How to Make a Great Social Media Video

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The most effective way of communicating a message in a short space of time on social media is by using video.  A social media video can communicate a lot of information far better than most other formats.

But as with everything, successful social media videos need to be ‘good’. We’re not necessarily talking about the technical ‘quality’ here, we’re talking about the ‘value’ that a video gives the user.

So, what makes a ‘good’ social media video?

1. Start your video with the best content

The first 5 seconds of your social media video is the most important. You should always start your video with one of the best bits.

Generally speaking, social media users will be quickly scrolling down the newsfeed, browsing for eye catching content. This means that if your opening 1-5 seconds is not interesting enough, they’ll just swipe past your video without thinking twice about it.

Remember, most social media platforms play video without sound. Visual elements such as subtitles, captions, colours, action are all important in getting the user to stay and watch. 

So get them interested, always start with one of your best bits.

2. Aim to spark an emotional reaction

The best social media video content is seen by millions because something makes it shareable and engaging. This usually stems from being either emotional or relevant.  If your video does not tick any of these boxes, it’s not going to be able to take full advantage of a platform’s algorithm.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing out content that isn’t interesting. But if you’re doing this, you’re really missing a key factor of how Facebook works.

Related Artice:  Facebook Algorithm Guide

If your content is not making people react to it, Facebook will simply mark it as ‘uninteresting’ and keep it from being seen or won’t give you the best return on your  investment.

3. Keep every second interesting

Whatever the duration of the video, you must keep it interesting at all times. It’s not a film, where you have time for beautiful panoramic shots of this and that. It needs to hit the ground running and keep the viewer watching until the end.

Of course, the optimal social media video duration depends on your platform as some do have capped duration limits on videos.

But the true duration of your video really does depend on how long you can keep your audience interested in what they’re watching. Even if you’re creating an Instagram video less than a minute long. If seconds 10-20 are boring, the viewer will probably not continue to watch.

So, how do you keep social media videos interesting?

You can help keep your social media video interesting by using simple video editing techniques. Things such as changing camera angles, changing depth, changing the lighting, adding interesting inserts and overlays etc.

Be ruthless, keep asking yourself if every bit of the video is needed, and cut out any uninteresting bits.  Like in concert, it’s always best to leave your audience wanting more rather than boring them into scrolling away from you video and profile, on to other videos and not on to your page.

Ultimately though, these are ‘elevating’ tactics; your initial content still needs to be interesting enough before improving it by using video techniques.

4. Include subtitles and captions

Social media videos do not always play with sound on, and many users actively use their phone in silent mode. Likewise, users might be on a train, in a meeting or watching something else on TV, and not able to turn the sound on.

In these cases, subtitles or captions might be your only means of communication with them. This means that subtitles and captions on screen can play a huge role in getting someone initially interested in your video and to continue watching.

If we consider the importance of the initial 5 seconds again, this puts added pressure on ‘what’ is being said, and you might want to be tailoring some of your ‘hooks’ or ‘moments’ right from the get go and not hiding them in the middle of your video.

As well as marketing reasoning, access to on screen captions are essential to some users for accessibility reasons.

These days, there’s really no excuse for not having subtitles.

5. Plan your content

If you’re producing a piece of content, make sure you take some time to think it through beforehand. Such as, do you need extra pieces of kit, do you need to organise interviews or make sure you shoot filler content.

Thinking about this beforehand and not letting it slip to the day of filming the video will raise the standard naturally.

Of course, some videos are fantastic because they happen out of the blue. You can’t plan for those moments and they only come about once in a blue moon. Make sure you’re controlling those controllable and make sure you’re ready

Take Away

Video will continue to dominate distributed content for years to come and brands are investing more and more money in creating high value content for their social channels.

But remember, ‘value’ comes in many different forms, be that in a cute homemade cat video or a heartfelt sobbing plea.  These are examples of low quality produced videos but routed heavily in emotion and relevance giving you a tone of ‘value’.

Value will always prevail.

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