7 Tips for Successful Social Videos (and Online Apologies)

Journalist Lucy Morgan with video camera and phone, circa 1985

Journalist Lucy Morgan with video camera and phone, circa 1985

The last week saw some major steps in video’s maturity as a social medium. We all know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine and plays a major role in music discovery.

But over the last week not only did Facebook escalate its social battle with Twitter by coming out with short video on Instagram, but old-school celebrity Paula Deen skipped out on an old-school Today Show interview to take her video message straight to her own audience. Though, she did it rather poorly–I love Slate’s comment that her first video “bears a striking resemblance to a hostage video,” and someone needs to teach her people how to override the default thumbnail picture to avoid the deer-in-the-headlights look. 

The first question that came to mind was whether Paula Deen could’ve used either of these platforms to apologize or rally support. The answer is, probably, no. Even if she had put the time in to build a community on either of these platforms before the crisis hit, 15 seconds isn’t really enough time to cover the first three A’s of Crisis Communications, let alone all nine.

Now that we got that out of the way, y’all, we can turn turn some things you can do with social video.

  1. Promote. Let’s get this out of the way: you definitely can use social video to promote your product or service. Vine’s looping capabilities were very cleverly taken advantage of for this Trident Gum video:


  2. Educate. Have a difficult product or process to explain? Say, the U.S. Elections? Use video to explain it. YouTube lets you go long, but keep the videos short.
  3. Introduce. Have something new to share? Video is a great way to introduce it. Here’s how Burberry introduced their new line using Instagram:

    Embed Yours At InstaEmbed.com

  4. Entertain. The ABCs don’t always work in social. If you’re always selling, or always asking, your community may be turned off. Here’s how Lululemon used the new Instagram:
  5. Collaborate. You don’t have to go this far, but there are many opportunities to engage with, and even collaborate with, your community using video.
  6. Respond. When in Rome, right? While it wasn’t exactly an apology, when some (soon to be former) employees posted a gross video of their shenanigans, Domino’s President Patrick Doyle took to YouTube to respond. A very appropriate channel:
  7. Mobilize. While Kony 2012 raised a good deal of controversy and brought “slactivism” into common usage again online, it was (for a short time) the fastest-growing viral video in history.

Whether you agree that last week represented a turning point for embracing of online video, it certainly wasn’t a turning point for online apologies, despite a really good apology from Kickstarter. We’ll keep hoping…

Todd Van Hoosear

About Todd Van Hoosear

Todd’s love of technology started as a child, when his dad would bring home chips and switches from his work in the electronics industry that would feed his imagination for years. Combining a stint as an IT guy with his education in PR and communication, Todd has helped clients in the engineering, mobile, cloud, networking, consumer technology and consulting spaces bring new ideas – and new takes on old ideas – to the market.

Learn more about Todd


  1. Excellent point about the basic tweaks for YT videos. I think everyone in any way connected to marketing or customer service should make a YouTube video and go through the whole upload process at least once, to understand it from that point of view. My first few talking head videos taught me so much about how others see me, and how my shyness or moments of deep though sometimes come across as a lack of confidence.

Speak Your Mind