Video content is booming and there’s no stopping it! 87% of marketers now include it in their marketing activity and 54% of consumers want to see MORE video content from the brands that they follow.

Video is also a user-favourite on social media with 1200 more shares being generated by video content over text and imagery posts combined. It’s pretty hard to argue with figures like that, so what are the steps you need to take to ensure that your social media video content is the best it can be?

Let us fill you in...

man filming social media video at a festival

Plan your strategy in advance (a.k.a - What’s the video’s purpose?)

Don’t make content for content’s sake. Think about why you are uploading the video, what do you want it to do? Whether it’s an ad or an organic video, your content should be planned in advance with a mind to run it for a specific purpose.

Videos can be used in many ways on social media, for brand awareness, to increase engagement or sales and even, on Facebook specifically, to retarget the most engaged viewers with new ads. So ahead of even filming your video, think about who you are trying to reach, what are you trying to reach them for (is it to raise awareness or is it to encourage sales?) and how much you’re willing to spend, both on the creation and any campaigns.

In short, research your audience, outline your ideas and plan your budget. Make sure your strategy is in place before you blaze ahead creating potentially costly video content

All platforms have different specifications and this has to be kept in mind

Every platform (whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter) has different specifications for their video content. All of this has to be considered when creating your video. Are you focusing on one platform specifically or are your creating something that can run on several platforms without any hiccups?

For example, Twitter’s recommended video specifications are 320 x 180 (256K bitrate), 640 x 360 (768K bitrate) and 1280 x 720 (2048K bitrate), and for Facebook it is 1280 x 720. However, both Facebook and Instagram support 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratio, making it easier to create content that can span both of these platforms with little issue.

Ensure you can create something that is optimised for the platform (or platforms) you are running it on. A great source for this information is Sprout’s Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Video Specs. This guide has the specs for all social media sites and is updated every time something changes!

Don’t forget to include subtitles

Most videos on social media automatically autoplay on mute and around 85% of social media videos are watched without sound regardless (Instagram Stories is an outlier as 70% of users watch these with sound on). This means that you need to ensure all the information in your video is coming across to users who aren’t actively listening to your video.

If someone is narrating or speaking to the camera in your video, the best way to do this is by including subtitles in your video. Facebook and YouTube allow you to automatically create captions, putting what the speaker says into subtitles on your video without you having to do anything. However, with accents and different speaking styles, this can lead to mistakes in the auto-captioning, which could lead to confusing information or attention for all the wrong reasons…

Instead, you have two options, you can create and upload a subtitle file (like .SRT) or you can burn the subtitles into the video. By uploading an SRT file, you will be able to add platform-formatted subtitles to your videos on social media (YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allow this) with ease.

However, Instagram doesn’t allow this at the moment and if you want captions on these videos, they will have to be ‘burned in’ and already present in the original video upload. You should be able to do this with most video editing software and if you’re working with a videographer, you should be able to ask them to do it for you.

BONUS: Including subtitles also makes your content accessible and engaging for those with hearing impairments.

Look to your website for content that you can rework

Many sites have a blog section where they post topical and informative content and this is a goldmine if you’re stuck for video content. Use your analytics to identify what is popular on your site and there may be something that you can turn into a video.

Top tip and ‘how to’ style blogs are ideal candidates for being reborn as a video. They are simple to make, informative and usually easy to understand. But first, make sure your blog will work in a video format with the following criteria:

Is it easy to understand?
Can you communicate the points quickly and with ease?
Could you turn it into a demonstration or illustrate it with graphics?

Optimise for mobile

Over half of all social media videos are viewed on a mobile, in fact on Twitter that statistic is as high at 93%.

With this in mind, it’s highly likely that these video views are happening while people are in public, whether that’s on public transport, in a cafe or during their lunch hour. This leads back to the 85% of people who are watching on mute - don’t forget those subtitles!

However, whether it’s speaking or music, ensure that the audio you do use is engaging for those listening with earphones. Include compelling copy above the video to give it context and to reel people in, and always keep your visuals compelling. With smaller screens, this means bold, bright and legible. Keep visual clutter to a minimum, focus only on the essential information and make that appealing. A great way to test the impact of your content is to try watching it on several screens and assess what may need to change.

Stay native

All platforms prioritise their native video player over any linked content, an obvious example of this is Facebook and YouTube. As direct competitors, Facebook’s algorithm has been created to promote and prioritise native video content over content linked to from YouTube.

To ensure your content has the best chance of success, whether it’s for promoted content or organic, use the native player of your chosen social media sites when publishing video content. Don’t embed or link content from another location, this will lead to less views and engagement.

Keep it short and snappy, but long-form shouldn’t be ignored…

A 60-second limit on your content will keep your message quick and easy to digest and it appears to be the amount of time you can expect to hold an audiences’ attention for online video, with 5% dropping off after 1 minute and a whopping 60% dropping off after 2.

In fact, the average attention span for hooking someone into your content is now 8 seconds (less than a goldfish!), with only 45% of those who watch the first few seconds staying for another 30. So you have to ensure that your video is front-weighted, with all the key and interesting information being presented at the very start of your video before rounding everything off with a compelling CTA. Think about recipe videos who show tempting shots of the finished dish at the start before they actually get into the ‘how to’ element of it as an example.

60-second videos will also make it suitable for multiple platforms (if you have been mindful of the specifications also). As well as making the content easier and quicker to edit, it will also monopolise less data and need less buffering time for the mobile users out there.

However, long-form content is experiencing quite a bit of popularity at the moment with the growing use of live streaming and the introduction of new platforms like Facebook’s ‘Watch’ and IGTV. On Facebook, videos over 90 seconds get more views and shares and on YouTube the average mobile user session is over 40 minutes long.

Long-form content isn’t to be disregarded completely and would be a valuable tool for video view retargeting, but if you decide to go long, make sure your content quality can keep up.

Video is an amazing social media asset and can be harnessed to really make a splash on social media. If you’re interested in bringing social media into your marketing mix, but need a little guidance first, don’t be afraid to get in touch with our marketing team!

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