B2B Video Marketing on LinkedIn: How to Embrace Video in Your Content Strategy
Does your B2B marketing program include LinkedIn video marketing?
If it doesn’t, it should.
- LinkedIn video content generates five times the engagement as image or text-based content and Live video on LinkedIn generates a whopping 24x more engagement.
- 87% of LinkedIn video marketers say it’s been an effective channel for them.
- 41% of marketers think video is THE best content format for building relationships that generate leads. Marketers prefer video for their lead generation goals over any other content format.
But maybe you knew all that already. It’s no secret that video works, or that social media is one of the best places to use it. But maybe you’re still not totally committed to video as a medium for your B2B content strategy.
Is it maybe… perhaps… because you’d just rather not appear on screen?
If it is, you’re not alone. “Fear or hesitancy to be on camera is still the #1 barrier to video use,” according to recent research from Vidyard. 36% of their study’s participants said they were avoiding video because of hesitancy about being on camera.
This is a real issue, whether it’s a logical one or not. But if 2020 has been good for anything, it’s been good for getting us all used to being on camera – on live video. So now that you’ve got a couple hundred Zoom meetings under your belt, hopefully you’re no longer among those hesitant 36%.
If you are still on the fence, consider this: What would it mean to get 5x (much less 24x) more engagement from your content – to get that much more of a response from your target audience?
With engagement levels like that, you might even be able to consider creating less content. You might be able to generate enough MQLs and SQLs to get the raise you want, and you might still have enough time in Q4 to land a nice year-end bonus… if you get started now.
So given all that, the question isn’t if you should be doing Linkedin video marketing. It is how you should be doing Linkedin video marketing.
There are four ways to use video on LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn Video Ads
- Linkedin Native video
- Embedded video posts
- Live video
Let’s dive into each of them.
LinkedIn Video Ads
These, of course, are paid ads that run on LinkedIn or the LinkedIn Audience Network. They can be used for brand awareness on LinkedIn, used in combination with LinkedIn’s pre-filled forms for lead generation, or used to drive traffic to a site or landing page, either to do lead generation on a page you control or to send prospects to a product page or anywhere else you’d like.
The current specifications for LinkedIn video ads are here. One of the most important specs on that page is that LinkedIn ads can be up to 30 minutes long, though LinkedIn will tell you that the “most successful video ads are less than 15 seconds long”.
It’s highly recommended for video ads to:
- Be short.
- Use captions. About 80% of videos on LinkedIn are watched with the sound off, so having text to guide the viewer through content is paramount.
- Be accessible on a small screen. According to LinkedIn, 57% of their B2B content is consumed on mobile. So keep the visual simple and consider increasing the text size of the captions.
- Maximize the first three seconds of the video.
- Include a call to action.
Here are some ideas for great LinkedIn video ads to get you started:
- Brief customer stories or testimonials. These can be used to engage your existing audiences, or to warm up cold audiences for lead generation ads later on.
- “Day in the life” style videos of employees for recruiting.
- Project or process videos showing your team and company at work doing what they do best.
- Mission statement style videos, either from your CEO or from a mix of the C-Suite and front-line employees.
- Product videos.
- For some examples of great LinkedIn ads, see our blog post, B2B Advertising: 20 Examples of Terrific B2B Social Media Ads.
Demand generation marketers can make use of LinkedIn video ads to drive registrations for online or offline events, or to build excitement for a product launch, or simply urge business buyers to explore a better way to optimize their work.
If you want to add some sophistication to your campaign, also consider pairing LinkedIn video ads with LinkedIn Conversation ads. Videos are especially good for eliciting responses, so the two ads formats are complementary.
LinkedIn Native Videos
This is the format many B2B marketers will spend most of their resources on. Native videos on LinkedIn do extremely well and are familiar enough to adapt for day to day content production.
But here are some things to consider for that production:
- Short videos work best on LinkedIn. In fact, you can’t post a native video that’s longer than 10 minutes. Even three minutes is now considered a “long” video; one minute or less often performs better.
- As with ads, always use captions. Or, as LinkedIn suggests, “design for sound off but delight with sound on.”
- Limit those brand introduction animations. The first three seconds of any video are critical. Don’t bore viewers with a brand intro that’s more than a second or so.
- Professionalism rules on LinkedIn, but good video also needs to humanize. Some LinkedIn video authorities, like Allen Gannett, encourage video producers to prioritize being accessible and relatable over being overly professional. Remember the old rule in B2B: People do business with people.
Both personal profiles and company pages can publish native videos. For a deep dive on everything you can do with native videos, see LinkedIn’s on-demand webinar, [Lights, camera, action] How to wow your audience with video on LinkedIn. It’s one of the best, most data-driven, detailed explanations of LinkedIn video we’ve come across. It’s worth watching twice.
