How to Make Social Media Videos That Get Liked and Shared
On ocean-going ships, lifeboats are painted a very particular orange. They are designed this way to stand out against the ocean which is so vast and dull colored that this color is the only way to have a hope of being spotted by rescuers, even when they are specifically looking for the lifeboats. The noise of our digital world is, in many ways, like the ocean and if you want your brand to have a chance of being noticed, you really need to work on standing out. Today, one of the best ways to stand out is to use video. In particular, social media videos stand out from static content like photos and text – just like orange colored lifeboats stand out from the ocean.
Social media videos get far more attention than any other form of communication. In fact, I read a Forbes article that said social media videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined. The catch here is social media video – not just a video housed solely on your website. Video is, by nature, a social experience — and your audience wants to engage socially with the videos you create. They want to respond to it with “likes” and if they really like it, they want to be able to share it with their friends! Thankfully, technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever before to create compelling social media videos for your small business. You no longer need a film degree to create killer social media videos to raise your brand’s awareness and grow your following. So today let’s talk about tips, hacks, and best practices for creating DIY social media videos that will get likes and shares. This is one of the most affordable ways to market your business, gain brand awareness, and grow your following.
Social media videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
Successful Social Media Videos Start With a Story
This article is part 2 of a 5-part series. In part one we discussed ways to create a compelling story as the basis for your small business’ short marketing videos. I started the series with the topic of storytelling because it really is the foundation for the success or failure of a video. Without a strong hook and an interesting story, the video will tank. So once you’re confident that you have a story that others will be interested in watching, you’ve got to choose which social media platform(s) you want to share it on. Here’s the catch— you can’t create one video and then simply dump it onto every single one of your accounts. Each social media platform has its own quirks unique requirements and best practices for getting engagement from your audience. If you’re like me, you’ll find this frustrating. You might even pout for a while. Then you’ll slowly succumb to the fact that you can’t avoid video forever; your competition is already making cool social media videos and it’s ticking you off; and finally, you’ll grit your teeth and start hustling harder to understand how to hack social media videos. So, let’s begin.
So Many Social Media Platforms to Choose From
I hope your company isn’t on every single platform. We’re not. In fact, we’re finding that our ideal audience has been shifting away from Twitter and turning more towards Instagram and the “old standby” Facebook. For some of you reading this, Twitter might still make sense. But I’m not going to spend time today discussing how to make social media videos for platforms that:
I perceive as dying,
Are geared for youngins who likely aren’t your target market, or
Tend to appeal to a smaller subset of businesses within limited niches (Tumblr, Flickr, etc.).
We’re going to focus on creating social media videos for the following platforms and for these reasons:
Facebook. I can’t think of any business that shouldn’t have a company Facebook account. It’s literally the #1 performing social media platform out there today.
Instagram. Since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, they’ve been integrating the two platforms. In fact, if you create a marketing video on Facebook, and then pay to have it sponsored, it actually gets automatically sponsored on Instagram as well. Two for one! Plus, we’re seeing major growth every month in the number of new Instagram users. If your customers are getting on Insta, you should too! Here’s our free webinar of tips to help small businesses leverage Instagram to grow their following and earn customers.
YouTube. Everybody uses YouTube. If there’s anything your customers want to know or see, they likely visit YouTube first. It’s like the Wal-Mart of social platforms—it has everything! From how-tos to just pure entertainment, YouTube is the one-stop shop for most consumers. Although we at Communication Hackers aren’t using it to grow a huge fan base of ‘tubers, we do use it as a cool free place to park our videos, edit clips, and ultimately to hold them so that we can play them from our company website. This means the videos appear nicely on our site, but YouTube is actually doing all the work to hold them so that our website’s load time doesn’t suffer and deter our site visitors. If you don’t have a company YouTube account, you need one.
LinkedIn. Again, you need to be on LI. LinkedIn is a horse of another color, however, because it was created for B2B, not B2C. Sure, it’s great for networking, collaborating, and helping educate your connections—but I can’t stress enough that your videos on LI better be a lot different than what you post on the other platforms. I triple hate it when my LI connections try to sell their crap to me. We’re on there to share ideas, not make purchases. Rant over.
