Twitter Video: Go Well Beyond 280 Characters with Easily Shared Video

In the early days of Twitter, the only way that you could share videos was by sharing a video URL from a streaming service. This was good enough at first, but users soon found themselves with a number of limits. With the integration of Twitter video, this is no longer the case as users now have many ways to share video on Twitter.

Let’s look at how you can use Twitter video to market, engage with your audience, grow your Twitter account, and better express your ideas.

Using Twitter video for marketing

Pretty much everyone on Twitter has something to market. Some people are looking to market products and services, other people simply want to market themselves. There are a few popular ways to do this:

  • Demonstration videos: You no longer have to pay for an internationally advertised commercial in order to show the world how your products work. Twitter has a global audience. This can help you get conversions from people all over the world. Lowe’s gives an excellent example here:

  • Catalogs: This is where you will show a wide variety of different products. You can group them by category, different colors of the same product, or your new releases by year. Here is Foot Locker showing off an Air Jordan that recently released in a variety of colors:

  • Previews: Twitter videos are a great way to build excitement for an upcoming release. People typically expect content on Twitter to be short, previews are also expected to be short as you don’t want to give everything away until the actual release. We all know many examples of previews; they’re called movie trailers.

There are so many ways to introduce products and services to people using Twitter video which go beyond the typical commercial format. The best thing you can do is help your Twitter followers personally connect with your products through Twitter video. Try to avoid the ‘hard sell’ type of video.

How to shoot and upload Twitter videos

You can directly shoot and upload videos from inside the Twitter app. You don’t have to fumble with moving a URL from one website to your tweet. To do this:

  • Click on a new tweet.
  • When it opens up click on the camera icon.
  • Select the video camera option.
  • Hold down the record button for as long as you want to capture video.
  • Your Twitter video will automatically attach to this tweet.
  • Enter your text and send the tweet.

This is perfect for those trying to advertise their currently ongoing events. It’s even better for those who are attending and want to show people what they’re missing out on.

The team at The Verge are doing exactly this from #CES2018:

This can do a lot for helping them build their follower numbers as those specifically interested in this topic will be sure to give them a follow and watch it live.

Using Twitter videos for engagement

There are two different ways that you can use Twitter video for engagement:

  1. Directly responding to people speaking to you.
  2. Being proactive and creating videos for customer support.

People on Twitter, and the Internet in general, are becoming more accustomed to personal interactions. Opening up your Twitter app and quickly creating a video to respond to someone can be an easy way to make a connection.

Twitter may be the ideal location to do this as people expect things to happen quickly, whereas other platforms do not have the same expectation. This obviously applies to reactive customer support, but can also be proactive. You can be sure that Twitter themselves do this:

Creating videos like this can cost you nothing but time, there’s no need to create an animated video like Twitter. You can simply use your smartphone camera and create a quick video which responds directly to a customer inquiry, explains an FAQ, or addresses a recurring issue.

For an issue that’s happening right now, why not go live? If your company, or the person behind the account, is having some sort of major issue you can use Twitter’s live video to speak directly to your followers right as it happens. Maybe you’re Justin Timberlake on your way to the Golden Globes and you want to let people know what’s going on:

Plan your Twitter videos properly

And important point about videos you upload to Twitter is that they have a time limit of 140 seconds. If that is not long enough for you, simply upload a video to YouTube and share the link on Twitter.

No matter where your video comes from, the important thing to remember here is that you are using Twitter. There are tactics which are specific to Twitter:

  • Twitter’s greatest strength has always been brevity. You’re better off uploading a short preview of a longer video than posting the entire video. You can link to the full video in the text.
  • When participating in trending topics, be sure to use the appropriate hashtag.
  • Create an ongoing video series by creating a unique hashtag for it. This can help you extend the time limit in a way, and keep people interested in your content as they look through past videos.
  • Be sure to create videos for important moments, don’t just go ahead and create one every single time you send a tweet. You’re better off creating a variety of content.

You need to have some sort of plan for your videos rather than just creating them at random. I highly recommend that you incorporate hashtags into your plan, both on a trending and long-term basis.

The adidas marketing team have incorporated video and hashtag marketing into this campaign:

The campaign worked as the video grabbed my attention, and I clicked on the hashtag to see more content related to the hashtag.

