Last night we attended WIM Accelerator’s Meet the Innovators: Social Video Marketing event at the Apple Store in SoHo. Some of you may remember our recap of the Social TV event that happened earlier this year and we were thinking the same thing you were: “How’s this going to be different?” Well, it was… completely different.
Here are stories of the companies that participated that helped us embrace the amazing growth and potential in social video marketing.
Some of the best moments at these kinds of events — where folks from all walks of life and industries come together in one space and basically listen to one another on a topic– are the stories of how they got there. Kelly Hoey, WIM’s resident moderator, is really good at understanding how to use questions and open-ended thoughts to navigate through the growth and unveiling of something as genius as an effective social video marketing strategy. But, before we get there, let’s start where starters of our past and present have always started — at the beginning.
The question of the night was simple: “With the consumption of video skyrocketing, will video and social sharing create the next great wave of startup innovation?”
On the panel was Partner at First Round Capital, Chris Fralic, and Senior Manager of Social Media at Birchbox, Rachel Silver. For those of you unfamiliar with these companies, First Round Capital is a venture firm that prides itself in operating at the speed of a startup, and with a strong mission founded on inspiration and growth, we can surely understand why they have an impressive portfolio of some of our favorite fashion tech startups that include Warby Parker, Chloe + Isabel, and funding giant, Fab. Birchbox also happens to be in First Round’s portfolio, and they are a super popular subscription-based beauty discovery and e-commerce platform.
As the night opened, and as First Round quickly submitted to the event’s theme, the audience was delighted to sit and watch one of First Round’s annual holiday videos that they send out to those on their email list as well their followers/viewers on a number of social media platforms. (That’s what helps their videos go viral.) Chris Fralic attributes his great respect for the power of video to his days working with TED and TED Talks.
Here’s the story. When TED first started, they would hold conferences, record discussions, and then hand out these recorded discussions to people on cassette tapes, so that they would have the luxury of listening to them later on in case they missed something. Being the innovator that he is, Chris decided to take that experience to the next level bycutting and manipulating those tapes to essentially make mashups and mix tapes of the best moments at TED. The rest is history. As he moved into the space of venture funding in 2008/2009, a competitor sent out a doomsday newsletter, titled, “R.I.P. Good Times,” in which they shared that the end was near and investing in startups would no longer be a valuable. To combat this negative energy, Chris and his partners decided to produce a video to change people’s minds. He wanted the world to know that startups were as robust as ever and in these hard times we needed to buck up and get creative. It was time to dance.
These annual dancing videos now generate hundreds of thousands of views, tens of press stories, and much more. Chris declared that if these videos do nothing more than associate First Round Capital with fun and excitement, and give people something to look forward to as well as inspire recruitment and pitching, then it’s done its job. Producing quality video marketing is not something that happens overnight. Chris wants startups to know that they have to start somewhere, be thoughtful in production quality and never be afraid to fail.
Birchbox’s story is a little different. Today, Birchbox has received over $11 million in funding from a number of funding firms, but it’s their involvement in First Round’s latest holiday video, Call Me First Round Style, (remember, they’re in FR’s portfolio) that had the crowd buzzing last night. Rachel Silver explained that the company’s first encounter with social video marketing was when they discovered beauty bloggers all over the country producing hall videos. A hall video is a video usually produced by amateur bloggers in their personal spaces (i.e. bedrooms, living rooms, etc.) wherein they test and provide feedback on different products. Birchbox being a beauty discovery platform, found that it was a natural progression to have their brands and boxes featured in these hall videos. The best part? It wasn’t costing them a dime! Girls (and boys) were freely engaging on a national level, discussing their experience with what they received that month. Birchbox knew there was something valuable there. Later, the company began producing sneak peek videos featuring founders, Hayley and Katia, where they would talk about their favorite upcoming products, try them and tell the world why they love them — basically, a hall video with greater production value. Those sneak peek videos have become the best performing videos every month. Among some of the other videos they produce today are tutorials, behind the scenes videos, and even really fun, hilarious parodies.
Rachel wanted people to know that, while production value is important when producing quality video, being consistent, never having a dead channel, and being unafraid are the best takeaways in the social video marketing endeavor — just make sure your lighting is decent and no one is yelling in the background! //
There you have it, folks. Those were the stories of two media mavens that are tackling and coming out successful in social video marketing. Our contribution to this is as follows: While ROI is hard to measure at this point — and we know you’re thinking about that, you entrepreneurial do-gooders — in terms of social media and video engagement, we’re getting there. Just remember: your customers are on these platforms and watching these videos, why wouldn’t you want to be there too? We want startups to really evaluate the need for video engagement in their editorial strategies, and find that sweet spot of production and return. But while you’re doing it, have some fun, don’t be boring and always, always think of your audience.
Leticia Domenech is the Writing and Copyediting Intern at TWF. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Image via Birchbox.