How To Make a Winning Facebook Video
Facebook is my favorite platform to create social media videos for because it’s so flexible. With 2.2 billion active monthly users, your audience is likely very diverse. Tweens, professionals, moms, even grannies are all potential viewers of the videos you make for Facebook. If your video tanks with one audience, no worries ‘cuz other sects of your audience might love it.
Facebook Video Tips
People use Facebook for entertainment. Therefore videos here should be emotionally engaging.
Aim for just 2-4 minutes. Although FB allows for a maximum of 45 minutes, I highly discourage making marketing videos which venture anywhere close to the maximum time limit. Your audience most likely watching your video on a mobile device; they are there to stroll and scroll (with itchy thumbs). Don’t expect them to sit through a 20-minute video; unless you’re hosting a Facebook Live TV program (like Dave Ramsey’s very successful daily The Dave Ramsey Show), in which case do yo’ thang.
Add captions. This seems like a minutia detail, but your audience is likely watching your social media video on their smartphone. Captions will allow them to keep watching even if they’ve turned off their sound. Without captions, you may lose viewers who aren’t in a position to turn their sound on.
Share natively. Rather than uploading your video to YouTube and simply linking to it from Facebook, upload it natively. Why? Because the Facebook gods have given priority to native videos. This means that their algorithm is rigged to show preference for Facebook native videos and will give those more and better placement in your audience’s feeds.
Do this every time: add a call-to-action and a link to the end of every video you post. Even if your link simply sends them to your Facebook page or to your company website, take advantage of that feature.
Try using Facebook videos for shareable content such as interviews, training, reviews, and to promote your company’s events that viewers might be interested in.
How to Rock an Instagram Video
Instagram currently appeals to a young-ish audience. Teens, millennials, and 30-somethings are drawn to the candid nature of Instagram videos. They’re We’re also drawn to the artistic nature (beauty, intrigue, freshness) of content that succeeds on Insta. The upcoming generation of thought leaders is tired of impersonal, boring brands. Instagram will allow you to showcase your brand’s human side and connect more intimately with your viewers. Keep that in mind when you create Insta social media videos. (Hint, no one wants to see dudes in suits handing out company awards and shaking hands. Gag!)
Instagram Video Tips
Stories keep you at the top. Instagram allows for two types of videos: regular feed stories that are located in the general feed, and video stories that you pin to the top of the feed and that only remain up there for 24 hours before they magically disappear. Make both. But keep in mind that regular video posts max out at 60 seconds, while Insta stories (the kind pinned at the top) have a max of ten seconds.
Experiment with the free tools. Instagram was made for social media videos! As such, there are tons of free apps out there designed exclusively for making cool Insta videos. For example, I use Boomerang for my iPhone to create super-short videos that really aren’t much more elaborate than a 2-second GIF. Here’s a list of rad apps compiled by Sprout Social to help you create eye-catching Insta videos (#13 through #20 on the list pertain to videos).
Get your fans involved. Instagram stats show that user-generated content does really well. Basically, that is where your fans themselves upload content for you. Tint goes in-depth about UGC (here) and examines campaigns that have gone viral on it. Anytime you can encourage your followers to respond to your video by uploading their own content, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Here’s what Insta is a good fit for: behind-the-scenes tours, quick how-tos, and product launch videos.
Here’s what sucks about Insta videos: lack of ability to use links. You literally get to insert one clickable link…the one you provide in your profile.
I use Boomerang for my iPhone to create super-short videos that really aren’t much more elaborate than a 2-second GIF.
How to Create a Killer YouTube Video
YouTube is the second greatest social sharing platform, only behind Facebook. Perhaps you want to be a famous YouTuber. Perhaps you don’t. Either way, you’ll likely want to create video content for YouTube. As I mentioned above, it’s a terrible idea to upload (house) videos on your company website. It slows it down immensely. Instead, you can upload directly to YouTube and then simply provide the embedded link into your website. So whether you want to host a poppin’ YouTube channel, or if you’re like me and using it as a means to an end–this is a platform you’ll want to consider because it has so many slick free video editing & video creation features already built in.
