Actionable Social Media Video Tips You Can Try Today
Let's chat about some social media video tips that you can use to help increase your reach and engagement. Break out your notepad because this post is packed with actionable tips that you can experiment with immediately. Some are short, others are more involved, but they're all useful.
As video content becomes more and more widely used, it's becoming clear that any company not using video is missing out on a really big opportunity to bring their brand to life. Video makes your brand more human, engaging, and helps to create trust because people get to meet the people that help to make your company thrive.
Today, social media is basically synonymous video. Facebook alone boasts 8 billion daily video views. Almost all mainstream social media channels have already begun to prioritize video, whether it's in their algorithm or in the various features that are now offered for brands.
So, what's the next big thing for brands on social media? Attention spans are shortening, social feeds are crowded, and ad costs are increasing.
The answer? Video, of course. It must be an integral part of all of your social media and marketing channels. And there are so much data out there to back up why this is important. For example, 64% of consumers say that watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchasing decision and 55% of people watch at least one video online per day? Your competition isn't waiting for you to catch up, so let's get into some actionable tips on how you can create some really great videos for Facebook and Instagram.
These are quick tips, but you're welcome to contact me if you need more detail on executing any of these tips. They are broken into sections to make it easier to follow along, but kicking things off right away you have to have some sort of game plan going in. Are you going to be making product videos, explainer videos, fun videos, team videos? Once you have a basic game plan for the types of videos you'd like to make, it's critical that you either have a script or a storyboard going in.
VIDEO STRATEGY TIPS
My experience has taught me that the storyboarding tip is huge. For the clients I work with and the videos that I make, I always have a general outline and script that'll help keep your video tight and increase watch time. But yeah, so let's quickly talk goals as well. You gotta have goals going in. For me, for example, I create two types of videos: Product explainer videos that help people visualize and use a product with the goal being activation and retention. I also create fun, engaging videos where the sole purpose of those is to drive views and engagement. So this gives me a lot of room to experiment.
Along with goals, I found that keeping this one simple word in mind when creating videos has helped me find continual success and that word is "infotainment." My clients have certainly heard me use this one before, but infotainment is a mix of informational, educational and entertaining content. You can't go wrong with any one of those. So I think it's easier to create good educational content, but both work really well on social.
Last tip for video goals is to be realistic with what you'd like to accomplish. Sure, we'd all love to go viral and have a million views on our videos, but just because you're not going viral doesn't mean your videos aren't successful. The 4,000 people who watch your two-minute educational video might be much more valuable than the 100,000 people that watch your 15-second viral video. So it's all about perspective here.
Now when it comes to what sorts of videos you can and should be creating, my tip is to, first, make it relevant to your brand. You can lay the ground work for creating videos that are going to resonate deeply with your audience based on their needs and the solution that your product offers, needs and solutions being the keywords here. So remember this doesn't mean just talking about your product or service, a lot of the times their need is to learn or to be entertained. It is social media after all. Social is social.
Next, and this one is great if you're fresh out of ideas for video, and that's to be topical. Now I'm not necessarily saying you should make a video to celebrate every holiday or video around whatever cultural phenomenon is happening at the time, but there's something to be said for having your finger on the pulse of what's going on in your industry specifically, and even around the world.
I've seen a lot of brands have a ton of success by just making a quick explainer video about a recent news story or a story that's happening specifically in their industry. I think a big tip from all of this is to not overthink video too much as well. You can't always know what's going to work well even after taking a multitude of aspects in a consideration, including your research. So take a risk, branch out creatively, make something that's out there. I spend so much time thinking about what video I should make that I never end up actually making the video and that's one of the things that I talk about with clients all the time.
Next tip? Be sure to experiment. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many bad videos that I've personally made. So many embarrassing videos that I had to hire the Bleach Bit Email Destruction SWAT Team to come and erase them from my hard drive so they wouldn't even survive a congressional investigation. Well, maybe they weren't that bad, but they sure were terrible enough that I never even considered putting them on social. But, if it wasn't for constant experimentation and trying new topics and themes and formats, I certainly wouldn't be where I are with video today.
FACEBOOK VIDEO TIPS
So now that we've talked video strategy and how you should be approaching video, it's time to get into some specifics. Let's talk Facebook video first. Users who log into Facebook are expecting lighthearted, entertaining content. Think about your Facebook experience. Do you go on there to watch product videos that are serious or to connect with friends and family, and maybe watch a few funny brand videos instead? So you have to adapt to the platform that you're posting videos on.
Can we agree that no-one logs onto Facebook looking for product videos?
Also, it's critically important to know that 92% of people who use Facebook are using it via their mobile device. So this means two things: One, keep your video short and fun. Users are probably on their lunch break or commuting on the train. They don't have time to necessarily watch a five-minute in-depth video. And then number two, create videos in either square or vertical format. These are the optimal formats for social media because of how much real estate they take up in the feed.
INSTAGRAM VIDEO TIPS
Over on Instagram, a lot of the same rules apply, but Instagram is mostly about recreation and inspiration. The brands that are successful are cultivating a fun feel on their profile. Instagram is also a great place to build excitement and connect with people on a one-on-one basis through the comments or direct messages.
