahoo and any other search service. If a brand or retailer using YouTube as a marketing outlet isn’t optimizing their content, they’re not maximizing the money spent on video marketing. In fact, they’re losing online traffic that could be converted to sales.
How Do You Make Your Fashionable YouTube Content SEO Friendly?
To optimize YouTube content, a brand simply follows the rules of any other SEO project. When a brand uploads a video, it is essentially creating a “page” with that video. That page can be optimized the same way as any other page on the web.
YouTube automatically generates meta data for each video page that’s created.
- The NAME of the video is the title tag. The title is the most important piece of information when it comes to video searches. The first two words of the title are the most heavily weighted words.
- The video INFORMATION is the meta description. The description is a keyword-rich text area that needs to be used to the best of your ability. Always lead the start of the paragraph with a URL that you want viewers to go to. Put as full of a description as possible in this area, as most videos are invisible to search engines.
- Include relevant links in the description. This would include “follow us on Twitter” or “become a fan on Facebook” links. Keep in mind the places where you want YouTube traffic to go, and think about what you plan to do with the places you link to. Make sure to include all necessary links.
- Chose a category and add additional video tags carefully. It’s important you select the category you place your video is as accurate as possible. Categories help point potential customers to your content. When adding video tags, make sure you reference the most important video highlights, including the names of the people in the video and information about the content (example: Spring Fashion Trends Video).
- Take advantage of YouTube’s caption and annotation features. Brands and retailers can add notes, descriptions and links directly above videos. Currently, links are only clickable to other YouTube pages, so if you’re telling a story (which your brand should be doing), you can link to previous installments or relevant videos. Doing this will boost the time spent on your channel and increase the number of page views for your videos.
- Link to and embed the YouTube videos. By linking to the videos it will drive more traffic and page views which YouTube looks at internally for ranking videos.
Creating Cohesive Marketing Strategies
Sound a little overwhelming? Well, don’t worry – it’s not that complicated. It just takes a bit of coordination and effort. The pay off is more streamlined, cost-effective social marketing campaigns with better results.
Does your brand use YouTube for social marketing? What have been some of the positive results?
If you’re a huge fan of YouTube, what are some of your favorite brands and why?