As the volume of content on social media increases and attention spans decrease (or at least become more selective), the marketer’s challenge to capture the interest of target audiences may seem impossible, but there is hope — video. According to Google, six out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television. Few content mediums grab (and keep) attention quicker than video, yet many brands still don’t take advantage of it.
If you’re new to video, the prospect can feel overwhelmingly technical, but it doesn’t have to be. Start and end with personality, creativity, and the right strategy, and your video content is sure to be a hit with your audience. But before you jump into the directorial chair, let us walk you through a few frequent questions we’ve heard from clients on video.
Why is video important to my social media strategy?
Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. Add to that the countless studies (including this one from MIT) on how the human brain processes and remembers visual images much faster than the written word. Video just makes strategic sense. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how many a video could be.
With video, you can combine the visually-pleasing elements of an image with the necessary information that people tend to overlook. That’s a surefire way to get your point across. If you’re worried your video will only be seen by teenagers and millennials surfing for the next viral hit (i.e. not your target audience), consider this — a recent survey by online ad agency WordStream found 58% of executives prefer watching a video to reading an article. And why not? It’s easy, it’s convenient, it can be done on the go. Yet another reason it should be a part of every social media strategy.
Where do I start?
Step one: Have a plan. Unfortunately, the simplicity of our phones means that everyone thinks they’re an excellent cinematographer. (They’re not.) The only way to tell your story the way you envision it is to take the time to plan. You don’t need to write a full screenplay, but some direction goes a long way.
Step two: Get your tech in order. (Think: lighting, audio, background, green screen, hair and makeup, costumes, a fan … you know, the necessities.) A lot of what makes a video good is the work put in behind the scenes, so make the investment in your technical elements.
What kind of video should I make?
According to Google, 86% of U.S. viewers say they often use YouTube to learn new things, so identifying what you want your audience to know about your business is a good place to start. When it comes to a general format, the options are many:
- Explainer: Introduce yourself and tell people what you do.
- Demo: Showcase a product or new feature.
- Q&A: Introduce your team with brief interviews with executives or answer FAQs.
- Thought Leadership: Share your expertise on a relevant topic or trend.
And you don’t have to stop there. The only limit is your own imagination. You could do confessional style interviews with your team (a la “The Office”) or share behind-the-scenes clips from an event. No matter what topic or style you choose, make it entertaining. After all, you want people to not only stick around but to keep coming back for more!
How long does it have to be?
As a general rule, if you’re uploading to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — try to keep your video to a minute or less, but if you take your videos to YouTube or LinkedIn, longer videos usually perform better.
My editor says, “Make it as long as it needs to be.” But don’t create an hour-long video unless you’re trying to win big at Sundance. And keep in mind that some platforms do have restrictions:
- Twitter: Keep it under 140 seconds (get it?), aka two minutes and 20 seconds.
- Instagram: One minute or less for regular IG, up to 10 minutes (depending on how many subscribers you have) on IGTV.
What about editing?
You can take a basic approach to editing, using the skills and software you likely already have, or a more advanced one. On Macs, iMovie can get the editing job done. Or if you’re a PC person, Microsoft’s Movie Creator can help you polish your latest clip quickly and effectively. If you’re looking for even more pizzazz, Adobe Premiere is a great tool (but it’s a far more technically complex and comes with an additional cost).
Where should I share it?
The content of your video, the personality of your brand, and the audience you’re speaking to will determine the appropriate platform. Having said that, these best practices worth noting:
- Mind the Platform: Remember, what works on one social channel won’t necessarily work on all of them. For example, a fun video of your team at happy hour may garner an audience on Instagram, but it’s probably not appropriate for LinkedIn. Just like you alter your brand voice according to platform (or should), make sure your video matches the tone of the place you share it.
- Keep an Eye on the Clock: Remember to be cognizant of each platform’s time limitations and post accordingly (or edit different versions for each platform).
- Know Your Audience: At the end of the day, you want the video to represent your brand for what it is. So, if that means uploading a goofy video to LinkedIn to cut through the professional content, then by all means go for it. After all, there’s no invention without experimentation.
Video content is a powerful way to connect with your audience. It’s a great way to incorporate creativity and deliver your message in an engaging way. The last thing you want is for people to click away because they got bored. So go on, flex that creative muscle and show the world what you’ve got. Video is a content investment that will keep your audience coming back for more.