10 Tips to Create Engaging Social Media Videos

A video is a fantastic asset to have in your social media marketing campaign. How powerful is a social media video, you ask? Instagram – a photo and video-only site – has 1.386 billion active users. 500 million of those are daily users. That ranks Instagram as the fourth most popular social media site, behind only Facebook (2.85 billion), YouTube (2.29 billion), and YouTube (2.299 billion).

All of those social media platforms have some common traits that lend themselves to a high return on investment (ROI) with video. Namely, they:

  • Have video sharing capabilities
  • Allow users to post the same video in multiple formats
  • Make a healthy portion of their revenue through sponsored video ads
  • Offer analytical tools to track engagement
  • Host audiences that are incredibly receptive to video content (and media in general)

If you’re looking to expand your market reach through a marketing video, you can’t afford to overlook social media. Even if you know exactly which platforms you want to target, there are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process. So here are 10 tips to help you create engaging social media videos.

Logistics

Logistics refers to how you deliver your video content to your audience. This needs to be considered before anything is ever filmed, so here’s what you should keep in mind.

1. Have a content strategy

Without a content strategy, it’s impossible to know if your campaign is successful or not. That’s because a content strategy outlines three key focus areas: goals, resources, and process.

Your goals are what you aim to achieve through your video. Do you want to increase engagement on your brand’s social media? Are you trying to get more people to click on a product link? Your resources are the capital, skills, and equipment already available to you. The process is how you plan to use those resources to achieve the outlined goals.

2. Budget for production

Remember: resources aren’t what you’ll need; they’re what you have before you start. If all you have is a budget, then you’ll need to work out how much it will cost to outsource scriptwriting, filming, voice recording, editing, etc. If you have the skills to produce a video in-house but not the equipment, consider if you want to rent or buy it.

Renting equipment works out cheaper in the short term and allows you to invest in higher-end equipment, albeit temporarily. Owning equipment lets you make as many videos as you need, but you’ll need to pay more for quality gear.

3. License all the media you use

When it comes to video production, copyright law is your friend. If you're using audio or visuals you do not own, make sure you have the right licenses beforehand. There are royalty-free sites like Unsplash and Pixabay that let you license their images for free. Premium sites like Adobe Stock have a wider selection of video and still images, but you’ll have to pay licenses fees to use their content. Every copyright license will also feature clauses that outline the circumstances in which the content can be used, so be sure to read the fine print too.

4. Check social media guidelines for video

Most social media sites follow the same guidelines when it comes to what you can legally post for the most part. You’ll want to check the guidelines for specific information like the maximum video length time allowed. Also pay attention to the recommended resolution, orientation, and format for videos.

5. Identify and track key performance indicators

Going back to your content strategy, you’ll need to track certain metrics throughout a video marketing campaign. Pay attention to impressions, engagements, clickthrough rate (if links are available), and the number of shares. These key performance indicators will give you a good idea of how things are progressing through measurable data.

Video Production

When it comes to producing a video that will perform well on social media, here are some best practices you can use to your advantage.

6. Start with an engaging script

You can “wing” a video, but that’s asking for trouble. A script – like a content strategy – is the main outline that everything else will depend on. Taking the time to create a good script doesn’t just help you get your message across – it tells you exactly what you need to do so (e.g. how many actors you’ll need to hire).

7. Lighting will set your tone

This is why skills are considered a resource. Someone with cinematography experience will help set the appropriate tone for your video, from the “warmth” and direction of the lighting in the setup to the color grading in post-production. Expertise eases the process, especially when you’re working with people who understand the discipline of video production.

8. Audio will make or break a video

You don’t need to hire a sound designer to get good audio, but you do need good recording equipment. It’s not just about quality, but consistency. A grainy voice recording is even more jarring when set against professionally recorded background music. Good all-around audio creates a “seamless” experience where your audience is free to focus on the message.

9. Start with a hook, end with a call to action

YouTube videos have an average viewer retention rate of 50-60% - meaning most people are comfortable clicking away after the halfway point. Get to the point ASAP. Open with a hook that tells your audience something about the video and why they should watch it to the end. Those who do make it to the end are showing the most interest in your video, so include a call to action at the end for maximum lead generation.

10. Include captioning

There’s no reason to skip out on captioning your videos. Most social media videos will play automatically, even in preview mode. However, preview mode videos are muted. The only way to get your message across in this mode is through captioning. Captioned videos are also more accessible to people with hearing disabilities or who otherwise use screen readers – every audience includes such people.

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