With more than 100M video views consumed on Facebook a day, there is no longer a debate about whether to invest in video. Social video has arrived. And, as platforms, apps and brands continue to put a focus on video, the numbers will continue to arrive. By 2020 it’s predicted that online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020 (CISCO, 2016).
Video in sport powerful because of its ability to deliver on emotion. From humor to awe, the best type of content is one that evokes a feeling. Show it, don’t tell it, sort of thing.
If you’re looking for new video inspiration, the South Carolina Gamecocks are a great place to start. In the 2017 football season they set the bar for what social video should look like. How did their content stand out?
To start, they vary it. From illustrations to short videos, they always deliver something new and with top-notch quality. Often their content is short, simple but very impactful. It’s made for short attention spans. And, the more long form video is the kind that tugs at emotions to pull you in. They understand that good content is good content. Period. If you have not seen their work, below are a few examples that stand out:
Best Chance (for) U pic.twitter.com/ym6VgkTcBc
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) August 1, 2017
Can you feel it? pic.twitter.com/dvLiLHdA1Y
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) November 25, 2017
Monday mindset 💪 pic.twitter.com/uNqO1KaUcV
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) November 20, 2017
It’s GAMEDAY! 🤙 pic.twitter.com/wpL9Jadvce
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) October 28, 2017
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) September 30, 2017
There's no place like home 🤙 pic.twitter.com/KfWKLKqHEo
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) September 16, 2017
You knew this was coming … but you aren't prepared.
BATTLE ARMOR pic.twitter.com/3OlyTqAMdJ
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) September 15, 2017
All of this fantastic work is spearheaded by Justin King, the Associate AD of New and Creative Media, and his team. In his role, King oversees the production of graphic and video content used in athletics recruiting and the Gamecock Football social media platforms. Below he shares some insight into their vision and success. Enjoy!
It’s clear you all have made a shift to video. Why was video important to invest in?
Video is such a powerful tool for capturing emotion in a way that just isn’t possible with other mediums. You can tell people about something, or you can SHOW them.
From a strategy perspective, what are the three biggest goals you have for the content you produce?
We have one BIG goal: Help the University of South Carolina win.
When people watch our content. We want reactions, even subconscious ones, to be “wow, this is awesome. I want to share this with other people so they can enjoy it too”. The beauty of social media is that it makes it easy for people to share things they enjoy with friends – giving us the world’s best distribution platforms.
What’s your team’s process for ideating new ideas or formulating your content strategy?
Honestly, I could break this entire question into 2 steps:
Step 1) Gather an incredible team of talented people passionate about creating great content.
Step 2) Constantly toss ideas around and make sure everyone knows they have the freedom to experiment.
If we try something and it doesn’t work, it’s not a failure at all. In fact, that is a success because we always learn something new during the process. The only failure is not trying.
There is a lot of debate about video lengths these days, from the six-second ad to long form. What’s your philosophy on video length?
Love this question and I have a strong philosophy on it:
Length should always be dictated by content.
In other words, if you can achieve the goal of the content in 6 seconds, then it should be 6 seconds. If your video is truly captivating at 2-3 minutes, then that’s what the length of the video should be.
As with 99% of rules in this industry, there are exceptions and things that need to be taken into account, but we have had tremendous success simply focusing on producing captivating content and not worrying as much about length.
How do you all define and measure your success?
This varies wildly. Our goal is to help the University of South Carolina recruit top athletes by showing that it is a great place to be, so sometimes we might release a video that doesn’t get a lot of views/likes … but that video has a specific message that reaches its target audience, then it’s a success.
Of course, thousands of RTs, likes and shares isn’t bad either.
What’s been the best performing piece of content for you all this season? And, do you have any insight into why?
I’m surrounded by such an incredible team and because of that we’ve had a number of pieces do well – in fact, it’s tough to say what our best performing piece actually was because they are all within similar numbers in terms of how widely shared they were. Below are a few highlights:
Battle armor 🔥 pic.twitter.com/orR0N9Jbpv
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) November 23, 2017
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) November 3, 2017
Welcome home, Gamecock Nation pic.twitter.com/Zdw2VGegGT
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) October 26, 2017
Battle armor 🔥 pic.twitter.com/P6NOhWIHIq
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) October 6, 2017
A lot of the reason for their success has to do with capitalizing on moments and opportunities. When you create quality content based around events people care about, it’s a strong recipe for success.
For teams looking to step up their video game, what tips and advice do you have for them?
Be willing to invest in people who are passionate about creating. Hire people who are so passionate that when an idea comes to them on a Saturday afternoon while they are just relaxing, they jump up and are excited to execute that idea.
After you hire them, provide them with a good place to work. This field is a lifestyle as much as a job – so when someone doesn’t come into the office by 8AM, trust that it’s because they were probably up until 2AM the night before finishing a project.
TL;DR – Invest in good people and enjoy the results. What a crazy theory, right?
Finally, what trends do you see will emerge with video content in 2018?
Right now the biggest trend I see is that consistency and quality of content will continue to rise as the tools needed to create that content become more and more accessible.
Editing programs that were once a $2,500+ investment are now a $20-a-month subscription for students. Everyone has a camera in their pocket on their phone. More and more people are starting to learn the art of creating content at a younger age so once they go through a good internship program they come out at a level that you typically didn’t see until someone had 7+ years of professional experience.
(PS: That doesn’t mean they should come cheaper, though. Invest.)
Thanks again to Justin King for his fantastic input. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@JustinKing) as well as the Gamecocks Football accounts (@GamecocksFB).