As part of our ‘Brands guide to social video', Evolve Social spoke with respected digital marketer, Dennis Yu about the importance of telling authentic short stories on social media that resonate as part of a wider brand story arc.


Why do you think using video is one of the most effective ways to promote your brand on social media?


DY:  The shopkeeper knows your preferences. When you walk into the store he can talk to you, listen to you; and you tell him what’s going on.

It’s that small-town relationship that’s now being duplicated at scale. And video is the best way to do that because it’s the closest approximation to being a person.

We know, for instance, that a picture is a thousand words, and a video is a thousand pictures. But video has always been hard to produce and share because of bandwidth restrictions. Fifteen years ago, even sending pictures was difficult.

Now, bandwidth is good and most people have devices - devices that can capture video - while social media is allowing us to expand into new areas. Also, with the internet of things (IOT), you’re seeing everything on; everything has an internet connection.

So, brands that rely on traditional marketing and advertising are just going to be left behind.


Why have you decided on the one-minute format as the most effective way for people to promote themselves on Facebook?


DY: It’s for the same reason a tweet is 140 characters. Also, if you think about the Dunbar rule, there’s practical limits on the number of people we can have genuine social relationships with.

A one-minute video is long enough to get a message across, but short enough that it’s not going to cause people to say ‘I don’t really have the time’. And we know the average watch-time on Facebook is 6-seconds anyway.

But with any video, these are four components you need to have:

1.     The hook – capture attention in the first 3 seconds

2.     Ignite pain/pleasure identifying what the problem you are solving?

3.     Describe the solution -what are you offering? 

4.     Call to action -what do you want people to do?




What do brands need to think about before coming up with their own one-minute video?


DY: With any piece of content, you need to have a content library that is organised around your topic wheel.

Most people when they create blogs or produce other content, it’s random with no connection to other messages. That’s what blogging is.

But if you want to be a true marketer, if you want to grow sales, everything that you do needs to tie into a concept which then ties into your overall framework.

A lot of people try video and they can get some engagement if they say something funny, but it doesn’t create momentum because they don’t have different videos that connect to one another on related concepts.

Many people approaching their first video try to say too much because they think they’ve only got one shot. A better approach is to think about other content you might have, such as blogs or other articles, and make a video out of those stories that are already proven.

So, if you have twenty ‘one-minute’ videos that tell 20 stories, and you can figure out how they all fit together, then you’ve got something.


What would you say to brands weighing up the cost of creating video content vs using static images?


DY: There’s almost no cost, but you must be able to point the phone at your face and say something; point the phone at whoever the other person is you want to interview.

It’s going to do a lot better than a generic $50k video that is sent to your entire audience. That’s a ‘commercial’ produced for everybody that might want to the consumer to buy a candy bar, vehicle, or whatever services.


What advice would you offer to people using video for the first time on Facebook?


DY: You’ve got to create a content wheel. Figure out who your top influencers are: your top customers, employees, and constituents.

Brands need an internal person who will create that video and manage it. It might be their content marketing person, their head of marketing or figure-head within the company who has enough authority to reach out to these people and make this a part of the marketing process.




Which brands do you think are using video well?  


DY: I think sports teams are doing it the best. They’ve realised video is the key to igniting interest. And when you start to see the frequency – and volume – at which these folks can produce that content, there is less fear. It’s about the moment. You might say, if you want to run a marathon, you need to be able to walk a mile.


Who are best social video champions that inspire you the most?


DY:  When you speak to B2B companies, they often say ‘My content isn’t sexy; who wants to listen to me?’. But when you tell the right story it’s sexy to the right audience.

Take personal brands like Mark Lack , Issac Irvine and Logan Young. They’re all doing different – and awesome – things with video.

Isaac Irvine runs the brands for Go Daddy, but he’s not making videos about Go Daddy. He’s making video about what his kids and family are doing; what he cares about.

It’s all in the process of how you build your story.

For example, ‘When I was 15 this thing happened to me … and because of this thing that I overcame/ this problem that I had/this thing that I struggled with, here’s what I learned and this is what I am doing about it. This is what I am giving back’.

That’s a typical three-part story arc that Hollywood uses for making movies.

You can use it for making a ‘why?’ video. See the process explained on our website at


What advice do you give to people wanting their video to really resonate with audiences?


DY: Start by spending a dollar-a-day ‘boosting’ on Facebook to test against different audiences and gather feedback. Then you can iterate, and do more focused videos based on what’s working.

The iteration is really more important than your actual starting point.

That’s because you’re always going to be wrong. For instance, you know as a digital marketer if you test enough you’ll be surprised every time.

Ultimately, what you want is for people to get into the habit of making small investments in small experiments.

So, if you spend $7 on a piece of content over the course of a week - a dollar a day - that’s ‘low-risk’ indeed



To find out more about how to leverage social video for your brand and Interviews with other social video pioneers,