Editor’s Note: As we are building our SkiftEDU service for marketers and SMBs in travel, we recently launched a new initiative: our new weekly series on digital marketing tips and tricks, SkiftEDU How-Tos. These How-Tos are a series of free in-depth weekly articles around various topics in digital marketing, such as this one below.

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words and that a video is worth a million, right? Travel and hospitality practitioners have quickly embraced the visual storytelling potential from photos through Facebook and Twitter of course, but mostly through platforms such as Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest. Photos, sure, we get it, they’re easy to use, easy to share, curate and repurpose. But videos? Ooh, that’s much too complicated though, right? Wrong.

In this article, we’ll show you why you should focus on video content. And if you feel you are left behind, you are not alone. In fact, according to a recent study by Animoto, one out of every four SMB marketer felt behind on video marketing. But why bother with video, you might ask? Here are a few eye-opening stats to consider:

  • Daily time spent with digital video grew tenfold between 2010 and 2015 in the U.S., from 6 minutes to more than one hour per day! (Source: emarketer)
  • Watching a brand video increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139% (Source: Unruly report)
  • In fact, users watching a hotel branded video are 6 times more likely to stay at that hotel. If video is watched until completion, users are 23 times more likely to book! (Source: RocketFuel)
  • 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text (Source: Insivia)

And if you think video is only for customer-facing organizations, think again. Video content works just as good for B2B purposes, and continues to be mentioned as part of top 5 tactics in Content Marketing Institute’s annual report.

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Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2016.

For more on this, check out Skift’s Report:
Digital Video Marketing Strategies for Travel Brands

From YouTube to Facebook…and Snapchat

If you are contemplating a strategy around video content, the first go-to reflex is usually to have a channel on YouTube. After all, this Google-owned platform is the world’s second largest search engine, and in fact the #1 search engine in travel and hospitality for Millenials (age 18-30).

With over one billion monthly active users, YouTube now sees over 500 hours of content uploaded… every minute! And users clock in more than 10 billion views per day! Interestingly enough, we don’t tend to search the same way on YouTube as we would on Google:

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HINT: Destinations are the ones that have the most interest in developing a video content strategy, since over 70% of YouTube searches are for destination names. For local attractions and travel products (hotels, flights, cruises), both YouTube and Google are important for travel-related searches.

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The province of Quebec, in Canada, based its summer 2016 strategy on a powerful video, along with an interactive site to discover more about the destination.

But if you focus only on YouTube, you may be missing out on a deeper trend which is happening with Facebook, where video is all the rage. While interactions are overall stalling or in decline on Facebook, the silver lining lies in video content, which is sparking the most engagement. As recent study by BuzzSumo (June 2016), looking at 25M posts from over 10,000 brand pages, showed this growth quite clearly:

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And if you cater to a younger audience, say 13-35, then you may want to look into the raw potential of Snapchat, the ever increasingly-popular mobile messaging app. Did you know Snapchat now has more daily active users than Twitter (150 million vs 108 million)?

And more importantly, do you know how many videos are viewed every day on Snapchat? 10 billion. That’s right, just as much as YouTube and Facebook, with a userbase only a tenth of the two social media giants.

NOTE: A view on YouTube is calculated after 30 seconds. On Facebook, after 3 seconds (including the auto-play feature). On Snapchat? Well, nobody really knows, but videos can only last 1-10 seconds anyway.

How you can also harness the potential of video

Okay, so you think to yourself: why not? I can do video too, and I am going to tell my brand story through our website, our newsletter, our blog and our various social networks. Do you need to hire an expensive agency to create a slick production? If you have the budget, why not. But here are other creative ways that can help your organization go a long way.

Slideshows

Creating a slideshow is now one of the easiest thing there is. There are various free or paid apps that can help you create a slideshow with stock music (or your own arrangements), stock photo (or preferably, your own) while adding captions, intro and conclusion. On Facebook, this is even suggested from within the publishing tool.

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Once you create your slideshow, be sure to share them across your various digital outposts.

TIP: Do you have a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation that was made recently? These can be easily be transferred to SlideShare, and shared on Linkedin and various other networks.

Facebook Live

If you manage a Facebook page, then simply access it from your mobile device in order to create your first Facebook Live video.

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Source: Facebook

This 3-step process is fairly simple and will provide you with video material that can be useful in many ways:

  • Creating buzz about an upcoming event
  • Covering a live event: opening of a new terrace or suite
  • Q&A with staff, director of operations, HR, etc.
  • Showing behind-the-scene exclusive content for an art exhibit, preparing a restaurant for the day, grooming of a ski trail, etc.

Video content created can then be repurposed and shared across your other channels, once again, so it doesn’t have to stay just on Facebook!

Snapchat

Snapchat is a world onto itself, but more and more brands are testing waters here to engage with a younger user base, especially if your target audience is less than 35 years old. We’re seeing more and more travel organizations, in particular hotels, attractions or music festivals, engaging with clients through this platform where photos and videos can show a more human side of the brand.

In the travel sphere, brands catering to younger audiences have started playing this field, for example Sunshine Village, a mountain resort in the Canadian Rockies that invited its riding community to share best powder pics and off-mountain experiences. And hotel rewards program like SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) have begun interacting with guests on Snapchat.

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Is it for your brand? The best way to find out, as always with social media and new mobile messaging apps, is to open up a personal account, get to understand the environment and see if there is a fit with your audience.

For more on this, check out Skift’s Report:
The Rise of Technology in Travel Booking, Part 2

YouTube

Last but not least, do make sure you have a branded channel on YouTube, from where you can share content, manage video playlists and get subscribers to follow you and never miss upcoming new videos you may be producing. Since YouTube belongs to Google, it’s also easy to use the AdWords platform to create ad campaigns on YouTube, with a wide array of segmentation possibilities.

Question: if you have a new video, should you upload it on your YouTube channel or Facebook page? The short answer: you should upload it to both!

What you don’t want is to share a YouTube-based video on your Facebook page (with a link), since Facebook will always favor native content. Remember each platform has its pros and cons. On Facebook, you will get lots of views, especially in the first day or so. But views are short-lived, and many come through auto-play. On the other hand, there is a lot more noise on YouTube, but videos published here will contribute to your brand’s online strategy, in particular if you inserted strategic keywords along with SEO-friendly description. And videos are more easily findable with YouTube (and Google) search engines, so there are tangible long-tail benefits.

Read also: 26 Ways To Use Videos For Your Social Media Marketing