What finance brands can learn from Facebook videos of cats

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Formula for viral content
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 22 May, 2018
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You can hardly go online these days without someone throwing an impressive video statistic at you. And when it comes to the increasing appetite for video content, Facebook videos are a great place for finance brands to play.

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Unsure about the relevance of video for your brand, consider these eyebrow-raisers:

That’s why media prophets hail video marketing as “The Future Of Content Marketing”, and why Facebook introduced its Watch platform, a YouTube competitor.

LinkedIn finally came to the video party in August 2017 with the launch of LinkedIn native video, followed by sponsored videos and company videos in March 2018. LinkedIn has lots of advice for businesses on how to make better videos and captivate a professional audience.

Which begs the question…

How can finance brands better use video to stand out from the masses?

As a famous man once said, it’s not B2B, it’s H2H. This means that regardless of whether you’re watching a video with your business hat on, or with your at-home-relaxing hat on, you are Human. You want to learn, laugh, be wowed, be moved or a combination of the above.

To kick off our series on inspiring video content, here are some viral H2H Facebook videos from non-finance brands that you could learn from.

Look out for the next instalment of our series, where we delve into YouTube’s most-watched videos - all music videos - and what you can learn from them.

Regardless of whether you’re watching a video with your business hat on, or with your at-home-relaxing hat on, you are Human.

Facebook video lesson 1 – Get clever with your clutter

By July 2017, Facebook’s all-time most popular video contained hacks to combat domestic clutter, published by Blossom, a parenting and crafting site. This modest effort has had 423 million views and 12 million shares.

Blossom didn’t spend a lot of money; they just followed the standard format preferred by these kinds of demonstrator videos, presenting fresh, genuinely helpful, visual tips. One of the hacks I had seen before, admittedly, but I learned other tricks watching it and apparently millions of others did too.

The takeaway for brands:

Focus on your audience, know their pain points. Then give them free tips to solve their problems, aiming for inventive solutions they haven’t seen before. Make the hacks the hero, not your brand.

As part of that exercise, learn to DO not SAY, i.e., rather than tell your audience ‘we at XYZ Inc. understand your problems, and we’re here to help’, just help them. Give them free information. That’s DOing. (Note that the Blossom video does not say, ‘Hi, we at Blossom know how much you need help with storage, so blah blah blah.’)

And one last thing – the music on this Blossom one feels light and bouncy; it carries you along until the end. When choosing music, try to avoid the predictable, plodding stock stuff you hear on other people’s dull corporate videos.

Facebook video lesson 2 – LADbible doing cats

The UK’s LADbible has the most watched Facebook videos in the world (closely followed by their rival UNILAD). In February 2018 alone, LADbible enjoyed 2.5 billion views across their (many) Facebook videos. Their most popular offering that month was Cats Are Amazing Compilation, showing people’s cats, in their houses, doing silly catty things… and it’s had more than 52 MILLION views.

The takeaway for brands:

Few but the biggest cat haters could watch these felines and not smile. We all have crappy work days, and crappy things can happen in life, and smiling makes you feel better. Think about letting down your hair and injecting a bit of fun into your brand content instead of taking the usual formal, we’re-a-brand-with-gravitas approach. Sure, you have brand guidelines, but it’s unlikely they expressly forbid levity. Remember, it’s all H2H out there and humans like to laugh.

Also, don’t get hung up on creating broadcast quality video. There is no art direction in this montage of cats – it is badly shot and often lo-res. There are some parts where the video is bobbing up and down because the person behind the iPhone is laughing so hard, but it’s that lo-fi feel that gives it authenticity. Not to mention, hearing someone else laughing at their cat is contagious. It’s about the content, not the gloss.

That said, we’re not suggesting you dial down all your production values. Just make it real: have real characters, share genuine stories, not sales pitches, talk about what people care about and make their lives lighter.

Facebook video lesson 3 – Hashem Al-Ghaili, the science man

This “science communicator” from Berlin has dedicated his Facebook page “to sharing my passion for science, technology and nature with all of you.” And it’s his passion that strikes you.

Look at his video called ‘Rare footage of some extinct animal species’. It’s been viewed 54 million times. There’s no posturing and no lecturing voiceover. Using subtle music, archival vision and really basic supering, he’s created something that makes you want to cry.

The takeaway for brands:

Get passionate. Find the subject matter that you and your people care about, and then express that passion. If you’re struggling to do that, get help from expert storytellers.

Think about what your audience is watching on their phones, which might be animals or kids, tractors or pressure cookers, and help them find more.

Explore ideas, not packaging. This extinct animal video came from someone’s idea to spread the message about species decimation, and they found a simple way to do it. What’s to stop you from using stock library or archival footage if it can help tell a story you’re bursting to tell? Budget is no excuse when you can tell stories like this. Some of the animal vision in this video is so pixelated you can barely see the animal, yet 54 million views say: nobody cares.

If in doubt, just use animals. You can’t lose.

Image: LilBUB

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.