One of the webinar’s particular strengths is talking about how to repurpose video assets. This is key for those of you who are cool on video because of the cost and the time and resource investment required to produce good video.
There’s good reason to be cautious about that investment, but if you can create even one or two large video assets, then break them down into smaller chunks of video content, you can produce an enormous amount of video cost-effectively. One brand was able to take a one-hour recorded event and break it into over 40 different video excerpts, which is nearly half a year’s worth of video content.
LinkedIn Embedded Video Posts – and why you might not want to use them
You can republish videos from other platforms, like Facebook and YouTube into your LinkedIn feed. This is a way to distribute your company’s video content, but it’s not ideal.
For starters, LinkedIn’s algorithm strongly prefers native video. But even more importantly, using video from other platforms may result in low engagement rates, simply because the content is not platform-specific.
LinkedIn, as you probably know, is a unique social media platform. It’s not Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not YouTube. It has unique social norms and content preferences. And so while it might be more efficient to create video assets and then just share them across every platform, the best social media pros discourage this. The social media platforms have evolved so much (and so much in just the last year) that any content that isn’t expressly designed for each platform may well fall flat. This may be part of why engagement rates on social are dropping… the old tactic of “publish everywhere” is working less and less well all the time.
Convince and Convert did a podcast recently about this shift to platform-centric content and about LinkedIn video in particular with Allen Gannett, author of The Creative Curve and founder of TrackMaven. Gannett has earned global recognition for his own LinkedIn videos, which are one-minute interviews with famous people.
Gannett’s episode on Convince and Convert goes into detail about how he approaches LinkedIn video, but also about how he schedules and plans it (hint: consistency is key). It’s a very good case study in how one marketer has chosen to commit to a platform and just do it really well, rather than trying to be everywhere at once. LinkedIn video can deliver enough returns to be worth that kind of investment.
LinkedIn Live is still in beta, but the early results from marketers who are using it are too compelling to ignore. Case in point: LinkedIn Lives get 24 times more engagement than other content formats on the platform.
If your company has a strong LinkedIn presence and is already published quality video on the platform regularly, you might be able to get in early by applying for the beta program. Here’s the application page.
Some key things to notice on the application page:
- LinkedIn “reviews applications and prioritizes approvals based on a specific set of selection criteria, such as:
– Video and overall content creation history
– Audience size and engagement history
– Member or Page account has been in good standing
– Two Factor Authentication (2FA) enabled in account settings
- You’ll need a third-party tool to Livestream to LinkedIn.
Current tools to do this are:
- Switcher Studio(iOS mobile only)
- Wowza Cloud
- Easy Live
- Vimeo – Enterprise and Premium
- Live U
That tool list is going to change over time, so see LinkedIn’s company page about which tools work for live streaming.
- Review LinkedIn’s guidelines and best practices specifically for streaming content.
Some of these guidelines may surprise some marketers. Here’s what the guidelines were, verbatim, as of publication:
- No selling or promotional streams.
- No pre-recorded content. All streams should be live and happening in real time, or you may confuse members and potentially betray their trust.
- No live streams shorter than 10 to 15 minutes because there won’t be enough time for the audience to increase and interact. You can share shorter videos from your homepage.
- No meta streams. Avoid talking about how to use LinkedIn on LinkedIn.
- Avoid sponsor logos that dominate the video. If you must use sponsor graphics, keep them small.
- No long “starting soon” screens. Don’t keep your audience waiting for more than one or two minutes.
- No unprofessional streams. All live content is publicly visible and should be appropriate for a LinkedIn audience.
The three biggest surprises there are
- No pre-recorded streams.
- No selling or promotional streams.
- No talking about how to use LinkedIn on Linkedin.
If you want to get approved for the beta, also make sure your profile is publicly viewable, especially the following sections: Articles & Activity, Current Experience, and Education.
For further reading, the LinkedIn Live best practices guide is here. They also have a broadcast producer’s guide that covers the technical nuts and bolts of making the tech for LinkedIn Lives work.
LinkedIn Video marketing in 2020 and beyond
So that’s the landscape of LinkedIn B2B video marketing right now. B2B marketers have several different formats to work with between native videos and Lives, plus a great way to promote videos with video ads.
Those formats also allow for two big themes in video marketing right now: Long form and short form video. As you craft your editorial strategy for this medium, those two “containers” (long form and short form) should be treated carefully. What messaging fits into 15 seconds? What other topics require the 20 minute minimum of a LinkedIn live?
Fortunately, there’s plenty of time and creative opportunity to figure it all out.