Sausage rolls and the future of video

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

Well if sausage, cheese and bean pasties and discounted sausage rolls weren’t enough of an achievement from Greggs, they’ve only gone and set the standard for the future of social media marketing. I’ve talked a lot in the past about the future direction of social platforms and how they are evolving. During these discussions, there is one thing that comes up time and time again and that is a little thing called video.


Video first captured the imagination of Social Media aficionados across the globe in the form of short, snappy clips (RIP Vine). These were perfect for the developing social platforms as the user could rattle through loads of them in a short amount of time whilst the content producers knocked out another half a dozen out from their sofa during the ad break between This Morning and Lorraine. Everyone was a winner and it seemed like everyone, including brands, could ride the short-form video gravy train all the way to the end of the social media rainbow. However, that pesky little thing called spam jumped from our email inboxes to our Facebook feeds and the platforms thought it was time to step in.


“Quality is coming back with a vengeance and quantity is running scared.”


As I’ve looked at in a previous blog, social platforms for the last year have been on a drive to eradicate spam and low-quality content from their news feeds. On top of wanting to compete with Youtube and other premium content providers, there has been an industry-wide desire to streamline their offerings. When spam and trashy content is removed, what you have left is high quality, high production value content. This may seem like a social video utopia, which it may well be. But what it does mean is that for social media marketers, it is time to switch on.


The Video Revolution Starts With A Simple Pasty


So what does switching on to this actually involve? Well, for this we need to look to our old friends Greggs. In May, Greggs published a video on their social feeds which showed them going undercover at a three-day food festival as a gourmet food outlet called Gregory & Gregory (smart eh!). The 1 minute 53-second video shows the reaction of keen food connoisseurs as they gush over items off the new Greggs’ and then display their surprise as they find out that the supplier of these creations is in fact Greggs. A clever video, well executed, this is clear. However, it is much more than this, what it represents is a growing shift in the social media marketing industry. TV advert style content is being created for social platforms and is driving out short, lower quality videos. Quality is coming back with a vengeance and quantity is running scared.

Algorithm shifts and moves to integrate video more seamlessly into social feeds has seen the platforms forcing us more and more towards this way of thinking. In my experience, this seems to be working. Longer form, quality video reaches a wider audience and as a result tends to return higher engagement figures. However, what Greggs’ video represents is the big brands buying into this and in turn, nailing it. It’s all very well and good producing something that is technically a long video, but quality can’t just be magicked up. Previously a video for video’s sake could be gotten away with. But this is no longer the case. Time, thought and resources need putting into these video as if they were TV advertisements, not just another moving image on your screen.


A Shift In Mindset


This will most certainly take a shift in mindset. Brands do currently pump a lot of money into social advertising but that seems to be heavily focused on the digital marketing itself, boosting content and paying for adverts. The value is now to be gained in investing in the content itself. There seems to be a mindset amongst the industry that regularity on social media is paramount. This may previously have been the case, but if Facebook is openly trying to remove span then this logic is counterproductive. What needs to happen is the time and money put into churning out endless social posts is shifted towards crafting interesting and innovative video content on a less frequent basis.


So next time you’re tucking into your Steak Bake, it won’t just beefy goodness that you’re biting into but a slice of the future of social media content. When it comes to crafting a perfect social media marketing strategy, you good do a lot worse than look to Greggs for inspiration.