Co-authored by Cassandra Direnzo (Social Media Strategist) and Heather Eidson (Video Lead)
Think B2B videos have no place on social media? Think again. If your B2B brand is looking to produce more videos that perform well on social media, you’ve got options.
The seven types of B2B videos that tend to resonate the most on social channels include:
- Explainer videos
- Customer testimonials
- Case study videos
- How-to videos
- Culture videos
- Trending topic videos
Before you get overwhelmed, consider this: Choosing the right type all depends on your goal(s) for the video.
To help you produce the right video to share on social media, we’ve broken down the seven video types below. For each type, you’ll find examples, the goal of each video and an analysis of what makes each one so effective.
1. Explainer Video
An explainer video can help your B2B brand target top-of-the-funnel customers by addressing their most pressing pain points. When done well, this type of video should show that you understand their challenges before explaining how your product assists in overcoming them.
The goal of an explainer video is to generate demand for a product or service by demonstrating value.
In the explainer video above, Hubspot addresses the challenges of its audience (marketers) before diving into how Hubspot solves their problems and why it’s different than other solutions out there. The video delivers a persuasive message that’s easy to follow, and it uses clear CTAs to direct viewers to their website. (Great idea if you’re looking for more web traffic – and who isn’t?) Notice too that the video team uses animations to help the viewer focus on the key benefits of Hubspot. Animations are a great way to distill your message into its most essential components.
You can even use interviews for explainer videos.
During our time working with Miller Heiman Group, we created a series of short videos about the company’s sales training program. Instead of creating a more traditional explainer video, we leveraged the expertise of MHG’s CEO for a more direct and personal approach to explain a core component of the program. Each section of the video is brief, thought provoking, and gives users an opportunity to visit the website to learn more about the training program.
This explainer video works great for social media because it’s segmented into short standalone vignettes that can be pushed throughout a social media campaign. It also gives prospects a series of valuable insights when watched in full on YouTube.
2. Thought Leadership Video
With a thought leadership video, your brand passes along valuable knowledge to viewers in the most engaging and digestible format possible (video). This type of video can help your audience better understand — or think differently about — complex topics in their industry.
Inherently less salesy than explainer videos, thought leadership videos still work wonders for your brand. If your goal is to establish your company’s perspective on industry trends and position top-level individuals at your company as experts in your industry, a thought leadership video is for you.
Arguably no one gets more brand mileage out of thought leadership videos than Scott Galloway, Founder of L2 Inc. Scott regularly produces video content for the L2 Inc. YouTube channel, which now boasts nearly 300,000 subscribers. Unsurprisingly, Scott is also a professor at the NYU Stern School of Business. His videos prove that polite, restrained language isn’t required to attract an audience. In fact, sticking to your natural communication style can do wonders for your engagement.
3. Customer Testimonial
A customer testimonial video is similar to an explainer video in the sense that it explains how your product or service can solve a customer problem. The crucial difference is that the client tells the story. Hearing the message straight from a satisfied customer imbues your brand message with a lot more credibility. If your goal is to convince your audience on social media that working with you is a good idea, customer testimonial videos are the way to go.
Slack created my favorite B2B customer testimonial video of all time. The collaboration company turned the camera on the actual production group that produced the video. It’s meta, it’s funny, and it clearly articulates all the features that make the product great. That is quite the achievement for a client testimonial.
Funny, right? And yet the final result feels more genuine than a traditional customer testimonial. It tells the story of how Sandwich Video was reluctant to use Slack at first, but eventually the product was able to transform how they collaborate (and still share some cat GIFs along the way). The video even finds a way to cleverly layer in product shots throughout the action, giving viewers a feel for how the product actually works.
One more thing about this video before we move on: It’s funny. Slack is a B2B brand, and this video is funny. I’ll let that sink in for just one more moment.
Not only can B2B videos be funny, they can also be emotional. This video we created for Grubhub is a great example.
In just over a minute, the video reveals how Grubhub has helped restaurant owner Letizia Sorano achieve her goals for her family business. It not only benefited Grubhub, but also the Chicago restaurant, Enoteca Roma, which gained a lot of publicity. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m definitely in the mood to order some Italian food after watching this video. (Editor’s note: Order the pera.)
This video is perfect for social media because it’s a story about a small business owner experiencing big business success. Social media is all about sharing stories, whether it’s breaking news, memories, inspiration or opinions. The video shares this feel-good story, but it doesn’t bombard you with complex details. Instead, it inspires while invoking lots of warm-and-fuzzies.
4. Case Study Video
You may be thinking that a case study is pretty similar to a customer testimonial, and you’re not wrong. Both types of videos show how to overcome a customer pain point with your company’s service or product, but there are differences.
With a customer testimonial, you usually only see the customer’s side of the story. But a case study video offers the full picture of a project, from beginning to end. In a case study, you see the client’s satisfaction, along with their original problem, how your company developed and implemented the right solution, and the metrics that demonstrate the qualitative and quantitative successes of the project. Case study videos are a perfect fit when your goal is to provide a 360 view of a project and demonstrate your company’s credibility to your viewers.
At Walker Sands, we worked with CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association for the IT industry, to create a campaign focused on encouraging girls to pursue careers in IT. This video is effective right from the get-go, grabbing your attention right away with a compelling statistic. From there, it goes into the problem (not enough women in technology) and how to solve it through the truth of research and visually integrated campaign assets.
