We look at four practical ways that publishers can use Twitter video to maximise engagement and viewers in the timeline.
With an information hungry and news-obsessed user base, Twitter is a valuable platform for publishers looking to connect their audience to real time events. And the traditional 140 characters are only one way of getting your message across.
On Twitter, publishers can use video to help tell a story in a social-native way to an active and largely mobile-first audience around the globe. Our data shows that Tweets with strong visual elements (images and videos) attract much higher engagement rates than those that don’t.
Using Spike’s video filter for Twitter, we saw some of the best examples of publishers using video on the platform.
1. Use visual clips to promote stories and other content
Most of your viewers on Twitter will first see the small thumbnail in their mobile timeline.
The tweet gets less physical space than a Facebook or Instagram post on mobile, so video creators need to be clever in making sure that most of their clips tell a story in a very visual way. First impressions are vital.
On Twitter, CNN’s main account use video clips to promote stories on their sites, as well as upcoming TV shows. But the key with these videos is that they’re entertaining to watch in their own right, rather than just feeling like an advert.
They may be gone, but their music lives on. Which 80s icons inspired you? It's all about music on #EightiesCNN! pic.twitter.com/WWQfDdKoZN
— CNN (@CNN) May 26, 2016
Here’s another clip that gives viewers a single learning, while also promoting the station’s new TV show.
Want to know what really annoys people from Alaska? @wkamaubell finds out on the next #UnitedShades. @CNNOriginals pic.twitter.com/DEcsgnSvxA
— CNN (@CNN) June 4, 2016
Used properly, Twitter video is an excellent means of telling a story or drawing attention to your work.
2. Use video as a storytelling device in its own right
It’s far from just being a promotional feature. Twitter video can be used in conjunction with a text caption to frame relevant details of a story.
Here’s how Mic used Twitter video to bring an important part of a recent story to life using video.
Megyn Kelly asked Laverne Cox if transitioning solved problems in her life or "made new ones". Here's her answer: pic.twitter.com/kS7SCOLUgT
— Mic (@mic) May 18, 2016
You’ll note that this tweet doesn’t link back to Mic’s site. Instead, Mic have inserted themselves into the story by making the relevant piece of the story easy to access.
When looking to measure success of Twitter video for publishers,you should look at how your followers are interacting with your tweets. If engagements and views on your videos are high, while click-throughs to your site are relatively low, then consider trying to leverage the videos alone as a means of building engagement.
You can also use behind-the scenes footage to try and offer followers something they can’t get elsewhere.
3. Crowd-source and curate eyewitness footage
Twitter’s strength lies in its real-time capabilities. When a big story breaks, or a real time event is on-going, people flock to Twitter to keep up with what’s happening.
Here’s where video can be extra useful for publishers and interesting for audiences. BuzzFeed News curate videos from breaking news events, using user generated video and eye-witness accounts to gather footage in developing news situations.
DC Gay Men's Chorus sings "We Shall Overcome" outside the @WhiteHouse #OrlandoShooting (video: @EVtheduke) pic.twitter.com/2XfoGkAmrb
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) June 13, 2016
Meanwhile, Reportedly use the feature to stitch together elements of a developing story in real time, and to add context on global stories.
In #Venezuela a woman says, "I suffer from hunger and cancer and hunger and cancer don't get along" https://t.co/vjMmFBB7vW
— reported.ly (@reportedly) June 10, 2016
This allows you to centralise developing news on the time-line. To find these videos, monitoring and use of relevant hashtags and Twitter lists is vital.
Of course, if you’re looking to use videos in this way, be sure to ask the permission of the uploader, and do your due diligence to make sure the footage actually is what it says it is.
4. Cut to the good bits with Vine
While there is scope to create quite long social videos for Twitter, one of the most popular ways of using video is by making cutting to a relevant clip and letting the footage do the talking.
And if it’s a really short piece clip that you want to test, Vine is the perfect format, used to great effect by sports publishers in particular.
Cavs lost but Kyrie cooked Chef Curry 👀https://t.co/sbRA5ZNQFJ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 11, 2016
Vine is simple to use, autoplays, and has a community of its own. Owned by Twitter since 2012, it’s the perfect video integration for short, action-filled clips in the timeline.
Elsewhere, SnappyTV is one example of a tool that publishers can use to select and clip the perfect segments for their videos on Twitter.
Do you have tips for using Twitter video? Let us know by tweeting us. For more social publishing tips and guides, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.