Why Videos and Images Rule for Social Media with Jessie O’Donnell

Why Videos and Images Rule for Social Media with Jessie O'Donnell

When it comes to using social media to help your customers, it’s often better to show, rather than tell.

It’s no secret that videos and images win on social media channels. Depending on what platform you use, visuals can get considerably higher levels of engagement – but that’s not the only reason to use them.

If you’re using social media to engage with customers, images and videos are a fantastic way to communicate. Visuals can provide value to your audience, teach people how to use your products, and troubleshoot user issues.

Jessie O’Donnell, TechSmith’s Social Media Coordinator, explains how visuals can enhance how you connect with your customers on social media. Jessie has been with TechSmith for over 20 years, and, for the last 10 years, she’s primarily focused on social media. In that time, she’s watched the industry evolve and adapted TechSmith’s approach to meet followers’ needs.

You can watch the video on this topic at the top of this post, to listen to the podcast episode, hit play below, or read on for more…

The power of social media for businesses

For businesses, social media is a place to connect with customers. When people want to interact with a brand, social media channels are often the first port of call for reaching out. Jessie says that the main focus of social media positions is to be there for customers and respond to requests, inquiries, and questions on behalf of the company.

But sometimes, it takes more than 280 characters to answer a question. If you want to use social media to help your customers, text-only responses may only get you and your customers so far. This is where images and videos can level-up your replies and help you provide high-value help.

How to help customers on social media using images and videos

Jessie explained that while text-only responses make up the majority of her replies, these are often sent alongside links to screenshots or video tutorials. Visuals are great for teaching people how to use your products or services with context. Answering questions with only text can leave room for confusion, but visuals clearly show the audience the whats, wheres, and hows to completing their task.

While it might sound more labor-intensive to take a screenshot or create a video to help your customer, visuals can be a far quicker and simpler way to help your customer. For example, in many cases, it’s faster to take a screenshot and use tools such as annotations, arrows, or highlights to indicate what someone needs to do rather than explain using text.

When teaching someone how to complete an action or guide them through a process, it’s likely much quicker to record a screencast than write out each step. In this situation, your video doesn’t have to be perfect – it just needs to get the customer to their desired result. Jessie states that:

“When people are asking for help, it’s more important that you show up with an answer, whether that’s a quality screencast or something you threw together quickly, than create a polished piece of content. The value is getting them an answer, not creating a masterpiece to share.”

If you’re hesitant about sharing your images and videos on social media, Jessie’s advice is to use it as a learning experience. She says to “put it out there, and if your customers don’t like it, they will tell you. Then you can modify it to accomplish the goal.”

“Make sure your content aligns with solving your audiences’ problems.” – Jessie O'Donnell

How to use social media listening to build better products

Social media channels aren’t just a great place to engage with your customers, they’re also a space for you to find out what your customers think about your products and services. You can get valuable insights into your customers’ challenges and experiences by paying attention to what they’re saying on social media.

Jessie’s advice is to share what you learn from your social media listening with teams outside of social media management. This means taking screenshots of the feedback, identifying common problem areas or themes, and taking them to managerial, sales, and product teams who can build something better for your customers.

There are many fringe benefits to getting feedback this way, from learning what is working and what you can do better, to what you need to change in order to make something work. Jessie shared a story about how social media teams are vital to managing the response to new products:

“There was a title of one of our ebooks that people really did not like. This was something really eye-opening to me, because there was a disconnect between the copy on the ad, and then what people were saying back. The social media team was the bridge between those two things. So, it’s our responsibility to take it back and say, ‘hey, people really have an issue with this’.”

Jessie and her team then decided to change the marketing messaging around the product so that people could more easily see the value in it. So, social media can be a good tool for discovering what isn’t working.

What and when to post on social media for more engagement

If your goal is to get more engagement, unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for what you should post and when. Jessie says it’s entirely up to your audience. You have to understand what content they want to see from you and when they’re most likely to engage with it.

Be aware that this can vary from platform to platform. Jessie notes that on LinkedIn, text-only posts usually get the best responses, but video posts are becoming increasingly successful. It’s worth understanding which content types (text-only, image, or video) typically perform better on each platform and then experimenting.

“I suggest trying different times, and then looking back and seeing what works for your audience across the different networks because different things are going to perform better in different places. One size does not fit all for social media networks.”

You could also use social media management tools to understand your audience better. Sprout Social is one of the many services available that has built-in reporting and features that give you guidance on what content to post when, so your social media content stands a better chance at success.

One experiment you can try is to post the same content across each of your channels to see what gets the most engagement. However, Jessie points out that you may need to optimize your visual content for each platform. Each social media channel prefers different image dimensions, so take note of the specifications and use a tool like Canva to resize the visuals as needed.

How to repurpose your content to social media for more reach

Businesses often use their social media channels to provide value and information to their audience. If you already create content such as blogs, videos, or podcasts, you can use your social media channels as a platform to share this content further.

At TechSmith, we work with a specialist content repurposing agency, Content 10x, to repurpose our weekly live stream into images and videos to share on social media. The Visual Lounge is an hour-long live stream, but not all of our audience have time to tune into it. By taking the best bits and creating useful videos and image posts to share on social media, your audience can still consume your high-value content in a fraction of the time.

“We spell out the valuable information that you’re getting in the video right there in the [social media] post. You don’t have to go anywhere. If you want to, you can go read that or find other posts, but the goal is to give people that valuable information and giving it to them in the platform that they’re on really resonated.”

Jessie’s final words of advice are to know your audience. If you don’t, she says that it won’t matter what you’re putting out there. Social media is all about communication, so once you understand who you’re communicating with, start small and go from there.

To learn more about creating winning video and image content for social media, get lots of free tips and advice over at the TechSmith Academy. There are lots of free tips and advice, including courses on making a video tutorial for beginners, how to write helpful content, and much more!

For more expert advice and tips visit TechSmith Academy on YouTube or listen to the Podcast.

Matt Pierce

Matt Pierce is a Learning & Video Ambassador at TechSmith. In this role speaks and teaches about video creation and visual communication. A graduate of Indiana University he has ten years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith. Teach him something @piercemr

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