The video seamlessly takes you through each step of the campaign, using visuals with simple text overlays and making it effective for users who don’t have the ability to play video with sound. The KPIs that overlay the media placements and social media coverage allow viewers to immerse themselves in the campaign. From reimagining Rosie to appearing on a news broadcast, viewers relive the campaign and see how each step of the project directly impacted the success of the campaign.
The video also ends effectively, incorporating user-generated content from the campaign into the video to show the impact the campaign had not just on the company, but on hundreds of girls and women.
5. How-to Videos
A how-to video is effective when your goal is to provide actionable steps that help your customer overcome a specific industry pain point or understand how your product works in real time. These videos can target audiences at the top or bottom of the funnel. Top-of-funnel videos should focus on pain points, since you’re providing your followers with important information about your voice and positioning yourself as a thought leader. A how-to for a specific product or service would be a bottom-of-the-funnel video because consumers learn the details about how to successfully use your product.
Customers can also refer back to tutorials and how-tos as they implement your product to ensure they’re following the appropriate steps and using the product correctly, reinforcing their connection with your brand.
Cisco provides a good example of what your business can accomplish with an effective B2B how-to video. The video includes the high-level steps for setting up the product and a side-by-side comparison of its product versus competitors. They play up the simplicity of setup as a differentiating feature and add a big dose of humor to make the video even more social-friendly. In a single video, Cisco successfully tells customers how to use a product, describes why it’s better than the competition and relates to people’s emotions with humor.
6. Culture Video
A culture video lets your followers see beyond your company’s products and services, which can be refreshing for viewers who tend to only watch traditional, corporate B2B-style videos. The goal of culture videos is to develop a connection with your customers and future applicants, by showing the people and culture in your company.
At Walker Sands, we recently hit our 100th employee milestone, and what better way to celebrate than creating a company culture video? This may be a bit of a #humblebrag since we’re using it as an example of a great culture video, but when you work with such incredible people, we feel obliged to share it.
What makes this culture video so authentic is that you hear about our agency straight from the employees. The fact that you hear from every employee at every level (rather than just the C-suite) shows viewers that whether you’re a junior or senior team member, your voice is heard in our agency culture.
Milestone culture videos are also beneficial because they are timely. Everything happens so quickly on social. The more timely the video, the better it will perform. If the specific milestone shows the growth of your company, even better.
We don’t see humor in B2B videos enough, but this culture video does it with ease. From the gong to the beautiful one-liner, “turning me from iceberg lettuce to ice cream,” team members’ humor and personalities resonate through the whole video.
All of these components work together to help viewers experience our culture for two minutes. They get to see beyond the services we offer, and catch a glimpse at the human side of the brand. This level of authenticity leaves viewers wanting to be part of a growing company, whose culture is inclusive and fun. (We are currently hiring, if you feel inclined to turn that interest into action.)
Not every culture video needs to be as grandiose as interviewing several coworkers in the office. It could simply be a glimpse of a fun moment inside your company.
Like any relationship, showing a more emotional and transparent side builds trust and loyalty with your audience. Maybe your company isn’t full of breakdancers (if it is, why haven’t you posted about it on social media?!) or hasn’t hit a specific milestone yet. But the people who make up your company are unique and important, and your followers should know it.
7. Trending Topic Video
This type of personalized video connects an important aspect of your industry with a topic that is trending on social media. The goal of this video is to expand your brand’s reach, increase engagement and attract new followers and potential customers.
According to Statista, there are about 2.62 billion active users on social media. Considering the number of people who are posting daily, it would be physically impossible for one person to see everything that is shared. That’s why social media platforms utilize algorithms to filter and choose the best type of content to display on users’ feeds. To increase the odds your content will be seen, you can frame your content through the lense of a trending topic on social media.
If you follow Hubspot on Facebook, you’ll notice they frequently post trending topic videos. In this example, they discuss what marketers can learn from the success and popularity of “Crazy Rich Asians.” The video encourages marketers to launch a movement aimed at developing more inclusive campaigns. It brings the emotional aspect of storytelling to a trending topic that relates to their industry, resulting in a successful video that allows Hubspot to participate in a trending conversation.
The Importance of Native Videos on Social Media
Regardless of what style of video you decide to produce, make sure to share native videos. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn now reward users who upload a movie file directly on the network, rather than sharing a YouTube or Vimeo link. The social media algorithms are more likely to push native videos to the top of news feeds, which will lead to higher engagement rates. If you’re not convinced, here are a few stats that may persuade you:
- Twitter sees 2.5x more replies, 2.8 retweets, and 1.9x favorites on native video posts vs. a video link.
- Interactions (replies, comments, likes) for Facebook native videos on average are 304% higher than YouTube links.
- According to LinkedIn, videos are 5x more likely than other types of content to start a conversation among members.
It’s Time to Produce Better B2B Videos for Social Media
Given the number of styles and types of video available, there’s no reason to put off developing a strategy for videos on social media. Whether you’re explaining a unique product feature or lending your company’s voice to an trending topic, the next video for your B2B brand can tell your company’s story in a way that resonates. In a channel as saturated as social media, the only way to stand out is through transparency and authenticity. And the best way to do that is through video.
If creating a social media video seems daunting and you’re not sure where to begin, reach out to discuss your goals for your next video.