There’s no getting around it – video is the most winning type of post on social media. Part of this is the shift in the way we consume information in our fast-paced world. People often go to social media in between other tasks. They might only have a few seconds or minutes to scroll, and video posts are much more efficient at getting attention and conveying information more quickly than a long article would. (Most of us can’t read as much information in 3 minutes as we can consume by watching an entertaining video.)
It’s also important for your website. The same concept applies – people are more apt to watch a 3-minute video than they are to read an article. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have written content on social media and your website – you still need that for search engine optimization (SEO) and it provides those who have time and are interested with a way to learn more in-depth information. If your video is intriguing enough, you can leverage the text to help engage your audience in other ways (with comments, subscribing to your email list or video channel, and links to your website). You can use the same video across platforms, too.
Platforms like YouTube and Facebook are making it easier to embed videos you upload directly to your website in just a few clicks. This will help you get the most “bang for your buck” out of the time you put into creating videos. YouTube even has a built-in editor feature so that you can upload and edit raw footage into a quick video.
So, do you have to invest an enormous amount of time and resources into creating videos now? NO! Facebook even prioritizes “Live Videos” on their platform, which can’t be premade content (thus the “live” title). By taking a little time to plan, and following some simple advice, you can create original videos that will grab attention and start conversation with your audience. Here are some pointers to making a great video:
- Act fast – you have about 3-5 seconds to grab your audience’s attention, so give them a reason to watch. Don’t have a long intro or start out with your brand logo. Get right into the story you want to tell.
- Make them laugh – try to keep your messaging positive and make people smile. The way you make them feel will impact what people associate with you and your brand; keep it positive.
- Be direct – talk directly to your audience. Make them feel involved. If you are doing a scene with actors portraying characters and there is a narrator, have the narrator speak directly to those who are watching. It will make them feel involved.
- Check yourself – be realistic in your expectations of your audiences’ attention spans; if you wouldn’t watch the whole thing, they probably won’t either.
- Focus on the why – Make sure you start with the WHY of the video. Why does this matter to that person? What can they do to improve their lives after watching the video?
- Don’t sell them – Remember that your video doesn’t have to sell a product or service; it just has to make your audience feel good and have your name in it.
- Keep it short – for most platforms (your website, Facebook) 1-3 minutes is the ideal length and has the highest chance of being watched all the way through by some viewers. For Twitter, the videos have to be even shorter, closer to 15-30 seconds. Know that most people won’t watch the entire video, so again be sure to start your message early, and keep it clear and direct.
- Don’t finish early – the video should be short, but it shouldn’t end leaving your audience wondering what they just watched and why. Make sure you give them something to do or somewhere to go.
- I’m not even listening right now – a lot of people will watch your content in public (or at work) and won’t have the volume on. Make sure to put captions on your video! People with their videos muted will be more likely to watch your video if you have captions so they can still understand your content.
- Live! – Facebook Live is the most powerful video tool on Facebook. The platform alerts your followers when you go live with a message on their phone or computer, so even if they don’t watch, your page name will pop into their heads. For that reason alone, it’s worth doing Facebook Live. Don’t be intimidated – it’s a more casual video option and your viewers don’t expect you to be perfectly polished. That being said, take some time to prepare before you start. Have a concept in mind, make sure you follow the same rules as stated above and get right to your message, make it funny, don’t go too long, and include a call to action.
- Video editing techniques – very briefly, here are a few pointers for video editing: include fades/transitions between scenes, if you use music, it quiet enough so people can clearly hear voices over it, keep your shots close (you don’t want too much background distracting from what you want the viewer to focus on), keep the camera as steady as possible. (In a future blog I’ll go into greater detail about video editing! If you have questions about this topic, leave them in the comments and I’ll be sure to address them.)
- Don’t talk at me – a video that shows rather than tells will likely be more effective. A voiceover is better than a video in which one person talks while staring into the camera the whole time in most cases (but a video of talking is better than no video at all). If you are going to narrate the video, I suggest showing yourself near the beginning to explain who you are, but then quickly going into footage that takes the viewer on a journey with content that follows along with your message.
Let’s Get Personal
Here’s what I use to make short videos – a Sony A6000 camera with a gun microphone, Windows Movie Maker for most of my editing, and Adobe Spark Video for shorter videos for Instagram stories or Facebook. I like to write out a short concept for Facebook Live videos and to practice a few times before I hit the “Go Live” button. I also like to involve other people around the office in the videos whenever possible to highlight other employees and give viewers an insider’s perspective to connect with the brand.
What do you think? Leave me a comment below about your experience making videos or any questions you have! I’d love to chat with you more about this topic.