An Easy Way (Really!) to Integrate Video into Your Social Media Work 

There comes a time when a man–let’s say this man is, I don’t know, a tall, dashing, and worldly social media manager named Robert–reaches a crossroad. At this point, there are two choices: surrender and retreat or proceed forward on the path of self-discovery. The latter course is, naturally, the more difficult of the two, and can involve everything from a REALLY long run to an ambitious, albeit thwarted, “walkabout.

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I was recently at a crossroad myself–social media wise. I could keep doing the same thing I always had on Twitter and Facebook (and continue to achieve some level of success) or I could take the leap into the unknown.

In the end, it was an easy choice.

I jumped.

And soon after, I posted my first video on Vine.

But, first let me back up.

I arrived at the Harvard Business School (HBS) in early 2013. My goal then (as it is today) was to engage as many alumni on social media as possible. The primary channel for this engagement would be Twitter, but I would also use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to achieve these objectives. Over the months that followed, engagement with alumni increased significantly (since January 2013, we’ve had more than 15,000 unique interactions with alumni on Twitter alone) and, today, our alumni are much more engaged on social media than they were when I first arrived at HBS.

But…still, I was worried. We were, to some degree, successful but our approach on Twitter, specifically, seemed to be getting formulaic, especially when it came to event coverage. I would set up shop at an event, tweet what was going on, try to get conversations going with several alumni, post a Storify of the coverage, and then move onto the next thing. While this approach seemed to work, something was lacking.

I wanted to include more than tweets and photos.

So one night, while commuting to work, I started thinking more and more about video.

Off the top, I had a few things going against me. 1) I had very little video training so whatever I tried to do myself would appear amateurish at best and just plain bad at worst and 2) even if I did have the requisite training, I would not have the time–between live-tweeting and running from one event session to another–to set up shop and film event happenings.

But what I could provide, using Vine (and at some point in the future, I hope, Instagram) were short glimpses of an event. After letting this idea percolate for a bit, I approached my supervisor and got approval to experiment with video. My primary argument was that Vine videos could increase the scope of our event coverage and make our Storifys much more engaging.

So, at last week’s HBS Global Networking Night I pursued this idea in earnest and posted the following videos.

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My goal for each Vine was different. For the first one (which can be viewed at https://vine.co/v/OhZu6EaOXXw), I wanted to present the scope of the event (i.e., alumni chatting and “hanging out,” which is mostly what they did since this was a networking event). My strategy for the second Vine was different (see https://vine.co/v/OhZmEpPIYmA). I focused on one portion of the venue and over the course of an hour I filmed the space as it filled up.

Once the event concluded, I integrated these videos into my Storify coverage.

Storify1

When viewing the Storify, the videos run automatically (see https://storify.com/hbsalumni/hbs-global-networking-night-2014) which gives the page, in my opinion, and added vibrancy since portions of the event “story” are no longer static. In the future, I may be able to interview event attendees or record speeches/talks which will make my event coverage even more compelling.

But, I didn’t stop here. In the days that followed, I recorded videos unrelated to any event and posted them on both Twitter and Facebook. Since alumni, naturally, feel a strong connection to the HBS campus, I thought the best strategy was to capitalize on this and record, for example, students playing flag football and a quiet Harvard Stadium, which is just across the street from the HBS campus.

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These videos (which can be viewed at https://vine.co/v/Ob9JF3IAr9j and https://vine.co/v/OMqMb0eWzvl, respectively), are useful in a number of ways. They serve as another, unique type of content to post on Facebook and they provide more opportunities for direct engagement with alumni on Twitter. Case in point are some interactions we had with alumni football fans after sharing the video with them.

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Granted, I’m just starting to use video as part of our social media efforts, but I’m encouraged by this “dip into the water.” Using Vine, we may be able to get around the challenge of training (or lack thereof) and time AND may have discovered a way to improve our event coverage and engage alumni in a new, visually appealing way.

Was this post helpful? Is there anything I missed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Robert Bochnak manages social media for the Harvard Business School’s alumni office. He’s also the former writer and editor ofGradMatters: The Blog for Tufts GSAS.

Follow Robert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertBoc.

 

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