YouTube Video Tips
Add captions. Here’s a how-to video that explains how to easily get free captions on your YouTube videos.
The blur feature is like a magical eraser. Did you know YouTube has a free, built-in, super-simple way to blur out faces or objects from the videos you upload? Yep. It’s easy. If you shoot a video with your camcorder and later realize you need to blur out faces of passersby or perhaps the license plates of cars driving past, no worries. This tutorial will show you how to do it within the YouTube platform itself.
Make clickable links. After your viewers have watched your video, you don’t want them to chase the next squirrel. In fact, by default, your video will end and your audience will be offered a follow-up video (likely made by someone other than you)…and poof! your viewer is gone forever. That’s bad. By adding a clickable link right towards the end frame of your video, you can strategically direct your viewers to take action—hopefully by having them click a link to your website, another video of yours, etc. Here’s how to create one.
Here’s what YouTube videos can be great for: reviews, training, interviews
By adding a clickable link right towards the end frame of your video, you can strategically direct your viewers to take action
How to Create Helpful Videos for Your LinkedIn Network
LinkedIn is obviously a professional networking platform. Clearly, that means uploading silly cat videos is a no-no here. The videos you post should demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your professional field. It’s also a great way to let your connections see your personality shine through when they’re used to nothing but your polished profile and perfect portrait. Video here is a great way to let connections get to know you better—the real you.
LinkedIn Video Tips
80/20 rule applies. We use this rule for most of your business profiles. That is, aim for creating content that is 80% helpful, 20% promotional. Sure, you might have a great new service to unveil, but make sure you’ve already created the hoopla with 80% of your videos geared toward informing/instructing/educating on the topic before you drop a promotional video on your audience.
Here are the specs. LI videos can be between 3 seconds and 10 minutes in length (aim for < 3 minutes). Videos silently autoplay in the feed, so know that your users will need to manually click on the video to engage the sound. Did you know you can download the LI app for your phone so you can film, edit, and upload directly from your phone?
Tips for video caption. Before people typically turn on the sound to your video, they’ll first read the text you typed to see what the nature of the video is and to decide if they’re interested before actually tuning in. Here’s a great tip: type a question as your caption; then ask the question in your video itself and use the video as a way to answer the question. This is provocative and makes for dialogue between your connections and you. How much text should you type to introduce the video? Well, one to three sentences is usually enough as that sets the context of the video without giving away all the juicy details.
Consider screen sharing. Since your audience is there to network and learn, try creating a video where you teach about a topic in which you’re an expert. You can download Camtasia for a high-quality screen-sharing tool, or go low-tech and free by using PowerPoint’s built-in video recording capability (only in Office 365) so you can record yourself on video talking while you progress through slides.
Here’s what LI videos are best suited for: how-tos, to introduce an upcoming webinar, and to answer FAQs in your industry.
PowerPoint’s built-in video recording capability (only in Office 365) allows you to record yourself talking while you progress through slides.
Final Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Videos
Nike was right. Just do it! You’re not likely to create a social media video that goes viral on your first try. But you’ll never get likes and shares on your social media videos if you never produce any. I always say, “Perfection is the enemy of execution.” Just start making videos, listen to feedback from your followers, take cues of what when well and what went wrong. Then refine and try again! You can do this! Now stay tuned ‘cuz I’m already working on the next article in this DIY video series. The next article will be chocked full of tips as I explain the various (dozen or so) types of DIY marketing videos from your small business you can easily create yourself. Not all videos are created equal. From animated explainer videos, to talking-head videos, to instructional how-to videos…I’ll give you the skinny on each type, when to use, where to post each type, and other insider tips from someone (yep, me) whom has tried them all and lived to tell the tale.
Laura Hsu is the design & customer experience expert at Communication Hackers. With a natural eye for design, Laura excels at advising businesses on the juncture of design and messaging. She is also a natural teacher who loves to explain the why, what, and how of complicated things in a simplified way.