Optimizing Twitter video for mobile viewing

Twitter has stated that about 90% of their users watch video content on mobile devices. This means that you have to consider how your video will scale on tablets and smartphones.

The best way to do this is by shooting square videos as people do not have to worry about re-orienting their device from vertical to horizontal. @Tasty does this for their delicious recipes:

This is one of the major differences between Twitter video and YouTube. With YouTube, you are always going to shoot in a horizontal orientation. This is one of the reasons why you will be creating different videos for Twitter and YouTube.

Choosing the right time to publish your Twitter video

Every aspect of marketing on Twitter is entirely centered around timing. You want to send your videos out when the maximum number of your followers are on looking at their timeline.

The easiest way to do this is to create Twitter videos for major events. Those happening in January are:

  • The Golden Globes
  • College football playoffs
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • NHL All-Star game
  • Winter X Games

You can easily find them by looking at Twitter’s monthly events calendar at the beginning of every month. It would also be wise to look at major events which you know are related to the type of content you share on Twitter. IMDB nailed it:

If you want to publish Twitter videos which are not related to a major event you have a little more work to do. The smartest thing that you can do is use a tool which ascertains when your specific followers are the most active. The best ones are:

Each tool will analyze your Twitter followers and find the times when they are the most active. Plan to send out your Twitter videos at that time.

Creating and publishing better Twitter videos

A unique thing about Twitter videos is that the first few seconds will be muted. Twitter videos autoplay, but they are also auto-muted until you can get your follower to click the volume button. You have to be sure that your visuals are compelling enough to get this to happen.

The first few seconds have to convey information without using audio. You can use audio at the start, but the odds are very good that you will need visually compelling content to get people to actually listen to the audio. You can go a step further and include subtitles like this example:

Keep them near the bottom so they do not obstruct your main video.

Videos are all about storytelling

Twitter video is like anything else that you do online in that it needs to tell some sort of story. The video itself will obviously tell a story, but with Twitter you can go a step further by creating an ongoing video series connected by a hashtag marketing campaign.

How you will do this is by planning out a series of videos, and every time you send one out you connect to them using the same hashtag. Now every time you upload a video you send using your hashtag your followers can click on the hashtag to view past videos.

The NBA is creating a lot of video content for their annual London game. They are using #NBALondon to connect the videos:

This gives fans a chance to see everything going on in London with one click.

Making your Twitter videos work for you

Creating a Twitter video and presenting it to your followers is great for engagement. But none of us are on Twitter just to be famous on Twitter; we’re there to market or send people to a website.

Here are a few ideas for getting people to click on links to your website:

  • Make the Twitter video a shorter clip which is explained more when people click on the link. This could lead to a blog post or landing page.
  • Use specific calls to action which direct people to click on the link in your tweet. This can be in the text of your tweet, or at the end of your video.
  • Have your narrator or host do an auditory call to action during your video.

The key is to incorporate your Twitter videos into a larger marketing plan. Having them exist on their own on Twitter may help you get more followers, but it will do little else.

Here is the Australian football league doing what they can to get people to watch more of their highlight videos after posting one:

They use an effective call to action that keeps it simple, and gives people the incentive to click as it’s going to show them more of what they are currently enjoying. Taking this step is important as you don’t want to go through all the trouble of making a video to have your followers watch it once and move on.

Using Twitter videos to grow your account

Online video is growing at an incredible rate. Smartphone viewing alone, of which Twitter is a significant portion, is set to grow by 38% in 2018. The following tips are going to help you maximize your Twitter video plan:

  • Create videos which people on Twitter will actually want to watch. Demonstration and how-to videos are popular.
  • Learn the ways to effectively shoot a Twitter video directly in the app.
  • Have a plan to make your Twitter videos engaging. They can be great for customer support.
  • Choose the right time to publish.
  • Consider Twitter’s unique characteristics.
  • Use calls to action to drive people towards your goals.

Your use of Twitter video is going to do so much to help you get more Twitter followers, drive interest in your hashtags, get more retweets, and generally make your Twitter account more engaging.

Twitter moves quickly, so be prepared to create many videos. Some will be huge hits that get viral numbers of retweets, some will be ignored. But each video will be one step in the growth of your Twitter account.