This article has been contributed by Victor Blasco.
As likes, shares, comments and overall interactions become more valuable every day, social media has become a must for any brand seeking a robust online presence.
However, increasing your social engagement can be tricky. Trends in social networks change quickly, and what’s popular today may look outdated tomorrow. As a marketer, you must be able to offer your followers fresh and exciting content that motivates them to become ever more involved with your brand.
But video content seems to challenge everything we understand about social brand promotion. Given its capacity to generate engagement and conversions, eCommerce businesses, marketers and animation companies are now putting all their creative efforts into developing video pieces customized for different social platforms.
What makes videos such an ideal solution for your campaigns? And more importantly, how can we take advantage of them?
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to a few key aspects to consider when creating videos for your social channels and what solutions are best suited to each platform.
1. Opt For Native Video
When we think of videos, the first image that comes to mind is YouTube. Not surprisingly, the hub is the largest video-hosting platform on the web. So, when it comes to branding strategies, it’s essential to invest time in creating a great channel for your brand.
But no matter how optimized your YouTube profile is, to be successful across the rest of the social networks, it will not be enough to simply link to your videos. Instead, it’s essential to upload your content directly to each platform so that it’s “native” to that app.
On the one hand, users engage more with videos when they don’t have to take additional steps to watch them. If you want your pieces to be consumed on, say, Twitter or Facebook, then save users from having to open another tab to do so. Your goal is to provide useful content that can be viewed in the moment, not to create unnecessary obstacles.
Also, the algorithms of these platforms are programmed in such a way that they benefit native content over external links. Try to upload your videos directly to the platform, and you will see them reach larger audiences.
2. Make Short and Engaging Pieces
If you want to have a booming social media presence, then you should do everything possible to make your videos fit the fast-paced lifestyle of users.
As users’ attention spans become shorter and shorter, marketers must ensure that their videos don’t go unnoticed amidst the tide of distracting content. But how do you achieve this?
Here are some tips to help you plan your videos successfully.
- First, start your pieces with a strong lead. Users have little time available, and the moment something starts to bore them, they will switch to something else. Popular leads that never fail include powerful stories, anecdotes or data that can generate a great impression on viewers. Also, provocative, or thought-provoking questions can make users stop to reflect on an issue.
- Keep your users engaged with fast and direct content so that you can get your message across in the short time your viewers have.
- There are no rules written in stone about the ideal length of a video. YouTube accepts content over twelve hours long, while Instagram only supports posts up to one minute long (excluding IGTV). However, the shorter, the better — videos between 30 seconds and three minutes have better completion rates.
3. Use the Best Type of Video for Each Social Media Platform
Each social network has its own style – people come to each platform for a different purpose and are used to interacting with certain types of content. It’s not surprising that any type of video we upload will not work the same on all platforms.
Therefore, when deciding what video you want to use in your different social venues, keep in mind that each platform is better suited to certain types of pieces than others.
Not all major announcements need to be thoroughly produced in advance. You wouldn’t believe it, but if there’s one thing that gets people very excited on social media — particularly when it comes to their trusted brands — it’s the chance to see the latest news and releases live.
Live broadcasts allow users to interact with the people behind your brand and have a real-time conversation with them. These videos are a very popular feature on Facebook and Instagram, where you can plan the event and announce it in your stories.
Go live whenever you think you have something important or new to say, or just when you want to take some time to answer questions from your audience.
Do you have good news to announce? Are you launching a new product that you want your social community to get excited about? If so, then it would be a good idea to create a teaser trailer to promote it on your social channels.
Teasers are videos that offer a short but intriguing presentation of a new product or even an event. This type of content is great to upload on your YouTube profile page as they provide a brief introduction to what your brand is all about. However, since they are generally concise and dynamic, they tend to also be very well received as Facebook or Instagram posts.
If there is a style of video that has huge persuasive power on virtually all social networks, it’s got to be animated video advertising! Using colorful characters, eye-catching fonts, and a compelling story is a game-changer when it comes to communicating messages on important and even profound topics.
Animation gives your viewers a fresh perspective and insights on themes related to your brand. There are many styles of animated explainer videos, such as motion graphics, which is great for bringing figures and charts to life, and whiteboard videos, which hand-draw complex processes and scenarios in front of your audience’s eyes.
YouTube and Instagram are perfect platforms to introduce new products to your users. You can produce videos to showcase the features and functionalities of your solution and thus give viewers a genuine picture of how they can expect to use it once they buy.
