In the old days, people used to meet in person to get their news, exchange information, and trade goods. This was known as the marketplace, and you could usually find it near a port in the big cities.
Fast forward a century later, and people still need a space where they can learn, shop, and be entertained. It’s just that now, those things happen in the digital world, on social media platforms.
And just as it was then, standing out and having your message heard in such a crowded place remains a challenge today. The good news is that we have way more tools to solve that problem nowadays, and the chief among those is video content
However, ask any savvy video marketing team about the topic, and they’ll tell you that on social platforms, it is not just about uploading videos. You need the right videos with the right strategy to get results.
In this piece, I’ll give you a no-nonsense, brief list with key aspects to make videos that get more engagement, on any social media platform!
The advantages of natively uploaded video
Native videos are video files uploaded directly to a specific social media platform. Particularly important if you’re using Facebook or Twitter, where you can either upload content natively or share a link to a video hosted on YouTube or another site.
But you may ask: what’s all the fuss about? What is the difference? Well, native videos are proven to perform up to 10 times better on Facebook when compared to YouTube links, for example.
Facebook knows that video is the most engaging type of content, and its algorithm will prioritize native uploads because they keep users inside the platform’s environment. Users don’t need to leave Facebook to watch the video somewhere else, as it happens with embedded YouTube links.
Plus, native videos begin to play automatically when you’re scrolling down your feed, while YouTube videos need an extra step to be manually played. This Autoplay feature translates into more views and, most importantly, a better chance of grabbing your user’s attention!
So, all things being equal, try to upload your videos natively if you’re using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. On Instagram, though, you don’t have a choice since the platform currently doesn’t allow videos hosted on external sites.
Choosing the best type of video for each social media platform
Every social media platform is unique in some way and attracts different types of users interested in different types of content. Technically speaking, you can just go and make any old video and post it on social media. But do you think that’s an effective long-term strategy? Hardly ever!
If you want to max out your potential, you need to create videos based on what’s proven to work best on each specific platform. Or that has incredibly broad appeal. More importantly, audiences respond well to content that feels like it’s been specially made for them.
Here are four types of videos and the platforms on which they perform best.
The ‘product video’
Sometimes, all that stands between your customer and a purchase decision is the right kind of information. Product videos list the key attributes of your product or service simply and directly. They are perfect at highlighting the uses and benefits that you want your audience to know about.
These videos are a powerful tool in the e-commerce business, but if you want to use them on social media, they shouldn’t feel like any old product demo. Product videos with a fresh and informal look can work well both on Instagram and Facebook. But I wouldn’t recommend using them on LinkedIn or Twitter, where users are less likely to be interested in this type of content.
The ‘explainer video’
The first rule of video marketing is to grab your audience’s attention with a piece that delivers value. It makes sense then, that explainer videos ended up being one of the most popular styles in this arena. In a simple, appealing package, they give you a way of educating, entertaining, and advertising to an audience.
Most users look for social media posts that teach them about something, which is where explainers shine. They are compelling pieces that describe your message using the power of storytelling, making them interesting from the get-go.
Learning through videos is much easier than learning through other content formats. Because of their short-length and direct message, explainer videos work perfectly in social media, especially on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
The ‘company story video’
The first two types of videos we covered focus on your brand’s products and core message. Company story videos, on the other hand, shift the spotlight towards the people and process behind your brand. They are a great opportunity for you to showcase your brand’s personality and create an emotional connection with your audience.
This type of video gives your audience a glimpse into the human side of your company or brand, which can improve the trust and investment your audience has on you. They can also be the start of a fun conversation and interactions. After all, we all would like to know something about the people who design the products or make the content we love!
Because of their nature and purpose, Company Stories videos work best on LinkedIn, and YouTube, where users are eager to watch company-related content. But an inspiring and heartfelt – albeit more informal – story can also work wonders on Facebook and Twitter.
‘Events’ and ‘live’ videos
In the last few years, Facebook Live and Instagram Stories began to develop into a new type of content: live-streamed videos. They are an exciting and interacting way of increasing your brand’s presence in social channels while also boosting brand awareness.
But Live Videos only work if you have something meaningful to broadcast. Is your brand planning a new product or service reveal? Do you want to show behind-the-scenes of what it’s like to work with your company? Then you should think about including this type of video in your strategy!
Keep it short, engaging and useful
There’s a lot of psychology necessary to market effectively in social media. You need to understand that some people would like to spend less time on social channels, and overall attention spans are at an all-time low. Many users find themselves scrolling just to keep track of the latest news or look at a funny meme, before moving on.
So, to be effective in such a ruthless arena, you need to make content that works despite all of that! The best way is to make pieces that are short, engaging, and useful.
Brevity is the golden rule of social media. It should be no surprise to know that short videos are proven to perform best on such platforms. After all, “mobile” and “on-the-go” are analogous to the social media experience. When it comes to effective videos for social, we’re talking 2-3 minutes tops! (With a couple of exceptions that allow for long-form content).
One helpful thing to understand about social media is that most videos are discovered, rather than searched for. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, users don’t search for videos (they have YouTube and Google for that). They’re more likely to “accidentally” stumble onto your video when scrolling their feed or a hashtag.
And whether they watch your video or not, it all depends on first impressions. Hyped and viral content have one thing in common: they offer instant gratification. So, leave suspense to Hollywood and start your video off strong! Always polish the first 5 seconds of your video.
As we’ve said before, people don’t want to feel like they’re wasting their time on social media. A helpful, interesting, or entertaining video will help you attract the right kind of attention and strengthen your core audience.
So, once you get their attention, offer them something they can use in their day-to-day life. That’s how you get them to remember your piece, and share it with their friends.
Video branding techniques
Most Gen-Zs won’t know it, but in the early days of social media, branded content wasn’t allowed. Remember when the feed was exclusively composed of posts from friends and family? That’s one of the reasons why branded content may still feel like a bit of an intruder on social media feeds sometimes.
The branded content that tends to work best, then, is the type that doesn’t feel branded at all! The design of your video should walk the fine line between brand identity and a more user-friendly look. If there’s one thing users don’t want to watch on social media it’s traditional advertising.
But this shouldn’t set you back; take it as an opportunity! Present your brand in a new and fresh way, as it has never been seen before. Consider repurposing existing content in new formats to find new audiences.
Technical tips from the pros
Before you go, let’s get technical for a bit! Here are a few tips you may want to check before putting the last touches on your video.
- Sound: Did you know that most videos on social media are muted until the user chooses to turn on the sound? Plus, you never know what device your audience is using! Make sure your video works without sound.
- Captions: If you need to use dialogue, then your video should include captions so viewers can follow along, even during muted plays.
- Thumbnail: a lot of users my scroll through your video without even giving it a chance. Use an intriguing thumbnail to grab their attention.
- Loops: On platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, short videos loop automatically. Make the beginning and end of your video match, so you create a seamless loop.
- Call to Action: Video content is short, and if it’s engaging, you’ll keep them wanting more. Give your viewers clear instructions on what to do next if they enjoyed your video.
Do you want to build a strong social media presence? Then start creating video content. But, as we’ve seen in this article, it’s not a simple equation!
There are bits and layers to an effective social media video, but when done right, there’s no stopping what your brand can achieve.
So, take these tips and start creating fantastic social branding campaigns. You won’t be disappointed.