Instagram videos autoplay silently by default. So some general best practice rules apply. Keep your video short. There's also a 60-second time limit so they have to be short.
Make sure the visual is still effective without any audio. If big brand style, commercial looking, high-production videos aren't aren't within your budget, don't worry. You can still creating an awesome Instagram presence with video. I have shot ALL my video for the last two and 1'2 years on an iPhone (some clients are just now finding this out) and no-one was ever the wiser!
Speaking of creating a great Instagram presence, Instagram stories can help take your content to the next level. So take advantage of the Instagram stories feature if you'd rather make scrappy spur-of-the-moment content. Instagram stories, temporary videos, and photos are content pieces that build upon one another to tell a story. The benefit of posting on Instagram stories is that whoever follows you on this channel will have the opportunity to watch your video right from within their main feed. The placement of the stories feature is actually really favorable for businesses. Stories is the best organic placements in social media right now.
When you take a video or picture for Instagram stories, you should be using the same filter across all of your stories so that you can have a consistent brand identity that your followers can expect to see throughout the images and videos you produce. The same goes for your feed, your Instagram feed, whether you're posting videos or not, you should have a consistent look and feel. Filters, like I just said, help you to do this as well as consistent colors or a consistent theme. I've talked about this before when I teach and speak at events, people follow you because they come to expect a certain type of content.
Personally, I can't help but follow photography feeds that are full of consistently strikingly beautiful photos. One thing I love about Instagram is that it gives creators so many options to reach their audience. In addition to the feed and Instagram stories, there's also Instagram life, which is another way to do video. So whether you're providing viewers with a quick tip or showing off a new product update, it's best to use these sparingly. You don't wanna become known for overloading your followers with content that is spontaneous, but not professionally produced, but they can be great in off-the-cuff moments that invite inspiration and engagement.
SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO GEAR
We've covered strategy and we've covered specific platforms, but how about the technical aspects of video? Just about the most popular post on my blog is a yearly update on what I'm using to create content for my clients named The Social Media Photographer's ShotKit. You are welcome to head over there to read the nerdy details on all the gear I'm currently using, but there are three main components you need to know before I can let you go in good conscious.
The first one is lighting. Filming with the overhead lights from your office tend to create nasty shadows on your face or on the room. Sunlight or natural light is great, but often sunlight changes throughout the day and it can be tough to maintain a consistent look (if that's necessary). I've definitely experienced that before. How do you deal with this? Turn off the overhead lights in your office, block out as much of the outside light as you can and bring in your own lighting, believe it or not. And a lot of people first think, "Well, it's probably expensive to get a bunch of fancy lights." But all you need is three, three well-placed lights: Right, left, center. And you can put it all together for just about $100 with some cheap clamp lights from Home Depot and some gauze to disperse the light.
Don't be embarrassed to get scrappy with lighting. The best photographers know how and do it all the time.
Sound is the second technical quality for great videos. Shooting in an empty room can create an echo and reverb. This is not only distracting, but it sounds like you're filming in the bathroom - not a good visual from the mind's eye. There is a rule in video, you can get away with bad video, but not audio. Audio must be high quality, crisp, and clean. No exceptions and no excuses.
To fix this, you need to deaden up the room. So this sounds weird but sound dampening panels do the trick. If you're in a pinch, bring in a couch, hang up blankets. One of of my favorite podcasters, Grammar Girl, has mentioned in the past that she records her audio podcasts in her walk in closet for the sound quality. You can't really do that for a video, but you can put pillows and cushions around you on the floor and behind the camera while recording audio. It works. You can also just find a room that has minimal echo. Think of something with carpet and curtains. Lastly, make sure to always use a microphone. You can buy an inexpensive Lavalier mic from Amazon for about $30.
The third component of great technical videos is image stability. No matter how steady your hands are, your camera is going to have to work pretty hard to stabilize a handheld shot. If you're editing multiple takes, slight movements can be very distracting, so it's definitely worth the extra effort to stabilize your shots with a tripod. I you are shooting with a phone, you will experience a weird phenomenon called shutter-roll when making abrupt, but even small movements. While you can definitely find more expensive options out there, when starting out there's no reason to not just get on off Amazon for $20. Even when you're shooting live videos or Instagram stories you should use a tripod because stability is one of those things that your viewers can't always put their finger on, but it helps to add and make your video seem higher quality. What's the saying, they won't notice when the video is stable, but they will notice when it's not.
OK - just remember the three big technical tips: light, sound, & stability are the three most critical technical elements in video creation.
My final tip for creating great social media videos is to learn about "The Hook". The first three to five seconds of your video makes a world of difference in all sorts of things like watch time, engagement views, sharing, etc. Focus on creating a memorable first three to five seconds and your video will perform much better. After the 3-5 second hook, to just get right into the content. Don't mess around with title scenes or drawn out intros - no-one cares about your cool time song or your spinning logo. IF you must have that stuff to stroke your ego, work it deeper into the beginning for the video or leave it out until the end credits. On Facebook and Instagram in particular, you only have so much time to get people's attention, so don't waste it. On YouTube & Vimeo though, you might have a little bit more time to mess with. But with the other social media video platforms, you have to get right to business.
There you go. I hope that you are able to walk away with some actionable tips for your own video strategies.