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A few years ago, video marketing seemed to be in its own lane. Only a few brands and businesses were creating video content to reach a select audience.

Now in 2017, video content is everywhere you look online. If you haven't already thought about or started planning on incorporating video into your marketing strategy, here's why you should today.

Facebook favors videos over anything else

If you were active on Facebook this past year, you’ve noticed how much video content is now displayed on that platform. From full music videos to short-form video content, Facebook highly favors video over images, links, and text. According to Buzzsumo, in just a year the average total of shares for video content on Facebook has more than doubled and so has the number of videos published.

Go Live

Now with the Facebook Live feature enabled for every page, there is even more room to get engaged with your fan base through video marketing. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a recorded video. Fans are more likely to actively engage with you when they can talk to you, and ask questions on the spot versus watching something pre-recorded.

Facebook also enabled a feature that allows your fans to be notified every time you launch a new video. So you don’t have to do any extra legwork.

Think about it this way, as a consumer, how cool is it to be able to interact with your favorite brand from the comfort of your home/office? Being more accessible allows you to develop a stronger bond with your customer base, without really having to spend top dollar for video content. And there are endless ways you can start creating your Facebook Live video strategy.

For example, you can host weekly or monthly Q&A sessions, bring in guest speakers, host "online office hours", etc. The bottom line is that it’s now easier than ever to speak with your fans directly through video.

Don't forget about ads

Amplifying your Facebook video strategy with ads will get your video to a wider audience without costing you a lot of money, if done correctly. Potential consumers are more likely to engage with short-format video content explaining your service or offer, versus an image with a lot of copy.

There are a lot of good resources that will help you run a video ad campaign. If you need help with setup, management or campaign reporting, get in touch with me. If you want to learn more about optimizing campaigns on your own first, check out this informative guide from Social Media Examiner.

YouTube: The Second Google

Let's be honest here, have you gone to YouTube in search of figuring out how to do something? If you answered “yes”, then you are among the billions of other YouTube users who watch over millions of hours of video. Want to reach these billions of people? Start by creating compelling video content they can discover through a YouTube search.

Of course, this all depends on your video's topic and how well you optimize for search engines, but we'll get to that soon.

YouTube has become a phenomenal educational platform for the "do-it-yourself" consumer. Because of this, it allows brands and businesses to really maximize their impact by creating "how-to" and "thought leadership" videos for their audiences.

For example, if you own a branding business, why not create a short "how-to" video on the five most important branding guidelines a business must follow. Not only will this content be more engaging than a presentation, it will also help separate you as a thought leader in your industry and make you more discoverable.

Going back to SEO and search ability of your video, YouTube has their own algorithm that focuses on watch time, keyword relevance, your number of subscribers, customer reactions including likes and dislikes, and video length. To optimize your YouTube videos, you want to capitalize on these criteria. See how these techniques can help by reading Search Engine Land's video optimization guide.

Like with Facebook, YouTube ads help

You can also reach a massive amount of YouTube viewers by running one of YouTube's wide range of advertising options. This can include banners, ads before the video begins, sponsored videos in the sidebar, and many other types of campaigns you can create to appeal to potential video consumers.

YouTube ads are generally a bit more expensive than Facebook and can take more optimizing and adjusting. But they can be very efficient if you run them correctly. If you're looking to start a YouTube advertising campaign but want more information on best practices, Hubspot put together an easy-to-follow guide for getting your campaign up and running.

Showcase your business using video

Don't get me wrong, creating a diverse content strategy consisting of blog posts, images and more is always going to be important. However, if you haven't added video to your strategy, you need to start now. Video is only going to get bigger so don't wait around and let a competitor take your business.

Max Pete aka One Hand Wonder Man is a freelance website designer and digital marketer. Max Pete also specializes in social media management, email marketing, content creation, and paid advertising. You can check out his work and get in touch with him via his portfolio www.maxpete.co.