Social Media and User-Generated Video – The Power of Trust

We wanted to share Part 2 of our interview with Nate Elliott, the Principal Analyst at Forrester Research (see Part 1 The Groundswell -here).  The interview was conducted during the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose in mid-August, where Elliott was a keynote speaker.

In this segment, Nate talks about the importance of social media as it pertains to video, the benefits of tapping into user-generated content, and the great opportunity in online video advertising that is presented by the current economy:

I think his best point is about how social media's real power lies in the inherent trust users have with one another—or rather, the lack of trust users have in major brands.  Certainly the public is willing to embrace online video content even when it's directly from the brand, as Nate points out.  However, the average user is far more likely to take a leap on watching a new video if it's recommended by a friend rather than being suggested by the brand itself.  And social media makes such friend-to-friend recommendations as simple as a click of the mouse.

I'm far more likely to watch something my brother sends me via Facebook than I am if it's being marketed to me by the company itself.  This is not unlike movie reviews.  Most film fans will read a review or two in their local paper or at RottenTomatoes.com, but we place far more emphasis on the feedback received from coworkers, friends, and real people we know and see in our daily lives.  Social media harnesses that trust in a way traditional PR cannot.  The fact that social media also allows the brand to achieve a wide audience without having to plan, implement, or fund traditional distribution is a pretty nice chunk of icing on the cake as well.

Nate goes on to talk about how brands are finding new ways to leverage user-generated content.  In addition to cutting costs on developing and filming a spot, brands that put user-generated video to work for them are also adding a second layer of that inherent trust to their message.  If I'm more likely to trust a friend than a brand on which videos to watch, I'm even more willing to watch a piece of content that was created without any involvement from that brand whatsoever.

It's not dissimilar from my views on Twitter.  I've long said that Twitter's real power for brands is not in using the service itself to send messages, but in harnessing the messages about your brand that are sent by everyday users.  Video is in the same category.  Sure, a brand can create a clever piece of video and promote it themselves on YouTube—as thousands have done already.  But the real power of online video for major brands is in harnessing what the masses are saying about them and leveraging that praise (or criticism) for maximum reach.

Finally, Nate talks about the economic recession, and the creativity it affords the more experimental brands.   Because video ads are still such a young concept, there's great opportunity for brands to try something new—especially considering how cheap the economy has made such experimentation.  And the upside could be huge.  It's risk/reward, only with virtually zero risk.  There may never be a better time for brands to jump into the online video advertising game.

We're grateful to Nate Elliiott for taking the time to talk to us, and we hope you enjoyed what he had to say.

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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.jippidy.com/ Video Marketing

    I agree with the article but I felt it was fairly vague in the areas that would have been most useful to startups. Specifically, with regard to a Youtube video, how does a brand "leverage the praise" from the masses? The general problem is there aren't too much from with regards to analytics for video as I understand it.

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