When was the last time you watched a video on Facebook? What about Instagram or Twitter?
My guess is that it was probably within the last day.
The reason for this guess is because video continues to be one of the most powerful forms of content on social media. You can’t take a digital step without coming face-to-face with a video – and there’s a reason for this.
Video outperforms all other content types on social media, and not only do people find videos more engaging and memorable than text and image, but social posts with video see, on average, 48% more views and generate significantly more shares than other types of content.
Basically, if you aren’t creating videos for social media, you need to be considering it.
Here are some tips to help you create more effective video content.
Before You Start, Think of the Story
One of the key reasons that video performs so well on social is because it’s an easy way to tell a story.
Without some kind of storyline or purpose, your video will fall flat - so before you even think about putting together your first Hollywood hit, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the goal of the video? Think about what you want viewers to do after they’ve watched your video. Maybe the goal is to raise awareness for a new product, or to encourage people to buy
- What is the story of the video? Think about how you’ll translate that goal into a story, and what kind of narrative you’ll need to get people to that end goal.
- How will your audience relate to the video? Think about how you’ll help viewers connect to your story, brand, and product through the video
- Am I providing value to the viewer? Think about how you’ll educate, entertain, or inform your viewers with your story, and consider what they’ll take away with them at the end of the video
- Is the video honestly something I’d watch? If, deep down, you wouldn’t watch your own video if it popped up on social media, why would anyone else?
- How will I motivate the viewer to take action? This relates back to the purpose and goal of your video. Think about whether you’ll incorporate a call-to-action, or whether you’ll have instructions for signing up as part of the video
How to Get Started With Video
Most people think that you need an all-singing, all-dancing camera crew, complete with trained actors and a suite of film editors to make the perfect video for social media. But this is far from the truth.
In fact, it’s easier than ever to put together a video in seconds thanks to the amazing array of technology and tools we have at our literal fingertips (thanks, smartphones).
And if you’re running to a tight budget, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways you can shoot compelling social media videos without having to break the bank.
1. DIY Shooting
The easiest way to get started is to create your own videos using the tools you already have.
Most smartphones today come complete with good-quality, built-in cameras and an editing tool that means you can snap scenes on-the-go and splice them together quickly.
Here are some quick tips on how to get started:
- Plan what you’re going to film ahead of time
- Choose your location wisely (think about what’s going to be in the background and the weather)
- Get the lighting right by trying out a few different variations before you start filming the final version
- Think about image and sound (85% of social media videos are viewed with the volume off, so it’s worth thinking about how your message translates in silence)
Also, don't be a perfectionist. You’re not going to film a Steven Spielberg-style extravaganza on your first go, and it takes a while to get comfortable shooting something - which means you’re going to want to take lots of shots from different angles that you can then weave together into a narrative in your chosen editing tool afterwards.
2. Video Creation Tools
Using specialist tools to create your video is the next step up from using your smartphone to shoot.
And while this might seem daunting in the first instance, there are several tools out there that make it super simple.
Beginner Video Tools
If the thought of navigating your way around a high-end editor makes you break out in a cold sweat, starting with a basic tool like Animoto or Promo can be a great way to test the waters.
Video creation services like these can take your uploaded photos, video clips, and music and turn them into a video slideshow. This makes it really easy to put together something quickly and easily - and not only that, but you get access to a stock video library that lets you pull in professional-style pictures and clips.
Like with anything that’s geared towards beginners, the tools can feel a little limited once you start trying to create more complex clips.
Advanced Video Tools
For those who want a little more freedom when it comes to creating videos, advanced video creation tools like Final Cut Pro and Premiere are a good place to start.
These tools can be as complex as you make them, ranging from super-simple, if you just want to drag and drop images into order, to complex, if you want to add fade-ins, music to accompany the story, and different effects.
Unlike the beginner video tools, there’s literally no limit on what you can do with the more advanced options. These are the tools used by the pros in Hollywood, so you can imagine what kind of capabilities they come with.
It can take filmmakers years to become comfortable using the full capabilities of tools like Final Cut Pro and Premiere, so if you don’t have the time to dedicate to learning the ins and outs of it, it might be worth going for a simpler option.
On top of this, these tools aren’t always the cheapest, so only invest if your budget allows for it.
3. Hire Freelancers
Creating videos for social media campaigns can be time-consuming, and if you don’t have the staff and resources it can seem like a huge waste of time.
However, if you don’t have the bandwidth within your business to make the videos yourselves, you can always outsource the task to a freelancer if and when you need to.
You can use sites like Upwork and Fiverr to find someone to create your video from scratch, or to work on specific parts of your videos, like the editing portion, or the filming part.
The obvious pro is that it can save you and your team time by outsourcing the task to someone who’s better skilled at making videos. This can be a cost-effective way to get social media videos quickly without having to compromise your team’s time.
While getting someone else to work on your videos can be a huge weight off your shoulders, it can also take a serious amount of management and organization.
Freelancers will need to be briefed, given feedback, and collaborated with if you want the project to go as smoothly as possible.
4. Marketing Agencies
The final option is handing over your videos to a marketing agency.
These people will then work with you to create a compelling story, shoot footage that’s on par with the latest Oscar winner, and get everything edited and posted online.
A marketing agency will work with you right from the very start to the very end.
This means that the whole process will be streamlined and click together perfectly. They’ll take you from brainstorming sessions to help you come up with engaging story ideas, to shooting the footage with professionals and experts, and editing it all to make sure the purpose and goals are clear.
The obvious con is that hiring a full-stack marketing agency to create your social media videos can be costly - however, if it’s done right, and is within your budget, you can reap the rewards pretty quickly when your videos start building awareness for your brand and getting shared all over the shop.
Increase Engagement and Build Awareness With Video
It’s easy to see that, if you’re not incorporating video into your social media campaigns, that you’re likely already missing out.
But I get it: it seems like a simple solution, but making a video is hard, right?
There are so many parts, like coming up with a story, shooting the footage, and editing it all together into something that’s presentable.
But the proof is in the pudding. Videos on social media generate tons more engagement than any other kind of content, which makes the whole thing worthwhile.
And you don’t have to do it alone, either.
Aside from going the DIY route, there are plenty of ways to get help and inspiration. You can start by using a video creation tool, hiring freelancers to help, or going the whole hog and getting a marketing agency onboard to oversee the process from start to finish.