But product videos work best when you show users the cash value of your solution. For example, rather than merely showing and listing the qualities of your product and how they compare to the competition, it’s a better idea to take the time to use the product for the creation of something completely new.
Social communities are particularly drawn to content that can elicit an emotional reaction from their peers. Your followers will feel more confident towards your brand if you give them content that expresses the value and vision of your company — as told by those who have benefited from your work.
Recorded testimony from satisfied customers can give curious prospects an authentic assessment of your product. Similarly, company story videos are excellent for showing the human faces behind your brand.
4. Apply Video Branding Techniques
Creating videos for your company means investing money and effort into the production of your pieces. However, the value and resonance of a good video doesn’t just depend on the resources you put into them. Crucially, you need the final product to express your identity as a brand.
One of the most common branding mistakes many marketers make is to craft their videos to be extremely neutral. Avoid this at all costs, as your brand has certain traits that make it distinctive and need to be included in your piece.
First off, make sure your brand identity is part of your video strategy. Don’t simply add your color scheme to your videos; that’s quite obvious. What’s equally important is that all the elements of your social channels have a consistent aesthetic. For example, your YouTube or Twitter banners should incorporate the core colors of your brand.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to add your logo or tagline to your video. As long as the image is not intrusive, it will reinforce brand recognition with your audience.
5. Production Tips from the Pros
Now that we’ve gone over the essential elements of your social video marketing strategy, it’s time to put the final touches on your piece to make it perfect.
Not all your videos need to have the following elements. But if you take the time to add them, you can be sure your content will have that professional finish you want.
Plan for Sound Off Views
Virtually all platforms except YouTube are now configured so that your video auto-plays. For this reason, it is super important that your message can be transmitted to a great extent through visuals.
Make sure your video doesn’t rely too much on a fixed script. Users tend to lose their attention if they notice that the content they watch is purely spoken. Instead, add visual incentives — like landscapes, your product put to extreme tests or brightly-colored settings — to motivate viewers to watch the rest of the video.
Add Closed Captions
There is an even more effective way for your audience to get your core message without having to activate their audio settings. By adding captions, you will be able to better communicate your ideas clearly and unambiguously.
Other benefits come along with closed captions. YouTube, in particular, is a platform that rewards videos uploaded with a text document for subtitles, and Facebook marketing algorithms seem to favor native pieces with this feature. Since these are usually loaded with keywords, the platform’s algorithms have better data to rank your video in searches.
Design Compelling Thumbnails
Creating a great thumbnail is not only a key element to maintain the aesthetics of your Instagram feed or YouTube channel. For users who are constantly scrolling down their newsfeed, a beautiful or intriguing image can make them stop for a moment and start watching your video.
But the best thumbnails out there aren’t just professional-looking images that make good use of your color scheme. You can also be bold enough to add a very concise phrase or question that sparks your audience’s interest.
For instance, if your brand is all about cosmetics, you could write a line like “The 90-Day Rule.” Such a simple phrase will make people interested in beauty products wonder what this curious rule is about.
Don’t Forget Your CTAs!
What do you want your audiences to do once they see your video? Do you want them to go to your landing page? Do you want them to “click the red bell”? Then you should tell them clearly in your video.
Use simple and straightforward cues so that it doesn’t seem like you’re asking for too much with your CTAs. A “Like & Share”, “Learn More” or “Go Premium” is more than enough to indicate to your audience the best next step.
Now, it’s also important to define the exact timing of your CTAs. As a rule, videos such as animations leave their messages at the end of the piece, once users have watched it. On the other hand, you can take more liberties when it comes to live streaming or homemade pieces – your CTAs can be at the beginning, middle or end of the video.
The key to success in your social video branding campaign is to customize your content according to the lifestyle of the users of each social platform.
Short, impressive videos perform better on most social networks because they adapt to the speed at which events occur there. Users generally don’t have much time to spend on a single piece of content and less on a brand they don’t know anything about. So, adding elements such as a compelling lead and convenient subtitles and visuals designed for sound-off is an advantage.
The types of videos to use will vary according to the platform and your marketing needs. While live videos work great for platforms with stories like Facebook and Instagram, explainer videos are popular with all those who host channels or profile pages.
Successfully navigating social platforms is not a matter of luck. With what you have learned here plus a confident first step, you will be more than ready to start your social branding campaigns.
About the author: Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.