I was asked recently to participate in an episode of Higher Ed Live to discuss how Colorado State University approaches our social video strategy. It feels good to see that the hard work of #CSUSocial allows us to be considered for opportunities like this. It means people are paying attention. And that’s part of what social media is about, right? How can we make people pay attention? Two words: social video.
Let’s face it, social videos are not easy to make. They are time-consuming. They require thoughtful planning. They have to be turned quickly. Oh, and you need to start with a creative idea. It’s a lot of work, but the benefits of integrating social video into your social strategy is well worth the effort. The way people consume video has changed drastically over the last 18 months. Facebook videos get more daily minutes watched than YouTube and Snapchat’s daily video views are now in the billions. So what’s the takeaway here? No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy, you are going to fall behind. Let’s take a look at CSU’s top performing social videos (all created by the #CSUSocial team).
Top 10 Video Countdown
Title: CAM the Ram’s Lambs
Reach: 288.5 K | Views: 124.3 K
Why it worked: Our mascot CAM the Ram fathered five adorable lambs in the spring of 2015. We capitalized on the timeliness of the event by connecting with our Ram Handling team (CAM’s caretakers) in order to get access for filming. The video was shot on an iPhone. It was short, sweet and super cute.
Title: HELLO: Starring CAM the Ram (Spoof on Adele’s Hello)
Reach: 301.1 K | Views: 82.3 K
Why it worked: No doubt you’ve heard Adele’s Hello. Her iconic music video was massively popular during the winter break of 2016. We tapped into the pop culture value of her song, which was spoofed all over the Web, and even on Saturday Night Live. So why not create a spoof for CSU? We rewrote the lyrics, arranged the instrumental music track in Garage Band, found a local singer to record it, and invited CAM to campus. The rest was history.
Title: CSU Veterinarians Help Otter Siblings
Reach: 304.7 K | Views: 104.4 K
Why it worked: What do you get when you mix adorable Otters with the best veterinarians in the nation? This adorably popular social video. This video was shot on an iPhone and was edited with a BuzzFeed-style type overlay. The success of this video proves that engaging content doesn’t always require a fancy video shoot. This video also proves that “cute” always prevails.
Title: Puppies on the Oval
Reach: 313.7 K | Views: 115.2 K
Why it worked: Speaking of cute… Part of our social strategy at CSU is finding a healthy balance for our social media diet. We post a lot of meat and potatoes (research stories and important stuff) but we also realize the importance of giving our audiences dessert. This video combines two things that work well for us, our iconic Oval (the heart of CSU’s campus) and cuteness. It was shot right before spring break 2016 when we got a tip that one of our Ram Handlers had a litter of puppies. How could we possibly resist?
Title: A Big Fat Thank You to New Belgium Brewing
Reach: 320.1 K | Views: 131.4 K
Why it worked: This was our second attempt at an illustration for CSU (the first was a Founder’s Day illustration). We were tasked with announcing a major gift from New Belgium Brewing to CSU’s Fermentation and Science and Technology Program and wanted to present the information in a fun, creative way. Using illustration and stop motion techniques helped to make this one of our most popular Facebook videos.
Title: Trombone Number Five
Reach: 320.4 K | Views: 100.2 K
Why it worked: Trombone Number Five appropriately lands on our list at number five. This trombone routine was an iconic number that our marching band performed before every big event. We strapped a Go Pro on the end of one of the trombones to give fans a ride they wouldn’t soon forget!
Title: Welcome Home
Reach: 331.6 K | Views: 128.3 K
Why it worked: Colorado State University is a special place. Not just because of our beautiful campus, but because of our wonderful little town. Our fans connect with the nostalgia related to images in and around Fort Collins. So why not remind our fans of all the wonderful things about CSU and Fort Collins?
Title: How to Rocky Mountain Showdown
Reach: 408.1 K | Views: 183 K
Why it worked: Our biggest rivalry event of the year is the Rocky Mountain Showdown – the football game between the CSU Rams and the CU Buffaloes. Each year we rack our brains to come up with a creative way to promote the game. This idea brilliantly combined CSU traditions with humor. And based on the numbers, our audience definitely appreciated the humor.
Title: Hugs and High Fives
Reach: 818 K | Views: 127 K
Why it worked: Finals Week is a stressful time for any student. We wanted to come up with a video where we could show support for our students, and make them feel confident before their big exams. Well, this is a tall order for #CSUSocial, but not for CAM the Ram. We worked with our mascot to surprise students in the library, offering them a hug or high five to encourage them during Finals Week. We were thrilled to see that everyone felt the love.
Title: Colorado State Football Players try BeanBoozled
Reach: 1.9 Million | Views: 569 K
Why it worked: CSU is back at it again with the pop culture! But this time, we added the CSU Football team to the mix, and the result was hilarious. We introduced our football players to BeanBoozled – the Russian Roulette of candy games. Each container is filled with both delicious and gross jelly bean flavors, identical in color. The catch is that you cannot tell what you’re going to get until you eat it! Our fans had a blast watching the football players giggle and gag as they played along.
Takeaways for Creating Successful Social Videos
1. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm quirky ideas, and then run with them!
2. Keep it short and simple. We try to keep all of our social videos less than two minutes.
3. Keep your finger on the pulse of pop culture. Is there an opportunity to tie your brand into hot trends? Most social heatwaves come and go fast. Don’t be the last one to attempt the Mannequin Challenge.
4. Turn videos around quickly! This is the nature of social media.
5. Don’t try too hard. Be real to your brand because people appreciate authenticity.
To see more videos from #CSUSocial, click here.